In the second chapter of Seeing, Annie Dillard begins to explore the idea of how we see the world. She starts by talking about how our eyesight is limited and how we can only see a small fraction of what is actually out there. She then goes on to talk about how we interpret what we see, and how our brains fill in the gaps.
She also talks about how our perception of time is relative, and how we often miss things because they happen too fast or too slow for us to process them. In conclusion, she asks whether or not we are really seeing the world as it is, or if we are just seeing a small part of it that our brain has filtered for us.
Every passing moment is full of wonder, as Dillard, Heat-Moon, and Hutto demonstrate in their works. We are hardwired to consider the future. It’s about preservation at its most basic level. We are always pondering the next step ahead. Unfortunately, this condition means that we are frequently oblivious to the wonderful planet in which we live.
Dillard, Heat-Moon, and Hutto all challenge the reader to open their eyes to the world around them. To take notice of the small things that often go unnoticed.
Dillard begins Seeing by recounting a time when she was eight years old and living in Pittsburgh. She and her friends would play in an abandoned quarry near her house. The quarry was filled with all sorts of interesting rocks and fossils. One day, while she was exploring, Dillard found a fossilized fish. She was fascinated by it and spent hours studying it.
She even brought it home to show her father. But when she went back to the quarry the next day, the fish was gone. Someone had taken it. This experience left a lasting impression on Dillard. She realized that if she had not taken the time to look at the fish, she would have never known it was there.
Dillard’s story illustrates the importance of taking the time to notice the world around us. We so often go through life without really seeing things. We are too busy rushing from one place to the next to take notice of the small details. But it is in those small details that we find beauty and wonder.
Heat-Moon’s book, PrairyErth, is a celebration of the Kansas landscape. He takes the reader on a journey across the state, exploring its prairies, rivers, and towns. Along the way, he shares stories and histories of the people and places he encounters. But more than just a travelogue, Heat-Moon’s book is also a love letter to the land. He writes of the prairie with such reverence and wonder that it is impossible not to be moved.
Like Dillard, Heat-Moon urges us to slow down and take notice of the world around us. He shows us that there is beauty in even the most mundane things. In one particularly moving passage, he describes watching a grasshopper crawl across a field of wheat. He writes:
“For a time I followed along behind him, admiring his single-mindedness inalways moving forward… The wheat stalks wavered in the breeze, and the sun shone down upon us brightly, but all the while the grasshopper plodded resolutely onwards.”
This passage perfectly sums up Heat-Moon’s philosophy. He believes that we should all strive to move forward in life, but never forget to stop and appreciate the beauty around us.
Like Dillard and Heat-Moon, Hutto also urges us to slow down and take notice of the world around us. But unlike them, Hutto takes a scientific approach. In his book Seeing Nature, he argues that humans have become too divorced from the natural world. We no longer see the world as it really is. Instead, we see it through the lens of our own biases and preconceptions.
To illustrate this point, Hutto tells the story of a man who goes for a walk in the woods. The man is not paying attention to his surroundings and doesn’t see the deer that crosses his path. He only sees it after the fact, when it’s too late. Hutto argues that we often miss out on the beauty of the world because we’re not really seeing it. We’re not paying attention.
All three of these authors challenge us to open our eyes to the world around us. They show us that there is beauty and wonder all around us, if only we take the time to look for it.
Throughout “Seeing”, Annie Dillard captured the world around her through exquisite descriptions, from the creek near her home to people’s reactions after being given their sight for the first time. “I can see two million light-years to the Andromeda galaxy with only my naked eye” (7).
She goes on to say that even with the most powerful telescopes, we can see “only” three hundred million light-years in any direction (7). Dillard talks about how there are two ways of Seeing and how our own minds prevent us from Seeing things for what they really are. The first way of Seeing is “to look outwards into the world and try to understand it” and the second way is “to look inwards into ourselves and try to understand ourselves” (11).
Dillard argues that we live in a society that has been trained to look inwards, which has led us to believe that everything revolves around us. In other words, we have become self-centered. This egocentric way of looking at the world has caused us to lose sight of what is really important. We have become so focused on our own lives that we have forgotten how to see the beauty in the world around us.
In the second chapter of “Seeing”, Dillard begins to explore the idea that we are missing out on the beauty of the world because we are not Seeing it properly. She starts by talking about how our eyesight is limited and how we can only see a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. She goes on to say that even though our eyesight is limited, we still have the ability to see things that are beyond our physical sight.
For example, she talks about how we can see stars that are billions of miles away. We can also see things that are too small for us to see with our naked eyes, such as bacteria and viruses. Dillard argues that even though we cannot see everything, we should still try to see as much as we can. She says that we need to “train our eyes to see” (15). In other words, we need to learn how to look at the world in a different way. We need to learn how to appreciate the beauty of the world around us.
Dillard goes on to say that we should not only try to see the world differently, but we should also try to understand it. She talks about how scientists are always trying to understand the world around us. They are constantly asking questions and trying to find answers. Dillard argues that we should all be like scientists and that we should all try to understand the world around us. She says that “the world is a mystery” and that we should “try to understand it” (16).
In conclusion, Annie Dillard’s second chapter of “Seeing” encourages us to open our eyes and see the world around us in a different way. She argues that we need to learn how to appreciate the beauty of the world and try to understand it. This chapter is a reminder that there is more to life than just our own little world. There is a whole universe out there waiting for us to explore it.