: a person who sees and notices someone or something
: a person who pays close attention to something and is considered to be an expert on that thing
: a person who is present at something (such as a meeting) in order to watch and listen to what happens
Observer (n.): 1550s, “one who keeps a rule, custom, etc.” Meaning “one who watches and takes notice” is from 1580s.
Observe (v.): Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin observare, “To guard, watch,” from ob – “in the way, toward” + servare “to keep.”
“To acquire knowledge, one must study;
but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.”
Marilyn Vos Savant (born 1946, age 68, American magazine columnist, author, lecturer, and playwright who rose to fame through her former listing in the Guinness Book of World Records under “Highest IQ.” Since 1986, she has written “Ask Marilyn,” a Parade magazine Sunday column where she solves puzzles and answers questions on various subjects. Marilyn is married to Robert Jarvik MD, the inventor of the Jarvik’s artificial hearts.)
“Any cupcake consumed before 9AM is, technically, a muffin.”
Brian P. Cleary (born 1959, age 55, an American humorist, poet, inventor and author. His children’s books explore grammar in humorous ways written for grade-school children.)
“Have you noticed how nobody ever looks up? Nobody looks at chimneys, or trees against the sky, or the tops of buildings. Everybody just looks down at the pavement or their shoes. The whole world could pass them by and most people wouldn't notice.”
Julie Andrews (born 1935, age 79, English film and stage actress, singer, author, theatre director, and dancer. In 200O, she was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II for her services to the performing arts. In America, Andrews is best known for her film roles in Mary Poppins (1964) for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. She received her second academy nomination for The Sound of Music (1965), but won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Musical.)
“It is only with the heart that one can see clearly.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900-1944, French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator. He is best known for his novella The Little Prince and for his lyrical aviation writings including, Wind, Sand, and Stars and Night Fright.)
“To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees.”
Pal Valery (1871-1945, French poet, essayist, and philosopher. In addition to his poetry and fiction (drama and dialogues), his interests included aphorisms on art, history, letters, music, and current events.)
“What do we any of us have but our illusions? And what do we ask of others but that we be allowed to keep them?”
W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965, British playwright, novelist, and short story writer. He wrote Of Human Bondage. He was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest paid author during the 1930s. Before he was a writer, he trained to be a physician.)
“(An unhappy childhood was not) an unsuitable preparation for my future, in that it demanded a constant wariness, the habit of observation, and the attendance on moods and tempers; the noting of discrepancies between speech and action; a certain reserve of demeanour; and automatic suspicion of sudden favours.”
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936, English short-story writer, poet, and novelist. He wrote stories and poems of British soldiers in India and stories for children. He was born in the Bombay Presidency of British India, and was taken by his family to England when he was five years old. Kipling’s works include: The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901), and many short stories including “The Man Who Would Be King” (1888). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first English-language writer to receive the prize and its youngest recipient to date. He selected as the British Poet Laureate and for knighthood, all of which he declined.)
“The teacher must derive not only the capacity, but the desire, to observe natural phenomena. The teacher must understand and feel her position of observer: the activity must lie in the phenomenon.”
Maria Montessori (1870-1952, Italian physician, educator, and innovator, acclaimed for her educational methods that builds on the way children naturally learn. She opened the first Montessori school, The Case del Bambini in Room in 1907. She traveled the world and wrote extensively about her education approach. There are now more than 22,000 Montessori school in at least 110 countries worldwide.)
The Great Carl G. Jung once wrote, “The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”
To accept oneself is to have the courage to look ourselves in the mirror and observe ourselves from an entirely authentic place, piercing through our self-imposed masks and armor suits, straight to the heart ad soul.
There’s a beautiful movie called, “What the Bleep Do You Know?” It’s a partial documentary film about the works of notable quantum physicists. Basically, how we observe a thing changing the thing that we observe. And how we view ourselves changes us too.
If we look at and interact with ourselves from a place of love then all that we are will respond with love in return. But if we observe our world and each other from a place of fear, then animosity will manifest and multiply.
During the time of 911 when I lived in New York City I was given an assignment to connect to one stranger, in a meaningful way, every day. These acts were in hopes of counterbalancing my own fears, but also the hysteria and chaos that pervaded the City at that time.
I was committed because it resonated for me, but at times the assignment scared me, because I wasn’t sure how other people would react. But, here’s the thing when I was unsure and shaky I usually received a negative reaction in return. But, when I was grounded in unconditionally love and confidence that other person would connect back in kind.
Doubts still would creep in from time-to-time and when it did out of nowhere the sun would practically blind me, and out of that light stepped a man who would smile and say good morning to me!
One morning on the way to work I stopped by a bodega to pick up some flowers for my office. I was early so I wasn’t in a rush. As I stepped out of the store and crossed the street I saw a strong solid-built black man in his mid-forties walking towards me, muttering to himself and looking down at his shoes. He looked as if he were carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. As I walked towards him I smiled and said good morning and kept. As I passed his head shot up and he shouted, “Now, that’s what I am talking about!!!”
20 steps behind that man walked an older white woman in her mid-to-late 50s, who I also smiled and said good morning to as well. I will never forget the warmth of her smile as well, or the gifts I received from both of those strangers.
The wise Carl Jung definitely had great insight. It is terrifying to accept oneself completely, and part of accepting oneself is observing and knowing that we are much much more.