I will never forget the lesson in which John Berger gave me his insight on how we see the world around us. He began his explanation with “Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.” This philosophy made me ponder for various days and it wasn’t until I was outside of St. Paul’s Cathedral that I became enlightened and started to understand the words of my colleague.
As I stood there this is what my eyes could capture.
At first I was admiring its beauty and grandeur. I was perplex at the site because it made me think of the past and of its history, and as Burger says it made me make assumptions regarding its “ beauty, truth, form, status, taste, genius, and civilization.” At that moment Berger’s words started to slowly sink into my ears, this made me looked at the Cathedral in a different perspective. I started to have a connection with it because of my own past, status, education, civilization, and taste. The way you see things is merely an association with the person that is seeing it. In this case I was the one having a direct association with the Cathedral. I’m the one who chooses and decides what to take from looking at the cathedral. I decide what to look at it and that decision has nothing to do with the Cathedral itself, it has to do only with me. My views on the Cathedral are that it is one of the most magnificent buildings I have ever seen. Its magnitude imposes power and confidence and that position challenges the viewer. To me the challenge was accepted and as I enter the Cathedral I realized why it looked so imposing. Inside of the Cathedral the paintings and sculptures started to reveal the Cathedral’s identity and personality. The Cathedral became more vulnerable as the further I walked inside it. The paintings revealed not just the stories of people, but also the story of the Cathedral itself and with this our connection became stronger. St. Paul’s Cathedral became a part of me the moment I chose to look at it, and I became part of the Cathedral the moment I realize that I had let it have a relation with me.