Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Mystifying Sights of St. Pauls Cathedral

The sights of St. Paul’s Cathedral were one in a million. The murals on the walls and ceilings, the amazing height, the stained glass windows. All of these aspects of the building made it beautiful in its own way, which it has been for years on end. The music that the choir was singing rang in my ears and was like nothing I had ever heard before in a church, let alone anywhere.
John Berger, who wrote Ways of Seeing, talks about how sight is an important factor when examining pieces of art, or the world in general. That sight is possibly more important than the spoken word. Berger says, “The reciprocal nature of vision is more fundamental than that of spoken dialogue…dialogue is an attempt to explain how ‘you see things’.” After sitting in the church service and digesting all of the amazing sights that I saw, I can now agree with Berger and the way that he thinks about sight. Had I not been to the cathedral and seen everything for myself, but instead had someone explain what they had seen in their own words, it would not have had the same affect on me as it actually did.
Spoken and written word are an important aspect of life, but as Berger also says in chapter one of his book, “Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.” Looking at the decorative stained glass windows on the walls and the murals that had been painted centuries ago, it was clear to me that sight is what established my place in the surrounding world, which Berger suggests. I am explaining the world which I have visited with words, but that doesn’t take away the experience that I had and the visions that are engraved in my head.

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