“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see (Henry David Thoreau, 1851).”
Ideally one has to look in order to see.
In other words if one does not look, how then does one truly begin to see to the extent of appreciating what is being seen?
Looking hard enough at focused targets potentially offers an inviting vista of a suite of penetrating insights into the dense forest of hidden truths and unfathomable conundrums in the psychic mysteries of nature.
Thus Thoreau’s keen observation can be said to gesture toward a thoughtful, living organism of philosophic and ideational denseness, arguably a point of departure from the warning signs and potential exegetical symptomatology of parallactic miscalculation in the enterprise of observing phenomena.
Seeing the forest for the trees underlies the infrastructural profundity of Thoreau’s quantum of observational wisdom.
One can also advance the argument that it is by painstakingly delayering the onion that one is certain to arrive at an optimal destination of relative visual and culinary comfort—the latter itself grudgingly dictated to by the stinging odorous physiology and seemingly bulbous physiognomy of the onion—a destination unambiguously circumscribed by a deep philosophical, material appreciation for the well-grounded mystery surrounding the innermost scale of the onion.
The globular morphology of onion approximates the ontological cyclicality of the human condition in the hard facts of life, a fact expressed through the existential uniqueness of the human person, nevertheless a fact systemically defined and informed by the phenomenology of penetrating insight into the mystery of life, of nature―captured in the language of the special gift of seeing.
Seeing is the innate ability of an ordinary person to imagine and to understand things beyond the natural capacities of others to demonstrate same when confronted with similar situational contexts.
On the one hand, looking is a simple question of capturing the quiddities of things by means of the normal instruments of vision or sight, but on the other seeing takes a paranormal-like approach to grasping and understanding the totality of things beyond the ontological rhythm of their essence with nonpareil, uncanny penetration of insight―where the normative constraints of the instruments of vision or sight undermine the analytic depth of things. Not everyone has this rare gift of seeing.
And I don’t claim to have this rare gift either!
Unbridled humility, willingness to learn even from one’s detractors and critics, readiness to share one’s humanity and knowledge with others and to acknowledge one’s intrinsic weaknesses, acquisition of technological knowledge, honesty and foresight, intercultural competence and cultural literacy, hard work and patience, literacy and imagination, sound mental health and hygiene, leadership acumen and charisma, and respect for one’s fellow human beings and nature constitute the essential makeup of this special gift.
Therefore, the concept of an esculent onion entails a unique philosophical peregrination that aims toward discovering the greatest secret underpinning the existential physiology of man’s gustatory perception, which is nothing more than unraveling the labyrinth of unfathomable mystery informing the nondescript soul of nature.
What this means is that the meticulous journey of the delayering process of an onion engulfs a hidden metaphor in the innermost sanctum of the onion itself—in the form of eye, throat, tegument, and nose irritation. Irritation is potentially avoidable if the mind can identify with the haecceity of onion.
Ultimately, denudation holds the key to the center of the monopsychism of the human condition.
In this sense, the globosity of onion entails looking at things at face value whereas seeing pushes the fictile boundary of knowledge, intimate knowledge of things, beyond their normal ecdysial character to reveal their true essence in a state of holistic rawness.
Globosity is therefore framed by conceptualizing looking as a state of unidimensional conscious perception, seeing as a state of multidimensional conscious perception.
Seeing taps into the multiperspective well of intrinsic conflicts, introduced into the character perception of consciousness by the neural architecture of environment, genetics and culture, to produce the best possible outcomes in strategic decisions, with decision analysis assuming a useful trope in the logic of mentation.
It is therefore useful to point out that the three-part factorial character of the neural architecture of environment, genetics and culture informs the powerful mind of the metaphor of the onion.
Thus spake the powerful language of nature!
And among other things, the metaphor of the onion as a soulful ingredient preternaturally etched into the sophisticated recipe of the human condition, of the human experience, that is, reveals an exotic interior architectonics of concentric rings redolent of the dendrochronological scale of time-honored wisdom, namely, of concentric rings of decisions and moral choices and experiences and belief systems either gravitating towards or moving away from the center of life challenges.
The onion is truly the goddess of vitative culinary wisdom, for I cannot overlook the fact that life challenges are what we consume daily to nourish our mental bodies and souls and spirits or what come out of our mental bodies and souls and spirits through the phenomenological urgency of fecal incontinence.
This veiled metaphor may readily translate itself into a latent or overt framology of intimidating encumbrances, certainly a groundswell of painful challenges one must be willing to overcome in order to establish a willing template of strategic mutuality between theory and praxis in whatever one does, be it a question tailored to the interplay between corporeity and empyreal imponderabilia—forcefully driven by an asymptotic interface with the temperamental Janus-faced mask of what one might usefully refer to as success. Success is a relative concept, though.
How one tactically employs the tools of gustatory, olfactory, visual, spatial, and tactile perception in disinterring the culinary mystery or unfathomable secrets of the innermost scale of the onion entails nurturing an unalloyed respect for—or steeled, military dedication to—detail, that is to say an unyielding appreciation and love for the operational signification of the big picture.
Approaching the big picture, a globular cluster of thinking about life, may boil down to a methodology of analysis or synthesis, whichever method one might want to use as a window into understanding or unraveling the mind of nature and life. A well-rounded, impartial mindset is probably the answer to the conundrums of life. Such a well-developed, cosmopolitan and knowledgeable mindset could be functionally useful in spite of the enduring limitations of mortality.
I am thinking about how the optimal combination of Jean Watson’s carative factors and caritas can, through the medium of globose or holistic thinking, potentially bring about a revolution in health and death in dignity where, hopefully, disturbances in the state of prior equilibrium linking a patient’s spiritual ontology to his or her material essence enjoy a vigorous renewed interest in restoring homeostasis to organic distortions in the complex whole of man, the patient.
When this methodology is in fact strictly a clinical question of patient-centered care, then the health care professional must surely look close enough to see through the operational fogginess of occupational stress and workplace politics—to the extent that health care professionals can paint the big picture of patient safety, satisfaction and comfort, while simultaneously maintaining professionalism and ethical conduct in the face of workplace frustration, without intrusions of implicit bias in patients’ care plans—in order to appreciate the undercurrent of humanism as an enabling, functional infrastructure of the holistic approach to patient-centered care, to appropriate one of the core ideas of Jean Watson.
The fundamental idea here is that the health care professional is able to understand that human beings exist in a multiverse of mutual respectability, defined by a relational continuum of spiritual and material existence, a philosophic approximation to what Nelson Mandela, late, and Desmond Tutu once referred to as Ubuntu.
In this context human beings see themselves fundamentally as mutual extensions of each other, a notional phenomenology of complementarity that also tends to flow seamlessly into each other—where otherism and essentialism are banished to the dustbin of sociological and existential irrelevance.
To wit, the compounding variables of race, gender, ageism, national origin, class, creed, and ethnicity are prevented from usurping the majestic throne of patient-centered care and evidence-based practice.
I bring this colorful dress of progressive ideas to the clinical practice of patient-centered care.
What do I mean? I vividly recall a hypothetical moment, when a nurse I was shadowing during one of my relatively recent clinical rotations, immediately abandoned me to my fate when she realized the patient we were to administer a suppository to—together, was half-buried in an ocean of feces.
The nurse in question buried her unabashed nose in the cup of one of her trembling hands, and with the other idle hand rummaging through the deep of her unfocused confusion, she stormed out of the patient’s room mouthing a flatulent volcanicity of muffled curses as she lumbered along her disapproving shadows of immanent turmoil, of emotional implosion.
Apparently the unwelcoming stench of the diarrheic ocean had forced her into a tight claustrophobic corner of professional nonchalance, with clinical concern for the patient’s hygienic wellbeing parting ways with her guilt-smitten conscience.
To make matters worse, the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) assigned to this patient was nowhere to be found.
Thus the final responsibility of tidying up and administering the suppository to the patient fell exclusively on my shoulders, as I scouted around for a helping hand and still couldn’t locate one.
I nevertheless executed those tasks with the trembling yet juvenile expertise of clinical precision—somewhat.
Just imagine what unmitigated diarrhea, impaction, and constipation can do to a person’s overall level of consciousness, electrolyte homeostasis, and general health!
What about the dire clinical implications of the pool of feces for the emergence—or recrudescence—of pressure ulcers, about the possible infection or reinfection of the patient’s coccygeal, sacral crater of nosocomial wounds?
I understood among other reasons, that, unlike the warped thinking, condescending attitude and elitist professionalism of the nurse, the patient did not deserve a second baptism of fire in the physiological cesspit of the hygiene hypothesis, so-called, regardless of his bedridden condition.
I also understood that defecation, like the laws of nature—gravity, say, was a natural fact of life.
That defecation held enormous implications for homeostatic stabilization in the anatomy and physiology of man has never been in question.
That defecation constitutes an integral facet of our personalities, that it also contributes significantly to our physiologic behaviors in particular, and to our social behaviors and health generally, and to our humanity—are beyond question.
In a nutshell, defecation underpins our unique identities!
Patient neglect can therefore be a shameful, damning instigator of nosocomial angst in patients and their community of caregivers, thus presenting an opportunity for me to dilate upon occupational particulars including the disruption of nurse-patient and doctor-patient relations and aggravation of disease burden.
Rising healthcare costs, poor patient outcomes, increased nosocomial stress, poor delivery of health services, increased system errors, and high turnover are an invariable concomitant of patient neglect.
These salient facts were probably lost on the nurse.
The nurse failed to treat the patient as she would like to be treated by others, a stark negation of Newton’s Third Law of Motion, that action and reaction are equal but oppositely directed.
Obviously she looked but failed to see the big picture.
Indeed, the healthcare field and adherence to the patient-centered clinical method are as complex as delayering the onion because it takes sustained practice, patience, foresight, wisdom, imaginative boldness, penetrating insights, and great skills to look in order to see the onion’s innermost secrets which are hidden from the naked eye.
Looking is the uncertain road to purblindness, seeing is believing!
Looking therefore takes the operational mechanics of the pineal eye, the third eye, to see beyond the ordinary!
And seeing was what a friend of mine experienced in Libya, beyond the art of looking. A German overseer assembled all the Africans who worked under him in an auditorium. “Who defecated on the bathroom floor?” he asked. Many Asians and Europeans also worked under him. But he never saw the need to associate this unpolished behavior with the character of Asians and Europeans. “Whoever relieved himself or herself on the bathroom floor should own up to now!” he insisted.
My outspoken friend spoke up, “How do you tell African feces from Asian feces and European feces?”
The German overseer was shocked by this bold, sincere and factual question, a question that put him in his place.
For his punishment, though, my friend was transferred from Tripoli to Benghazi.
For speaking truth to power?
Where are Sojourner Truth, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Harriet Tubman, the Dalai Lama, Bob Marley, Malcolm X, Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Kwame Nkrumah, and Martin Luther King, Jr.?
Let’s revisit the powerful moral language of Dalai Lama’s and Desmond Tutu’s The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World for how to live a fulfilling life in the midst of challenges!
Of course the question is not what you look at that matters, but what you see!