“Every closed eye is not sleeping, and every open eye is not seeing.”
“Seeing means perceiving reality as objectively as possible, and things as they are. It means X-ray eyes seeing through celebrities to products being marketed, through a board’s trusted politicians to finances lying hidden (seeing beyound the memes and viruses of the mind).
The greatest poets, scientists, entrepreneurs and managers are so because they see things others don’t, without social norms and herding behaviour blinding them.
Innovation involves seeing possibilities where others see nothing. Innovation can be a future vision of the unlooked for, longed for event that customers know cannot happen, until it happens.
Seeing involves contrarian spirit and unusual cultural backgrounds. Fish do not see the water they are swimming in. Most in mainstream cultures see only what surrounds them and are blinded by it. People from different cultures (and those with learning or other “disorders”) see different things, or the same things differently, and this gives insight. Ethnic minorities such as Lebanese, Armenian and Jewish people contribute disproportionately to business, science and creative endeavours. Nouriel Roubini, of Iranian Jewish descent predicted the bursting of the US housing bubble and the 2008 financial meltdown.
Some people within mainstream cultures do see more clearly than others. Charles Merrill (who founded Merrill Lynch) anticipated the 1929 crash. He doubted his own sanity because he disagreed with the collective “group wisdom.” Merrill could see, and also let others see. He was a leader in financial transparency, publishing an annual report that revealed his business’s true financial state, and let others see it.
It is important to see the world, not how others have modelled it, and to see the variance and not just the high salient extremes, to see through symptoms to underlying problems.
Seeing also involves granularity; the scale of what is seen, and the ability as William Blake:
“To see a world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower,
hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour”
(From “Essays on Management: On Seeing” by Peter Winsley)