Developing a Good Eye
“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”
In my long career in communications media: graphic design, photography, video production, and Web Design, I have often heard the term “a good eye.” We in the industry have used it in evaluating others skills, talent, and professional standing. It is an all inclusive term with a very broad general meaning. In addition to indicating technical skills and extensive experience in visual competency, it points to a more inclusive sensory perspective involving elegance of form, exciting composition, color sensitivity, and over all harmony, beauty, and mastery of expression and communication. The list goes on and on.
It is legend that one is either born with a good eye or not. I believe it can actually be taught and learned. I think that a Good Eye is a natural cognitive ability of every person but may be matured to different strengths in each person. Some people who have a lot of experience and training in the visual arts are said to have “a good eye.” Having a “Good Eye” can be taught through various visual exercises designed to synchronize the eye and mind so the experience of seeing is undistracted and fully present and awake.
Howard Gardner‘s book, Frames of Mind: Theory of Multiple Intelligence, lists Spatial-Visual Intelligence as one of eight primary intelligences. Gardner’s defines Visual Spatial Intelligence as the ability to perceive the visual world accurately, to perform transformations and modifications upon ones initial perceptions, and to be able to re-create aspects of ones visual experience, even in the absence of relevant physical stimuli (in the mind’s eye).
A good eye is an integration of visual intelligence with competency in all the other intelligences which support, balance, and enhance experience. For example:
- Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence “embodies” Space and Time,
- Logical-Mathematical Intelligence enables recognition of patterns, connections, and relationships,
- Musical Intelligence enhances the experience of patterns of rhythms, forms, and holons,
- Linguistic Intelligence supports embedding memory retention through naming and deliniation of meaning,
- Intrapersonal and Interpersonal intelligence enhances empathy and relational connections.
Mastery of visual intelligence with all senses and intelligences is known in historical and ancient wisdom as Opening the Third Eye. In other words: it consists of all the senses and mind working together as a larger more powerful sensory organ, a meta organ designed to sense, have awareness of form, recognize patterns and connections, and then intelligently integrate information into a whole experience of understanding, meaning, and emotional feeling. Finally, the quality of integrated cognitive abilities is the process and measure of Creativity itself.
(See also a preview of Gardner’s new book Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed.)
(See also, Spatial Intelligence: Through the Mind’s Eye by Monette Gooch-Smith.)
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