Seeing Things Clearly

“Everything you can imagine is real.” Pablo Picasso

Sean P. Durham
4 min readOct 4, 2020


We can never fully trust the validity of our own awareness. It is always shifting and morphing to meet the outside world.

Whatever we look at, and how we interpret the material object, or a constellation of human activity, is always tainted by our own pre-knowledge.

Even seeing something for the first time can be confusing enough, but our minds will draw on the many memories and reaction of fittingly similar experiences, and project rough ideas onto what we see — so we feel as if we already know, more or less, what it is we are seeing.


It’s good enough to live this way, it’s how it is supposed to be, nothing is fixed, life is a flux of events continuously crashing into each other. Our awareness perceives the broad ideas of life, and we teach it to focus on the smaller events. We find balance.

We can never be full sure about what we have seen because our memories will take the vision, log it, categories it, and distribute it through various nodes, lobes, cortex’ and channels until it has been established as a memory. In other words, it went through the mill before your brain decided what to call it.

You might disagree and say that your memory is rock solid. It’s not all about visual memory. Try wine tasting without knowledge or eat three types of apples while listening to Mozart, then blindfold yourself, switch off Mozart, and eat the same fruits and identify them. You’ll probably get it all wrong.

Taste the Strawberries

Watch the 2005 film, “Sideways”, all about wine tasters — really it’s all about love, but the characters are testing and tasting wine throughout, they keep mentioning that the wine, above all, leaves a touch of strawberries on the palate. After watching the film you’ll swear you taste strawberries in all your wine for months after.

We are heavily influenced through all the senses, a complex array of feelings and tastes, noises, and smells bombard us 24/7 — there’s no end to it.



Sean P. Durham

Berlin Notes — Writing about the Creative Art of Street Photography. Fine Art Photography, writing, art, cats.