Jung tells us in Psychology and Alchemy that “psychology is concerned with the art of seeing.” The word “see” has an Anglo-Saxon root, “seon”, a language full of single syllable words that tends to be blunt, direct and fundamental–a language that gave us the word “fuck”, the language of Beowulf. The body-based synonym “understand” is Anglo-Saxon; but to explain all the meanings of “see”, we must go to a complex, flexible language like Latin and say words like “discern” or “perceive”. “To see” also has references to spiritual understanding. “I was blind and now I see” or “let me see that I might believe” in reference to miraculous acts of healing.
Psychology in its perceptual range overlaps with religious awareness, which led Jung to protest saying, “Psychology is concerned with the art of seeing and not with the construction of new religious truths.” Jung was under fire for his exploration of Alchemy, an off shoot of Gnosticism, which Jung considered a kind of inner Christianity, in contrast to the power-driven, dominating, creedal, tribal church that kills its enemies.
I was struck by Jung’s statement because I went to art school. Drawing is a blunt exercise in seeing; and our form of seeing in ASTTI involves looking at the body as well as conversing with the whole person. It happens that I love drawing from life, because it creates an encounter with the outside world that opens my eyes. Each time I draw, I am blind and now I see. For that reason I have introduced drawing into my training, so that my students have a tool that always brings about a valuable visual encounter. Otherwise, we tend to be blind to what is going on.