Dividing their attention7 between the anatomical object they explore and their own perceptual knowledge, between the whole and the part, they create an internal receptive space capable of sensitive intelligence8.
neuronal mirror networks by Giacomomo Rizzolatti and his team has had for sole purpose to accentuate the importance of empathy in understanding all phenomena of communication. http://www.unipr.it/arpa/mirror/english/staff/rizzolat.htm
7 “Attention consists in suspending one’s thought, making it available, empty and penetrable by the object, and keeping, within oneself, the various knowledge that one is forced to use near thought, but at a lower level and not in contact with it.” Simone Weil, Attente de Dieu, Paris, Livre de poche, 1963, p. 85.
8 Jacques Lusseyran, 1924-1971, became blind after an accident he sustained at 8 years of age and testifies to the existence of such an internal space and light providing him, through attentive vision, a deeper knowledge of people and things: Extracts from Et la lumière fut and Le monde commence
“I could still see. The operation no longer occurred through my eyes, this is true, but it occurred. It took place inside of me, in an internal space that is difficult to define, but after all, no more and no less than it is difficult to delimit the external space. I insist. Anything that came my way was soon seen, and not touched or heard. It drew itself, took shape and colour on an internal screen, and this without my doing anything to trigger the phenomenon. Besides, how could I, merely an 8-year old child, have done anything?”
“Seeing is a fundamental act of life, a tear-proof and indestructible act, autonomous from the physical tools it uses. Seeing is a movement that life operates within us, before objects, before any external determination. Before objects and after them if, by accident, the material instruments of the encounter were not available. It is within you that you see.”
“What must simply be understood is that the act of seeing is not only related to the work of the eyes. The ability to see must exist before its physical instruments, the eyes, can act. As long as people overlook this fact, they will only face illusion and failure. They will be impatient. They will want to see more and more. And they will no longer know who is confronted with such a mass of impressions and sees them.”
“In my opinion, all our senses come together as one. They are the successive stages of a unique perception, which is always the perception originating from the sense of touch. This is why hearing can replace sight and sight can replace the sense of touch. Thus, no loss is irreparable. From this point, I wonder if what we call attention might not be the psychological form of this fundamental contact, a form based on feelings as much as the intellect. In other words, couldn’t attention be a kind of touch?”
“At any given moment, what I know about the world is what I deserve to know. The extent of my knowledge is that of my desire, my attention. This time we are holding the thread, and not only the thread of a particular object, but that which links the universe to its living network. Only attention commands as it is attention that makes the universe. Therefore, I will try to make my hand attentive, or rather make myself attentive through it. To my knowledge, there is only one way to do so: not to carry ideas from my head into my hand.”
– Et la Lumière Fut, Paris, Le Félin, 2005,