Look With Your Heart and Not With Your Eyes

In one of the most emotional scenes in the musical Love Never Dies, Christine sings to her son Gustave about perception. And it is this advice that lingers with Gustave to the crucial moment when he is told that the Phantom is his real father. She sings:

imageLove’s a curious thing
It often comes disguised
Look at love the wrong way

It goes un-recognized

So look with your heart
And not with your eyes
A heart understands
A heart never lies

Believe what it feels
And trust what it shows
The heart always knows

Love is not always beautiful
Not at the start

So open your arms
And close your eyes tight
And when it finds love
Your heart will be right

Learn from someone who knows
Make sure you don’t forget
Love you misunderstand
Is love that you’ll regret

And not with your eyes
The heart can’t be fooled
The heart is too wise

Forget what you think
Ignore what you hear

It always sees clear

Love is not always beautiful
Not at the start

But open your arms
And close your eyes tight
And when it finds love
Your heart will be right

So much of what we focus on in perception is on the rational and behavioural, a fixation of the safety industry. Yet, when it comes to the mysteries of love, relationships and trust, there is no evidence that is enough to make for certainty.

We symbolize in the language of the heart and the gut, a third way of knowing that cannot command any sense of measurement, certainty or matter. When Christine sings this song we know exactly what she means. Bronowski called this The Visionary Eye, Merleau-Ponty called it ‘The Mind’s Eye’, the Egyptians called it the Eye of Horus, Pallasmaa called it The Eyes of the Skin, Paul called it the ‘psyche’, ‘nous’, ‘faith’ and ‘kartia’, Enns calls it The Thinking Eye, The Seeing Brain, Fuchs calls it ‘embodied rationality’ and, Jung called it the ‘unconscious’. Paul tells us that when one believes something one ‘walks by faith not by sight’ (2 Cor 5:7). All agree that there is a way of knowing that is transcendent, non-rational and beyond the constraints of science method.

If we are going to discuss the phenomenon of perception we have to consider ways of ‘seeing’ that don’t just hold to materialist eye sight. Even then we know that the eyes are easy to fool. So much of what we see is culturally and socially ‘constructed’ (see Hoffman Visual Intelligence, How We Create What We See). If we are to learn anything about visual perception is that it is not reliable. See:





This all brings a challenge for people in the risk and safety industry particularly because of how the industry is anchored by it’s engineering traditions to rationalism, behaviourism and science.

Yet absurdly, the fixation by the global industry on zero is nothing more than a belief system, an ideology that has no evidence, makes no sense and is something one is invoked to just believe (https://www.ishn.com/articles/106817-how-to-achieve-zero-first-you-must-believe-its-possible ; https://myosh.com/blog/2020/01/21/why-zero-harm-is-not-a-reality/).

One of the first things this faith in zero asks you to do, is firstly to believe the impossible (that humans are infallible). All of the language and discourse around the global mantra of zero is about the rejection of science, rationalism and behaviourism. What an amazing quandary this industry has put itself in. Indeed, the symbol of a phantom seems most suitable.

Dr Rob Long

Dr Rob Long

Expert in Social Psychology, Principal & Trainer at Human Dymensions
Dr Rob Long

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Dr Rob Long
PhD., MEd., MOH., BEd., BTh., Dip T., Dip Min., Cert IV TAA, MRMIA Rob is the founder of Human Dymensions and has extensive experience, qualifications and expertise across a range of sectors including government, education, corporate, industry and community sectors over 30 years. Rob has worked at all levels of the education and training sector including serving on various post graduate executive, post graduate supervision, post graduate course design and implementation programs.

5 Replies to “Look With Your Heart and Not With Your Eyes”

  1. I agree with the ‘Look with your Heart’ philosophy. I have often had what l would refer to as “6th sense moments” when something didn’t feel right and as it turned out it wasn’t right. I’ve come to trust this phenomena. Humans are the only creatures capable of generating “feelings” and “feelings” do not come from the brain, they are of the heart

  2. It has much more integrity than the relentless bilge and sciolism churned out by our peak safety body and its fawning acolytes

    1. The ‘bilge’ is delusional but so entertaining when masked by the mantra of zero. The only people who don’t know they look like fools are the snake oil sales people selling bilge.

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