Looking. We do it all the time, often without considering the fact that we are indeed looking. Just looking. Aside from the obvious inclusion of an adverb, what is the difference, if any? Implicit in both is the idea that the eyes are observing people and objects, and the brain is processing information (however trivial) about these things. James Elkins in his book titled The Object Stares Back posits that there is no substantial difference between looking and just looking. The same action is involved and the intention is often the same in both cases. We look because our interest has been piqued. But perhaps the addition of the word “just” is an indication that our interest has been piqued for a shorter time because the person or object being looked at has not kindled enough interest.
The above description is from Dominique Hunter’s guest review of The Object Stares Back: On the Nature of Seeing by James Elkins, this week’s addition to the Fresh Milk Books Tumblr – the online space inviting interaction with our collection in the Colleen Lewis Reading Room.
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