The Gaze

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The Chrysalis

After reading Australian indigenous journalist Stan Grant’s essays on feeling “trapped by the white gaze” in The Guardian (here and here), and spending a bit of time musing on this “gaze” in conjunction with my reading of Robert Romanyshyn’s excellent Technology as Symbol and Dream, I came to the realisation that this “white gaze” which people of non-European extraction find so disconcerting, or even despotic, is a perfect description of perspectivising perception. It hasn’t much directly to do with “whiteness” per se. The Gaze is a cultural artifact, culturally conditioned, that first rose in the Renaissance with the invention of perspectivism. The Gaze is a mode of perception, linked to a particular consciousness structure — the consciousness structure that Jean Gebser calls “perspectival” or “mental-rational”, and which Romanyshyn refers to as “astronautical man”.

I know from my own experience working with the Aboriginal Healing Project in…

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