Epistemology is my new favorite word…and I think I need to pick up a copy of Believing Is Seeing. Fantastic review by Kathryn Schulz has piqued my curiosity. An excerpt below…full article here.
By KATHRYN SCHULZ
Published: September 1, 2011
One of the first things we learn in “Believing Is Seeing” is that its author, the filmmaker Errol Morris, has limited sight in one eye and lacks normal stereoscopic vision — “My fault,” he writes, for refusing to wear an eye patch after being treated for strabismus in childhood. It’s hard to think of another writer who so neatly embodies the theme of his own book. “Believing Is Seeing” is about the limitations of vision, and about the inevitable idiosyncrasies and distortions involved in the act of looking — in particular, looking at photographs.
Or anyway, it’s sort of about that. Reading it, I thought of Morris’s first film, “Gates of Heaven,” which is ostensibly about pet cemeteries and includes more material on pet cemeteries than any other movie ever made (including “Pet Sematary”) but is, nonetheless, not really about pet cemeteries at all. Likewise, “Believing Is Seeing,” though perceptive about photography, is fundamentally concerned with something very different: epistemology. Morris is chiefly interested in the nature of knowledge, in figuring out where the truth — in both senses — lies.
As that suggests, Morris believes in objective truth, and believes that people can grasp it — “even though,” as he has written elsewhere, “the world is unutterably insane.” The question then becomes how to coax an insane world into yielding up its truths, and “Believing Is Seeing” amounts to a provisional, pastiche-y, deeply interesting attempt at an answer.
P.S. More proof that you can’t judge a book by its cover…