On the capacity to see

by look i have opinions

Where Luisa or I or anyone else saw only repetition and tedium, he must, at every moment, have seen a remarkable spectacle, as multiform, varied, and absorbing as a painting can be when the viewer forgets about the other paintings waiting for him and loses all notion of time, and loses, too, therefore, the habit of looking, which is replaced or supplanted—or, perhaps, excluded—by the capacity to see, which is what we almost never do, because it’s so at odds with the purely temporal.”

—the narrator of “While the Women Are Sleeping,” by Javier Marías, as translated by Margaret Jull Costa (found here and here)