To look at something means to gaze your eyes upon or acknowledge something’s presence. In order to see, not only does one look at the object but we also understand it and pay attention to it.
The roots of the word look go back to before 90CE. The verb comes from the Middle English loke meaning the “act of looking,” “glance,” “countenance” and the Old English lōcian is akin to the dialectal German lugen meaning “to look out.” The Old English locian means to “use the eyes for,” “seek, search out,” and “to have a certain appearance.” The word can be used with an object or with. When used with an object, the meaning is:
“to appear to be,”
“to look like,”
“to have an appearance appropriate to or befitting (something)” and
“to give (someone) a look.”
When used without an object, the meaning of look is
“to use one’s sight or vision in seeking, searching, or examining.”
“to appear or seem to the eye as specified.”
“to appear or seem to the mind.”
“to direct attention or consideration,”
“to turn one’s eyes toward something or in direction to see.”
It can be confusing to look at the etymology of a word. Suffice to say, to look is to take in with the eyes.
The roots of the word see go back to Middle English, German and Old Norse. Just as the word look can be used with and without an object so can the word see. Used with an object see can mean:
“to behold, perceive, understand; experience, visit or inspect,”
“follow with the eyes.”
Used without an object see can mean:
“to understand intellectually or spiritually; have insight,”
“to give attention or care.”
“to find out; make inquiry,”
“to consider; think; deliberate.”
Seeing is beyond looking. We look with our eyes in order to see with our minds. But, why does it matter relative to the business of you?
Creating a vision requires us to see the present and how it relates to our vision in our minds of the future we truly want to create. More often than not, we look around at what’s going on without understanding. We may judge what we look at but to see what we look at requires us to think, feel and understand. We have to care about as if it were part of us. When we start seeing the world around us, we are more apt to recognize our place. We are more able to understand how we are interdependent with others and our environment. Seeing our world allows us to integrate better within it. If we see the world for what it is we can use the opportunities that arise. Opportunities will pass before our eyes when we merely look at the world without connecting with it (i.e. when we don’t see it).