Eye Contact In Public Places Analysis

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“the look which the eyes manifest, no matter what kind of eyes they are, is a pure reference to myself.” – Sartre

Naturally, people find eye contact with strangers quite confronting and therefore do anything they can to try and avoid it. In order to avoid eye contact with people in public situations such as being on a bus, people will often look straight ahead at the back of the bus, towards the ground or even out the window. It is interesting to explore the reasons behind why people find eye contact with strangers so confronting. As evident in the quote above, Sartre’s work offers possible answers to this question. This can be seen through analysing a student’s blog post that focused on eye contact in public situations, examining a passage
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An observation blog that was interesting and relevant to many people’s everyday experiences, was one that explored the reasons behind why people naturally avoid eye contact with strangers. In order to explore this question, the writer not only analysed the ways in which people interacted with the others around them, but also explored this question in more than one setting. The first setting that was analysed was on a public bus heading towards UNSW. The observer conducted their observation on a bus during peak time, which allowed them to further explore the ways in which people accept the reality of having to allow a complete stranger to sit next to them during peak time. One of the first observations made, was that those who were alone walked through the bus staring straight ahead and completely avoided eye contact with everyone else on the bus. In addition, when having to make the decision to sit next to a complete stranger because of the lack of seats available, people did not even make eye contact with the person they sat next to. Furthermore, …show more content…
A passage that highlights a possible answer to this question is the last paragraph. Sartre begins this passage with saying, “to perceive is to look at, and to apprehend a look is not to apprehend a look-as-object in the world (unless the look is not directed upon us); it is to be conscious of being looked at.” In this quote, Sartre differentiates perceiving ‘the look’, which refers to looking at an object or someone, and apprehending ‘the look’, which refers to consciously being aware that you are being looked at. This quote highlights the idea that when referring to the look, it is not perceiving the look that affects people, it is when they apprehend the look and become consciously aware that they are being looked at which makes them feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. Sartre continues by stating, “the look which the eyes manifest, no matter what kind of eyes they are, is a pure reference to myself.” This quote combines the uncomfortable feeling of being consciously aware that you are being looked at, with the idea that people feel uncomfortable with the look because it is simply a reference to themselves which they do not want to be confronted with. In order to further effectively communicate this point to readers, Sartre used the example of

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