“What you see, you know,” wrote Frances Mayes in Every Day in Tuscany.
What you see, you know. Well, empirically.
You could as well say, “What you see, you interpret.” Or, “What you think you see, you insist upon.”
My Songbird has gotten into the habit of correcting me when she thinks I have misspoken. (Bad habits in children develop, it seems, instantaneously and then must be dug up, their snaking roots elusive, over months, years, and lifetimes.)
“Brush your teeth and make sure you gather your blankies before you go up.”
“You mean blankies.”
“That’s what I said.”
“You said blankets.”
“I will smack you with a baccala.”
I win ten out of ten of these daily disagreements because I am The Mother. But even as Songbird’s self-control improves and she learns to keep a placid countenance, I know she knows what she heard. And I know I know what I said.
One of us is wrong.
Both of us know what we heard, what we see, what we know.
And that’s the trouble with empiricism.