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Harvey Lloyd © 2003
This book is dedicated to one I loved dearly. S.P saw better than I did all the beauty in the world. She is sorely missed.
People think that they see, but they don’t.
One sunny day in June, 2003, I go to the New York Botanic Garden to photograph roses at the height of their bloom.. My challenge is to see the roses in a fresh way, a new way, different from the thousands of images of these lovely flowers that I had seen. I wear my digital camera
with a macro or closeup lens attached. I walk through the Rockefeller Rose Garden in a trance, relying on my forty years of photography to do the work. No- mind, a Zen concept and intuitive, reflex action informs my camera. I am very, very close to these blossoms. A hidden world, the spirit and soul of the roses appeared. It is difficult to photograph at extreme close range. The slightest movement of the flower caused by wind, hand shake, or pressing the shutter button too hard, too soon or too late ruins the image. I “dance” around the rose garden, hypnotized and full of joy, out of my workaday mind. Back at my studio, after downloading the images to my computer and reviewing them in Adobe Photoshop, I am happily surprised at the results. I stretched the envelope and was granted entry to a hidden world. I spend the entire week working with the images, revealing their inner beauty, enhancing them, transforming them into images which speak to me of startling designs and hidden spiritual essences. The roses take on a new life for me, one of asymmetric beauty and constant revelations—epiphanies.
Do you have to work for forty years as I did to learn to see beyond the apparent reality of the world? No, you only have to work at it much of the time, gradually peeling murky blinders of conformity and cliche from your eyes. Seeing is taken for granted. We all have eyes. You may believe that you see what I see. That is a false assumption. Everyone sees differently. You see what you learn or have learned to see. Your brain processes visual information from your eye and shows you, based on your conditioning, what you will see. The liberated artist’s eye sees what “isn’t there.” That sounds odd. "How can you see what isn’t there?" Picasso once said, “If only I could tear out my brain and use only my eyes.” He knew and he saw and he wished to see more. The physiology of vision is still an enigma to many scientific researchers. The largest portion of your brain is devoted to seeing. How can you learn to see the wonders of this world? You don’t have to be an artist
to develop this skill. You can find your way back to the innocence of early childhood, when you saw the magic of creation less edited, less conditioned by your elders, your peers and your environment. Wordsworth, in his poem, “Intimations of Immortality... wrote:
There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, The earth, and every common sight, To me did seem Appareled in celestial light, The glory and the freshness of a dream. It is not now as it hath been of your; Turn wheresoe'er I may, By night or day, The things which I have see I now can see not more.
Wordsworth, of course, was bemoaning what he felt was loss of his ability to see with the pure innocence of childhood. As a poet, he saw with keen vision the beauty of his own world and revealed it in many poems. Still, he felt that as he grew older, something was lacking which impelled him to write Intimations . It is a long and very beautiful spiritual poem, often read during schooling. It speaks to an adult with a deeper meaning, for youth is blessed with boundless optimism and everything seems possible. How to gain back and retain this vision throughout your life is the subject of this book. 'Genuine art, we say, has “vision,” and good poetry and good seeing quite literally go together almost always. Yet before the more literal seeing can liberate itself into that other vision we speak of, a transfiguration is needed: the eye must learn to abandon its long habit of useful serving and take up instead an active delight in its own ends.' — JANE HIRSHFIELD : excerpt from Kingfishers Catching Fire: Seeing with Poetry's Eyes
DO YOU “SEE” ANYTHING?
I beg your indulgence. Your eye does not see anymore than your computer thinks. Your eye is a marvelous tool for recording and transmitting photons of light to your brain in the form of electrical signals. Beginning at the retina, a series of computer like programs analyze, censor, delete and send certain amounts of information to various parts of the brain. This is not widely understood. Most of us were raised and taught that we see with our eyes.. Recent studies of how the eye and brain work together bring to light the uncanny fact that our it is our brains, not our eyes, which “see” and control our vision.. The Art of Seeing will reveal how early conditioning and genetic inheritance determines how and what we see. We will come to understand that we can learn to truly see the world in all of its miraculous beauty only after hard work and deep insights. We will observe the processes of seeing and creating our world
We must begin with training the eye to see “what isn't there.vision.999. You tend to focus on the main subject. for at the speed of light time stops. Light gives vision. as has been written by scientists such as Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. Without the ability to see the light with child-like innocence. Light. an animal.”) Without light. such as a great tree or a sculptural rock. Light behaves in strange ways. or a significant part of a landscape. To truly see is to enhance one's life and make visible the hidden universe of wonders which surround us. we are rendered dumb and speechless. Without the light of the mind. It is the key to becoming one in heart and spirit with the Gaena.” According to Einstein's Theory of Relativity. You often do not . How that process works is a visit to a strange new land. Light and its bizarre behavior is one of the great mysteries that still baffle physicists and mathematicians. And. it can be a particle (photon) or a wave. we lose the greatest gift conferred on sapient beings. no life can exist. It cannot escape the “event horizon” of a black hole. I celebrate the art of true vision. It has been said that light is the face of God and/or the mind of God. the spirit of the earth. It can be warped by gravity. you may not be aware that you are using your “zoom” eye to see. Let there be light.” When you look through the eyepiece of a camera. time slows down. as you approach the speed of light. holy light makes vision possible. We will examine the strange phenomenon of many artist's works that do not resemble the way we see the world. light is ageless. The Old Testament Bible begins (Genesis: 1) with “And God said. Imagine! A ray of light from a galaxy billions of light years away is no older than when it “left” the star filled source! That light is an enigma even to current to science may surprise you. be it a person. (Star Trek fans know that “crossing a galaxy or galaxies is negotiable in six months in warp 9. LIGHTWORKS Light is the source of all vision.
. We may study examples of traditional beauty such as flowers rearranged in a unusual way.Creation is the act of discovering something new. “The decisive moment. and makes us aware that vision is not just what we see. It is what we are capable of uncovering in the seemingly commonplace everyday environment. a noble samurai would make an ikebana before going into battle. A photographer learns to scan the entire frame in an instant to create an image. We see the everyday beauty of flowers transformed and our eyes are refreshed. The legendary photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson. To do this we must learn to see from both sides of our eye without moving our eyeball. In the preface to his elegiac picture book The Art of Ikebana . as we more fully comprehend this relationship between creativity and our daily lives.” meaning the moment when the subject and its significance come together for a split second. His talented. It was said that the outcome of the battle could be predicted by the success of his floral arrangement. It wrenches our mind's eye out of its complacent socket of sedentary seeing.. mundane activities can be imbued with new meaning. The presence of an exquisite asymmetrical composition of ikebana renews and refreshes our vision. It takes practice. coined the phrase. practiced eye recognized those fleeting moments. To create is to live. thus transforming them into more vital places. In the feudal days of Samurai warriors in Japan. Ikebana combines visual surprise with its appearance of seemingly teetering on a precipice of abstract arrangement. The loveliness of the flowers is displayed in exquisite handmade stoneware or ceramic vases.. It has something beautiful to offer the human spirit. Through applying this truth on a daily basis. ikebana will become more and more interesting to us. Bresson was able to do this in a fraction of a second. Hiroshi Teshigahara is a renowned Japanese film director and headmaster of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana.notice what appears in most of the image seen in the viewfinder. he writes: Ikebana can play a tremendous role in modern society. When the Japanese arrange flowers. a way that can enchant or intrigue us with its tension and beauty. The great French art deco poster artist Cassandre said that a poster must be a visual scandal in order to attract the attention of viewers going on their daily rounds numb to everything but what is directly in front of them. Due to the character of its living materials. ikebana has the power to change and add resonance to our increasingly sterile modern spaces. These arrangements often appear to teeter on the edge of falling apart. He made compositions in which all of the elements of the image related to each other in a striking or dynamic way. one that takes us by surprise. You will see this in the Japanese art of Ikebana or floral arrangements. they often do so in an asymmetrical way.
We dream of traveling through the universe . Learning to see comes from taking one's self by surprise and absorbing the unfamiliar until the veil of mystery dissolves.. At present this realm certainly seems to us so dark inside. But how entirely different it will seem to us .but is not the universe within ourselves? The depths of our spirit are unknown to us . he would walk behind the arrangement and paint that view. for our spirit has been deprived. The German pre-romantic poet Novalis said. Back at the studio. 1798) .is in ourselves or nowhere.the past and future .THE BACK OF THINGS Monet is said to have asked Renoir how he arranged his flowers in order to paint them. Eternity with its worlds . and the body of shadows has moved away." (Novalis.it throws its shadow into the realm of light. from 'Miscellaneous Observations'. The external world is the world of shadows ..” . We will experience greater enjoyment than ever. shapeless.the mysterious way leads inwards. Renoir said that he went to the flower market early in the morning and bought the most beautiful flowers. he would spend the morning arranging them. lonely.when this gloom is past. Finally content. he told Monet. “Chaos in a work of art should shimmer through the veil of order.
the dark side of art. glory in the light. The poet Lorca spoke of duendé . Inner Vision: An Exploration of Art and the Brain I endeavor to see more each day. The art of seeing relies heavily on the light which comes from our minds. the beautiful might become too commonplace. relatives. as a flower unfolds in the springtime. generates the visual image in the brain. to take a loved one by surprise with an outrageous. It is well. the flamenco lacks spiritual depth. acquaintances.. holy light which illuminates a dark world with our imaginings and our dreams. "That really has duendé There is great beauty in the human countenance. hilarious or scandalous comment and suddenly see him or her again. the light with which we learn to view the world. Can you see it? Can you see it in the faces of old people graven with the erosion of time and circumstance? We live with people. — SEYMOUR ZEKI. It is a process that will never end. We learn to love ourselves which brings about love of others. Inner light. we cannot love in the highest meaning of the word. It is only with the more recent discoveries about the visual brain that our concept of vision as a process has changed.but these new facts have only come to light in the past twentyfive years. Until we gain the ability to see beauty in the simplest things. Life itself is love and art. in its quest for knowledge about the visual world. . Without duendé he wrote. Gradually. at times.Light is supreme. by comparing the selected information to its stored record. I do not speak of seeing only what is beautiful.. He tells of a gypsy woman hearing a cello sonata by Bach being played and exclaiming. discards. friends. How can we see through the veil of order which imprisons us like caterpillars in a cocoon from which we will never emerge as shining butterflies? The search for beauty is the truest meaning of life. We now view it as an active process in which the brain. and rarely see them clear. Without the dark side. glory in the earth glows and sheds its radiance over my life. a process remarkably similar to what the artist does. select and.
pines. but my own imagination running riot in their lofty. from the Caucasian Wingnut tree. It is sad that our vision is deprived of these great trees. a rainbow appears. great oaks. When I walk (dance) among the trees I see them as anthropomorphic shapes. Suddenly. or early spring are best for seeing the bare branches). regal domains. We do not control this. I photograph them (late fall. benevolent. transform or otherwise “play” with the trees in Adobe Photoshop to reveal what I believe to be their inner lives. going and coming like ourselves. We are like captains on the bridges of ocean liners calling out commands. but taking action demands a true understanding of how we function in our materialistic society. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind. "I never saw a discontented tree. patient. I can think of nothing more beautiful than the shapes of noble trees. I enhance. It may not be the trees whose lives I truly see. I grieve for their loss. cypress and a hundred others.TREE LIFE I am a tree hugger. traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day. Many would agree. and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. but often little concerned with the complex and vast array of machinery below that executes these commands. They grip the ground as though they liked it. It is our privileges because we are endowed with an appreciation of “useless” beauty. I vote for the life of trees. and through space heaven knows how fast and far! — JOHN MUIR We live on the surface of the earth and on the surface of our own beings. they have little or no control. and beautiful. just as with our own unconscious minds. ancient olives. I take my nickname C. redwoods. grand sculpture that makes my heart sing. We ride these tempestuous seas hurled high into the sky by monster waves in a storm. Over the sea itself. wise. Our conscious brains control but little of what we do. W. . and for a wise compromise with our needs. irreplaceable growths for profit. winter. I think the trees would be pleased at the attention. Our too often overly greedy society demands that we cut down many old. and we see how beautiful it is.
and the pristine archipelagos and icebergs which spoke of time before man. if . elephants and cheetahs. I remember the vast main temple at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.” the Okovango Delta in Botswana. Hong Kong still baffles me. better to have looked harder.NOBLE VISIONS There are visions which never leave my mind because I have not seen them yet. My Great Wall and Forbidden City images are merely a breezy. although I saw it clearly rather than with depth. I saw them without truly penetrating beneath the surface. do not dig deep into the Inca ruin. Still. remembering Pablo Neruda's great poem. Maybe next time. The splendor of Moorea and Bora Bora in French Polynesia. compelled me to try to see these things well. I recall flocks of birds. the tall grass the and winding streams. The clarity of the light in Antarctica. the green and turquoise waters there and in the Seychelles dazzled me. I stood transfixed at Macchu Picchu. My images while handsome. The Heights of MacchuI Picchu. On safari in the “Last Eden.
how can it permeate the universe without a beginning? We needn't answer questions of such metaphysical depth to see the light. LIGHT'S GENESIS Where in the infinity of space and time does light come from? If indeed it is the mind of God or the manifestation of His splendor.professional look at these great works of antiquity. That is a beginning. There is a need to learn to see and to work in a vertical as well as a horizontal way. The very term “see the light” bespeaks a seeing beyond what the eye itself sees. Can a huge collapsed star of such density and gravity exist from which light itself cannot escape? Stephen Hawking and many other physicists believe this is so. this seems better than the Big Bang theory of . We can visit beloved places over and over. over time.. waves or sub-atomic particles arise spontaneously. This implies a steady state universe. Around our familiar places. Is a black hole the wormhole(1) to other universes? Quantum physics speaks of fluctuations in the space-time continuum from which vibrations. to penetrate deep down into the mystery and spiritual life of places and peoples. Consider the visual mystery of a black hole. a universe which emerges at random. we can penetrate to the heart of things. A world roaming traveler skims the surface too much. To some.
. that if a quantum mechanical process is not strictly forbidden. It is simply a statement that the Universe was emergent. We will learn to see by shredding the veil of insubstantial conditioning and possible genetic inheritance which causes us to see what seemingly is there. This is not a statement on a `cause' behind the origin of the Universe. . does happen (this is often called the principle of totalitarianism. nor is it a statement on a lack of purpose or destiny. density. — ALBERT EINSTEIN . in his writings. The uncertainty and unpredictability of the quantum world is manifested in the fact that whatever can happen.edu/~js/ast123/lectures/lec17. If there was a Big Bang. A singularity produces a paradox of infinite forces if observed or experienced. light. — (excerpt from (zebu. and voila. are transported to the visual cortex. You cannot penetrate it to observe the singularity without being destroyed. Stephen Hawking has said. Although this is a continuing mystery. that the actual of the Universe probably derived from a indeterminate sea of potentiality that we call the quantum vacuum. was there light in the singularity? If not." A black hole constructs an event horizon around its singularity.uoregon. Thus. I have not discovered from the above light's origin. is our greatest joy.html) What has this to do with the art of seeing? Seeing is not a mechanical process taking place between the eye and the brain. whose properties may always remain beyond our current understanding.. the light of the visible spectrum. where did the light come from? One thing is clear in our framing of questions such as `How did the Universe get started?' is that the Universe was self-creating. . a singularity is prevented from having a physical. or observable existence by the process of cosmic censorship. energy and gravity within which the laws of physics disappear. strike the retina. It is a complex process in which photons are converted into electrical impulses which the brain censors. there we enter the realm of Art and Science. a point of infinite mass. The fact that the Universe exists should not be a surprise in the context of what we know about quantum physics. then it must occur). "the actual point of creation (of the universe) lies outside the scope of presently known laws of physics. vision emerges.the universe exploding and expanding from a singularity. in which light waves or photons enter the lens of the pupil. Where the world ceases to be the scene of our personal hopes and wishes . deciphers and then decides what you and I see.
and on to other parts of the brain. you must listen to a great rock band. Very little is known. you may ask. Preliminary processing of the visual information takes place here. or are we? More likely our upbringing and our environment have mapped that which is “important” on our brains. The eye is no window! From the retina. Look again. The actual process of seeing is performed by your brain rather than your eye. or the host of books about artists of every period and see how artists and photographers view and have viewed our world.? Let us “waste” this energy because not to see is to be blind to the real meaning of life on a beautiful planet. Much of it is the ordinary. How do you see what isn't there? What “isn't there” is the real world of wonder. why waste this energy in a battle within ourselves to unmask the outside world. our daily fare. You may be a photographer or artist and record what is there or you may be trying to see your world. a tiny central zone of the eye. Dubuffet studied the works of children and mad people. Are Dubuffet's grotesque paintings of people real. The myriad photons of light strike the rods and cones which are wired to a complex “computer” in the retina. We are surrounded by images in our technological. Since there is sharpness of vision only at the fovea. The riddle of vision may be likened to that of early explorers arriving at the continent of Africa for the first time and circumnavigating part of this vast land mass. The eyeball must constantly move. scientists find more information comes back to the LGN from various parts of the brain than go from it to the brain.YOUR EYE IS NO WINDOW Light which enters our eyes through the pupils passes through a number of almost transparent layers to arrive at the retina. chaos and beauty that you do not yet see. The interior is dark and mysterious. the LGN (lateral geniculate nuclesu) where it is sent to the primary visual cortex. a . the information goes on to a way station. Strangely. and may imagine that we see everything sharp. they were painters.. to circumvent or overcome our early conditioning. First glance is only the beginning of the process of truly seeing. in order to bring an entire scene into focus. Where. We do this with a series of quick glances called saccades ( A rapid intermittent eye movement. Why not visit online the virtual realms of museums or museums themselves. Start by educating your eye. as that which occurs when the eyes fix on one point after another in the visual field. Here we are being told what to see. As with music. digital world. No matter you say.) We are not conscious of this. Since it takes energy to see. Is Van Gogh's “Starry Night” his true vision? Did Willem De Kooning see women like the tortured paintings he became famous for? What about Picasso often sticking eyes in his paintings anywhere but where they belong? He said that way people would notice them.
but be patient. but in many. Light comes from within and without. and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck . June 2004) . of shapes which mirror chimeras and gargoyles. like viewing a singularity? You are the mirror. I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured. Not in one day or two. Annie Dillard discovered a universe at Tinker's Creek. I often walked the rock formations at Pebbly Beach now called Weston Beach. Images play music to my eyes. or anything else you might fancy. on the outgoing tide early in the morning. California. The tilted slabs of many hued rocks on the ocean's edge. a forest or around a lake leads to new visions.I had been my whole life a bell.” The same may be done nearer home. I stood on the grass with the lights in it.. the ancient Carmelo and sandstone conglomerates. It's like seeing what's there. It is easy to hear light music the first time. hide a world of abstract art. each cell buzzing with flame. A walk in a botanical garden. a nature reserve which juts into the ocean south of Carmel. You will learn to interpret the ikebana-like arrangements of the rocks and uncover their distinctive personalities. It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen. grass that was wholly fire. Is that an impossibility.symphony or a piece of ethnic music a number of times to really hear it. One day I was walking along Tinker Creek thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it.. POINT LOBOS My work is a kind of music. Walk these rocks slowly. Try it. I describe this place more fully in my picture book. your eyes will refresh themselves and begin to see what “isn't there. Truly seeing comes from allowing the shimmering mantle of light which envelops the world to envelop you like a two way mirrorlike garment which reflects and transmits light at the same time. THE SAMURAI WAY: Spiritual Journeys with a Warrior Photographer (Ruder Finn Press. How do you or I decode this “music of the spheres?” Come with me to Point Lobos. and you will see a rainbow of colors on the rocks. knocked breathless by a powerful glance. utterly focused and utterly dreaming.
the magical tool which worships the light. A Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek WHAT DO YOU SEE? Vision is a process that produces from images of the external world a description that is useful to the viewer and not cluttered with irrelevant information. or do we humans have the ability to see beyond the constructs of early childhood and later conditioning.—ANNIE DILLARD . a story whose next stages are just coming into view. Artists.. British neurologist Irrelevant to who? Your doting brain busily keeps you from seeing all of the “irrelevant” information that makes the world a place of beauty and wonder. of course. but where's the harm.the striate cortex is just the first of over a dozen separate visual areas.beginning . the human eye. All that is needed is the will to use the most powerful tool in our bodies.. Do we want to? It may be forbidden fruit. Why. whether with brush or camera. Each of us has the power to see in ways that few human beings have learned to see. see a great deal that is invisible to many others. stop to notice a bee supping on a dew drenched golden cup? Why observe the unusual harmony of colors on sea drenched rocks on a storm swept coast? Why study cloud castles? Do we construct worlds of visual processing all of us alike.. while walking past a field of wild flowers early in the morning. —DAVID MARR. each of which maps the whole visual field. to penetrate the fog and miasma of lazy looking and wasted vision.. The knowledge we have now is really only the beginning of an effort to understand the physiological basis of perception.
Brain. our intuitive mind. They are indeed lovely. and Vision The mystery of how vision works compels us to discover what we may truly learn to see. Joseph Conrad wrote. Eye. casting cool shadows for us to linger under. all the past as well as all the future. For each of these areas. precariously hung branches of huge trees that stretch over us takes sudden awakening of our ancient nomind. turning. arching into the sky.with the striate cortex. To see the beauty and marvelous symmetry and asymmetry disguised or hidden in the twisting.. We all live near or in the midst of trees. — DAVID HUBEL . altogether delightful... each area feeds into two or more areas higher in the hierarchy. Shall we not look deeper and study their marvelous construction? The art of nature is the source of all art...” . “The mind of man is capable of anything— because everything is in it..We are far from understanding the perception of objects.The ascending connections presumably take the visual information from one region to the next for visual processing. our problem is to find out how the information is processed.
It's a bit like finding a family scrapbook containing snapshots that capture the lives of family members from infancy through adolescence to adulthood.ORIGINS Two of NASA's Great Observatories. The Hubble . bolstered by the largest ground-based telescopes around the world. are beginning to harvest new clues to the origin and evolution of the universe's largest building blocks. the galaxies.
so our probing minds can discover and see the infinite variety of our whirling planet. and research astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. We have the unlimited potential to see what no one else has seen. We invented the gods. the eminent British mathematician. We will abide so long as we increase our vision in ever expanding circles. too soon. — JOSEPH CONRAD It is too soon to quit. That means the processes in the brain are virtually infinite and cannot ever be completely understood because of the workings of quantum indeterminacy.Space Telescope has joined forces with the Chandra X-ray Observatory to survey a relatively broad swath of sky encompassing tens of thousands of galaxies stretching far back in time. The universe within each of our brains contains more possible connections than the number of stars in all of the galaxies combined. We can as well open new windows in our brains to view the countless wonders of our own planet. and expires—and expires. what he tells himself about what he has seen. a gift from the gods. He paints not what he sees. the earth. grows small. the triumphant conviction of strength. becomes as though we were gods on a high peak." says Mauro Giavalisco. that the human brain functions at the quantum level. Md. Called the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS). — PABLO PICASSO . but what he feels. we are the stuff the stars are made of. astronomers are studying galaxy formation and evolution over a wide range of distances and ages. Just as the Hubble telescope reveals the more of the cosmic tale of billions of galaxies in interstellar space. Painting is a blind man's profession. to vain effort—to death. head of the Hubble Space Telescope portion of the survey. the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys. prophets. outlast the sea. and while thinking see. Olympus. I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more—the feeling that I could last for ever. wandering eye. to perils. like ripples in a cosmic sea. to soon—before life itself. and all men. the heat of life in the handful of dust. We can see. the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim. shamans and magicians see in their myths and necromancy. From a drop of dew on a blade of grass to vast ranges of glacier clad mountains. we can discover and see. We will increase our vision as we enlarge our cosmic curiosity which views all creation with a wondering. blobs of protoplasm which thinks. We are more than crawlers on this earth. That's a miracle. grows cold. Roger Penrose. as artists see into the future. to love. wrote in his book Shadows of the Mind. "This is the first time that the cosmic tale of how galaxies build themselves has been traced reliably to such early times in the universe's life. to acknowledge that there is an end to life and growth. from the heart of a flower to tempestuous seas that circle our planet. The astonishing Hubble telescope opens a new window on our universe. We become visionaries. We can illuminate our world as seers.
Ripeness is all. filled with detritus of boring work. shackled by the bonds of daily routine. She perceives what is yet unseen while looking into the world.. We are too often like those albatross.. as in Shakespeare's words from King Lear: “We must endure our coming hither as our going hence. the Psychology of Perception .. to take the risk of leaping into true vision.She sees that which is possible embedded in what is real bridging between seen and unseen realms. I saw them. here on this earth willy nilly.. I walked among waved albatross courting. at whatever the cost. Once. while hovering in a helicopter over a deeply crevassed glacier in the Darwin Mountains hard by the Beagle Channel in Patagonia. Sight and Sensibility. the mind lies fallow.” At no age is the human mind limited. — LAURA SEWALL . It is only when. I felt a chill of fear. Another time. They did not see me. ashore in the Galapagos Islands.of what am I doing here ? . able.LOOK WITHOUT FEAR We are here to learn.. but perhaps unwilling.. with memory and imagination. used only to seeing what is there in our circumscribed world. mind-set and fear. clicking their yellow bills and dancing an ancient mating dance.
Venice was the inspiration of some of Turner's finest work. Instead of merely recording factually what he saw. Perhaps the most famous English Romantic landscape artist. With the years.W. The artist using his or her skill.M. Turner translated scenes into a light-filled expression of his own romantic feelings.”to the painters of his day. Turner saw what “wasn't there. like an alchemist's stone.He was a unique artist. both in freeing himself from all past artist traditions and art movements. he went to the Royal Academy School of art when he was only 15 years old. he developed a painting technique all his own. Turner (1755-1851 saw and painted light.. he became known as 'the painter of light. These quotations from web pages on Turner (1775-1851) describe an artist painting during a period when painting generally dealt with landscapes in a traditional manner. . Turner studied the science of light and color. His early training had been as a topographic draftsman.TURNER’S LIGHT J. We can learn to see this way by discarding our preconceptions and seeing as we fantasize. transmutes all into glory and beauty.. the flamboyant and miraculous play of light on water and sky. He was to open the way for a visionary anticipation of modern painting. however. Such vision emerges from deep immersion into intuitive or Zen no-mind. depicts the ravening energy of light which. Wherever he visited he studied the effects of sea and sky in every kind of weather.' A Londoner born and bred. a world of rainbows and light.
that vision involves emanations from the eye to the object perceived. — JOSEPH CONRAD . Whether light or energy.But the artist appeals to that part of our being which is not dependent on wisdom. . You might say that light from your eyes creates your vision and that you can change that light by learning to truly see. to that in us which is a gift and not an acquisition -. the way station between the retina and the visual cortex. the collapse of the wave function. Does the light from my eyes influence what my cameras record? A scientist or physiologist might laugh at this idea. Our brains send messages to the LGN. Magister scholarum of the University of Oxford was a proponent of the view that theory should be compared with observation.and therefore. He speaks to our capacity for delight and wonder. i. I work with sophisticated visual tools. We will see. and pain. to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives: To our sense of pity and beauty. more permanently enduring. The act of observing a wave/particle at the quantum level raises the probability of that wave being there.) We see what our brain instructs us to see. The rainbow was conjectured to be a consequence of reflection and refraction of sunlight by layers in a 'watery cloud. however there is a great truth hidden here. shared by the earlier Greeks.. (Experiments in quantum physics hint or show that the observer affects the observed. he held the view.' Most importantly to our dissertation. Current optical theory would disagree with this assertion. The Nigger of the Narcissus VISION EMANATES During the 13 th century. Grosseteste considered that the properties of light have particular significance in natural philosophy. Robert Grosseteste (England). these signals emanate from our eyes and condition what we see. high end cameras that digitally record images of scenes before me.e.
can we then learn to see the light? The eye/brain alliance is a kind of camera obscura. While light cannot escape from a black hole. our brains map the visual world according to our environments and from instructions received from our parents. In his book. Catching the Light . we should never have seen the light. God said.Nature and nature's laws lay hid in the night. Only fear. Our own event horizons are the limits which our brains enforce to make us see what is already there..'The eye owes its existence to the light. Newton's theories of light as corpuscles eventually gave way to Einstein and the enigma of light as both waves and particles (photons). — ALEXANDER POPE Laws of science should not trap us into complacency about how we see. We have the keys to unlock the box and dwell in radiance. teachers and peers. Imagine that your brain behaves as a black hole is believed to do in interstellar space. “Goethe phrased it this way.'.. a dark chamber which receives and emits light What form these light rays take inside our brains is equally dark and obscure. “Let Newton be" and all was light.” If light sees us.had light not “seen” man. we ourselves are not constrained from violating our selfimposed limits. author Arthur Zajonc writes. A black hole is surrounded by the “event horizon” which is the limit beyond which even light cannot escape the ravening gravity of the hole. The study of light has revealed mystery atop mystery. Out of indifferent animal organs the light produces an organ to correspond to itself. and so the eye is formed by the light for the light so that the inner light may meet the outer. Early in life. It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. rigidity or laziness can prevent us from viewing and enjoying the works and wonders of all creation. — ALBERT EINSTEIN .
one million light years from today. one thousand feet above the fissured rocks. the endless. Somnambulist of early evening. a bow-tie ribbon twined in the petrified red hair of the Colorado plateau. rapture of the deep or sky. these ‘tapers' burn in the orange light as in a cathedral where the devout light candles. chalice of the universe. hypnosis. A red sky bands the horizon. her chariot. oxygen deprivation at ten thousand feet. Lake Powell's waters grow dark. the green meadows of the Needles and Chesler Park. the magic light paints huge rock monoliths a deep shade of red. Darkness. Lake Powell glistens among black rock monoliths and crags. To the right I see my companion Shirlee's favorite southwestern garden. the wistful mote and the wise macrocosm. her carriage and her dreams. The sun's bloody tomahawk cleaves the distant ridge. I lean out the open window to photograph the last light of evening on the waters beneath the sky glow that reaches across the heavens. Hozho! . I am chief of the dusk. spires and obelisks arrayed like marble hat pins. for sheer beauty of the landscape. a vibrant breathing chalice of all that she has dreamed during an eternity of fecund and felicitous birthing. Window open. The confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers slides below. At five hundred feet over Lake Powell. sets full flaps down and throttles back.. the desert blushing with harmony and music.WORLD ICONS Often I am asked what is my favorite place in the world. All is beautiful. fire the camera and wave Michael the pilot on to Canyonlands. We know the same. the high plateau regions of the southwest in America are unsurpassed. Michael lowers the landing gear." Fifteen minutes before sunset. Our aircraft speeds ahead twixt Navajo Point and Navajo Mountain. We feel the same. interwoven like an measureless Mobius strip. the reddening sky and the dark lake transfix me. harbinger of tonight's full moon. I wrote the following: I awake from reverie. a blackness full of tears. During twenty-five years of circling the globe I've encountered many enchanting scenes. I lean out to photograph Tower Butte framed by Wild Horse Mesa and the pinnacles round the "Crossing of the Fathers. riding my thunder stallion down the fading light. We are one. Time's fleet arrow speeds across a distant sea of stars out beyond the known universe. The Cessna airplane bucks and slows. While photographing for my book of aerial photography Sacred Lands of the Southwest . Among them. Row on row of silent sentinels striated with browns and yellows. Michael whirls the aircraft around in a steep turn. I am filled with dreams still aborning. chasing the buffalo rocks down to cliff's edge. sentient and universal realm of mother earth. slightly dizzy reverie. a speck of protoplasm attached to earth's green bosom.
tiny red mounds. towers and rock cliffs rear out of the red desert sand. deep desert time. I see no life. or the immolation of heathens by the friars of the Inquisition. spins the light plane into a dizzying descent around the Totem Pole and Yei Bi Chei rocks in Monument Valley. One instant more. Fiery embers glow on the horizon. Michael. Loud is the propeller and louder still the hush of millenniums. I relied on no-mind to see for me. a few minutes of epiphany. I lean out of the open window. battlements. a glorious flight before the sun descends into the underworld. Mitten crosses mitten.Thirty minutes before sunset. The ancient ones doze. Time. intuitive training born of long years of practice. Bear and the Rabbit.. whirring dervish suspended in thin air.. Long shadows march across the red desert floor. . Elmo's fire. We veer and turn. spirits of ghost dancers awakening from the afterlife. triggering reflex actions on the camera's shutter button. ourselves ghost dancers. I gesture towards the flaming rock mittens. The setting sun hangs like a burnt brass cymbal. hogans face east to greet each newborn sun ball trailing a red placenta of clouds. shadowed by the sun's grim final burning. a spinning. Spires. Images flashed across my vision. flying low and close to the stone castles. The earth tumbles beneath me. What I saw was revealed later in the developed film and it was good. ZOLBROD .the word means something like harmony. Whirling and tumbling about.Hozhó. time that painstakingly sculpts wisdom and stone monuments weds necromancy's dark invocations to shadowy spirits. and in the distance. I was in a trance during those aerial encounters. beauty and balance all wrapped in one concept that dwells at the heart of the Navajo world view" — PAUL G. we fleet across the picket line of monuments— The King on his Throne. castles. Shirlee and I ride a winged metal spirit that dances in the shimmering yellow sunlight like a mayfly. evidence of crepuscular deities slumbering among the stone sepulchers. Distant cliffs devour the sun shrouding the desert with scorched tears. whirling the Cessna towards the great stone "Hands of the Great Spirit.. Dying shadows sink into the parched land. no sign of Navajo or sheep. only the silent ghost dance of shadows. The Stagecoach. St. Michael banks and turns." the red rock mittens of Monument valley. our acrobatic pilot of the Cessna 182RG (retractable gear). ruins and monuments. ephemeral. holy shadows on the desert. Big Indian . my instinctive.
among majestic ruins. stress. fear. yet the print shows them as tiny figures in an unresolved landscape. Mood. from the macroscopic image of dew on the petals of a rose to the sculptural nobility of a giant tree. . This is the first step. That is why eyewitnesses often disagree to what they see. Vision is as infinite in its many guises as the universe within our brains. That is why too often. rather than studying the entire frame. To truly see through the camera viewfinder. We thought our friends or companion were tall in the image. Use your camera as you would a magnifying glass to examine the exterior that you try to capture. Our “zoom” eyes coax us to see only that part of the image which is our subject. all around the perimeter of the image.ZOOM EYES A camera is a splendid tool to awaken and train the vision. record what we “should” see. The camera is a magical optical device which can. No hurry! Otherwise your ‘snapshot' will only reveal that you were careless and unseeing. seeing what the camera sees through whichever lens you use. anger or love all influence what we think we have seen. you must look hard. controlled by our brains. Our eyes lie to us. reveal the unseen world. Our eyes. or a grand cityscape. if used with passion and vision. photographs taken on travels at home or abroad. emotion. The eye is no camera. not what is there. Study it until you really see it. are disappointing.
He lived to eighty-nine in a time when that was very rare. Better to drown in the search for knowledge than to languish on barren shores of discontent and blindness. To see is to dine like a king or emperor. The earth and the heavens flower for us daily. He answered that he used words as well..RICHER THAN EMPERORS OR KINGS . A writer was once asked if he could imagine writing like Shakespeare. Wood block Artist. That's a great way to live. I've stood on a ship's deck at night far out as sea.. His modesty about his work bespeaks an intense curiosity and desire to better know (see) his own world of Japan and to never be satisfied. I felt how fortunate to be able to comprehend a little of the wheel of our galaxy and the immensity of the universe. At seventy-three I learned a little about the real structure of nature. far forward away from all man made light. and gazed up at the Milky Way. to learn and to see.. JAMES MICHNER) I acclaim these lines of Hokusai. just as how each of us uses our eyes is another matter. ( The Manga .. will be alive. It must have been sheer energy.all I produced before the age of seventy is not worth taking into account.at ninety I shall penetrate the mystery of things. 1760-1849). if he or she would accomplish much. we are richer in opportunities than any rulers of the past. In this age of onrushing technology and unlimited travel opportunities.. be it a dot or a line. —HOKUSAI .. The banquet of the world is always on the table.and when I am a hundred and ten everything I do. He changed his name many times as well. The night sky filled with constellations is a feast for the eyes. An artist. . There is no need to fast in the midst of viands beyond imagining. Every one of us can attempt the same. must be curious and unending in the quest for new visions. How they were used. Japan. Nothing can stop us from seeing except the tired habits of mundane or aborted curiosity and striving. I beg those who live as long as I to see if I keep my word. I would shudder and experience vertigo at the endless distances above me.
A smile goes a long way. whether celebrities or otherwise..When in love. All human beings. Celebrities of screen.. If you would photograph someone you do not know.. author Diane Ackerman writes: We may pretend that beauty is only skin deep. author John Berger writes. .. music or politics are usually seen with a halo of power. riches and talent. but Aristotle was right when he observed the ‘beauty is a far greater recommendation than any letter of introduction. ‘Ordinary' people are merely glanced at or ignored unless we know them or plan to try to meet them.” We see people according to our own inner needs and conditioning. To truly see people.'. wear masks. Children learn implicitly that good people are beautiful and bad people are ugly. the sight of the beloved has a completeness which no words and no embrace can match. giving or passion. then grin.HOW DO YOU SEE PEOPLE? In Ways of Seeing. in fairy tales. Look in the mirror. Parents and relatives stir conflicting emotions. and society restates that message in many subtle ways as they grow older. “The way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe. In A Natural History of the Senses. the heroes are handsome.. caring.. Lovers appear wreathed in splendor. you must drop your own mask to enable true seeing of the human being beneath.After all. and the wicked sots are ugly. the first stories most of us hear. we need to love and respect them. the heroines are beautiful.
she tells him it is bad for Noh.'” FROM THE HEART I wrote the following to a lovely lady. shells. The appearance of people and things changes as we come to know them. are less than beautiful. In Ezra Pound and Ernest Fenollosa's book The Classic Noh Theatre of Japan. he must feel the thing as a whole.” And further on we read. I've forgotten who she is.. “That is very beautiful. but not as most westerners might observe beauty. No one is truly ugly unless the ugliness emanates from inside. You are beautiful and that attracts the rich and powerful. He follows a fine old woman eighty years of age. ‘The heart is the form.it can be a curse in a way for we need to be loved for who and what we truly are which. strangely. skulls. from the inside. To succeed. contemptuous looks sported by fashion models in ads these days. time is needed. She tells him “For Noh. feathers and straw. the music of the earth can bring great meaning and joy and open one's eyes to the splendor in the world.. from the eye of the beholder. and watches her every move. the actors. Often. As in developing a taste for eating oysters or grasshoppers. . a very difficult part to play. or appreciating minimalists or abstract painters. Alarmed. Seen from above. the memories linger on.” I think so too. How can anyone spend their brief time on earth in the corporate world only grabbing for more money and things? Only the insubstantial. It arises from our own perception of the world just as everyone has their own measure of what art they like or hate. The appearance of beauty truly comes from within. always men. He is covered with ‘medicine' objects. the spiritual. and depending on the lighting. and he displays a gaping smile with only three front teeth. the beautiful. A young man from West Africa saw a five foot high power figure from Zaire in my dwelling studio which I call Spirit House. the expressions change. or from the side or below. How a mask can change expression is demonstrated in a website (now gone) which sold exquisitely carved masks. we read that tradition has it that a young man seeks to learn to act as the woman Komachi. is often the surface of things. the actor must bring the mask to life. she asks why he is following her. We cannot define beauty. In Japanese Noh plays. straight on. then said. Those we love for their inner beauty appear more beautiful as time passes. “It is a Noh saying that.What is beautiful and what is ugly is in the eye of the beholder. the staring. for the rich and powerful. wears a horn on its head. The young man stared for a while. On hearing his reason. in the street.. wear exquisitely carved male and female masks.
to feel and be honest with each other. My forgetting of the lady reminds me of an elegant wine steward on a ship who told us about a wine he recommends. but I remember the wine. To keep alight the torches of wisdom. It went like this. ‘I've forgotten the lady. and seek to learn ever more about the mysteries of our confounding and delightful world. "I want to know God's thoughts. the deepest meaning and the challenge. P. Material success is too often an impenetrable fortress and prison for the mind and soul." So it is with art and the life of creating. . wisdom and genius together—Einstein once wrote. I went to the Einstein exhibit at the Natural History Museum this morning —relativity. or feather spirits as in the Japanese Noh play Hagoromo . I have known it. A woman with integrity. To travel. I apply the word riskit to my name because I will risk and dare anything to find the truth in art and the truth in love. Friendly. I've forgotten the place. therefore it is no illusion. You write with the spirit and soul of an artist who has learned that to follow one's own bliss is the only way. We celebrate the entire world bathed in holy light and filled with becoming. only those who inquire and learn can change. “A man says. We are free when our bonds with another are so light they are fairy spirits darting back and forth—tenins. crane.S. All that you say about life being fulfilled with a good companion is exactly the way that I think. to care. Free as an eagle. to converse is bliss.” we change the future by living it and by creating. We immerse ourselves in evolution's great journey to discover in that wisdom all we are and ever hope to be. sensitivity. To love. kindness.That is a real tragedy. all the rest are details. Chambertin. She flies with those to whom the spiritual life is all important and love is the banner which flaunts desire and freedom.'” Isn't that the way it is? Some things are too dear to keep alive except as smoldering embers. loving and not quite tame is a good motto. To attract even one person to love is a great step forward. talent and a great spirit shall be as a bird that has left its cage. those are the wines of life. inspiration. But you know that. We cannot really teach those who will not hear or see. Our art is the present we freely bestow it on all the others who will share these things. or albatross we soar into the light and see what only a few can see. our source and our inspiration. feel and love. imagination.
The true nature of things remains a mystery. That's easy. What do you see when you see familiar places? The heart of the matter is that we see the world indistinctly. . But of course.000 miles per second. At the speed of light. no matter how fast an object or human travels relative to the speed of light. blazing stars. as you approach the speed of light. it is really absorbing all the other colors and reflecting red. is so wrapped in conundrums and mystery. If you see a red box. the kind that makes hydrogen bombs. not “arrows” of light going in special directions. You can see. may be a more accurate description. a radiance which fills the universe. It excites me that the medium of light. according to Einstein's theories. after much cogitating. You cannot imagine light emanating from a frozen body in the blackness of space. your mass would be infinite and that is impossible. but an all pervasive glow. — ALBERT EINSTEIN I find it very mysterious that. According to Relativity theory. like the art of seeing. You or I can never travel at the speed of light or anything approaching it. it is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.. however it is a though we imagined countless waves from the sea arrive along with a accompanying flurries of buckshot. “Can you see the light” contains more deep meaning than it may seem. the speed of light remains constant.THE SPEED OF LIGHT The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. mass increases. as anything travels closer to the speed of light. Rays of light fill the universe in a kind of chaos of the visible and invisible. Convenient. The real enigma is light itself. this makes sense! The cosmos is afire with light. time slows down! What is the light? Physicists seem happy to define it with formulas and the wave and photon idea. To add to the mystery. The waves and buckshot are like are photons of light which experiments have shown actually behave as though they were both waves and particles. I cannot race a “ray” of light anymore than I can choose to swim with a wavelet among myriads fluttering in the sea. light around me would still be speeding at its normal 186. reflected from every living or inanimate thing colors which are not the color of the object or thing. fire. We see what we ourselves absorb and process. for we only see a small part of the spectrum of electromagnetic waves of which light is a part. The actual color is not seen. glowing galaxies. anything that burns although fusion. fuzzily. obscured. If I could travel at half the speed of light.. It appears to be the product of any kind of combustion.
adds neurons. however. proper diet and active use of the brain. Merzernich says. we are discussing the art of seeing.A NEW BRAIN FOR EVERYONE The September 2003 special issue of Scientific American magazine was entitled “Better Brains. “Until recently. In the chapter “The Mutable Brain. we can learn to see what “isn't there. This applies especially to older men and women who often do little to protect their brains in these ways.. and changes the way in which it operates. “scientists thought that the brain was like a computer..” We can reroute visual paths through our brain which will enable us to see through the veils of conditioning and mind-set which hide. disguise and distort much of the beauty and wonder of . It had been thought that these processes only happened at certain specific times. sets up new circuitry.which established its critical functionality in critical periods. Among the most interesting themes is the new research which indicates that the brain constantly changes. as when a child learns several languages easily. If your brain and mine can change all through our lives..” It now appears that exercise. at any age. These findings are critical to helping overcome various disorders of brain function including Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia. Here. “The brain was constructed to change. researcher Michael M.” Merzenich noted..a hardwired black box. without drugs. without surgery.” He and other researchers now believe the human brain can be extensively remodeled throughout the course of one's life.” I'm for that. such as reading daily or cruising the Internet enhances its powers.
. “Oh. Youth thinks it has forever. as the real world.” many will say. peer pressure and smug contentment to shroud the world from view. It is easy to travel lugging the baggage of one's preconceptions like an old rug or comforter. As we age. What is often the problem is lack of a passionate. Scientists now. Brain cell loss is not the problem at any age. Only occasionally does the middle-aged adult venture forth into the wide world of vision. The Scientific American article ends with “The sky's the limit. Later on. that we can grow new neurons.living on earth. we lose brain cells constantly. That is a gift from the gods. replace lost brain cells. our ways of thinking. and we are trying to figure out the rules. and allows atrophy. A recent study shows that brain cell loss holds steady with aging. marvelously claim that we have the ability to change our brains.” Can you imagine and joy in the favt that our very brains are programmable at any time in our lives. and use only a small portion. the maturing adult takes what he or she sees for granted. worn but homelike. add circuits. grow new cells. reroute the pathways around the brain. however we have more than we need at all ages. I take trips. overweening curiosity about this earth.
smell . since it means that only the simplest animals perceive the universe as it is. translucent. it sees everything. epiphanies and endless wonder. churns green and white in a tempest. straddle the seas and rise into the heavens. above mountaintops or on the land. heart. At such times.” She says that it's a matter of keeping one's eyes open. not sit on the sidelines. We. whether at sea.'” That begs the question.. we learn to see. When I walk without a camera. charged and firing without my knowledge. When I see this way I am above all an unscrupulous observer. Silver sheen burnishes their lofty edges as the sun begins to emerge far below.. it's rapture. broadside to the merest puff.” She says that she cannot see what a specialist such as a stone collector or a scientist who puts drops of seawater under a microscope sees. Your eager and inquisitive primal eye. giant luminous ladders. I live for these moments. Annie says it is possible in deep space to sail on a solar wind. I see a red ball dimly appear through the dawn mist. . Burning like desire. The birds were weightless as well as invisible. my own shutter is always open. I hope this phenomenal gift will be or is already with you. for the simplest animals have no way to interpret what they see in a conscious way. Out over the sea. a brilliant observer who transforms daily visions into fragrant. props up rainbows. sumptuous paragraphs which taste like vision. glows pink and red in the dawn. in A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek writes of vision in a chapter called “Seeing. and the moment's light prints on my own silver gut. What she or we can see is all there as well.” Isn't seeing more than a matter of metaphor. With or without a camera. “A nightmare network of ganglia. As she walked closer. The sky is afire. editing it for my brain. content? Annie is impartial. What a camera sees depends on the mind. on the other side of the spectrum. Instant flashes of light imprint themselves on my camera's sensor because my no-mind sees them like lightning bolts flaring across a western desert on a moonless night. An endlessly inquiring and insightful mind is as restless as the shimmering mirror of the sea reflecting scudding cloud castles. like the blush of opening roses. When I walk with a camera. can interpret if. Hone and spread your spirit till you yourself are a sail. the eye which lurks inside your eye.. Agreed.”The secret of seeing is to sail on a solar wind.” I could as easily reverse that statement and say that when I walk with a camera. I walk from shot to shot reading the light on a calibrated meter. “When I see this way I sway transfixed and emptied. waiting to be seen. my own shutter opens. She mentions walking toward an Osage orange tree which did not appear unusual. I remember dawn breaking over dark seas as I flew out over the Caribbean in a helicopter. and only if. views islands hidden in grey mists.” says Donald Carr. Within minutes flares of light. Dark thunder clouds roil and tumble high into the dawn light. pointing out that the sense impressions of one-celled animals are not edited for their brain: ‘This is philosophically interesting in a rather mournful way. disheveled. We see what we see. cuts and splices what I do see. The mead of the Gods tastes sweet. another hundred took flight. when suddenly a hundred red-winged blackbirds flew out of the tree. whetted. “Not a branch or a twig budged. rapt. exhausted. I add that you must practice seeing. of writing and thinking of what you see? Isn't it an almost orgasmic like delight of suddenly being jolted into vision. the sky lights up slowly.SEEING IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT Annie Dillard. soul and passion behind the lens. God's rays. and vision is sweeter than wine. The two difference between the two ways of seeing is the difference between walking with and without a camera. Annie says there is another kind of seeing that involves a letting go.
Can an artist or new vision make the world a better place? Art comes from truly seeing. “Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. a system of ethics built on this basis would be sufficient only for a herd of cattle.” said Eleanor Roosevelt. You've read it? Read it again! I will. You and I are deeply troubled and moved by these things. radio and the Internet. sound and feel like vision. And she has a sense of humor.. Deep in the .like vision. life. the slaughter of millions of innocents. beauty. tv. Such spectacles mercilessly invade our vision through the roar and outpourings from newspapers. it pours out a balm upon a troubled world. To make a goal of comfort or happiness has never appealed to me. What is vision. the scourge of disease —endless travails which human beings have endured since the dawn of history. ravages of floods and eruptions. The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness. BETTER TO LIGHT A CANDLE. The candles lit by art burn brighter than the explosions of stars. —ALBERT EINSTEIN A see-er or seer cannot be too comfortable. love or art without a sense of humor? Read A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek . To see is to understand the powerful currents that rage across the seas and continents of the earth—dreadful visions of war and genocide.. and truth.
I could not yet see these things as ikebana. SIGHT UNSEEN—MYSTERIOUS IKEBANA On July 6. from my love of delicate ikebana arrangements. There were room size installations of various natural and inorganic materials which bore no resemblance to the ceramic vases holding the ikebana I have known. I tried to peer deep into the flowers. That was fine. an estate and garden in the Bronx open to the public.playground of myths which inhabit our minds. I walked up to the man at the desk and asked him where the ikebana was to be found. to different from my mind set. It was called Perfection/Impermanence: Contemporary Ikebana. I used my macro lens and diffused strobe flash. I never even noticed a giant explosion of shrubbery attached behind the rear porch. I expected to see the ikebana I loved. We walked to an exhibition in the Glyndor Gallery located inside a red brick house. I exhausted the subject for the moment. without shadows we could not comprehend the light. However. I went equipped with my Canon digital cameras to see and record the life of the flowers there. Soon. He pointed to the rooms and said that was the contemporary ikebana. They were too large. just as there is a dark side to all of human nature. 2003. love. lighthouses or blazing candelabra which illuminate some small part of the darkness. flowers arranged asymmetrically in vases. What I saw when I walked inside took me by surprise and puzzled me. There is a dark side to art. You and I are those fiery furnaces. I took photographs of the installations in a somewhat shaken manner. Dodging the sprinklers in the garden in front of the conservatory. What we know of evil we cannot ever lightly accept. passion. Now an then you need a good blow . I went with a friend to visit Wave Hill. understanding and desire inflame our souls.
I see with my camera. and the concept of time or the transience of living matter are all components of Ikebana. To arrange. use of living plants. but first I have to constantly see anew. a form of arrangement that is released from the confines of the vase. Arrangement. to be alive. I saw a new variation of a loved theme. The practice requires a disciplined training in which the artist strives to create perfection and impermanence in each installation or display. not enough. I write about seeing and I just realized that I didn't see anything at first at the exhibit and. I see the raging drama of great storms at sea. What will I see when I learn to see the new contemporary ikebana? . in those incredulous first moments. The origins of the word stem from three verbs: ikeru to place or arrange. said this in part about the exhibit: Ikebana comes from a long tradition that celebrates life and respects plants as living.. ikasu –– to put in the best light. the unheard clash of galaxies devouring each other in the blackness of space. certainly. When I view “quiet” asymmetrical arrangements of traditional ikebana. ikebana. Progressive Japanese flower artists have developed Contemporary Ikebana. to see in the best light. relationship to a space.org. I saw little. It employs natural and inorganic materials. That provokes me to see it again until I see it. that heralds true seeing. the roar and splash of icebergs calving. to arrive at one's essence. the silence of dewdrops on wild flowers in the mist. I went to Wave Hill to see flower gardens. to arrive at one's essence. to live. and encourages free expression and often takes the form of large-scale installations. she saw everything. ikiru –– to live. The Wave Hill site on the internet: wavehill. Annie said that without her camera she was an unscrupulous observer. the artists'' own creative process and energy. yet I didn't see it.along the side of the head to wake you up from smugness or complacency. breathing things. At Wave Hill.
There is more to ikebana. My own art of image making feeds on this Japanese art. It is only through the asymmetric re-arrangement of dull order, the baffling discovery of chaos in a dewdrop or heart of a flower, the broken, shattered, torn veil of dusty memories which smothers insight, sight and true vision, that the newborn world emerges. To discover a universe in a pot of flowers seems odd. I care only to see, to devour that which baffles my sight, to probe and to understand what makes this reeling globe a fantasy and a kaleidoscope of epiphanies. The following came from the web site www.ramalila.net: Through the act of arranging flowers one can realize Gods ' blessing that pervades all the universe and will be given eyes to see his own road to life. — SENEI IKENOBO The Japanese believe Ikebana speaks directly to the heart of the creator and the viewer. It is sculpture that breathes and expresses stability and the spirit of Nature, a link to the whole universe. The positive ( yoh ) and negative ( in ) energy, and the harmony therein, represent the energies of life and death and the passing of time - past, present and future. The flower bud contains, for instance, the energy force of life towards the future. There are generally three principal parts to the Ikebana arrangement: ‘‘shin'' - the main stem representing man ( yoh); ‘ ‘soe'' - representing heaven ( yoh ); and ‘‘tai'' - representing earth ( in) . We have here another interpretation of the meaning of ikebana. In Japanese Shinto religion, the gods (kami) can be present in any outstanding natural object or phenomenon. The artistic expression of ikebana originated in Buddhist alter decorations honoring the dead. Floral arrangements are part of the Zen aesthetics of the tea ceremony. An ikebana placed in the display alcove may be the principal or only decoration in an otherwise virtually empty humble room. Contemporary or installation type ikebana deviates greatly from the original form of flowers arranged in a vase. Typically it is site specific, and is often room filling and three dimensional.
Janet Koplos in her booklet about the exhibition Perfection/Impermanence writes, “Ohtsubo once filled a room...with lightning like zigzags made of disposable chopsticks doweled together with toothpicks. A younger ikebana-trained artist, Shogo Kariyazaki has exhibited
blocks of soil seemingly sliced straight out of the earth and a rowboat filled with clay...Anyone who has ever relaxed on the grass and made a chain of clover blossoms can recognize the elements, and anyone who has ever looked at a flower or a seed and envisioned a universe can grasp its implications.” I noticed that the contemporary ikebana at Wave Hill seemed less asymmetrical, more concerned with room filling installations. Hiroshi Teshigahara's bamboo works however, maintain a delicate balance of symmetry and asymmetry. What caused the early Japanese to create a style so out of kilter with the symmetry and balance we westerners are so often fond of? Here is one answer from the Sogetsu School of Ikebana: Sofu Teshigahara was born in Tokyo in 1907. He learnt flower-arranging from his father who had studied many styles of different schools. When twenty-five he was ready to start the Sogetsu School of Ikeban. He believed that Ikebana is not merely decorating with flowers, it is an Art. That the great difference between floral decoration and Ikebana lies in the belief that once all the rules are learnt, the techniques mastered, we must sculpt. Thus we create living sculptures. — onthenet.com , ikebana In the introduction to his book, The Art of Ikebana , his son, Hiroshi wrote, “The expression of beauty through natural materials, which is the essential art of ikebana depends on the integrity of the person creating the composition. Ikebana is much more than a decorative hobby... I marvel at how the Japanese in the past high the ranking noble samurai, along with those traditionalists left today managed to live in a way that surrounded them with visual and audible beauty. The lower classes had no opportunity to create these things. Serene beauty appears in the design of Japanese houses, temples and rock gardens, in their painted screens, ikebana, bonsai or dwarf trees, in the masked ritual dramas of the Kabuki and Noh theaters, in the tea ceremony. Shinto and Zen Buddhism were at the root of this way of life. The centuries of civil wars all but ended after Ieyasu won the great battle at Sekigahara in 1600 and assumed the Shogunate of all Japan. The noble samurai, at leisure now, learned sensitivity to all of the arts. We live in a time when vision is limited because it is saturated with popular art media of every kind. To be in the middle of a clamoring traffic jam of media year after year can lead to the loss of sensibility, to a numbness in the deepest part of the spirit. That is living death. My greatest pleasure while visiting Japan was to walk slowly through and contemplate the many Zen temples in Kyoto rather than the bustle, neon signs and madcap anarchy of downtown Tokyo. In Kyoto, a great peace prevails in the asymmetrical “gardens” made of raked sand and rocks.
THE CELESTIAL SPIRIT
Cherish your visions. Cherish your ideals. Cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all heavenly environment; of these, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built.”
—JAMES ALLEN, As a Man Thinketh, Vision Quotes
We see with the eyes of poetry as in the quote from Jane Hirshfield. An especially beautiful example is the play Hagoromo , translated by Pound and Fenollosa. The introduction reads, “The plot of the play Hagoromo , the Feather-mantle, is as follows: The priest finds the Hagoromo, the magical feather-mantle of a Tennin, an aerial spirit or celestial dancer, hanging upon a bough. She demands its return. He argues with her, and finally promises to return it, if she will teach him her dance or part of it. She accepts the offer. The Chorus explains the dance as symbolical of the daily changes of the moon...In the finale, the Tennin is supposed to
disappear like a mountain slowly hidden in mist. The play shows the relation of the early Noh to the God-dance.” We learn to see through all of our senses. Poetry awakens our inner souls to the beauty that censorship in the brain often disguises or discards. We read, we see; it is as natural as breathing if we read with our hearts wide open and our souls bare. Here are two excerpts from Hagoromo. The first occurs when the Tennin argues with the fisherman for the return of her feather-mantle, the second while she does the sacred dance prior to disappearing. Chorus : Enviable colour of breath, wonder of clouds that fade along the sky that was our accustomed dwelling; hearing the sky-bird, accustomed, and well accustomed, hearing the voices grow fewer, the wild geese fewer and fewer, along the highways of air, how deep her longing to return! Plover and seagull are on the waves in the offing. Do they go or do they return? She reaches out for the very blowing of the spring wind against heaven. And later, near the end of the play: Chorus : The spring mist is widespread abroad; so perhaps the wild olive's flower will blossom in the infinitely unreachable moon. Her flowery head-ornament is putting on colour; this truly is sign of the spring. Not sky is here, but the beauty; and even here comes the heavenly, wonderful wind. O blow, shut the accustomed path of the clouds. O, you in the form of a maid, grant us the favour of your delaying. The pine-waste of Miwo puts on the colour of spring. The bay of Kiyomi lies clear before the snow upon Fuji. Are not all these presages of the spring? There are but few ripples beneath the piny wind. It is quiet along the shore. There is naught but a fence of jewels between the earth and the sky, and the gods within and without, beyond and beneath the stars, and the moon unclouded by her lord, and we who are born of the sun. This alone intervenes, here where the moon is unshadowed, here in Nippon, the sun's field. How sacred and beautiful it is to have these visions bestowed by words. The vision of poetry unlocks the shutters of our minds. We live for beauty, which can only appear, like the feather spirit, when it is released into the winds, sky and light of the universe.
and in metaphysical journeying.. The pulpit's a bully place if the priest be wise enough. It's worse than drugs or alcohol. What you get is what your brain decides. in clouds.MYSTIC VISION In his book. and you can't control it. or do you drink the sacred wine and whirl off into unknown reaches of holy space. He wrote of the mystical side of life.. endless work at detoxification of the visual structure of your brain is needed. and has shed his or her mortal coils for the embrace of the .” Digest that! What you see isn't what you get. I want to see. Brain and Vision . or can you? Detoxification. (Author: The geniculates are two way stations in the thalamus where visual information from the retina is processed on the way to the visual cortex.the message of the next chapter will be that a structure such as the primary visual cortex does exert profound transformations on the information it receives. Their complete functions are still little understood although you may read that the paths are charted. Noble prize winning scientist David Hubel writes: The visual world is systematically mapped on the geniculate and cortex. Eye. like pterodactyls? I neither proselytize for or embrace any man's religion or woman's either. transforming it in such a way as to make it more useful. approaching God as though he was a great bird which wafted down sparkling feathers in the holy light. don't you?. I want to see everything. I will embrace every religion in spirit. prophet or shaman's intoxicated ruminations. The poet Rumi was born in Wakhsh. Tajikistan in central Asia on 30 September 1207 to a family of learned theologians. Poetry breeds visions as does the mystic. Do any of you see visions in the church while eating the body of the Lord.) What was not clear in the 1950's is what that mapping might mean. In those days it was not obvious that the brain operates on the information it receives.
Single branches often appeared too massive and heavy to support themselves. displayed their sculptural grandeur. Hurry. hurry. asymmetrical spreads of branches high over my head. I visited the Bayard Cutting Arboretum on Long Island to see and photograph the trees for a fine art project I'm working on. The lady with me said she watched me “dance” around the trees which. ratcheting. shorn of leaves. Leave behind the stagnant and marshy waters.. wheeling. The vision of a shaman must be earned by dying and rebirth.unseeable and holy of holies.” One mild winter day. It keeps the shark out but it keeps you in while outside rainbow schools of fish flaunt flamboyant colors. I presided like a floating spirit. seeing deep into the hearts and spirits of these noble trees which flung their convoluted. Fly away. The camera did its work. enraptured. is not a bad way to look at the art of seeing. We can dive naked and filled with wonder into the flowering. O bird. to the source of life —RUMI The cage of restricted vision is like the steel cage used by divers to film the great white shark. You have leapt free of the cage Your wings are flung back in the wind of God. VERY TREE . dancing around the splendid trunks. We are not granted vision without cost. which. fly away bird to your native home. I was in a trance. spinning mystery of life on earth “to sail beyond the sunsets. and the baths of all the western stars. not seeing but seeing. I saw a singular kind of beauty.. We can't all be divers hooked up to aqua lungs and oxygen tanks in or out of cages. hurry. I put saw in italics because my no-mind or intuitive reflex unconscious mind saw these trees.
Getting no seed to sprout. Stripped of green root and leaf.Forget the tube of bark. Colors pour in and out: Here is a timeless structure wrought Like the candelabrum of pure thought. Alliterative leaves. — STANLEY KUNITZ . Tenacious like a hand Gnarled rootage in the dark Interior of land. Reject: and let there be Only tree. Bright incidental bird Whose melody is fanned Among the bundled sheaves Wild spool of the winding word. Earth's absolute arithmetic Of being is not in the flowering stick Filled with the sperm of sun But in a figure seen Behind our eyelids when we close Slow petals of the brain to match the night's repose.
or alert themselves to predators. They still do at night during wartime to avoid breaking radio silence. Signalling or seeing. A deep sea jellyfish spins like a wheel of fireworks. as in the rest of the natural world. — THE OCEANS . creatures communicate with light. clams. hiding or hunting. in eternal night. snails. The rest is lost in heat. This essay taken from my travel journals was written while making an Atlantic ocean crossing on Cunard Line's QE2. Jellyfish. We humans get only 10 percent of electric energy out light bulbs in the form of light. At night. ship captains at sea flashed coded light signals to each other. Far beneath. in that frightening abyss where light never calls. half animal—flash myriads of galaxies dancing on the murmuring waves. Billions of single celled organisms—dinoflagellates. worms.But in the gloomy abyss beneath. luring or decoying — color and pattern are basic to communication and concealment among animals in the ocean. Deep beneath the surface of the sea. bursts of light flicker round . half plant. frighten. a constellation of fish radiates light. At night the ocean's surface often glows with luminous light. Beneath the sea nearly 100 percent of bioluminescent energy is converted into light. before the advent of radio. It deals with the phenomena of light in the depths of the sea. A Celebration Communicate with light? We humans do it. squid. or at least we used to. here..BRITTLE STARS I've traveled to hundreds of ports of call around the world on great ships. color has little function.. starfish. shrimps and other crustaceans convert chemical energy into light energy. jellyfish and their relatives the sea-pens arm themselves with light to dazzle. sea-squirts. They've been my base during many adventures.
the brittle-star fish outsmarts its enemies with a brilliant strategy. dangle luminous 'bait' from their dorsal fin fishing poles to lure prey into gaping. sparking and spitting like a Catherine's wheel. clouds of shimmering thoughts wink on and off. Radiate. minus one arm tip. it sheds an arm tip. shed my sparkling limbs round Jupiter and Saturn. If a barrage of lights from its arms fail to frighten off its enemy. miraculously. glow. My light shines forever. coded mites. A few clever fish employ a headlight which emits deep red light in the abyss where no colored light penetrates. themselves dark. I am one with Oceanus's womb of sentient life. What a dance that would be! No special effects. Glowing bacteria flash signals from the eyes of flashlight fish. like voracious angler fish. another kind of celebration takes place—a celebration of light. discover their consorts and mate in the dark. I wrap myself in light's energy a thousand fathoms down. firefleas swim in groups. illuminate. shark toothed jaws. Brittle star. lights out. I ride beams of light into abyssal clouds. In the Caribbean. Each male flashes points of light in unique individual patterns. Most wonderful. At night QE2 sparkles with a thousand lights. you birth light as we live by light. tapestries of fishy design. an eternal delight. interstellar wastes trembling with nascent . a beacon across billions of light years.its body. The females recognize their mate's patterns. I will glow with a terrible fire to light deep seas of my mind. I will enter dreadful abysses where thoughts. a fireworks display to mock a billion whirling chalices of stars birthing in deep space. I glow. Angler fish. luminescent signals to open up dialogues. fly into the clouds of light. The light comes from clouds of glowing bacteria inhabiting the angler fish's lures. miles down. They alone can see the red shrimps. Meanwhile. dangle luminescent lures to entrap my conscious mind and bend my silver head to darkness and despair. which. biochemistry converting energy to light. Below the glittering QE2 in the abyssal sea. crawls off to safety. I think. who have evolved eyelid like shutters to turn out the lights when danger comes. invisible to other predators who see no colors. continues to flash. I wish I could flash lights in the dark and dance away from my sparkling body parts. veritable clouds of light. leaving a morsel rather than a banquet. you are my guiding light. the brittle star. pulsing lights. Myriads of tiny creatures flash lights. I dance through the heavens like the seven daughters of Atlas. journey on the solar wind into deep space. In these labyrinthian corridors. Ocean.
The Story of My Heart THE GOD OF LIGHT .lies just outside the pale of common thought. glitter. I am certain that there are more yet to be found. There is an entity. light alone reigns supreme. flame into furious fusion to cradle countless newborn stars in a universal ocean of pure light. Light. upon which the vessel of thought has not yet been launched.an entire civilization . as yet unrecognized……There is an immense ocean over which the mind can sail. I alight where cosmic furnaces glow. a Soul-Entity.novas sparkling amidst fiery seas of condensing dust. A great life . I want more ideas of soul-life. — RICHARD JEFFRIES . There is so much beyond all that has ever yet been imagined. 1883.
Lighting the broad river. heating the parapet. and the greatness of the material realised the spirit. I felt it. poet. I am alive because the sun wills it. is very beautiful. The light.There was a faint blue colour in the air hovering between the built-up banks. in the midst of the supernatural. Helios was a close friend of the other fire-god Hephaistos. as a inquisitive world traveler and recorder of the earth's cultures should. always changing. By these I saw my soul. A Guide to Greek Gods. He was also. even when revisiting places.all who have achieved excellence in any art. I worship other gods as well. So intensely conscious of the sun. In his book. I felt the presence of the immense powers of the universe. by extension. The very nature of the air in different parts of the world imparts a variety of colors to way light is seen.. the sky. the god of the gift of sight and of the measurement of time (the time goddesses . The fixed point of day—the sun. eighth century A. is evanescent. and man's pollution all change the way we see light. Light is the great creator.. The swallows wheeled and climbed. the broad walls. by these I knew the supernatural to be more intensely real than the sun. Spirits & Monsters I am infatuated with light like a lover. I am light itself transposed into living mind. against the lit walls. lighting the least speck of dust. Basho.. rain. as we all know. The Story of My Heart I worship the sun god. always surprising. there that moment. I have never seen the light the same anywhere in the world. The light from the sun is filtered by the atmosphere and influenced by the angle with which it reaches the earth. like a moonstruck swain chasing the reflections of the moon in a pond (Li Po. among the immortal. gleaming on my finger-nail. The sun filters through my thoughts the way it burns the mist off a mountainside. the limitless space. I touched the supernatural. — Theoi Project. is said to have drowned watching the moon in a pool. — RICHARD JEFFRIES . Burning on the great sun stood in the sky. Burning on steadfast. HELIOS was the all-seeing god of the sun. while drunk on wine). the wild spirit which tints my work with glowing colors. In my travels. snow. glowing steadfastly upon me as when I rested in the narrow valley grooved out in prehistoric times. The Narrow Road to the Far North . Month and Year. I was intensely conscious of it. like a spirit of many colors. lighting the great heaven. the immortal. The sun is my familiar. that is.were said to attend his throne). I felt too in the midst of eternity then.. the goddesses Day. I felt out into the depths of the ether.D. to be .the twelve sister Hours. Mists. twittered and glided downwards. the seventeenth century Japanese master of the haiku or seventeen syllable form of poetry wrote: “. and the three sisters called Seasons . Dawn and sunset light.. the first' hippie' or flower child and considered the greatest of the Chinese poets. possess one thing in common. in the hollows of the houses. and ever present as my thought. Light and life embrace on this earth and throughout the misty regions of interstellar space. volcanic eruptions which throw vast clouds of dust into the atmosphere. fog.
televisions and computer screens also mix light to produce different colors. The artist creates color harmonies or dissonances according to his or her desires or compulsions. "White" sunlight is not really whitethere is no wavelength of light that is white. and a host of others waited for the public's vision to catch up. then a red card. If you examine your computer screen or television with a magnifying glass. DeKooning. Isaac Newton studied sunlight and discovered that it could be broken down into a rainbow of colors by a prism. (See incandescent light below) In the same way that the sun can produce light of many different wavelengths that appears white when mixed. Pollock. as with Van Gogh. Today. In the artist's own time. It is the same with the art of photography in its many guises. it is a mixture of many different colors that appears white to our brains after being processed by our eyes. We see color in relation to other colors. for photographs tell no more truth than a wielder of the camera is capable of revealing. The light. Whatever such a mind sees is a flower. the shapes and colors are often not recognized as desirable or lovely. Matisse. Rather. You will see the yellow change its apparent hue each time. An easy test is to put a bright yellow card next to a blue card. or they are ignored. because there is no such thing as “true” color. and whatever such a mind dreams of is the moon. . we know that the rainbow of colors one gets from a prism is a consequence of refraction and the different wavelengths of different colors. and each of us sees color in his or her own way. Basho's short poems. illuminate the natural world.one with nature throughout the four seasons of the year. whether artificial or natural. probably red. Van Gogh. a large range of colors can be produced. dictates the color we see. Here is a brief on the character of light: In 1665-1666. often. The beauty of art is that it is subjective. By mixing these colors in different amounts. too late. like flashes of lightning. Color is the great deceiver. green and blue. finally a black card. you will see tiny dots.
The wonderful variety of the electromagnetic spectrum is all a result of the same laws. the hottest stars appear to be a blueish-white while cooler stars such as our sun are more yellowish in appearance. If all electromagnetic radiation is fundamentally the same thing. applied to different wavelengths and energies. then orange. for example. Incandescent light is produced when atoms are heated and release some of their thermal vibration as electromagnetic radiation. Incandescent light is also known as "black body radiation. regular light bulbs (not florescent) and fires are all incandescent sources of light. the photons released have different energies. There are two basic types of light sources. As temperatures are increased. microwaves. and other electromagnetic radiation of longer and shorter wavelengths. Depending on how hot the material is. have such a long wave length and low energy that our eyes can't detect them and they pass through our bodies. It was found that at lower temperatures. increasingly more energetic radiation is emitted. while luminescence involves only the electrons. hence appearing to be "black bodies". you might ask. Likewise. gamma rays. This includes radio waves. It is the most common type of light that you see everyday sunlight. these materials would emit radiation in the infrared wavelengths which we feel as heat (fires.The "electromagnetic spectrum" is simply a phrase used to describe electromagnetic radiation of all wavelengths. so these materials would glow red. This is why a fire tends to be redder than a halogen lamp-the filament in a halogen lamp is heated to a higher temperature than normal fires. visible light. ." Although ideal black body materials don't exist in reality. fire and light bulbs. for example. most substances are close enough that this color sequence can be observed. Incandescence involves the vibration of entire atoms. ultraviolet. and therefore. different colors. Radio waves." This seemingly self-contradictory name arises from the history of physics-scientists studying this type of light emission modeled their theories on ideal materials that would absorb all colors of light. Some sources of incandescent light are: the sun. emit most of their energy in the infrared). x rays. then yellow. infrared. "Why don't we see radio waves like we see light?" or "Why do we need special infrared light bulbs to heat things up?" Although all portions of the electromagnetic spectrum are governed by the same laws. their different wavelengths and different energies allow them to have different effects on matter. and eventually "white-hot.
black holes and a hundred thousand more . Therefore. to name just a few examples. not an entire atom. television screens and computer monitors. it will release a specific amount of energy which becomes a photon. when an electron jumps down to a lower energy level. chemical reactions as in Halloween light sticks and fire-flies. continued luminescence requires something to continuously give the electrons a boost to a higher energy level to keep the cycle going. star clusters. supernovas. THE BIG BANG & LIGHT At what incredible moment after the big bang ten or fifteen billion years ago did light suddenly enter the universe? Was it there already and was light the creator of the universe? I like to think that light is God's glowing mantle which He threw across the blackness to begin the process of making galaxies. It's as good a theory as any. neon light. It turns out that electrons like to have energy at specific "energy levels. stars and planets. or radioactivity as in luminous paints. No physicist truly believes he or she knows what started the colossal. It's difficult. mercury-vapor street lights. or light of a specific color. light emitting diodes. —Discovering Light . This boost may be provided by many sources: electrical current as in florescent lights. because it is produced when an electron releases some of its energy to electromagnetic radiation." Thus. ThinkQuest '99 Those paragraphs are like taking a run up a hill or mountainside. but the view is enchanting and illuminating. perhaps infinite collection of galaxies.Unlike incandescence. luminescent light occurs at lower temperatures. quasars.
reflect ashe. he and he are twins that with and in their arts bring alive in this earth the things that sing. or do they somehow create luminescence inside their minds. Schvaneveldt wrote on the Internet... Lightness. What is the peculiar quality of vision that we do not truly know from where inside our brains or minds it emanates? In Flash of the Spirit. as theirs is the darkness. the unanswered questions of creation? Life can exist without light. I am dwarfed.look about grandly with fixed expressions. When a person comes under the influence of a spirit.. author Robert Farris Thompson writes ”. a pin prick of a being shivering in the night. but they can only imagine the world of light. the brightness of the spirit..According to the Yoruba: The gods have “inner” or “spiritual” eyes (oju inun) with which to see the world of heaven and “outside eyes” (oju ode) with which to view the world of men and women. Lee W. Is light the spiritual power of the universe? Is it the holy of holies. as in certain places deep in the sea or in buried caverns. he will open his eyes abnormally.. . Let theirs be the light. the eyes of the god.the radiance of the eyes.” SEEING WHAT ISN’T THERE . I feel the star filled cosmos suddenly race away from me into the limitless deserts and seas of outer space. Blind people adjust to their world of four senses. “Albert Einstein and Steve Hawkings. the grail itself.persons possessed of the spirit of a Yoruba deity. Light/Dark. but this is not a life we would embrace. I like to think so. Darkness. There is here a relative big bang! Albert Einstein: a brain is a silent Internet. the magnificence of the gaze. that swing in the heavens.. In the desert or at sea at night.astounding events which daily explode around the universe. He will then look very broadly across the whole of all the devotees.. his ordinary eyes swell to accommodate the inner eyes. African & Afro-American Art and Philosophy ..
. Beading thy path—condensed eternity: And we have seen night lifted in thine arms. That is what the camera. can be seen shimmering through the veil of order.—. That has nothing to do with the vast spectrum of electromagnetic radiation that plays invisibly all about me as I walk the bridge. Pianist Alfred Brendel quotes the German romantic poet Novalis. That is what my brain forces me to do. abstractly. I am not interested in seeing the “reality” of these images.9 megabyte files for each image when decompressed. The 11 plus megapixel camera creates huge 52.Oh harp and altar.. sometime sweep. which is designed to record approximately what I see will do. The digital image is my sketch. wild. immaculate sigh of stars. I work with my digital files like an action painter. light and shade. or de Kooning. Basquiat. in the last few years. My aim is to capture the play of clouds against the massive towers and myriad cables and wires. Unto us lowliest. Poem: To Brooklyn Bridge On a breezy beautiful sunny summer day I walk across the Brooklyn Bridge with my Canon EOS1Ds digital top of the line camera.. Against the traffic lights that skim thy swift Unfractioned idiom.. I experiment with the images in a boisterous. Vaulting the sea. —HART CRANE. the prairies’ dreaming sod.. free of the constraints of nascent technology and tyrannical mind set. the Photoshop program my brush and paints. Suddenly. vividly recreating what is really there but cannot be seen. audacious and unruly way like Pollock.. and the lover’s cry. Prayer of pariah. even in Mozart. illuminations really. “..'chaos' now and then. descend And of the curveship lend a myth to God. O Sleepless as the river under thee..” . contrast. The digital camera and digital programs free me to discover worlds of colors. of the fury fused (How could mere toil align thy choiring strings!) Terrific threshold of the prophet’s pledge.. I will down load these images into my computer and work with them in Adobe Photoshop.
but this story is about the universe and unfortunately there are no data for the very beginnings--none. zero. digital space and I see . no matter. I long to see light itself. Yet the laws of nature were in place and this curious vacuum held potential. pure. what living. I prowl the infinitely tiny foam of quantum mechanics where the universe quietly explodes insubstantial probabilities. Tiny. I desire to see star births. I am the cognizant photons of holy light. That is. I want to see deep. no time. In the very beginning. so tiny I cannot see the light. I want to observe ravening flares of pure energy thousands of light years across. spanning gravity's timeless. I am the light. no light. its rays and undulations.Before all the wondrous shows of the widespread space around him. some very short time after creation in the big bang. down in the unconscious realms where primitive neurons transmit a web of light which envelops the universe. A story logically begins at the beginning. When you read or hear anything about the birth of the universe. We don't know anything about the universe until it reaches the mature age of a billionth of a trillionth of a second. busy with the constant state of remaking itself.with its colors. no sound. a hologram of gravity's impure architecture. tintinnabulations which ravish my inner eye. there was a void. quasars and colossal galactic collisions crossing limitless chasms of outer space. a nothingness containing no space. painted with black rainbows. flaring like the mystical sunrise in my brain stem. —NOVALIS I'm intoxicated with exploding light and fireworks which burst from my digital brain transmuted through my digital camera—into the holy grail of energy. sentient thing loves not the all-joyous light -. its gentle omnipresence in the form of the wakening Day. the all-knowing light which irradiates my mind. iridescent. a curious form of vacuum. someone is making it up--we are in the realm of philosophy. I am lost in space. Only God knows what happened at the very beginning: —Nobel Prize winning physicist Leon Lederman . deep.
From the retina. also known as V1. not to your skull. Your retina contains hundreds of millions neurons working in parallel. the results travel on a new set of axons to the primary visual cortex. You may jump ahead if desired. writes: The German physicist and physiologist Herman von Helmhotz (18211894) described vision as a process of unconscious inference: . The eye is not a window. After further processing. What you see isn't there. and to other parts of your brain. the quintillions of photons each split second which would literally blind you if accepted raw. the electrical impulses are sent through an electric cable containing over one million wires called axons. in Visual Intelligence. The computing power at your retina exceeds that of the most powerful supercomputers. And that's just the beginning. The optic nerve fibers from the eyes terminate at two bodies in the thalamus (the aforementioned structure in the middle of the brain) known as the Lateral Geniculate Nuclei (or LGN for short). your “desktop” computer analyzes and censors much of the fireworks entering your eye. Hubel . It's a dreary illusion fostered by evolution and nurture. One LGN lies in the left hemisphere and the other lies in the right hemisphere.THE MYSTERIOUS EYE The eye is the supreme organ created by evolution and it is totally misunderstood! That is so important that some of the information below is repeated. Rods and cones in vast arrays (120 million rods and 7 million cones) accept the incoming photons as electrical signals and switch on and off accordingly. Right there at the retina. Have you “flown” your eye? It is attached to your brain.
are generally not conscious activities.what happens when you see is not a mindless process of stimulus and response. I discovered. The computer has no inhibitions. Playing with the large digital files in Photoshop. or fantasize we see. visual feasts.. “. In their result they are equivalent to a conclusion.it is intimately connected to your emotional intelligence and your rational intelligence. Donald Hoffman writes.. It forwards these constructions to your emotional and rational intelligence. using what I imagined was there. it reveas what I entice it to reveal. relevant or irrelevant. Von Helmhotz surmised these things a century and a half ago. see. We must strike through the masks of obscurity and mirage and uncover all the many colored spices of Samarkand. but a sophisticated process of construction whose intricacies we are now beginning to understand.” The objects of obscure desire we think we see... in the cloud filled skies above the bridge a kaleidoscope of elegant abstract swirls and eddies. In his preface to Visual Intelligence. I uncovered what my eye could not see. thereby making a distinction of some sort between them and the common so-called conscious conclusions.. blinded by the need to eliminate irrelevant information. which use them as raw materials in further constructions. but unconscious ones. perplex neuroscientists today. Hubel goes on to say. it may be permissible to speak of the psychic acts of ordinary perception as unconscious conclusions....The psychic activities that lead us to infer that there in front of us at a certain place is a certain object of a certain character.. When I worked with my Brooklyn Bridge images.” Hoffman concludes his book with these words: Visual intelligence occupies almost half of your brain's cortex. “The British neurophysiologist David Marr (1946-1981) described visual constructions by analogy to information processing in computers: “Vision is a process that produces from images of the external world a description that is useful to the viewer and not cluttered with irrelevant information. . I sensed that these paintings in the sky were there. like an evanescent whirlpool of shifting shapes and colors. but my eye could not see them. as behaviorists thought for much of the twentieth century. It constructs the elaborate visual realities in which you live and move and interact.
Matisse. wildly flamboyant canvases.” seeds we continuously plant to await a bountiful harvest of beauty. Suddenly.9 megabyte) files which come from my Canon EOSD1s digital camera contain a wealth of information which my emotionally and rationally conditioned eye cannot see. we can paint our visions in the computer and print them.DIGITAL CAMERA GIGABYTES Our new tools create the possibilities for discovering a new vision of the world. discovered and painted their fantasies on richly colored. garbage out. we must learn to see. I can imagine what is there.” The well known computer adage goes. First. The art of image transformation begin with a new vision of the world. and I use the word playing in its most creative sense. my eye/camera symbiosis gives me the vision of a painter who constructs from the raw material of nature his or her wildest fantasies. at the cutting edge of digital technology. The large (53. Such visionaries as Van Gogh. Today. As an artist. Monet. O'Keefe and de Kooning imagined. Playing. “Garbage in. We must take chances and seek aleatory or chance compositions. Hidden in chaos is a higher “order. enables me to create images I have only imagined but never seen. . Learning to see with a camera is learning to see anywhere. It comes from an eye that learns to instantaneously recognizes significant patterns and make strong compositions in the camera before clicking the shutter button.” That should never stop us from making tens of thousands of “mistakes. or who subtly transforms realities. We must learn as well to instantaneously recognize and discard cliche patterns which enthrall us with scenes resembling our past visions.
endow the world with beauty and agape — intense romantic love.. which was built in 1063. like whirling kaleidoscopes. or quietly observes utter simplicity in shades of grey. Light from the sun radiates more photons each second than could be stored as bytes on all the computers in the world. We breathe slowly. the Zen moment of being there. too.. when the conscious self dissolves into a hail and firestorm of flamboyant colors and shapes.Onrushing technology gives a digital artist a suddenly extravagant and limitless palette containing countless gigabytes of information—like the human brain and the starry universe. The hut was near a shrine of Hachiman. gave up city life some ten years ago and now I'm approaching fifty. He saw with his clear“camera” eye.. I. He saw in flashes of seventeen syllable . Inspired vision trusts the intuitive unconscious.Azaleas continue in bloom. THE HUT OF THE PHANTOM DWELLING In a letter to a friend written in 1690. relax and enter a universe of bright mirrors which. the god of war. the eye that sees what isn't there... wild wisteria hangs from the pine trees. bruised my heels on the rough beaches of the northern sea where tall dunes make walking so hard. photons which strike our eyes. a Zen intuitive eye. and a cuckoo now and then passes by.. And now this year here I am drifting by the waves of Lake Biwa. Basho's haiku poems were written with the inner eye. I'm like a bagworm that's lost its bag. a snail without its shell. enter our brains and coalesce into miracles or dreary dust. Basho describes his life in the simple hut in which he lived for a while. I've. We live in an all encompassing shower of infinitely tiny meteorites. The grebe attaches its floating nest to a single strand of reed to keep it from washing away in the current.
and so in the end. and expended my feelings on flowers and birds. Red. Poetry often carries within it the holograms of subtle allusions which only the most sensitive translations can begin to reveal. Much of what is there escapes notice by the eye conditioned to see what is “useful. unskilled and talentless as I am. Basho writes. It is the same with seeing and making images.” Near the end of his letter. —BASHO. The Narrow Road to the Far North (Penguin) . I am awestruck To hear a cricket singing Underneath the dark cavity Of an old helmet. I give myself wholly to this one concern. however. The promise of early chill. poetry.haiku the beauty. Heartlessly indifferent to time. red is the sun.. “I've worn out my body in journeys as aimless as the winds and clouds. tenderness and sorrows of his world.. The wind knows.
my music. scan their surfaces. jumped into my car. seeking images unseen and buried and immersed in my unconscious? To see. Plato. and over this bridge the impulses of light that emanate from the object travel to the eyes and thereby to the soul. A soft reddish light filled the dawn sky. go out to the distant places where things are found. It is an eminently active occupation. I jumped out of the car. catch them. “ that it shimmers behind everything we do. When I fire my camera. explore their texture. ran towards the rock.' —RUDOLPH ARNHEIM I give myself every day to learning how to see. aimed my camera and watched transfixed at the dawn light flaming behind the silhouette of the rock. It simply took quick action to capture the fleeting fiery dawn. Free the eternal soul.” Sewall goes on to write about wrapping her imagination around a near quarter moon. and careened down the road to the Park entrance. let it taste again Infinity. With an invisible finger we move through the space around us. my work with images. For example. asserts that the gentle fire that warms the human body flows out through the eyes in a smooth and dense stream of light. or is it my deepest imagination playing with fire. We we must fall a lot to see this world in its ravishing beauty. you must free yourself as a child would who falls off a bike over and over until it attains a certain balance and wheels freely away. early thinkers describe the process of vision correspondingly. Laura Sewall quotes William Blake: “Let the world of rationalization and of the senses be consumed in the fires of imagination. grabbed my camera. The falls are part of the learning process. The sky was beginning to light up in a curious way. I went out for a walk very early that morning and had a sudden flash of instinct or unconscious calling. touch them. trace their borders. Once I was traveling through Utah and had stopped in the now bustling town of Moab. a unique capacity of the mind and the “deepest voice of the soul. What has imagination to do with seeing? Our imaginations free us from the tedium of daily chores. I ran to the motel. . I saw nothing anyone couldn't have seen.IN SIGHT OF SENSIBILITY 'In looking at an object we reach out for it. Thus a tangible bridge is established between the observer and the observed thing. tripped on a low fence and fell hard. She says that imagination is a mode of consciousness. in his Timaeus. At the beginning of her chapter titled “Imagine This” in Sight and Sensibility. is it I who sees. That is the beginning of my poetry. the necessary housekeeping which we all must endure. close to Arches National Park. Impressed by this experienced. I was up in a second. I arrived at the formation called Balanced Rock just as the sky came on fire.
to a kind of chaos. We discard much of the beauty in life because it occurs in unlikely places. It is well to swim hard and often in these uncharted waters until you float comfortably under benevolent skies.. The power of wildness. it was poetry while it lasted. . any artwork has the power to invest the inquiring eye and mind with a startling and eventually very pleasing taste. art critic John Ruskin (1819-1900) writes of a simple scene. unfettered imagination. it gilded all the dead walls. So obvious an idea is not so easy to achieve. and I felt a charm in every vine tendril that hung over them. in the beginning. any part of such a landscape. It required an effort to maintain the feeling. hurling away constraints may lead. or invent. or give glory to." But what is that essence? Did Aristotle imagine that his eyes were deceiving him? It is always the essence which we seek? In his diary. Freed from constraints of early conditioning. We create our visual world with our malleable brains if we dare to use them in seemingly irrational or dangerous ways. “I looked at it with the possession-taking grasp of the imagination—the true one. and I felt that it was only while under it that one could draw. mind-set and fear of the new..” The art of seeing begins with discovery of beauty in the commonplace. which I excavate from among ideas and images found in Japanese culture and in the work of abstract artists anywhere.There's a wild side to seeing. According to Arnheim Aristotle conceives of the "universal character " of an object "directly perceived in it as its essence rather than indirectly collected through the search of common elements in the various specimens of a species or genus.
intensify the color. that I don't consciously see as much as I think I see. although I view the new digital technology as an alchemist's stone which reveals what ‘isn't there. I take it into ‘curves' and play. Using Adobe Photoshop. The orange display catches our eyes. catches my eye. I think. A few days later. I photograph the display rather casually. The effect on our vision cannot be predicted. We are on the verge of a visual revolution brought on by the emergence of digital photography and digital image programs such as Adobe Photoshop. I sharpen it. newly revealed contrasting colors sharply define the elegant arabesques which my cerebral eye did not see then or now. I am struck by the sudden knowledge. Hundreds of people can talk for one who . The computer sees anew.' The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and tell what it saw in a plain way. I am in my studio with a young student intern studying the images from the flower market on one of my computers. Even when my inner eye sees certain images and triggers the camera. I had observed this now intensely curvaceous asymmetrical composition when I was making the photograph with my inner or unconscious intuitive eye. The owners pleasantly agree to my photographing their displays.SEEING WHAT ISN’T THERE I walk through the flower market on 28th street off Sixth Avenue and study the displays. For fun. I love sunflowers because they speak to me of light's mysteries and shed a cheerful glow on the world. The flowers are wrapped in white paper which makes arabesque-like patterns. It has a formidable power still in its infancy. I don't know their name. It has no censor built in. The computer programs give us a sudden. but it looks rather uninteresting. I must manipulate the image in odd ways and coax it to reveal itself. and walk on. Suddenly the image jumps into life. add a bit of brightness and contrast. new power to reveal what our conscious minds censor or obliterate. These markets are filled with visual banquets of flowers. I cannot truly see it on the computer screen immediately. A display of orange flowers.
their spirits veiled in the chiaroscuro of light and color. but it is difficult to execute. The technique sounds simple. it (the camera) fires. but thousands can think for one who can see. buzzing quietly about their tasks. It isn't calendar. and developing the technique to execute your vision with your camera. My tool of choice is a 100 mm. postcard. throwing the composition out of kilter. Waiting for the wind to stop. at intense magnification. A number of times my finger on the shutter at the moment of release pushes the camera slightly. To see clearly is poetry. without volition. to attain sharpness where desired. Bees abound. since the slightest movement is magnified at close range. Instead. this Day in July. see! Then. Sunday. like a samurai warrior wielding his sword in a split second. macro lens. It is all about seeing. —JONATHAN SWIFT . very fast. I must work on this. you maneuver the camera with tiny movements until the image in the finder speaks to you and. — JOHN RUSKIN On the next day. I spot a large bee on a lily and move in very close. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This will require that you have a flash in the camera or an external flash such as my Canon speedlite 550EX. Once in very close to where you want to be. prophecy and religion. You must take the lens off the autofocus mode and focus by hand. I will seek the hidden heart of the flowers. everything moves. and in a fraction of a second. I expected few flowers in bloom in the midsummer heat. is a revelation. Since depth of field diminishes rapidly the nearer you get to the subject. the camera fires. you must move the camera. all in one. It is about seeing without restraint. At close range with the macro. jitters. I go to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to photograph more flowers. I am greeted with a profusion of brilliantly colored flowers from giant lotuses in the pond in front of the conservatory to lavish displays of lilies and many more. The lens enables me to photograph deep in the heart of flowers if I wish. greeting card images of flowers that I'm after. suddenly. shakes. wings covered with yellow pollen. it is well to stop the lens down to f:16 or f:22. for your hand to steady. Vision: The art of seeing the invisible.can think. not rotate the lens. mysteries unseen and beauty unfolding. seeing what is almost invisible to the naked eye. I must swoop in.
and attempting to re-invent your visual world that you grow and see. I am busy seeing on a large scale. and unexpected colors. avoiding self censorship. and what I discovered by allowing my inner eye and a bit of chaotic ‘action painting' to arrange on the computer surprised and pleased me. to see more and more of what isn't there. I begin to truly see. Early in the morning one day. chiaroscuro. What I saw with my inner eye when on the bridge. I walk across the new pedestrian and biker's path on the Williamsburg Bridge in Manhattan. the spider web like thrust of girders make ikebana-like patterns of asymmetry The girders are flung high and wide around me. willing to roll the dice with their money or reputation on the line in support of an idea or enterprise. Spectral sunlight winks in and out between the massive girders which support the bridge along with a network of cables. They willingly assume responsibility for the success or failure of a venture and are answerable for all its facets. they groan as they brace this immense structure. After forty or more years of making images with cameras. I hear autos buzzing beneath me. The resulting images become fodder for a series of joined canvases and psychedelic looking images which I make into dazzling patterns of light.BRIDGE WORKS Training vision is a lifelong task. A subway train roars past. it starts there too . Against the light. the opposite of the closeup flower photography. The buck not only stops at their desks. Entrepreneurs are risk takers. It is only by taking the greatest risks. An array of hidden colors appear like magic in the seemingly monotonous bluish sky hung with misty clouds.
one which deprives us of much of the beauty which can enrich our lives. Picture postcards rarely carry surprises or awakenings. with no maps to go by. most days I don't even get close.. If we don't dare the unknown. The ahhh! of beholding is gone. a bee in the heart of a flower. in his book Andy Goldsworthy writes “At its most successful my ‘touch' looks into the heart of nature. to Goldsworthy. filled with turbulent pitfalls that sadden us. willy nilly. trying to see what isn't there. You must work for it. We toss about like shipwrecked sailors in a small boat on an immense sea with no horizon in sight. Albert Einstein put it this way: . The gift of sight is precious. So it is with our normal vision of the world around us. That is good. The gift of vision is secured by audaciously setting out into the unknown. or Livingston seeking the source of the Nile in unexplored Africa. or doing business. The sought after place or thing is shrouded in mysteries. stalks. By surviving in those seas we awaken to a sky filled with a flaming dawn and we see. Whether making images. A COLLABORATION WITH NATURE Andy Goldsworthy. We admire the image or we ignore it. He records the sculptures with a camera. light playing across cloud castles—there is no end.— VICTOR KIAM We are all entrepreneurs in this life. sudden revelations—colored lights reflected on the streets during rain. We do not have to travel across the country or jet to another continent to discover unexpected wonders. like Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic alone. These things are part of a transient process that I cannot understand unless my touch is also transient—only in this way can the cycle remain unbroken and the process be complete. unseen because we have learned to take it for granted. The quest for vision is much like daring feats of adventure. flowers. we create a shallow life. The commonplace. the success of the brave and audacious. is fodder for his revelations of the unseen beauty in nature. leaves. icicles and other natural flotsam and jetsam often last for a few days or less. learning to see anew leads to success.” His outdoor sculptures made with stones.
And learn. We glory in these wondrous visions.” It is the mind that thinks in one direction.a mysterious order which it does not comprehend. No-Mind or Right Mind wanders freely to view what “is not there. In The Unfettered Mind (Kodansha). like a beginner a scuba diving overcoming fear of drowning.” It's like hallucinations. is capable of seeing beyond the veil of self imposed or peer imposed “reality. thousand visions go unnoticed. When there is an object of thought in the mind. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. Each of us is that happy child to whom all of creation from the earth to the starry universe awaits recognition. Our eyes and our brains have been marvelously trained by evolution to do just this. Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight. Scuba techniques revealed the surprising rainbows of wonders beneath the surface of the sea to our eyes and brains that had no pre-conditioning. or even more so . It neither congeals nor fixes itself in one place. too late. It is called No-Mind when the mind has neither discriminations nor thought but wanders about the entire body and extends throughout the entire self. We are like a little child entering a huge library. Learn to love the gifts of light and enlightenment. Such a myriad of riches must be organized. It's necessary to be overwhelmed now and then.The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. Our open eyes gatherer quintillions of photons every minute. discrimination and thoughts will arise. regardless of subject. It does not know who or how. than the Hubble Space Telescope. not to reveal the hidden world around us. but only dimly suspects. but we hide most of what we see behind a veil in order to avoid being overwhelmed. We see everything. Zen Master Takuan Soho says: The Existent Mind is the same as the Confused Mind and is literally read as the “mind that exists. Each of us.” First we need to understand that our eyes are as miraculous.. It takes constant practice. Einstein's Relativity Theory revealed new world in which the speed of light could not be surpassed. They are trained to work at our daily tasks. Thus it is known as the Existent Mind. We relax our eyes and take in everything. to penetrate the veil. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. This statement by Takuan is a clue to learning how to see. or daydreaming. while all around us. The No-Mind is the same as the Right Mind. Do not go gentle into that good night . they grieved it on its way. They are not windows. The rewards are beyond measure. and time was not a universal clock—his concept of the spacetime continuum. We try to detach ourselves from daily tedium and open our eyes like children. and therefore censored nothing. a thousand. He saw into the hidden workings of the universe.. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books. The child knows that someone must have written these books. genius or no. Let us dive deep into the ‘sea' on firm land and begin to see as children again.
wildly impressionistic at a time (mid-eighteenth century) when painting was mostly realism. “.. I was lashed for four hours. We discard tradition. show that he dared to see and paint in a new way. We stare out at the world . Turner's sea paintings. “Writing about a late painting called The Angel Standing in the Sun . Berger relates that Turner remarked. Do Not Go Gentle into That Dark Night LIGHT DEVOURS THE WORLD John Berger. freed of much conditioned restraint. ignore the opinions of others whether our peers. Our newly innocent eyes. The sea paintings carry within them colors and shapes rarely seen at sea or anywhere. and dare to believe that our own new vision is paramount. although we can learn to see many of these enchanting displays of light and color.. researchers or mystics. Turner spoke of light devouring the whole visible world. in About Looking says. but the act of truly seeing the world is equally brave.— DYLAN THOMAS .I got sailors to lash me to the mast to observe it. To see like Turner.” It was a brave act.. but I felt bound to record it if I did. and I did not expect to escape. we must abandon safe harbors in the mind.. To paint The Snowstorm. see beyond the surface of things.
the eloquent lines of the wires and cables. Overhead. I discover myriad colors. rumbling traffic. and roaring subway trains. FLOWERS & BRIDGES The world surprises me every day.with our inner eyes. singing a world of ethnic peoples together. What I see or do not see. and shapes. You must look hard. working with Photoshop. in their endless varieties. towers. and their myriad interactions designed to sustain trucks. bringing. I sight through my camera and construct the raw materials of my digital painter's painter's palette. elegant constructs of steel and wire. and unveil such ravishing beauty and resplendent natural wonders as would make an emperor envious. patterns and designs hidden in these seemingly somber structures. Far below. the blue waters reflect the sun. I see the intricacies of design wrought in the girders. Bridges. autos. flung across the waterways. colors. are equally extraordinary. The bridges sing a syncopated off key tune of creaking girders. my unconscious instinctive mind records in the camera. girders. cables. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge with its spider work of cables or the cantilevered Williamsburg Bridge and study the wires. and subway trains. What is there to see? Flowers are a universe unto themselves. shapes. gigantic in relation to flowers. . Later. These are giant harps. the sun peers out from scuddng clouds. For a time my work focuses on flowers and bridges in Manhattan.
like our dreams. Her avante. Later. I want to give that world to someone else. I see what I am used to seeing. One Hundred Flowers. I cannot see what it sees at that moment. They were overwhelming. intuitive vision or no-mind sees something else.” she said. People simply had not seen flowers closeup. to my eye.VISION & PERCEPTION “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it. displaying huge stamens and pistils. and for a woman that was too remarkable. they have no time to look at a flower. “it’s your world for the moment. when the images are downloaded into the computer. Some found them to be to sensual and erotic. “O'keeffe let herself be seen. come in many colors.garde husband. gave herself like a flower.” said Steiglitz. They swim around our unconscious like schools of rainbow colored fish. cupping her hand and holding it closer to her face. Perception and seeing are two distinct. Our lifelong work consists of allowing these swarms of . My perception. (Knopf/Callaway) In 1927. I see what I couldn't see.” —GEORGIA O’KEEFFE. Our perceptions. isn't there. Most people in the city rush around so. I want them to see it whether they want to or not. O'Keeffe's her large canvases of flowers seen closeup shocked and scandalized the public and the critics. the photographer and gallery owner Steiglitz cautioned her against exhibiting them. when I “develop” them in Photoshop. When I stare through my camera viewfinder and carefully view the scene with my normal mind. my unconscious. sizes and shapes. diverse means of viewing the world. I can trust it and allow the camera to record what.
perceptions to surface. This is the beginning of wisdom. miraculous world around us. order shimmers through and we are comforted. . In the midst of wildness.. Nothing is banned. to unveil themselves in the light. It only grows wilder and more colorful. Such vision never diminishes. Wisdom entails sifting all experience through an uncensored sieve of unconscious desires and playful freedom. like a Titan's garden filled with luxuriant brilliant weeds and gaudy flowers. Entangled among the exuberant growth and ravishing colors we find single images which delight us with their quiet and repose. of seeing the ever changing. in the midst of chaos.
You are undoubtedly familiar with some of the different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Two very narrow regions with the spectrum are the visible light region and the X-ray region. higher frequency regions are on the far right. when light of that particular wavelength strikes the retina of our eye. The visible . BIV. we refer to it as the visible light spectrum. Colors that we do not see are visible to other creatures on this earth. lower frequency regions are located on the far left of the spectrum and the shorter wavelength. indigo (I). You may read the following explanation if you wish or go on. yellow (Y). we are referring to visible light. The visible light region is the very narrow band of wavelengths located to the right of the infrared region and to the left of the ultraviolet region. It is because of this that visible light is sometimes referred to as ROY G. blue (B). The diagram below depicts the electromagnetic spectrum and its various regions. there is a continuous range or spectrum of wavelengths. Isaac Newton showed that light shining through a prism will be separated into its different wavelengths and will thus show the various colors that visible light is comprised of. Each color is characteristic of a distinct wavelength. Electromagnetic waves exist with an enormous range of frequencies. orange (O). The entire range of the spectrum is often broken into specific regions. Though electromagnetic waves exist in a vast range of wavelengths. and violet (V). green (G). we perceive that specific color sensation. Between red and violet. for these reasons. and different wavelengths of light waves will bend varying amounts upon passage through a prism.ADDENDUM: THE VISIBLE SPECTRUM We see only a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum." we are referring to a type of electromagnetic wave which stimulates the retina of our eyes. Dispersion of visible light produces the colors red (R). The longer wavelength. The subdividing of the entire spectrum into smaller spectra is done mostly on the basis of how each region of electromagnetic waves interacts with matter. This continuous range of frequencies is known as the electromagnetic spectrum. visible light is dispersed upon passage through a prism. In this sense. The separation of visible light into its different colors is known as dispersion. Each individual wavelength within the spectrum of visible light wavelengths is representative of a particular color. The red wavelengths of light are the longer wavelengths and the violet wavelengths of light are the shorter wavelengths. a small spectrum of the range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. That is. Since this narrow band of wavelengths is the means by which humans see. our eyes are sensitive to only a very narrow band. Normally when we use the term "light.
We see what is not there. —physicsclassroom. Thus. Technically speaking. it means that there are no wavelengths of visible light striking your eye as you sight at the surroundings.light spectrum is shown in the diagram below when all the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum strike your eye at the same time. If all the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum give the appearance of white. Technically speaking.com Shall we dance? In Zen & the Art of Archery . visible light is sometimes referred to as white light. author Herrigel speaks of his master constantly referring to archery as a dance. Light is the greatest dancer. white is perceived. but rather the combination of all the colors of the visible light spectrum. The visible and invisible rainbows of the electromagnetic spectrum are our lives. Once more. white is not a color at all. We use our intuitive no-mind and Zen like clairvoyance. black is not actually a color. The archer dances his shots. EPILOGUE . So when you are in a room with no lights and everything around you appears black. then none of the wavelengths would lead to the appearance of black. We see all of the invisible spectrum of light which daily dances through our lives. We dance with light to the farthest reaches of human perception and understanding. black is merely the absence of the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum.
a metaphor for the next great endeavour. especially if it knocks us up and away from our preconceptions. we undergo a rite of passage.AD ASTRA (Art is Worth Dying For) I believe we go through an endless series of births and rebirths during our tenure and growth on this earth. the winding and endless road to knowledge is our home. The body. self-examination. the greatest creativity. Once a challenging peak is climbed. or back down the mountain. A jazz singer on FM radio the other day sang a refrain. when the future beckons tantalizingly and everything is possible. we encounter a pivotal time. Often." So it is. A mountain climber trapped above twenty to twenty-five thousand feet or higher must come down for oxygen soon or deteriorate and die. beginning again. like the brain feeds upon itself. success or failure. AUDACE! . I believe every great enterprise. higher peak. every campaign to acquire new knowledge. Like life itself. most sanguine and felicitous parts of novels and movies often occur in the first half when striving is all. It's too easy to begin an enterprise with innocent enthusiasm and passion. He or she. "Every knock is a boost. youthfulness in ideas and in the work itself is everything . having reached a peak. Perhaps "desert" is simply a staging ground. hard work. and the will to make the desert flower. tedium overtakes the climber in pursuit of meaning and creative growth. At certain periods in our creative lives. has a curve of accomplishment: the beginning. Each new peak we attain reveals views of other heretofore hidden heights. must rest from other necessary and tiresome labors unrelated to growth and creating. Moses spent forty years in the desert and never reached the promised land. Rest and recuperation is needed before another attempt is possible. The best. enjoy the view! The next step must be to another. Our growth and perception never ends.
and if need be. LIGHT THE SKY The vitality of thoughts is in adventure.The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. and we must rise with the occasion. Forward. Shed it! We must each take our inspired and abundant creative talent and free it from the itchy. We must disenthrall ourselves. and act anew. "Audace. audace. As our case is new. fecund fields where new ideas may glisten in the dawn of new endeavors like early morning dew on flowers and grass. We must act forcefully before the routine and tedium of endless petty details despoil our dreams and defeat our ends. . — Lincoln's Second Annual Message to Congress. We must. its custodians have fervor and live for it. so we must think anew. "disenthrall ourselves" and move on to fresh. Ideas won't keep. Something must be done about them. The occasion is piled high with difficulty. die for it. We must send them roaming. audace" cried de Gaulle. always forward. ideas won't wait. cold harness of tasks better left to career administrators. Life demands action. When the idea is new. in Lincoln's words. The workaday "nitty gritty" conspires to shackle our talents. and then we shall save our country.
We set out. color and beauty. seek and find venues that need. -. and we are not alone ? . free will. indeed demand. Shouldn't we spend our time working on projects that illuminate the darkness. such aspirations. Anthony Hopkins playing C. we have purpose. to make us know that? To make us know that placed here willy-nilly on this spinning globe that sometimes seems like the Sea of Fertility on the moon—a nihilistic wasteland. Power and Magic In it. soul wrenching awareness of the cascading beauty and symbolism of life itself? Whatever you can or want to do -Begin it! Boldness has genius. We must unleash our God given extraordinary abilities and free them to race across the sky like the Sun God's fiery steeds." Isn't that the purpose of all of art and creation. great ambitions crave great projects. great energy. we wither in a stale environment where bean counters rule and dreams die slowly and painfully. Great talent. Lewis speaks an idea garnered from a student. that contain great challenges and require facilities to implement them on a grand and worthy scale. like a blanket of oily soot. smothers the world of new ideas and visions? Shouldn't we work on enterprises that wash away gloom and give birth to a new.GOETHE WE ARE NOT ALONE In the movie Shadowlands. "We read to know we are not alone. which. a ghostly apparition in an unblinking cosmos—that here on this speck of green earth whirling round a small sun. talent.—ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD Everyone of us is an untapped reservoir of becoming. S. aflame with light. If not.
Very little of value may be found between. not crawl. the sole elements that conspire to make us more than slouching beasts. —ORTEGA Y GASSET. We must protect the God given flame of inspiration ere it flickers out in the temples of money changers. We are all poets at heart. love and creation. in the offices of bureaucrats. to crawl. our destinations are our inspiration. in the cellars of misers and bean counters. the poet's to invent what is non-existent. moral and cultural values. to dance. The man's lot is to live his human life. we read of Odysseus. “What can the vintner buy one half so precious as what he sells?" We are fortune's vintners pressing dreams from dew covered . not grunt. The Dehumanization of Art We read in Omar Khayyum's poem The Rubiyat . Always the journey. never the end. or sadly. A Modern Sequel . to setting off on another voyage into the unknown? Odyssus set sail again in search of new worlds after he regained his kingdom Ithaca. to fly on wings of thought to far reaches of the planet and to the ends of the universe.Enjoy life? Of course! We are born to sing. but as the fires of volcanoes renew the earth. We were born to inhabit and create on a planet so fair and beautiful that "heaven" is but a solipsism and a mockery of Paradise here and now The poet begins where the man ends. to the renewal of youthful dreams." We work to display the joy of what we create each day and each day is our reward. to sally forth into the universes of thought and action. dreams that make life real. Passion and joy rule our lives. Our dreams arise from inspiration. not recklessly. We are born to fly. THE WINE OF PASSION We read in Omar Khayyum's poem The Rubiyat . In Nikos Kazantzakis's great poem “ The Odyssey. Without passion we create grey slag heaps of time worn existence. “What can the vintner buy one half so precious as what he sells?" We are fortune's vintners pressing dreams from dew covered grapes. "My voyages are my Ithaca. our efforts our lives. What pleasure compares to a new creative challenge.
We were born to inhabit and create on a planet so fair and beautiful that "heaven" is but a solipsism and a mockery of Paradise here and now The poet begins where the man ends. Passion and joy rule our lives. the sole elements that conspire to make us more than slouching beasts. love and creation. but as the fires of volcanoes renew the earth. moral and cultural values. We must protect the God given flame of inspiration ere it flickers out in the temples of money changers. but rise to snow peaked mountains towering into the next world. —ORTEGA Y GASSET. the poet's to invent what is non-existent. dreams that make life real. The Dehumanization of Art LONG AND HARD ARE THE SKY ROADS Our creative desires and endeavors must not be reduced to shopping malls of clever exhibits and boutiques. in the cellars of misers and bean counters.grapes. We are all poets at heart. not recklessly. The man's lot is to live his human life. in the offices of bureaucrats. Our dreams arise from inspiration. We seek the . Without passion we create grey slag heaps of time worn existence.
we must find our way back to that exuberant dawn of innocence and spiritual dignity. however new and bold. it is not made for any decreed purpose. It is not a viewer. the art of music and dance. Basquiat. I believe the sometimes hidden purpose of all art is to raise the level of the viewer's perceptions. but hard and long are the sky roads and many are those who would tame the spirits that ride with the chariot of the sun god. Brancusi or Rodin. must never bow to the whiplash of bureaucracy or cries for what is politically correct. the paintings of Van Gogh. it is the artist himself or herself who must discern what really matters. From modesty comes grace. a fiery grace that lights the world. Removed from our close contact with the earth. flaming nebulae millions of light years away. the uncanny beauty of worlds in collision. the seeker of the way of art. they are . our minds that will not age unless left idle. surrounded by paved roads. or an audience that must be enlightened. The artist. music that comes from Bach in the B minor Mass or from the dying Schubert in the late piano sonatas. Such enterprises can be found. concrete and glass. explored and made real.unknown. The true artist. see-er or seeker creates and grows because he or she is creation itself. wisdom and hospitality of so many peoples that I speak of. to welcome discoveries. bewildered or chastened. I do not ignore the appalling poverty and misery found in many undeveloped and developing countries. Matisse. What else compares with the experience of art itself? All of art. I often encounter this dawn roaming the earth into "primitive" places. We embrace the human ability to rise to an occasion. No power must come between that holy gift and the expression of it for the joy of mankind. the sound of wind and wave and rain. pinnacles and arches in the Southwest. de Kooning. the grand architectonic "musical" forms of canyons. to make life worthwhile. the sculpture of Moore. places where human beings embrace mother Gaea with innocence and praise her. sculpture and science. our hearts filled with the sheer exuberance of liberation—liberation of our uncanny abilities to grow and flower in the commonplace wastelands of over civilized citified cultures. to shed light. It is the wonderful kindness. ART MAKES US MORE HUMAN We stand measured by the breadth of our expanding souls. I add the caveat that art is .
launch. Hard it is to wrench oneself from the turmoil of self-created "necessary" mundane projects whose momentum. like a speeding freight train is difficult to stop and makes a great screeching and squawking when slowed. All of art and science beckons to human beings to look. forever hastening to those places which capture our hearts. when trees suddenly bud and flowers bloom out of . Better to leave the dilapidated train. fly to the places and palaces we dream of.one and the same. to touch. the Jews. rocket off. the Buddhists. the Muslims. to see. SPRINGTIME IN DECEMBER Every formula which express a law of nature is a hymn to God. sing to our souls and reward us with innocence. We will come to know again the joyful springtime that comes unexpected and radiant late in autumn or dead of winter. or anyone's search for religious meaning in symbols or saints. —lARIA MITCHELL Yes to that hymn. to discover that we are not alone. to hear. and yes to going forward! I make no difference between the God of the Christians. yes to the creative mind.
Prometheus. an unlicensed oracle. October is the fallen leaf. an insolent mouthpiece for Gaea. I am a lover and a fool. Our nascent light must not set in darkening shadows of discontent. If we be favored by the gods with energy. else it is a lesser life) to strive and seek a distant shore unmapped. There is no end to energy. or be made unbearable by puerile and punitive endeavors. a labor fit for Hercules. Autumn is for Understanding FOR THE HAPPY FEW (OR MANY) We all may share the blessed lifelong burden of creating and loving. It is the distant hills once more in sight and the enduring constellations above them once again. then we must and shall employ it for the good of the earth insofar as we are capable of understanding that good.season. but it is also a horizon more clearly seen. uncharted and unbounded. daring and beautiful. We must avoid . We were born to inhabit this halcyon paradise of earth while we live (living means creating. I will sing of joy. Great deeds begin with a multitude of tedious details which may seem to deny the light of creation from rising each morning like the sun. Then we may give thanks and praise and rejoice in the knowledge that we are forever young. energy which is eternal delight in Blake's words. a cracked bell. Aphrodite or Apollo in a flourishing civilization where greed and lust for power often overshadow humanity's long journey to the stars. —HAL BORLAND .
We toil for the coming happy many who seek what we seek. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare.. if thou hast understanding. Art is the religion of the spirit and the religion of the deepest unconscious striving of the fecund but tip of evolution. Art is evolutions' way of knowing herself. glorious. seekers and seers who fiercely create and bring these shattering and seductive visions to light shall be as prophets of old. We work. It is the business of the future to be dangerous. WHO WILL STAND? We happy see-ers. the burgeoning glory of an ever fecund.. and all the sons of God shouted for joy? .When the morning stars sang together. for the happy few. Who will or can stand with the Lord in his place and listen to his words? I neither mock nor defile any religion nor use the cantos of praise other than with respect and joy for spiritual enlightenment. We were born. We toil because we must. brained and blessed to do Gaea's great bidding.” said Alfred North Whitehead. the thrice blessed godly virtue of questioning. We toil to give form and space and song to what has not been seen enough before. "blind" and dreaded. in Stendahl's words. ever new. We bring to Gaea (and Gaea is God and earth and holy) all that she is and wants to be and we cannot help ourselves. Nothing else or less will do. ever flabbergasting. green and gratifying earth.making godlike judgements as to what is good.
Gaea's legions.-. and put it under a bushel. a mighty work which make this planet a vaulted heaven where mortals convene and converse with gods. . Jew. love and compassion. With zeal. a great jazz in the night. Neither do men light a candle. jubilantly.THE BIBLE . the legions of creativity. Christian. and it give light unto all that are in the house. a tintinnabulation of ringing bells to fill the mountain steeps with echoes of glory.. audacity. the teachings remain. We must follow our hearts no matter where. that they may see your good works. the voice in the wilderness soon forgotten. *Ye are the light of the world. Job XXXVIII Open the gates for we are as sounding brass.. Moslem. joyfully. Let your light so shine before men. but on a candlestick. inspiration and courage we do the bidding of gods and spirits. THE SERMON OF CREATION Is not all of art and science part of that great sermon? Is not the act of creating art the same act of reverence as lighting a candle? Isn't a human being born to create those things which glorify the Father whether He or She be Buddhist. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. and glorify your Father which is in heaven. the army of the Lord of hosts. Father. Shinto. The sermon on the mount* goes unheeded.
CREATION'S STARRY LIGHTHOUSE A wanderer on this earth. to seek.. It is sometimes hard to keep my eye on the holy beacon of creative enrichment. the mist shrouded lighthouse whose radiant beams illuminate a thousand. the Zen monk's traditional shakuhachi flute meditations or any other glorious religious music celebrates the light. thousand deadly reefs and shoals in a world often gone mad. as the Buddhist monk loves the Eightfold Path and the Four Noble Truths. from the soul. to make a world where art and love blossom like cactus flowers in vast deserts of ignorance. to celebrate the earth. to know. the light that is God. discovery and enlightenment. Starry eyed. Art which comes from the heart. to understand. We stand together with artists and scientists. filled with zeal and energy. as a sky flowering lightning and rainbows. Bach. we undertake to make a world more fit for humanity's great mission. the light of God. no dry fugue maker. to find. Each new challenge begins in innocence. Bach's music. was as passionate as a water lily in the dawn. from the spirit and from the love of life is holy. . I witness the seemingly endless striving of fecund humanity to break the shackles of earthbound tedium. shamans.worshipper of Mother Earth or earth spirits? Bach loved the Father as he loved life itself.
Ode on Intimations of Immortality.." The entire Ode spirals down to us like a glittering nebulae. For once I stood In the white windy presence of eternity. life will not press so close. memento mori of that place from which we came. like fragrant wildflowers. And cometh from afar: Nor in entire forgetfulness. We carry our heads high in the myriad constellations of glittering stars.WORDSWORTH . — EUNICE TIETJENS . he saw shadows. Our gifts. And always I shall feel time ravel thin about me. voyages into the unknown. voyages away from stuffy. whose lives become voyages. But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God.. having known. Hath had elsewhere its setting. our life's star. The fruit of our endeavors. -.. And not in utter nakedness.preachers and prophets. And time will come close about me. his great lament " Though nothing can bring back the hour/Of splendour in the grass. the radiant genesis of glory. rotting fruit. yield love potions we toast to the glory of the earth. of glory in the flower . we shape the world we inhabit. a quasar billions of light years away shedding the radiance of a giant collapsing star. make beautiful solace for a moment of rapture. We stand beside all who seek to know. who is our home. Wordsworth bemoaned the seeming loss of his own innocence. not measured out like cold coins or lifeless currency. and my soul stir to the rhythm of the daily round. the dregs of futile toil. smothering sarcophaguses filled with overripe. a star swathed cradle of innocence. Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us. Our labors flower and bear fruits in their season. Yet. The art's the thing. In his monumental poem.. for we contain in our mortal bodies the whirling troposphere of lightning and great storms. shades of the prison house closing in.
Not as solons in the great courts of kings.. we are at play in fertile fields filled with spring freshets and flowers. innocent and filled with joy at what we do not know yet yearn to know. the cycles of the seasons of art that bestow everlasting youth. nor custom stale/Her infinite variety. Antony and Cleopatra .. "success" imprisons us in a grey claustrophobic. misbegotten misinterpretation of the meaning of life. the tinsel worship of celebrities. Only constant change and growth fuel the engine of creating the new. and the seemingly dangerous. the adoration of power and money. one head older than creation. the enigmatic. One head eternally young.she makes hungry where most she satisfies. We attain our births and rebirths. defeats our aims. never from the adulation of media. Ours is the earth and all that's in it. We will trail clouds of glory as long as we forbear yielding to money-grubbing temptations. the glory of the earth. True success comes from our joy of learning. but as naifs." --SHAKESPEARE . growing and creating.SUCCESS HAS TWO FACES "Success" that duplicitous Janus-like goddess. conquerors or emperors... Age cannot wither her.
We begin anew each time. he is the showers. he thinks like the stars illuminating the nightly heavens. T. We are one with earth. He thinks like the showers coming down from the sky. The absurd man says yes and his efforts will henceforth be unceasing. he thinks like the green foliage shooting forth in the relaxing spring breeze. and it is essential to know the night.. he thinks like the waves rolling on the ocean. the foliage. renew as do the elements and the seasons. like legendary Sisyphus. Albert Camus wrote in The Myth of Sisyphus that “There is no sun without shadow. only to watch it roll back down again. writer and Zen philosopher D. In his introduction to Zen and the Art of Archery .A THINKING REED A creative human being. Indeed..he knows himself to be the master of his days. starting over. "Childlikeness" has to be restored with long years of training in the art of self-forgetfulness. gaining mountain tops. often must push a heavy rock up a steep mountain path to the top. Then this is attained. Suzuki said: Man is a thinking reed but his great works are done when he is not calculating and thinking.”. happy in the knowledge that such efforts renew. .. man thinks yet he does not think. the stars. the ocean. seeking new visions.
They ask us to consider what our presence on this small green and lovely planet means. its thousand fears and follies. which. as Job endured the trials of the Lord. if we are willing to burn for it. Whatever blocks our way must be rent asunder. eternal themes. rainbow spattered dreams. To be an artist is to fail as no other dares to fail. and. to add music to the earth.IMMORTALITY OR BURN Therein "ends" this essay. help define us as human beings. We must endure. for in the end. we will have it. I must conspire to make illusive vagaries. the creative life with its thousand broken idols and masks. confront the perplexing mystery of life itself. as the Red Sea parted for Moses. good housekeeping. into whirling butterflies and birds of paradise to float out into the great world beyond my small studio. These themes flaunt fields of eternal energy. The themes of this essay. A cold blue sky over Manhattan turns slowly pink. A thousand. thousand lights glitter in the dusk. —SAMUEL BECKETT . and to shrink from it. to shed light. we were born to radiance. whirling and sparkling like the vast star studded hoop of our galaxy. that failure is his world. We have but one overriding duty in life. desertion. It is Sunday in winter. Tomorrow I confront the daily exigencies of city life. arts and crafts. to develop our powers to the utmost limits in order to be of use to others and to ourselves.
. housekeeping and clinging needs of those who must yet be inspired. and the baths of all the western stars.. unseen. Perform as one who inspires others to go beyond their self imposed limits. Become as one who midwives and creates things yet unknown.Postscript: LIBERATE THE UNIVERSE WITHIN What should I or you or anyone do? Only those difficult. still untapped reservoirs of talent. for my purpose holds to sail beyond the sunset.. Come my friends. passionate and intransigent things which can and will fulfill our dreams. Go where the wind blows.. Seek and find a place in the sun that understands and strengthens far reaching vision and reinforces your inner search for deep. unbind our limitless creative powers. 'tis not too late to seek a newer world. for it will blow a fair wind.. We must freely and fruitfully undertake projects that involve great energies. .. unleash ourselves from petty ideas.
Ulysses Copyright © Harvey Lloyd 2003 .—TENNYSON .
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