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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
or a significant part of a landscape. we are rendered dumb and speechless. 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. We will examine the strange phenomenon of many artist's works that do not resemble the way we see the world. It is the key to becoming one in heart and spirit with the Gaena. no life can exist. We must begin with training the eye to see “what isn't there.vision. You tend to focus on the main subject. it can be a particle (photon) or a wave. How that process works is a visit to a strange new land. LIGHTWORKS Light is the source of all vision. The Old Testament Bible begins (Genesis: 1) with “And God said. for at the speed of light time stops. an animal. Light gives vision. Light behaves in strange ways. you may not be aware that you are using your “zoom” eye to see. Let there be light. It cannot escape the “event horizon” of a black hole. I celebrate the art of true vision. we lose the greatest gift conferred on sapient beings.” According to Einstein's Theory of Relativity. as has been written by scientists such as Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. And. time slows down. light is ageless. It has been said that light is the face of God and/or the mind of God. be it a person.” When you look through the eyepiece of a camera. holy light makes vision possible. such as a great tree or a sculptural rock. Without the light of the mind. It can be warped by gravity. To truly see is to enhance one's life and make visible the hidden universe of wonders which surround us. as you approach the speed of light. the spirit of the earth. You often do not . (Star Trek fans know that “crossing a galaxy or galaxies is negotiable in six months in warp 9. Light. Light and its bizarre behavior is one of the great mysteries that still baffle physicists and mathematicians.999. Without the ability to see the light with child-like innocence.”) Without light.
ikebana will become more and more interesting to us. Bresson was able to do this in a fraction of a second. A photographer learns to scan the entire frame in an instant to create an image. practiced eye recognized those fleeting moments.. mundane activities can be imbued with new meaning. These arrangements often appear to teeter on the edge of falling apart.. and makes us aware that vision is not just what we see. It wrenches our mind's eye out of its complacent socket of sedentary seeing. a noble samurai would make an ikebana before going into battle. “The decisive moment. he writes: Ikebana can play a tremendous role in modern society. In the preface to his elegiac picture book The Art of Ikebana . Through applying this truth on a daily basis.Creation is the act of discovering something new. It is what we are capable of uncovering in the seemingly commonplace everyday environment. 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. To create is to live. It was said that the outcome of the battle could be predicted by the success of his floral arrangement. The legendary photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson.” meaning the moment when the subject and its significance come together for a split second. ikebana has the power to change and add resonance to our increasingly sterile modern spaces. We may study examples of traditional beauty such as flowers rearranged in a unusual way. His talented. In the feudal days of Samurai warriors in Japan. When the Japanese arrange flowers. coined the phrase. The loveliness of the flowers is displayed in exquisite handmade stoneware or ceramic vases. . We see the everyday beauty of flowers transformed and our eyes are refreshed. The presence of an exquisite asymmetrical composition of ikebana renews and refreshes our vision. one that takes us by surprise. It takes practice. thus transforming them into more vital places. To do this we must learn to see from both sides of our eye without moving our eyeball. Due to the character of its living materials. You will see this in the Japanese art of Ikebana or floral arrangements. they often do so in an asymmetrical way. Ikebana combines visual surprise with its appearance of seemingly teetering on a precipice of abstract arrangement. It has something beautiful to offer the human spirit. Hiroshi Teshigahara is a renowned Japanese film director and headmaster of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana. a way that can enchant or intrigue us with its tension and beauty.notice what appears in most of the image seen in the viewfinder. as we more fully comprehend this relationship between creativity and our daily lives. He made compositions in which all of the elements of the image related to each other in a striking or dynamic way.
from 'Miscellaneous Observations'..THE BACK OF THINGS Monet is said to have asked Renoir how he arranged his flowers in order to paint them. for our spirit has been deprived. he told Monet. 1798) .” .is in ourselves or nowhere. Learning to see comes from taking one's self by surprise and absorbing the unfamiliar until the veil of mystery dissolves. “Chaos in a work of art should shimmer through the veil of order. At present this realm certainly seems to us so dark inside.it throws its shadow into the realm of light. shapeless. 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.when this gloom is past. and the body of shadows has moved away." (Novalis.. he would walk behind the arrangement and paint that view. The external world is the world of shadows .but is not the universe within ourselves? The depths of our spirit are unknown to us . Back at the studio. We will experience greater enjoyment than ever.the past and future .We dream of traveling through the universe . lonely. The German pre-romantic poet Novalis said. Finally content.the mysterious way leads inwards. But how entirely different it will seem to us . Eternity with its worlds .
Without the dark side. Gradually. the light with which we learn to view the world. as a flower unfolds in the springtime. hilarious or scandalous comment and suddenly see him or her again. to take a loved one by surprise with an outrageous. "That really has duendé There is great beauty in the human countenance. discards. I do not speak of seeing only what is beautiful. glory in the light. generates the visual image in the brain. It is a process that will never end. we cannot love in the highest meaning of the word.. and rarely see them clear. holy light which illuminates a dark world with our imaginings and our dreams. It is well.but these new facts have only come to light in the past twentyfive years. the flamenco lacks spiritual depth. Until we gain the ability to see beauty in the simplest things. friends. glory in the earth glows and sheds its radiance over my life. select and. by comparing the selected information to its stored record. acquaintances. . The poet Lorca spoke of duendé . 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. We learn to love ourselves which brings about love of others. The art of seeing relies heavily on the light which comes from our minds. Inner light. It is only with the more recent discoveries about the visual brain that our concept of vision as a process has changed. the dark side of art. at times. We now view it as an active process in which the brain. relatives.. — SEYMOUR ZEKI.Light is supreme. 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. Without duendé he wrote. Inner Vision: An Exploration of Art and the Brain I endeavor to see more each day. Life itself is love and art. a process remarkably similar to what the artist does. He tells of a gypsy woman hearing a cello sonata by Bach being played and exclaiming. in its quest for knowledge about the visual world. the beautiful might become too commonplace.
"I never saw a discontented tree. irreplaceable growths for profit. It is sad that our vision is deprived of these great 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 go wandering forth in all directions with every wind. and we see how beautiful it is. and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. I photograph them (late fall. W. regal domains. I take my nickname C. They grip the ground as though they liked it. . pines. Our too often overly greedy society demands that we cut down many old. It may not be the trees whose lives I truly see. benevolent. transform or otherwise “play” with the trees in Adobe Photoshop to reveal what I believe to be their inner lives. When I walk (dance) among the trees I see them as anthropomorphic shapes. and for a wise compromise with our needs.TREE LIFE I am a tree hugger. patient. Our conscious brains control but little of what we do. but taking action demands a true understanding of how we function in our materialistic society. I grieve for their loss. It is our privileges because we are endowed with an appreciation of “useless” beauty. I can think of nothing more beautiful than the shapes of noble trees. Over the sea itself. but often little concerned with the complex and vast array of machinery below that executes these commands. Suddenly. from the Caucasian Wingnut tree. I enhance. We ride these tempestuous seas hurled high into the sky by monster waves in a storm. great oaks. Many would agree. ancient olives. grand sculpture that makes my heart sing. a rainbow appears. winter. and beautiful. cypress and a hundred others. just as with our own unconscious minds. wise. but my own imagination running riot in their lofty. redwoods. We do not control this. We are like captains on the bridges of ocean liners calling out commands. traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day. I think the trees would be pleased at the attention. they have little or no control. or early spring are best for seeing the bare branches). I vote for the life of trees. going and coming like ourselves.
elephants and cheetahs.NOBLE VISIONS There are visions which never leave my mind because I have not seen them yet. I recall flocks of birds. the green and turquoise waters there and in the Seychelles dazzled me. do not dig deep into the Inca ruin. I stood transfixed at Macchu Picchu. I remember the vast main temple at Angkor Wat in Cambodia. and the pristine archipelagos and icebergs which spoke of time before man. Still. The clarity of the light in Antarctica. if . The Heights of MacchuI Picchu. compelled me to try to see these things well. My images while handsome.” the Okovango Delta in Botswana. I saw them without truly penetrating beneath the surface. although I saw it clearly rather than with depth. Hong Kong still baffles me. remembering Pablo Neruda's great poem. On safari in the “Last Eden. better to have looked harder. My Great Wall and Forbidden City images are merely a breezy. Maybe next time. The splendor of Moorea and Bora Bora in French Polynesia. the tall grass the and winding streams.
this seems better than the Big Bang theory of . A world roaming traveler skims the surface too much. Around our familiar places.. The very term “see the light” bespeaks a seeing beyond what the eye itself sees. to penetrate deep down into the mystery and spiritual life of places and peoples. waves or sub-atomic particles arise spontaneously. we can penetrate to the heart of things. 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. 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. We can visit beloved places over and over. a universe which emerges at random.professional look at these great works of antiquity. This implies a steady state universe. Is a black hole the wormhole(1) to other universes? Quantum physics speaks of fluctuations in the space-time continuum from which vibrations. To some. That is a beginning. There is a need to learn to see and to work in a vertical as well as a horizontal way. over time. how can it permeate the universe without a beginning? We needn't answer questions of such metaphysical depth to see the light. Consider the visual mystery of a black hole.
are transported to the visual cortex. vision emerges. A singularity produces a paradox of infinite forces if observed or experienced. Stephen Hawking has said. 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. 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. and voila. a singularity is prevented from having a physical. energy and gravity within which the laws of physics disappear." A black hole constructs an event horizon around its singularity. It is simply a statement that the Universe was emergent.. the light of the visible spectrum. This is not a statement on a `cause' behind the origin of the Universe.edu/~js/ast123/lectures/lec17. "the actual point of creation (of the universe) lies outside the scope of presently known laws of physics. that if a quantum mechanical process is not strictly forbidden. If there was a Big Bang. — ALBERT EINSTEIN .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. then it must occur). in his writings. light. there we enter the realm of Art and Science. does happen (this is often called the principle of totalitarianism. It is a complex process in which photons are converted into electrical impulses which the brain censors. or observable existence by the process of cosmic censorship. that the actual of the Universe probably derived from a indeterminate sea of potentiality that we call the quantum vacuum. . in which light waves or photons enter the lens of the pupil. is our greatest joy. The uncertainty and unpredictability of the quantum world is manifested in the fact that whatever can happen. strike the retina. Where the world ceases to be the scene of our personal hopes and wishes .uoregon. I have not discovered from the above light's origin. deciphers and then decides what you and I see.the universe exploding and expanding from a singularity. was there light in the singularity? If not. Thus. You cannot penetrate it to observe the singularity without being destroyed. a point of infinite mass. density. Although this is a continuing mystery.. whose properties may always remain beyond our current understanding. — (excerpt from (zebu. The fact that the Universe exists should not be a surprise in the context of what we know about quantum physics. nor is it a statement on a lack of purpose or destiny. .
The interior is dark and mysterious. Since it takes energy to see.) We are not conscious of this. Why not visit online the virtual realms of museums or museums themselves. Start by educating your eye. How do you see what isn't there? What “isn't there” is the real world of wonder. Where. We are surrounded by images in our technological. digital world. the LGN (lateral geniculate nuclesu) where it is sent to the primary visual cortex. We do this with a series of quick glances called saccades ( A rapid intermittent eye movement. Here we are being told what to see. Preliminary processing of the visual information takes place here. a tiny central zone of the eye. our daily fare. The myriad photons of light strike the rods and cones which are wired to a complex “computer” in the retina. and on to other parts of the brain. No matter you say.? Let us “waste” this energy because not to see is to be blind to the real meaning of life on a beautiful planet. you must listen to a great rock band. chaos and beauty that you do not yet see. As with music. the information goes on to a way station. Strangely. you may ask. The eyeball must constantly move.. Much of it is the ordinary. to circumvent or overcome our early conditioning. and may imagine that we see everything sharp. Dubuffet studied the works of children and mad people. or the host of books about artists of every period and see how artists and photographers view and have viewed our world. Very little is known. The eye is no window! From the retina. 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. or are we? More likely our upbringing and our environment have mapped that which is “important” on our brains. as that which occurs when the eyes fix on one point after another in the visual field. Since there is sharpness of vision only at the fovea. Are Dubuffet's grotesque paintings of people real. The actual process of seeing is performed by your brain rather than your eye.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. scientists find more information comes back to the LGN from various parts of the brain than go from it to the brain. a . they were painters. First glance is only the beginning of the process of truly seeing. You may be a photographer or artist and record what is there or you may be trying to see your world. why waste this energy in a battle within ourselves to unmask the outside world. in order to bring an entire scene into focus. Look again. 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.
I had been my whole life a bell. and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck . of shapes which mirror chimeras and gargoyles. It is easy to hear light music the first time.” The same may be done nearer home.. I often walked the rock formations at Pebbly Beach now called Weston Beach. I stood on the grass with the lights in it. but be patient. and you will see a rainbow of colors on the rocks. I describe this place more fully in my picture book.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. I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured. Try it. like viewing a singularity? You are the mirror. your eyes will refresh themselves and begin to see what “isn't there. grass that was wholly fire. a forest or around a lake leads to new visions. It's like seeing what's there. You will learn to interpret the ikebana-like arrangements of the rocks and uncover their distinctive personalities. 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 ancient Carmelo and sandstone conglomerates. utterly focused and utterly dreaming. June 2004) . Annie Dillard discovered a universe at Tinker's Creek. THE SAMURAI WAY: Spiritual Journeys with a Warrior Photographer (Ruder Finn Press. but in many. Is that an impossibility. knocked breathless by a powerful glance. Images play music to my eyes. a nature reserve which juts into the ocean south of Carmel. Not in one day or two. or anything else you might fancy. Light comes from within and without. each cell buzzing with flame. on the outgoing tide early in the morning. California. POINT LOBOS My work is a kind of music. hide a world of abstract art. How do you or I decode this “music of the spheres?” Come with me to Point Lobos. The tilted slabs of many hued rocks on the ocean's edge. It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen.. Walk these rocks slowly. A walk in a botanical garden.
of course. All that is needed is the will to use the most powerful tool in our bodies. to penetrate the fog and miasma of lazy looking and wasted vision. Artists. —DAVID MARR. a story whose next stages are just coming into view.the striate cortex is just the first of over a dozen separate visual areas.. 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. 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. whether with brush or camera. but where's the harm. or do we humans have the ability to see beyond the constructs of early childhood and later conditioning..—ANNIE DILLARD . Why.beginning . the magical tool which worships the light. while walking past a field of wild flowers early in the morning. see a great deal that is invisible to many others. The knowledge we have now is really only the beginning of an effort to understand the physiological basis of perception. Each of us has the power to see in ways that few human beings have learned to see. 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.. Do we want to? It may be forbidden fruit. the human eye. each of which maps the whole visual field..
They are indeed lovely. precariously hung branches of huge trees that stretch over us takes sudden awakening of our ancient nomind.. Brain. all the past as well as all the future.. Joseph Conrad wrote. arching into the sky.with the striate cortex. “The mind of man is capable of anything— because everything is in it. Eye.” .We are far from understanding the perception of objects. our intuitive mind. each area feeds into two or more areas higher in the hierarchy.. altogether delightful. We all live near or in the midst of trees.. Shall we not look deeper and study their marvelous construction? The art of nature is the source of all art. To see the beauty and marvelous symmetry and asymmetry disguised or hidden in the twisting. For each of these areas.. casting cool shadows for us to linger under. turning.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. — DAVID HUBEL .. and Vision The mystery of how vision works compels us to discover what we may truly learn to see.
are beginning to harvest new clues to the origin and evolution of the universe's largest building blocks. the galaxies. The Hubble .ORIGINS Two of NASA's Great Observatories. It's a bit like finding a family scrapbook containing snapshots that capture the lives of family members from infancy through adolescence to adulthood. bolstered by the largest ground-based telescopes around the world.
We will increase our vision as we enlarge our cosmic curiosity which views all creation with a wondering. grows small. to acknowledge that there is an end to life and growth. the eminent British mathematician. The universe within each of our brains contains more possible connections than the number of stars in all of the galaxies combined. and research astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. head of the Hubble Space Telescope portion of the survey. He paints not what he sees. That means the processes in the brain are virtually infinite and cannot ever be completely understood because of the workings of quantum indeterminacy. to love. and expires—and expires. We have the unlimited potential to see what no one else has seen. That's a miracle. From a drop of dew on a blade of grass to vast ranges of glacier clad mountains. like ripples in a cosmic sea. as artists see into the future. astronomers are studying galaxy formation and evolution over a wide range of distances and ages. we can discover and see. blobs of protoplasm which thinks. Called the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS). and while thinking see. the heat of life in the handful of dust. I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more—the feeling that I could last for ever. — JOSEPH CONRAD It is too soon to quit. the earth. The astonishing Hubble telescope opens a new window on our universe. We can as well open new windows in our brains to view the countless wonders of our own planet. to vain effort—to death. but what he feels. Painting is a blind man's profession. We are more than crawlers on this earth. outlast the sea. grows cold. what he tells himself about what he has seen. — PABLO PICASSO . Just as the Hubble telescope reveals the more of the cosmic tale of billions of galaxies in interstellar space. the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim." says Mauro Giavalisco. the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys. to soon—before life itself. We invented the gods. shamans and magicians see in their myths and necromancy.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. We can see. wrote in his book Shadows of the Mind. too soon. We can illuminate our world as seers. becomes as though we were gods on a high peak. to perils. Md. prophets. We will abide so long as we increase our vision in ever expanding circles. so our probing minds can discover and see the infinite variety of our whirling planet. "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. we are the stuff the stars are made of. and all men. that the human brain functions at the quantum level. the triumphant conviction of strength. We become visionaries. wandering eye. a gift from the gods. from the heart of a flower to tempestuous seas that circle our planet. Olympus. Roger Penrose.
ashore in the Galapagos Islands.LOOK WITHOUT FEAR We are here to learn. as in Shakespeare's words from King Lear: “We must endure our coming hither as our going hence. She perceives what is yet unseen while looking into the world. clicking their yellow bills and dancing an ancient mating dance. I felt a chill of fear. the mind lies fallow.. Sight and Sensibility. the Psychology of Perception ... I saw them. shackled by the bonds of daily routine. — LAURA SEWALL .. here on this earth willy nilly. able.of what am I doing here ? . while hovering in a helicopter over a deeply crevassed glacier in the Darwin Mountains hard by the Beagle Channel in Patagonia. but perhaps unwilling. It is only when. at whatever the cost. I walked among waved albatross courting. Another time. They did not see me.. used only to seeing what is there in our circumscribed world. Ripeness is all. Once.” At no age is the human mind limited. to take the risk of leaping into true vision. mind-set and fear. We are too often like those albatross. with memory and imagination.She sees that which is possible embedded in what is real bridging between seen and unseen realms. filled with detritus of boring work..
TURNER’S LIGHT J. . He was to open the way for a visionary anticipation of modern painting.He was a unique artist. Turner studied the science of light and color. Instead of merely recording factually what he saw. however. His early training had been as a topographic draftsman. Perhaps the most famous English Romantic landscape artist. transmutes all into glory and beauty. depicts the ravening energy of light which..M. We can learn to see this way by discarding our preconceptions and seeing as we fantasize. Turner (1755-1851 saw and painted 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. he went to the Royal Academy School of art when he was only 15 years old.. both in freeing himself from all past artist traditions and art movements. Turner saw what “wasn't there. a world of rainbows and light.”to the painters of his day. With the years. Such vision emerges from deep immersion into intuitive or Zen no-mind. Wherever he visited he studied the effects of sea and sky in every kind of weather. Turner translated scenes into a light-filled expression of his own romantic feelings. the flamboyant and miraculous play of light on water and sky. Venice was the inspiration of some of Turner's finest work. like an alchemist's stone. he developed a painting technique all his own.W.' A Londoner born and bred. The artist using his or her skill. he became known as 'the painter of light.
Does the light from my eyes influence what my cameras record? A scientist or physiologist might laugh at this idea. You might say that light from your eyes creates your vision and that you can change that light by learning to truly see. The Nigger of the Narcissus VISION EMANATES During the 13 th century. Robert Grosseteste (England).and therefore.. to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives: To our sense of pity and beauty. however there is a great truth hidden here.' Most importantly to our dissertation. and pain. The act of observing a wave/particle at the quantum level raises the probability of that wave being there. i. high end cameras that digitally record images of scenes before me. more permanently enduring. . shared by the earlier Greeks. Whether light or energy.But the artist appeals to that part of our being which is not dependent on wisdom.) We see what our brain instructs us to see. (Experiments in quantum physics hint or show that the observer affects the observed. these signals emanate from our eyes and condition what we see. Current optical theory would disagree with this assertion. that vision involves emanations from the eye to the object perceived. the collapse of the wave function. Grosseteste considered that the properties of light have particular significance in natural philosophy. he held the view. Magister scholarum of the University of Oxford was a proponent of the view that theory should be compared with observation. the way station between the retina and the visual cortex. I work with sophisticated visual tools. He speaks to our capacity for delight and wonder. The rainbow was conjectured to be a consequence of reflection and refraction of sunlight by layers in a 'watery cloud.e. We will see. to that in us which is a gift and not an acquisition -. Our brains send messages to the LGN. — JOSEPH CONRAD .
Catching the Light . 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. author Arthur Zajonc writes.Nature and nature's laws lay hid in the night. The study of light has revealed mystery atop mystery. It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. a dark chamber which receives and emits light What form these light rays take inside our brains is equally dark and obscure. can we then learn to see the light? The eye/brain alliance is a kind of camera obscura. rigidity or laziness can prevent us from viewing and enjoying the works and wonders of all creation. We have the keys to unlock the box and dwell in radiance. Newton's theories of light as corpuscles eventually gave way to Einstein and the enigma of light as both waves and particles (photons). teachers and peers. — ALEXANDER POPE Laws of science should not trap us into complacency about how we see.'. “Goethe phrased it this way. Out of indifferent animal organs the light produces an organ to correspond to itself. In his book.” If light sees us. and so the eye is formed by the light for the light so that the inner light may meet the outer. 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.. “Let Newton be" and all was light. we should never have seen the light. — ALBERT EINSTEIN . our brains map the visual world according to our environments and from instructions received from our parents.. While light cannot escape from a black hole. we ourselves are not constrained from violating our selfimposed limits. Imagine that your brain behaves as a black hole is believed to do in interstellar space.had light not “seen” man. Only fear. Early in life. God said.
a vibrant breathing chalice of all that she has dreamed during an eternity of fecund and felicitous birthing. Row on row of silent sentinels striated with browns and yellows. the endless. riding my thunder stallion down the fading light. the reddening sky and the dark lake transfix me. I am chief of the dusk. Among them. these ‘tapers' burn in the orange light as in a cathedral where the devout light candles. rapture of the deep or sky." Fifteen minutes before sunset. the green meadows of the Needles and Chesler Park. During twenty-five years of circling the globe I've encountered many enchanting scenes. a bow-tie ribbon twined in the petrified red hair of the Colorado plateau. hypnosis. chasing the buffalo rocks down to cliff's edge. Michael lowers the landing gear. I wrote the following: I awake from reverie. Michael whirls the aircraft around in a steep turn. sentient and universal realm of mother earth. for sheer beauty of the landscape. Hozho! . chalice of the universe. At five hundred feet over Lake Powell. Time's fleet arrow speeds across a distant sea of stars out beyond the known universe. fire the camera and wave Michael the pilot on to Canyonlands. We are one. The confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers slides below. harbinger of tonight's full moon. We feel the same. Lake Powell's waters grow dark. Darkness.. the wistful mote and the wise macrocosm. one thousand feet above the fissured rocks. Lake Powell glistens among black rock monoliths and crags. Window open. The Cessna airplane bucks and slows. To the right I see my companion Shirlee's favorite southwestern garden. Somnambulist of early evening. I lean out to photograph Tower Butte framed by Wild Horse Mesa and the pinnacles round the "Crossing of the Fathers. All is beautiful. her chariot. sets full flaps down and throttles back. 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. a speck of protoplasm attached to earth's green bosom. A red sky bands the horizon. interwoven like an measureless Mobius strip. the desert blushing with harmony and music. While photographing for my book of aerial photography Sacred Lands of the Southwest . one million light years from today. slightly dizzy reverie. a blackness full of tears. oxygen deprivation at ten thousand feet. We know the same. I am filled with dreams still aborning. the high plateau regions of the southwest in America are unsurpassed. Our aircraft speeds ahead twixt Navajo Point and Navajo Mountain. her carriage and her dreams. The sun's bloody tomahawk cleaves the distant ridge.WORLD ICONS Often I am asked what is my favorite place in the world. spires and obelisks arrayed like marble hat pins. the magic light paints huge rock monoliths a deep shade of red.
. battlements. spins the light plane into a dizzying descent around the Totem Pole and Yei Bi Chei rocks in Monument Valley. Bear and the Rabbit. I lean out of the open window. Loud is the propeller and louder still the hush of millenniums. we fleet across the picket line of monuments— The King on his Throne. What I saw was revealed later in the developed film and it was good. and in the distance. shadowed by the sun's grim final burning. tiny red mounds. St. Spires. Dying shadows sink into the parched land. ruins and monuments. We veer and turn. no sign of Navajo or sheep. beauty and balance all wrapped in one concept that dwells at the heart of the Navajo world view" — PAUL G. Shirlee and I ride a winged metal spirit that dances in the shimmering yellow sunlight like a mayfly. ephemeral. Images flashed across my vision. Michael banks and turns... Distant cliffs devour the sun shrouding the desert with scorched tears. Time. The setting sun hangs like a burnt brass cymbal. whirling the Cessna towards the great stone "Hands of the Great Spirit. a glorious flight before the sun descends into the underworld.. I relied on no-mind to see for me. I see no life. Michael. deep desert time. our acrobatic pilot of the Cessna 182RG (retractable gear). The ancient ones doze. Fiery embers glow on the horizon. only the silent ghost dance of shadows. hogans face east to greet each newborn sun ball trailing a red placenta of clouds. whirring dervish suspended in thin air. One instant more. spirits of ghost dancers awakening from the afterlife. The earth tumbles beneath me. evidence of crepuscular deities slumbering among the stone sepulchers.Hozhó. towers and rock cliffs rear out of the red desert sand. castles. Long shadows march across the red desert floor. or the immolation of heathens by the friars of the Inquisition.Thirty minutes before sunset. ourselves ghost dancers. time that painstakingly sculpts wisdom and stone monuments weds necromancy's dark invocations to shadowy spirits. intuitive training born of long years of practice. Elmo's fire. Big Indian . I gesture towards the flaming rock mittens. triggering reflex actions on the camera's shutter button. holy shadows on the desert. Whirling and tumbling about." the red rock mittens of Monument valley. my instinctive. a few minutes of epiphany. I was in a trance during those aerial encounters.the word means something like harmony. flying low and close to the stone castles. a spinning. ZOLBROD . The Stagecoach. Mitten crosses mitten.
rather than studying the entire frame. reveal the unseen world. No hurry! Otherwise your ‘snapshot' will only reveal that you were careless and unseeing. Study it until you really see it. are disappointing. among majestic ruins. Use your camera as you would a magnifying glass to examine the exterior that you try to capture. To truly see through the camera viewfinder. emotion. This is the first step. We thought our friends or companion were tall in the image. That is why eyewitnesses often disagree to what they see. The camera is a magical optical device which can. controlled by our brains.ZOOM EYES A camera is a splendid tool to awaken and train the vision. if used with passion and vision. photographs taken on travels at home or abroad. or a grand cityscape. Our “zoom” eyes coax us to see only that part of the image which is our subject. . record what we “should” see. anger or love all influence what we think we have seen. you must look hard. That is why too often. from the macroscopic image of dew on the petals of a rose to the sculptural nobility of a giant tree. Our eyes lie to us. not what is there. fear. Mood. stress. seeing what the camera sees through whichever lens you use. The eye is no camera. all around the perimeter of the image. Our eyes. Vision is as infinite in its many guises as the universe within our brains. yet the print shows them as tiny figures in an unresolved landscape.
( The Manga . Nothing can stop us from seeing except the tired habits of mundane or aborted curiosity and striving.RICHER THAN EMPERORS OR KINGS . and gazed up at the Milky Way. be it a dot or a line.. To see is to dine like a king or emperor. He lived to eighty-nine in a time when that was very rare. An artist. The night sky filled with constellations is a feast for the eyes.at ninety I shall penetrate the mystery of things.. will be alive. 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. 1760-1849)... A writer was once asked if he could imagine writing like Shakespeare. JAMES MICHNER) I acclaim these lines of Hokusai. It must have been sheer energy. if he or she would accomplish much. must be curious and unending in the quest for new visions. we are richer in opportunities than any rulers of the past..all I produced before the age of seventy is not worth taking into account. I would shudder and experience vertigo at the endless distances above me. He changed his name many times as well. The banquet of the world is always on the table. far forward away from all man made light. How they were used. —HOKUSAI . There is no need to fast in the midst of viands beyond imagining. .. Japan. In this age of onrushing technology and unlimited travel opportunities. I've stood on a ship's deck at night far out as sea. He answered that he used words as well.and when I am a hundred and ten everything I do. Better to drown in the search for knowledge than to languish on barren shores of discontent and blindness. just as how each of us uses our eyes is another matter. That's a great way to live. At seventy-three I learned a little about the real structure of nature. to learn and to see. I beg those who live as long as I to see if I keep my word. Wood block Artist. I felt how fortunate to be able to comprehend a little of the wheel of our galaxy and the immensity of the universe. The earth and the heavens flower for us daily. Every one of us can attempt the same.
Children learn implicitly that good people are beautiful and bad people are ugly.'. To truly see people. the first stories most of us hear. giving or passion. the heroines are beautiful. Parents and relatives stir conflicting emotions. A smile goes a long way. we need to love and respect them. All human beings.” We see people according to our own inner needs and conditioning. ‘Ordinary' people are merely glanced at or ignored unless we know them or plan to try to meet them.When in love.. and society restates that message in many subtle ways as they grow older. but Aristotle was right when he observed the ‘beauty is a far greater recommendation than any letter of introduction. author Diane Ackerman writes: We may pretend that beauty is only skin deep. caring. “The way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe. riches and talent. Celebrities of screen... Lovers appear wreathed in splendor. in fairy tales. whether celebrities or otherwise. In A Natural History of the Senses. author John Berger writes.After all.HOW DO YOU SEE PEOPLE? In Ways of Seeing. wear masks. and the wicked sots are ugly. . then grin. you must drop your own mask to enable true seeing of the human being beneath. If you would photograph someone you do not know. Look in the mirror. the sight of the beloved has a completeness which no words and no embrace can match. the heroes are handsome.... music or politics are usually seen with a halo of power.
'” FROM THE HEART I wrote the following to a lovely lady. The appearance of beauty truly comes from within. and he displays a gaping smile with only three front teeth. “It is a Noh saying that. time is needed. then said. a very difficult part to play. A young man from West Africa saw a five foot high power figure from Zaire in my dwelling studio which I call Spirit House. or from the side or below. the memories linger on.” I think so too. In Japanese Noh plays.. Alarmed. Seen from above. the actor must bring the mask to life. the music of the earth can bring great meaning and joy and open one's eyes to the splendor in the world. Those we love for their inner beauty appear more beautiful as time passes.What is beautiful and what is ugly is in the eye of the beholder. As in developing a taste for eating oysters or grasshoppers. I've forgotten who she is. In Ezra Pound and Ernest Fenollosa's book The Classic Noh Theatre of Japan. is often the surface of things. How a mask can change expression is demonstrated in a website (now gone) which sold exquisitely carved masks. she asks why he is following her. The young man stared for a while. wears a horn on its head. the actors. strangely. he must feel the thing as a whole. On hearing his reason. the spiritual. wear exquisitely carved male and female masks. in the street.. the beautiful. we read that tradition has it that a young man seeks to learn to act as the woman Komachi. “That is very beautiful.” And further on we read. contemptuous looks sported by fashion models in ads these days. He is covered with ‘medicine' objects. and watches her every move. . We cannot define beauty. straight on. and depending on the lighting. The appearance of people and things changes as we come to know them. No one is truly ugly unless the ugliness emanates from inside. skulls.. feathers and straw. from the inside. the expressions change. shells. from the eye of the beholder. Often. To succeed. ‘The heart is the form. or appreciating minimalists or abstract painters.it can be a curse in a way for we need to be loved for who and what we truly are which. always men. but not as most westerners might observe beauty. are less than beautiful. for the rich and powerful. It arises from our own perception of the world just as everyone has their own measure of what art they like or hate. He follows a fine old woman eighty years of age. How can anyone spend their brief time on earth in the corporate world only grabbing for more money and things? Only the insubstantial. she tells him it is bad for Noh. You are beautiful and that attracts the rich and powerful. She tells him “For Noh. the staring.
“A man says. 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 cannot really teach those who will not hear or see. and seek to learn ever more about the mysteries of our confounding and delightful world. Chambertin. To love. Our art is the present we freely bestow it on all the others who will share these things. those are the wines of life. We celebrate the entire world bathed in holy light and filled with becoming. sensitivity. only those who inquire and learn can change. I went to the Einstein exhibit at the Natural History Museum this morning —relativity. or feather spirits as in the Japanese Noh play Hagoromo . It went like this. 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.” we change the future by living it and by creating. My forgetting of the lady reminds me of an elegant wine steward on a ship who told us about a wine he recommends. To travel. all the rest are details. crane. "I want to know God's thoughts.That is a real tragedy. Free as an eagle. kindness. I've forgotten the place. loving and not quite tame is a good motto. I have known it. but I remember the wine.'” Isn't that the way it is? Some things are too dear to keep alive except as smoldering embers. our source and our inspiration. to feel and be honest with each other. wisdom and genius together—Einstein once wrote.S. To keep alight the torches of wisdom. therefore it is no illusion. We immerse ourselves in evolution's great journey to discover in that wisdom all we are and ever hope to be. ‘I've forgotten the lady. P." So it is with art and the life of creating. . feel and love. or albatross we soar into the light and see what only a few can see. to converse is bliss. to care. the deepest meaning and the challenge. 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. She flies with those to whom the spiritual life is all important and love is the banner which flaunts desire and freedom. A woman with integrity. inspiration. All that you say about life being fulfilled with a good companion is exactly the way that I think. imagination. Material success is too often an impenetrable fortress and prison for the mind and soul. Friendly. But you know that. We are free when our bonds with another are so light they are fairy spirits darting back and forth—tenins.
According to Relativity theory. The real enigma is light itself. mass increases. blazing stars. it is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. . To add to the mystery.. this makes sense! The cosmos is afire with light. but an all pervasive glow. At the speed of light. the speed of light remains constant. That's easy. time slows down! What is the light? Physicists seem happy to define it with formulas and the wave and photon idea. the kind that makes hydrogen bombs. I cannot race a “ray” of light anymore than I can choose to swim with a wavelet among myriads fluttering in the sea. obscured. anything that burns although fusion.000 miles per second. 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. But of course. not “arrows” of light going in special directions. it is really absorbing all the other colors and reflecting red. like the art of seeing. fire. It appears to be the product of any kind of combustion. however it is a though we imagined countless waves from the sea arrive along with a accompanying flurries of buckshot. The actual color is not seen.THE SPEED OF LIGHT The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. If I could travel at half the speed of light. is so wrapped in conundrums and mystery. Convenient. for we only see a small part of the spectrum of electromagnetic waves of which light is a part. Rays of light fill the universe in a kind of chaos of the visible and invisible. You or I can never travel at the speed of light or anything approaching it. It excites me that the medium of light. as you approach the speed of light. The waves and buckshot are like are photons of light which experiments have shown actually behave as though they were both waves and particles. — ALBERT EINSTEIN I find it very mysterious that. The true nature of things remains a mystery. no matter how fast an object or human travels relative to the speed of light. after much cogitating. “Can you see the light” contains more deep meaning than it may seem. You can see. What do you see when you see familiar places? The heart of the matter is that we see the world indistinctly. a radiance which fills the universe. fuzzily. You cannot imagine light emanating from a frozen body in the blackness of space. If you see a red box. glowing galaxies. according to Einstein's theories. as anything travels closer to the speed of light. may be a more accurate description. We see what we ourselves absorb and process. your mass would be infinite and that is impossible.
. In the chapter “The Mutable Brain. “scientists thought that the brain was like a computer. Here. as when a child learns several languages easily. we are discussing the art of seeing.” Merzenich noted.which established its critical functionality in critical periods. disguise and distort much of the beauty and wonder of ...A NEW BRAIN FOR EVERYONE The September 2003 special issue of Scientific American magazine was entitled “Better Brains.” It now appears that exercise. It had been thought that these processes only happened at certain specific times. we can learn to see what “isn't there. such as reading daily or cruising the Internet enhances its powers. researcher Michael M. without surgery.. proper diet and active use of the brain. at any age. Merzernich says. “The brain was constructed to change. This applies especially to older men and women who often do little to protect their brains in these ways.” I'm for that. however. These findings are critical to helping overcome various disorders of brain function including Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia.” We can reroute visual paths through our brain which will enable us to see through the veils of conditioning and mind-set which hide. and changes the way in which it operates. “Until recently.” He and other researchers now believe the human brain can be extensively remodeled throughout the course of one's life. sets up new circuitry.a hardwired black box. If your brain and mine can change all through our lives. Among the most interesting themes is the new research which indicates that the brain constantly changes. adds neurons. without drugs.
I take trips. Only occasionally does the middle-aged adult venture forth into the wide world of vision. add circuits. replace lost brain cells. and use only a small portion. grow new cells. “Oh.” many will say. and allows atrophy. overweening curiosity about this earth. we lose brain cells constantly. Brain cell loss is not the problem at any age. As we age.” Can you imagine and joy in the favt that our very brains are programmable at any time in our lives. that we can grow new neurons. our ways of thinking. the maturing adult takes what he or she sees for granted. Later on. It is easy to travel lugging the baggage of one's preconceptions like an old rug or comforter. The Scientific American article ends with “The sky's the limit. marvelously claim that we have the ability to change our brains. What is often the problem is lack of a passionate. and we are trying to figure out the rules. peer pressure and smug contentment to shroud the world from view. Youth thinks it has forever. as the real world. A recent study shows that brain cell loss holds steady with aging. worn but homelike. . Scientists now.living on earth. reroute the pathways around the brain. however we have more than we need at all ages. That is a gift from the gods.
” says Donald Carr. whetted. The birds were weightless as well as invisible.” Isn't seeing more than a matter of metaphor. since it means that only the simplest animals perceive the universe as it is. it sees everything. When I walk without a camera. we learn to see. another hundred took flight. exhausted. my own shutter is always open. of writing and thinking of what you see? Isn't it an almost orgasmic like delight of suddenly being jolted into vision. sumptuous paragraphs which taste like vision. glows pink and red in the dawn. above mountaintops or on the land. editing it for my brain.” I could as easily reverse that statement and say that when I walk with a camera. 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. a brilliant observer who transforms daily visions into fragrant. 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. waiting to be seen.SEEING IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT Annie Dillard. the eye which lurks inside your eye. The sky is afire. I live for these moments. At such times. charged and firing without my knowledge. I hope this phenomenal gift will be or is already with you. and only if. We. She mentions walking toward an Osage orange tree which did not appear unusual. smell . Annie says it is possible in deep space to sail on a solar wind. soul and passion behind the lens. content? Annie is impartial. Burning like desire. views islands hidden in grey mists. rapt.'” That begs the question. As she walked closer. props up rainbows. on the other side of the spectrum. epiphanies and endless wonder. The mead of the Gods tastes sweet. can interpret if. “Not a branch or a twig budged. When I see this way I am above all an unscrupulous observer. I remember dawn breaking over dark seas as I flew out over the Caribbean in a helicopter. What a camera sees depends on the mind. in A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek writes of vision in a chapter called “Seeing. like the blush of opening roses. disheveled. Silver sheen burnishes their lofty edges as the sun begins to emerge far below. Agreed. whether at sea. it's rapture.. churns green and white in a tempest. cuts and splices what I do see. translucent. Annie says there is another kind of seeing that involves a letting go. my own shutter opens.”The secret of seeing is to sail on a solar wind. I add that you must practice seeing. not sit on the sidelines. I see a red ball dimly appear through the dawn mist. heart. giant luminous ladders.” She says that it's a matter of keeping one's eyes open. With or without a camera. “When I see this way I sway transfixed and emptied. and vision is sweeter than wine. Hone and spread your spirit till you yourself are a sail. When I walk with a camera. An endlessly inquiring and insightful mind is as restless as the shimmering mirror of the sea reflecting scudding cloud castles.. We see what we see. God's rays. The two difference between the two ways of seeing is the difference between walking with and without a camera. Out over the sea. straddle the seas and rise into the heavens. “A nightmare network of ganglia. and the moment's light prints on my own silver gut. Within minutes flares of light. when suddenly a hundred red-winged blackbirds flew out of the tree.” 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. Dark thunder clouds roil and tumble high into the dawn light. . What she or we can see is all there as well. for the simplest animals have no way to interpret what they see in a conscious way.. the sky lights up slowly. Your eager and inquisitive primal eye. broadside to the merest puff. I walk from shot to shot reading the light on a calibrated meter.
life. sound and feel like vision. To see is to understand the powerful currents that rage across the seas and continents of the earth—dreadful visions of war and genocide. The candles lit by art burn brighter than the explosions of stars. You and I are deeply troubled and moved by these things. Such spectacles mercilessly invade our vision through the roar and outpourings from newspapers. —ALBERT EINSTEIN A see-er or seer cannot be too comfortable. the scourge of disease —endless travails which human beings have endured since the dawn of history.” said Eleanor Roosevelt. tv.like vision. What is vision. beauty. The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness. You've read it? Read it again! I will. ravages of floods and eruptions. a system of ethics built on this basis would be sufficient only for a herd of cattle.. it pours out a balm upon a troubled world.. Can an artist or new vision make the world a better place? Art comes from truly seeing. and truth. BETTER TO LIGHT A CANDLE. And she has a sense of humor. love or art without a sense of humor? Read A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek . Deep in the . radio and the Internet. the slaughter of millions of innocents. To make a goal of comfort or happiness has never appealed to me. “Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
What we know of evil we cannot ever lightly accept. It was called Perfection/Impermanence: Contemporary Ikebana. to different from my mind set. 2003. SIGHT UNSEEN—MYSTERIOUS IKEBANA On July 6. I never even noticed a giant explosion of shrubbery attached behind the rear porch. I went equipped with my Canon digital cameras to see and record the life of the flowers there. understanding and desire inflame our souls. an estate and garden in the Bronx open to the public. I walked up to the man at the desk and asked him where the ikebana was to be found. 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.playground of myths which inhabit our minds. I used my macro lens and diffused strobe flash. However. Dodging the sprinklers in the garden in front of the conservatory. He pointed to the rooms and said that was the contemporary ikebana. love. I expected to see the ikebana I loved. from my love of delicate ikebana arrangements. Now an then you need a good blow . Soon. What I saw when I walked inside took me by surprise and puzzled me. You and I are those fiery furnaces. I could not yet see these things as ikebana. flowers arranged asymmetrically in vases. passion. There is a dark side to art. That was fine. lighthouses or blazing candelabra which illuminate some small part of the darkness. I went with a friend to visit Wave Hill. I took photographs of the installations in a somewhat shaken manner. We walked to an exhibition in the Glyndor Gallery located inside a red brick house. I exhausted the subject for the moment. They were too large. just as there is a dark side to all of human nature. I tried to peer deep into the flowers. without shadows we could not comprehend the light.
but first I have to constantly see anew. certainly. ikebana. ikasu –– to put in the best light. I write about seeing and I just realized that I didn't see anything at first at the exhibit and. to arrive at one's essence. At Wave Hill. I see with my camera. It employs natural and inorganic materials. Annie said that without her camera she was an unscrupulous observer. use of living plants. Arrangement. I saw little. breathing things. I went to Wave Hill to see flower gardens.. said this in part about the exhibit: Ikebana comes from a long tradition that celebrates life and respects plants as living. To arrange. and encourages free expression and often takes the form of large-scale installations. What will I see when I learn to see the new contemporary ikebana? . I saw a new variation of a loved theme. to be alive.org. the roar and splash of icebergs calving. That provokes me to see it again until I see it. relationship to a space. the artists'' own creative process and energy. that heralds true seeing. she saw everything. The origins of the word stem from three verbs: ikeru to place or arrange. not enough. and the concept of time or the transience of living matter are all components of Ikebana. When I view “quiet” asymmetrical arrangements of traditional ikebana. to arrive at one's essence. The Wave Hill site on the internet: wavehill. yet I didn't see it. the unheard clash of galaxies devouring each other in the blackness of space. ikiru –– to live. I see the raging drama of great storms at sea. in those incredulous first moments. a form of arrangement that is released from the confines of the vase. the silence of dewdrops on wild flowers in the mist. Progressive Japanese flower artists have developed Contemporary Ikebana. to live. The practice requires a disciplined training in which the artist strives to create perfection and impermanence in each installation or display. to see in the best light.along the side of the head to wake you up from smugness or complacency.
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.
. don't you?.MYSTIC VISION In his book. He wrote of the mystical side of life.) What was not clear in the 1950's is what that mapping might mean. Tajikistan in central Asia on 30 September 1207 to a family of learned theologians. approaching God as though he was a great bird which wafted down sparkling feathers in the holy light. and in metaphysical journeying. endless work at detoxification of the visual structure of your brain is needed. The pulpit's a bully place if the priest be wise enough. like pterodactyls? I neither proselytize for or embrace any man's religion or woman's either. What you get is what your brain decides. I want to see. Noble prize winning scientist David Hubel writes: The visual world is systematically mapped on the geniculate and cortex. In those days it was not obvious that the brain operates on the information it receives. The poet Rumi was born in Wakhsh. (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. Poetry breeds visions as does the mystic.. in clouds. Their complete functions are still little understood although you may read that the paths are charted. I will embrace every religion in spirit. prophet or shaman's intoxicated ruminations. and has shed his or her mortal coils for the embrace of the . Do any of you see visions in the church while eating the body of the Lord. It's worse than drugs or alcohol. transforming it in such a way as to make it more useful. or do you drink the sacred wine and whirl off into unknown reaches of holy space.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. Brain and Vision . Eye.” Digest that! What you see isn't what you get. and you can't control it. or can you? Detoxification. I want to see everything.
displayed their sculptural grandeur. not seeing but seeing. fly away bird to your native home. You have leapt free of the cage Your wings are flung back in the wind of God. I put saw in italics because my no-mind or intuitive reflex unconscious mind saw these trees. wheeling. 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. The lady with me said she watched me “dance” around the trees which. We are not granted vision without cost. Fly away. I was in a trance. Hurry. I visited the Bayard Cutting Arboretum on Long Island to see and photograph the trees for a fine art project I'm working on. dancing around the splendid trunks. shorn of leaves. It keeps the shark out but it keeps you in while outside rainbow schools of fish flaunt flamboyant colors. The camera did its work. which. The vision of a shaman must be earned by dying and rebirth.” One mild winter day. seeing deep into the hearts and spirits of these noble trees which flung their convoluted. VERY TREE . I presided like a floating spirit. asymmetrical spreads of branches high over my head. enraptured. Leave behind the stagnant and marshy waters. ratcheting. spinning mystery of life on earth “to sail beyond the sunsets. We can't all be divers hooked up to aqua lungs and oxygen tanks in or out of cages. is not a bad way to look at the art of seeing... and the baths of all the western stars.unseeable and holy of holies. We can dive naked and filled with wonder into the flowering. hurry. I saw a singular kind of beauty. O bird. hurry. Single branches often appeared too massive and heavy to support themselves.
Getting no seed to sprout.Forget the tube of bark. Stripped of green root and leaf. — STANLEY KUNITZ . Bright incidental bird Whose melody is fanned Among the bundled sheaves Wild spool of the winding word. Reject: and let there be Only tree. 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. Colors pour in and out: Here is a timeless structure wrought Like the candelabrum of pure thought. Tenacious like a hand Gnarled rootage in the dark Interior of land. Alliterative leaves.
clams.. At night the ocean's surface often glows with luminous light. At night. or at least we used to. They've been my base during many adventures. Billions of single celled organisms—dinoflagellates. Deep beneath the surface of the sea. hiding or hunting. squid. jellyfish and their relatives the sea-pens arm themselves with light to dazzle. ship captains at sea flashed coded light signals to each other. starfish.BRITTLE STARS I've traveled to hundreds of ports of call around the world on great ships. Far beneath. Beneath the sea nearly 100 percent of bioluminescent energy is converted into light. Signalling or seeing.But in the gloomy abyss beneath. half plant. The rest is lost in heat. frighten. bursts of light flicker round .. snails. They still do at night during wartime to avoid breaking radio silence. Jellyfish. A deep sea jellyfish spins like a wheel of fireworks. or alert themselves to predators. This essay taken from my travel journals was written while making an Atlantic ocean crossing on Cunard Line's QE2. worms. creatures communicate with light. in that frightening abyss where light never calls. in eternal night. before the advent of radio. half animal—flash myriads of galaxies dancing on the murmuring waves. sea-squirts. A Celebration Communicate with light? We humans do it. It deals with the phenomena of light in the depths of the sea. shrimps and other crustaceans convert chemical energy into light energy. a constellation of fish radiates light. We humans get only 10 percent of electric energy out light bulbs in the form of light. color has little function. — THE OCEANS . luring or decoying — color and pattern are basic to communication and concealment among animals in the ocean. as in the rest of the natural world. here.
themselves dark. invisible to other predators who see no colors. fly into the clouds of light. which. A few clever fish employ a headlight which emits deep red light in the abyss where no colored light penetrates. like voracious angler fish. Angler fish. luminescent signals to open up dialogues. minus one arm tip. At night QE2 sparkles with a thousand lights. In these labyrinthian corridors. I am one with Oceanus's womb of sentient life. a beacon across billions of light years. illuminate. dangle luminescent lures to entrap my conscious mind and bend my silver head to darkness and despair. glow. The females recognize their mate's patterns. What a dance that would be! No special effects. Brittle star. it sheds an arm tip. Each male flashes points of light in unique individual patterns. crawls off to safety. If a barrage of lights from its arms fail to frighten off its enemy. continues to flash. Meanwhile. In the Caribbean. discover their consorts and mate in the dark. I will glow with a terrible fire to light deep seas of my mind. you birth light as we live by light. shark toothed jaws. I ride beams of light into abyssal clouds. interstellar wastes trembling with nascent . I glow. the brittle star. Ocean. sparking and spitting like a Catherine's wheel. They alone can see the red shrimps. who have evolved eyelid like shutters to turn out the lights when danger comes. Radiate. I dance through the heavens like the seven daughters of Atlas. The light comes from clouds of glowing bacteria inhabiting the angler fish's lures. lights out. biochemistry converting energy to light. Most wonderful. miles down. I will enter dreadful abysses where thoughts. veritable clouds of light. you are my guiding light. Myriads of tiny creatures flash lights. I wrap myself in light's energy a thousand fathoms down. pulsing lights. the brittle-star fish outsmarts its enemies with a brilliant strategy. My light shines forever. I think. Glowing bacteria flash signals from the eyes of flashlight fish. I wish I could flash lights in the dark and dance away from my sparkling body parts. leaving a morsel rather than a banquet. miraculously. dangle luminous 'bait' from their dorsal fin fishing poles to lure prey into gaping. another kind of celebration takes place—a celebration of light. tapestries of fishy design. firefleas swim in groups.its body. a fireworks display to mock a billion whirling chalices of stars birthing in deep space. shed my sparkling limbs round Jupiter and Saturn. clouds of shimmering thoughts wink on and off. Below the glittering QE2 in the abyssal sea. journey on the solar wind into deep space. coded mites. an eternal delight.
novas sparkling amidst fiery seas of condensing dust.an entire civilization .lies just outside the pale of common thought. There is so much beyond all that has ever yet been imagined. 1883. upon which the vessel of thought has not yet been launched. A great life . The Story of My Heart THE GOD OF LIGHT . glitter. as yet unrecognized……There is an immense ocean over which the mind can sail. Light. light alone reigns supreme. flame into furious fusion to cradle countless newborn stars in a universal ocean of pure light. a Soul-Entity. I am certain that there are more yet to be found. There is an entity. — RICHARD JEFFRIES . I alight where cosmic furnaces glow. I want more ideas of soul-life.
A Guide to Greek Gods. the wild spirit which tints my work with glowing colors. He was also. while drunk on wine). I felt out into the depths of the ether. The light. HELIOS was the all-seeing god of the sun. lighting the least speck of dust. and man's pollution all change the way we see light.. as a inquisitive world traveler and recorder of the earth's cultures should.. Lighting the broad river. The very nature of the air in different parts of the world imparts a variety of colors to way light is seen. to be . The sun is my familiar. Dawn and sunset light. I felt it. I felt the presence of the immense powers of the universe. eighth century A. by these I knew the supernatural to be more intensely real than the sun. the god of the gift of sight and of the measurement of time (the time goddesses . heating the parapet. the sky. Light is the great creator. possess one thing in common. By these I saw my soul. I touched the supernatural. The Story of My Heart I worship the sun god. against the lit walls. The sun filters through my thoughts the way it burns the mist off a mountainside. poet. lighting the great heaven. is very beautiful. is said to have drowned watching the moon in a pool. twittered and glided downwards. in the midst of the supernatural. there that moment. Month and Year. and the three sisters called Seasons . Burning on the great sun stood in the sky.. — Theoi Project. I felt too in the midst of eternity then. is evanescent. Helios was a close friend of the other fire-god Hephaistos.. and ever present as my thought. the limitless space.all who have achieved excellence in any art. I was intensely conscious of it. fog. like a moonstruck swain chasing the reflections of the moon in a pond (Li Po. Spirits & Monsters I am infatuated with light like a lover. Mists.There was a faint blue colour in the air hovering between the built-up banks. I am light itself transposed into living mind. The swallows wheeled and climbed. that is. by extension. glowing steadfastly upon me as when I rested in the narrow valley grooved out in prehistoric times. rain. I am alive because the sun wills it. in the hollows of the houses. gleaming on my finger-nail.the twelve sister Hours. volcanic eruptions which throw vast clouds of dust into the atmosphere. So intensely conscious of the sun. the seventeenth century Japanese master of the haiku or seventeen syllable form of poetry wrote: “. I have never seen the light the same anywhere in the world. Basho. as we all know. and the greatness of the material realised the spirit. The fixed point of day—the sun. — RICHARD JEFFRIES . Light and life embrace on this earth and throughout the misty regions of interstellar space. the first' hippie' or flower child and considered the greatest of the Chinese poets. among the immortal. Burning on steadfast. always changing. The light from the sun is filtered by the atmosphere and influenced by the angle with which it reaches the earth.D. I worship other gods as well. even when revisiting places.. the immortal. the goddesses Day. the broad walls.were said to attend his throne). The Narrow Road to the Far North . always surprising. snow. In my travels. In his book. like a spirit of many colors.
In the artist's own time. Matisse. "White" sunlight is not really whitethere is no wavelength of light that is white. you will see tiny dots. illuminate the natural world. Basho's short poems. Today. often. probably red. as with Van Gogh. DeKooning. televisions and computer screens also mix light to produce different colors. If you examine your computer screen or television with a magnifying glass. . the shapes and colors are often not recognized as desirable or lovely. a large range of colors can be produced. like flashes of lightning. The beauty of art is that it is subjective. and whatever such a mind dreams of is the moon. finally a black card. we know that the rainbow of colors one gets from a prism is a consequence of refraction and the different wavelengths of different colors. You will see the yellow change its apparent hue each time. We see color in relation to other colors. and a host of others waited for the public's vision to catch up. An easy test is to put a bright yellow card next to a blue card. Here is a brief on the character of light: In 1665-1666. Van Gogh. and each of us sees color in his or her own way. By mixing these colors in different amounts. Color is the great deceiver. for photographs tell no more truth than a wielder of the camera is capable of revealing. green and blue. Pollock. Isaac Newton studied sunlight and discovered that it could be broken down into a rainbow of colors by a prism. Rather. The artist creates color harmonies or dissonances according to his or her desires or compulsions. because there is no such thing as “true” color. dictates the color we see. The light. Whatever such a mind sees is a flower. too late. (See incandescent light below) In the same way that the sun can produce light of many different wavelengths that appears white when mixed. 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. then a red card. or they are ignored. whether artificial or natural.one with nature throughout the four seasons of the year.
Likewise. have such a long wave length and low energy that our eyes can't detect them and they pass through our bodies. Incandescent light is produced when atoms are heated and release some of their thermal vibration as electromagnetic radiation. for example. It is the most common type of light that you see everyday sunlight. There are two basic types of light sources. fire and light bulbs. and other electromagnetic radiation of longer and shorter wavelengths. applied to different wavelengths and energies. then yellow. these materials would emit radiation in the infrared wavelengths which we feel as heat (fires. gamma rays. most substances are close enough that this color sequence can be observed. then orange." Although ideal black body materials don't exist in reality. infrared. ultraviolet. The wonderful variety of the electromagnetic spectrum is all a result of the same laws. hence appearing to be "black bodies". different colors. As temperatures are increased. "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. It was found that at lower temperatures. microwaves. Incandescence involves the vibration of entire atoms. 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. and therefore. x rays. If all electromagnetic radiation is fundamentally the same thing. while luminescence involves only the electrons. for example. This includes radio waves. regular light bulbs (not florescent) and fires are all incandescent sources of light. the photons released have different energies. increasingly more energetic radiation is emitted. visible light." 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. their different wavelengths and different energies allow them to have different effects on matter. you might ask.The "electromagnetic spectrum" is simply a phrase used to describe electromagnetic radiation of all wavelengths. Radio waves. and eventually "white-hot. Incandescent light is also known as "black body radiation. . the hottest stars appear to be a blueish-white while cooler stars such as our sun are more yellowish in appearance. Depending on how hot the material is. so these materials would glow red. emit most of their energy in the infrared). Some sources of incandescent light are: the sun.
when an electron jumps down to a lower energy level. or light of a specific color. television screens and computer monitors. No physicist truly believes he or she knows what started the colossal. not an entire atom. chemical reactions as in Halloween light sticks and fire-flies. Therefore. to name just a few examples. neon light. mercury-vapor street lights. It turns out that electrons like to have energy at specific "energy levels. 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. —Discovering Light . star clusters. because it is produced when an electron releases some of its energy to electromagnetic radiation. black holes and a hundred thousand more . or radioactivity as in luminous paints. luminescent light occurs at lower temperatures." Thus. ThinkQuest '99 Those paragraphs are like taking a run up a hill or mountainside. It's as good a theory as any. quasars. perhaps infinite collection of galaxies. This boost may be provided by many sources: electrical current as in florescent lights. continued luminescence requires something to continuously give the electrons a boost to a higher energy level to keep the cycle going. but the view is enchanting and illuminating. light emitting diodes.Unlike incandescence. stars and planets. It's difficult. it will release a specific amount of energy which becomes a photon. supernovas.
.. a pin prick of a being shivering in the night. he and he are twins that with and in their arts bring alive in this earth the things that sing.look about grandly with fixed expressions.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.. the grail itself.astounding events which daily explode around the universe. but this is not a life we would embrace. as in certain places deep in the sea or in buried caverns. Darkness.. but they can only imagine the world of light. Schvaneveldt wrote on the Internet. as theirs is the darkness. In the desert or at sea at night.. or do they somehow create luminescence inside their minds. Let theirs be the light. author Robert Farris Thompson writes ”. I feel the star filled cosmos suddenly race away from me into the limitless deserts and seas of outer space. . reflect ashe. When a person comes under the influence of a spirit. that swing in the heavens. There is here a relative big bang! Albert Einstein: a brain is a silent Internet.the radiance of the eyes. He will then look very broadly across the whole of all the devotees. I like to think so. Lee W. the eyes of the god. the brightness of the spirit.” SEEING WHAT ISN’T THERE . “Albert Einstein and Steve Hawkings. Is light the spiritual power of the universe? Is it the holy of holies. African & Afro-American Art and Philosophy . 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.. Light/Dark. his ordinary eyes swell to accommodate the inner eyes.. the unanswered questions of creation? Life can exist without light. he will open his eyes abnormally.persons possessed of the spirit of a Yoruba deity.. Lightness. the magnificence of the gaze. I am dwarfed. Blind people adjust to their world of four senses.
. I am not interested in seeing the “reality” of these images. O Sleepless as the river under thee. 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. “. even in Mozart. free of the constraints of nascent technology and tyrannical mind set. light and shade. illuminations really.'chaos' now and then. Vaulting the sea. That is what the camera. descend And of the curveship lend a myth to God.. wild.. The 11 plus megapixel camera creates huge 52. I work with my digital files like an action painter.. contrast.. That is what my brain forces me to do. I experiment with the images in a boisterous. Unto us lowliest..Oh harp and altar. sometime sweep. can be seen shimmering through the veil of order. Pianist Alfred Brendel quotes the German romantic poet Novalis. Basquiat. Prayer of pariah.. vividly recreating what is really there but cannot be seen. My aim is to capture the play of clouds against the massive towers and myriad cables and wires. That has nothing to do with the vast spectrum of electromagnetic radiation that plays invisibly all about me as I walk the bridge. The digital camera and digital programs free me to discover worlds of colors. or de Kooning.—. the prairies’ dreaming sod. I will down load these images into my computer and work with them in Adobe Photoshop. abstractly. the Photoshop program my brush and paints. audacious and unruly way like Pollock. immaculate sigh of stars. which is designed to record approximately what I see will do. —HART CRANE.. of the fury fused (How could mere toil align thy choiring strings!) Terrific threshold of the prophet’s pledge. in the last few years. Suddenly.. and the lover’s cry. Against the traffic lights that skim thy swift Unfractioned idiom. Beading thy path—condensed eternity: And we have seen night lifted in thine arms.” . The digital image is my sketch.9 megabyte files for each image when decompressed.
I desire to see star births. what living. I prowl the infinitely tiny foam of quantum mechanics where the universe quietly explodes insubstantial probabilities. tintinnabulations which ravish my inner eye. deep. no matter. Only God knows what happened at the very beginning: —Nobel Prize winning physicist Leon Lederman . I am lost in space. I am the cognizant photons of holy light. so tiny I cannot see the light. a curious form of vacuum. no time. but this story is about the universe and unfortunately there are no data for the very beginnings--none. zero. —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. Tiny. no light. a nothingness containing no space. painted with black rainbows. digital space and I see . its gentle omnipresence in the form of the wakening Day. When you read or hear anything about the birth of the universe. pure. someone is making it up--we are in the realm of philosophy. I want to observe ravening flares of pure energy thousands of light years across. no sound. down in the unconscious realms where primitive neurons transmit a web of light which envelops the universe. iridescent. there was a void. the all-knowing light which irradiates my mind. its rays and undulations. We don't know anything about the universe until it reaches the mature age of a billionth of a trillionth of a second. spanning gravity's timeless. Yet the laws of nature were in place and this curious vacuum held potential. I am the light. In the very beginning.Before all the wondrous shows of the widespread space around him. A story logically begins at the beginning. busy with the constant state of remaking itself. I want to see deep. I long to see light itself.with its colors. quasars and colossal galactic collisions crossing limitless chasms of outer space. a hologram of gravity's impure architecture. sentient thing loves not the all-joyous light -. some very short time after creation in the big bang. That is. flaring like the mystical sunrise in my brain stem.
also known as V1. What you see isn't there. Right there at the retina. the electrical impulses are sent through an electric cable containing over one million wires called axons. in Visual Intelligence. The eye is not a window. Your retina contains hundreds of millions neurons working in parallel. your “desktop” computer analyzes and censors much of the fireworks entering your eye. Have you “flown” your eye? It is attached to your brain. After further processing. 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). the results travel on a new set of axons to the primary visual cortex. One LGN lies in the left hemisphere and the other lies in the right hemisphere. the quintillions of photons each split second which would literally blind you if accepted raw. 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. It's a dreary illusion fostered by evolution and nurture.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. and to other parts of your brain. And that's just the beginning. From the retina. You may jump ahead if desired. The computing power at your retina exceeds that of the most powerful supercomputers. not to your skull. Hubel . writes: The German physicist and physiologist Herman von Helmhotz (18211894) described vision as a process of unconscious inference: .
. The computer has no inhibitions. or fantasize we see. but my eye could not see them. It constructs the elaborate visual realities in which you live and move and interact.” The objects of obscure desire we think we see. I uncovered what my eye could not see. “.what happens when you see is not a mindless process of stimulus and response. as behaviorists thought for much of the twentieth century. blinded by the need to eliminate irrelevant information.. like an evanescent whirlpool of shifting shapes and colors. but a sophisticated process of construction whose intricacies we are now beginning to understand. thereby making a distinction of some sort between them and the common so-called conscious conclusions.it is intimately connected to your emotional intelligence and your rational intelligence. perplex neuroscientists today. “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. Hubel goes on to say.. Von Helmhotz surmised these things a century and a half ago. are generally not conscious activities. Donald Hoffman writes. it may be permissible to speak of the psychic acts of ordinary perception as unconscious conclusions. relevant or irrelevant.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.... it reveas what I entice it to reveal. It forwards these constructions to your emotional and rational intelligence. visual feasts.. When I worked with my Brooklyn Bridge images. We must strike through the masks of obscurity and mirage and uncover all the many colored spices of Samarkand. using what I imagined was there. see. . in the cloud filled skies above the bridge a kaleidoscope of elegant abstract swirls and eddies. which use them as raw materials in further constructions. I discovered.. Playing with the large digital files in Photoshop. In their result they are equivalent to a conclusion. but unconscious ones.. I sensed that these paintings in the sky were there.” Hoffman concludes his book with these words: Visual intelligence occupies almost half of your brain's cortex. In his preface to Visual Intelligence.
“Garbage in. 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. we can paint our visions in the computer and print them. Such visionaries as Van Gogh. Suddenly.” That should never stop us from making tens of thousands of “mistakes. at the cutting edge of digital technology. Hidden in chaos is a higher “order. Today. or who subtly transforms realities. First. The art of image transformation begin with a new vision of the world.” The well known computer adage goes. we must learn to see. enables me to create images I have only imagined but never seen. Monet. Matisse. . garbage out. As an artist.DIGITAL CAMERA GIGABYTES Our new tools create the possibilities for discovering a new vision of the world. Playing. It comes from an eye that learns to instantaneously recognizes significant patterns and make strong compositions in the camera before clicking the shutter button. wildly flamboyant canvases. I can imagine what is there. We must take chances and seek aleatory or chance compositions.” seeds we continuously plant to await a bountiful harvest of beauty. discovered and painted their fantasies on richly colored. O'Keefe and de Kooning imagined. We must learn as well to instantaneously recognize and discard cliche patterns which enthrall us with scenes resembling our past visions. The large (53.9 megabyte) files which come from my Canon EOSD1s digital camera contain a wealth of information which my emotionally and rationally conditioned eye cannot see. Learning to see with a camera is learning to see anywhere.
THE HUT OF THE PHANTOM DWELLING In a letter to a friend written in 1690.. Basho's haiku poems were written with the inner eye. like whirling kaleidoscopes. too. or quietly observes utter simplicity in shades of grey.. when the conscious self dissolves into a hail and firestorm of flamboyant colors and shapes.. Basho describes his life in the simple hut in which he lived for a while. the god of war. and a cuckoo now and then passes by.. I'm like a bagworm that's lost its bag. And now this year here I am drifting by the waves of Lake Biwa.Azaleas continue in bloom. relax and enter a universe of bright mirrors which.. endow the world with beauty and agape — intense romantic love. He saw with his clear“camera” eye. the Zen moment of being there. enter our brains and coalesce into miracles or dreary dust. The grebe attaches its floating nest to a single strand of reed to keep it from washing away in the current. We live in an all encompassing shower of infinitely tiny meteorites. Inspired vision trusts the intuitive unconscious. a Zen intuitive eye. I. gave up city life some ten years ago and now I'm approaching fifty. the eye that sees what isn't there. a snail without its shell.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. I've. wild wisteria hangs from the pine trees. Light from the sun radiates more photons each second than could be stored as bytes on all the computers in the world. bruised my heels on the rough beaches of the northern sea where tall dunes make walking so hard. photons which strike our eyes. He saw in flashes of seventeen syllable . which was built in 1063. The hut was near a shrine of Hachiman.. We breathe slowly.
Poetry often carries within it the holograms of subtle allusions which only the most sensitive translations can begin to reveal. It is the same with seeing and making images.haiku the beauty. however. and expended my feelings on flowers and birds. I give myself wholly to this one concern. Much of what is there escapes notice by the eye conditioned to see what is “useful. Basho writes. Red..” Near the end of his letter. The promise of early chill. red is the sun.. unskilled and talentless as I am. poetry. “I've worn out my body in journeys as aimless as the winds and clouds. tenderness and sorrows of his world. —BASHO. I am awestruck To hear a cricket singing Underneath the dark cavity Of an old helmet. Heartlessly indifferent to time. The wind knows. The Narrow Road to the Far North (Penguin) .and so in the end.
or is it my deepest imagination playing with fire. I ran to the motel. my work with images. It simply took quick action to capture the fleeting fiery dawn. close to Arches National Park. The falls are part of the learning process. . aimed my camera and watched transfixed at the dawn light flaming behind the silhouette of the rock. It is an eminently active occupation. tripped on a low fence and fell hard. When I fire my camera.” Sewall goes on to write about wrapping her imagination around a near quarter moon. Once I was traveling through Utah and had stopped in the now bustling town of Moab. 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. ran towards the rock. asserts that the gentle fire that warms the human body flows out through the eyes in a smooth and dense stream of light. Plato. At the beginning of her chapter titled “Imagine This” in Sight and Sensibility. I arrived at the formation called Balanced Rock just as the sky came on fire. and careened down the road to the Park entrance. I saw nothing anyone couldn't have seen. Thus a tangible bridge is established between the observer and the observed thing. the necessary housekeeping which we all must endure. let it taste again Infinity. The sky was beginning to light up in a curious way. What has imagination to do with seeing? Our imaginations free us from the tedium of daily chores. For example. trace their borders. is it I who sees. I was up in a second. scan their surfaces. I jumped out of the car. seeking images unseen and buried and immersed in my unconscious? To see. go out to the distant places where things are found. my music.IN SIGHT OF SENSIBILITY 'In looking at an object we reach out for it. a unique capacity of the mind and the “deepest voice of the soul. Free the eternal soul. Laura Sewall quotes William Blake: “Let the world of rationalization and of the senses be consumed in the fires of imagination. and over this bridge the impulses of light that emanate from the object travel to the eyes and thereby to the soul. grabbed my camera. We we must fall a lot to see this world in its ravishing beauty. catch them. jumped into my car. She says that imagination is a mode of consciousness. That is the beginning of my poetry.' —RUDOLPH ARNHEIM I give myself every day to learning how to see. With an invisible finger we move through the space around us. “ that it shimmers behind everything we do. I went out for a walk very early that morning and had a sudden flash of instinct or unconscious calling. touch them. early thinkers describe the process of vision correspondingly. in his Timaeus. A soft reddish light filled the dawn sky. Impressed by this experienced. explore their texture.
. It is well to swim hard and often in these uncharted waters until you float comfortably under benevolent skies. any artwork has the power to invest the inquiring eye and mind with a startling and eventually very pleasing taste. which I excavate from among ideas and images found in Japanese culture and in the work of abstract artists anywhere. in the beginning. unfettered imagination. We create our visual world with our malleable brains if we dare to use them in seemingly irrational or dangerous ways. 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.There's a wild side to seeing. any part of such a landscape. it gilded all the dead walls. to a kind of chaos. hurling away constraints may lead. and I felt that it was only while under it that one could draw. . or invent.. or give glory to. mind-set and fear of the new. “I looked at it with the possession-taking grasp of the imagination—the true one. The power of wildness. So obvious an idea is not so easy to achieve." 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. it was poetry while it lasted. art critic John Ruskin (1819-1900) writes of a simple scene. It required an effort to maintain the feeling. and I felt a charm in every vine tendril that hung over them. Freed from constraints of early conditioning. We discard much of the beauty in life because it occurs in unlikely places.” The art of seeing begins with discovery of beauty in the commonplace.
I am in my studio with a young student intern studying the images from the flower market on one of my computers. I cannot truly see it on the computer screen immediately. I had observed this now intensely curvaceous asymmetrical composition when I was making the photograph with my inner or unconscious intuitive eye. I love sunflowers because they speak to me of light's mysteries and shed a cheerful glow on the world. and walk on. I am struck by the sudden knowledge. It has no censor built in. I don't know their name. The owners pleasantly agree to my photographing their displays. intensify the color. catches my eye. add a bit of brightness and contrast. Even when my inner eye sees certain images and triggers the camera. For fun. although I view the new digital technology as an alchemist's stone which reveals what ‘isn't there. The flowers are wrapped in white paper which makes arabesque-like patterns. Using Adobe Photoshop. I think. I sharpen it. The effect on our vision cannot be predicted. A few days later. A display of orange flowers.' The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and tell what it saw in a plain way.SEEING WHAT ISN’T THERE I walk through the flower market on 28th street off Sixth Avenue and study the displays. I take it into ‘curves' and play. newly revealed contrasting colors sharply define the elegant arabesques which my cerebral eye did not see then or now. The orange display catches our eyes. new power to reveal what our conscious minds censor or obliterate. These markets are filled with visual banquets of flowers. but it looks rather uninteresting. I must manipulate the image in odd ways and coax it to reveal itself. The computer sees anew. I photograph the display rather casually. that I don't consciously see as much as I think I see. It has a formidable power still in its infancy. 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. The computer programs give us a sudden. Hundreds of people can talk for one who . Suddenly the image jumps into life.
everything moves. jitters. It is about seeing without restraint. since the slightest movement is magnified at close range. Since depth of field diminishes rapidly the nearer you get to the subject. buzzing quietly about their tasks. shakes. like a samurai warrior wielding his sword in a split second. — JOHN RUSKIN On the next day. and developing the technique to execute your vision with your camera. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Once in very close to where you want to be. I must work on this. the camera fires. Vision: The art of seeing the invisible. and in a fraction of a second. At close range with the macro. postcard. at intense magnification. you must move the camera. macro lens. it is well to stop the lens down to f:16 or f:22. I expected few flowers in bloom in the midsummer heat. greeting card images of flowers that I'm after. very fast. I will seek the hidden heart of the flowers. for your hand to steady. you maneuver the camera with tiny movements until the image in the finder speaks to you and. not rotate the lens. The technique sounds simple. You must take the lens off the autofocus mode and focus by hand. it (the camera) fires. their spirits veiled in the chiaroscuro of light and color. to attain sharpness where desired. It isn't calendar. but thousands can think for one who can see. A number of times my finger on the shutter at the moment of release pushes the camera slightly. To see clearly is poetry. mysteries unseen and beauty unfolding. 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. I spot a large bee on a lily and move in very close. but it is difficult to execute. prophecy and religion. I go to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to photograph more flowers. The lens enables me to photograph deep in the heart of flowers if I wish. this Day in July. throwing the composition out of kilter. It is all about seeing. I must swoop in. wings covered with yellow pollen. My tool of choice is a 100 mm. all in one. without volition. —JONATHAN SWIFT . Bees abound. Sunday. Waiting for the wind to stop. This will require that you have a flash in the camera or an external flash such as my Canon speedlite 550EX. seeing what is almost invisible to the naked eye. see! Then. suddenly. Instead.can think. is a revelation.
and unexpected colors. After forty or more years of making images with cameras. I hear autos buzzing beneath me. the opposite of the closeup flower photography. What I saw with my inner eye when on the bridge. avoiding self censorship. to see more and more of what isn't there. Spectral sunlight winks in and out between the massive girders which support the bridge along with a network of cables. I begin to truly see. An array of hidden colors appear like magic in the seemingly monotonous bluish sky hung with misty clouds.BRIDGE WORKS Training vision is a lifelong task. it starts there too . and attempting to re-invent your visual world that you grow and see. 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. The buck not only stops at their desks. It is only by taking the greatest risks. I am busy seeing on a large scale. Entrepreneurs are risk takers. they groan as they brace this immense structure. chiaroscuro. 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. Against the light. A subway train roars past. Early in the morning one day. They willingly assume responsibility for the success or failure of a venture and are answerable for all its facets. The resulting images become fodder for a series of joined canvases and psychedelic looking images which I make into dazzling patterns of light. willing to roll the dice with their money or reputation on the line in support of an idea or enterprise.
learning to see anew leads to success. The quest for vision is much like daring feats of adventure. with no maps to go by. in his book Andy Goldsworthy writes “At its most successful my ‘touch' looks into the heart of nature. or Livingston seeking the source of the Nile in unexplored Africa.— VICTOR KIAM We are all entrepreneurs in this life. A COLLABORATION WITH NATURE Andy Goldsworthy. We toss about like shipwrecked sailors in a small boat on an immense sea with no horizon in sight. willy nilly. like Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic alone. The sought after place or thing is shrouded in mysteries. 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. By surviving in those seas we awaken to a sky filled with a flaming dawn and we see. to Goldsworthy. Picture postcards rarely carry surprises or awakenings. You must work for it. leaves. We admire the image or we ignore it. He records the sculptures with a camera.” His outdoor sculptures made with stones. flowers. That is good. we create a shallow life. trying to see what isn't there. So it is with our normal vision of the world around us. We do not have to travel across the country or jet to another continent to discover unexpected wonders. stalks.. Albert Einstein put it this way: . The gift of sight is precious. The ahhh! of beholding is gone. is fodder for his revelations of the unseen beauty in nature. The commonplace. a bee in the heart of a flower. the success of the brave and audacious. If we don't dare the unknown. or doing business. one which deprives us of much of the beauty which can enrich our lives. light playing across cloud castles—there is no end. icicles and other natural flotsam and jetsam often last for a few days or less. most days I don't even get close. The gift of vision is secured by audaciously setting out into the unknown. sudden revelations—colored lights reflected on the streets during rain. filled with turbulent pitfalls that sadden us. Whether making images. unseen because we have learned to take it for granted.
It neither congeals nor fixes itself in one place. The child knows that someone must have written these books. but we hide most of what we see behind a veil in order to avoid being overwhelmed. to penetrate the veil. Our eyes and our brains have been marvelously trained by evolution to do just this. Our open eyes gatherer quintillions of photons every minute. It takes constant practice. Let us dive deep into the ‘sea' on firm land and begin to see as children again. like a beginner a scuba diving overcoming fear of drowning. 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. and therefore censored nothing. discrimination and thoughts will arise. Each of us is that happy child to whom all of creation from the earth to the starry universe awaits recognition. We relax our eyes and take in everything.a mysterious order which it does not comprehend. than the Hubble Space Telescope. It's necessary to be overwhelmed now and then. We see everything. Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight. they grieved it on its way. Such a myriad of riches must be organized. In The Unfettered Mind (Kodansha).The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. We try to detach ourselves from daily tedium and open our eyes like children. They are trained to work at our daily tasks. It does not know who or how.. Each of us. Thus it is known as the Existent Mind. Scuba techniques revealed the surprising rainbows of wonders beneath the surface of the sea to our eyes and brains that had no pre-conditioning. And learn. while all around us.” It's like hallucinations. Do not go gentle into that good night . When there is an object of thought in the mind. and time was not a universal clock—his concept of the spacetime continuum. a thousand. regardless of subject. Zen Master Takuan Soho says: The Existent Mind is the same as the Confused Mind and is literally read as the “mind that exists. He saw into the hidden workings of the universe. The rewards are beyond measure.. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books. not to reveal the hidden world around us. This statement by Takuan is a clue to learning how to see. genius or no. Einstein's Relativity Theory revealed new world in which the speed of light could not be surpassed. or even more so . The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. No-Mind or Right Mind wanders freely to view what “is not there. They are not windows.” First we need to understand that our eyes are as miraculous. too late.” It is the mind that thinks in one direction. or daydreaming. thousand visions go unnoticed. but only dimly suspects. We glory in these wondrous visions. We are like a little child entering a huge library. Learn to love the gifts of light and enlightenment. is capable of seeing beyond the veil of self imposed or peer imposed “reality. The No-Mind is the same as the Right Mind. It does not understand the languages in which they are written.
We discard tradition. Turner's sea paintings. and dare to believe that our own new vision is paramount.. Turner spoke of light devouring the whole visible world.I got sailors to lash me to the mast to observe it. and I did not expect to escape. but I felt bound to record it if I did. we must abandon safe harbors in the mind.. in About Looking says. wildly impressionistic at a time (mid-eighteenth century) when painting was mostly realism. Berger relates that Turner remarked. Do Not Go Gentle into That Dark Night LIGHT DEVOURS THE WORLD John Berger. Our newly innocent eyes. researchers or mystics. “. “Writing about a late painting called The Angel Standing in the Sun ..— DYLAN THOMAS . show that he dared to see and paint in a new way. but the act of truly seeing the world is equally brave. I was lashed for four hours.. although we can learn to see many of these enchanting displays of light and color. We stare out at the world . To paint The Snowstorm. To see like Turner. The sea paintings carry within them colors and shapes rarely seen at sea or anywhere.” It was a brave act. see beyond the surface of things. ignore the opinions of others whether our peers. freed of much conditioned restraint.
and subway trains. rumbling traffic. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge with its spider work of cables or the cantilevered Williamsburg Bridge and study the wires. What is there to see? Flowers are a universe unto themselves. the blue waters reflect the sun. and roaring subway trains. Overhead. and shapes. in their endless varieties. Later. flung across the waterways. patterns and designs hidden in these seemingly somber structures. Bridges. working with Photoshop. girders. What I see or do not see. bringing. I sight through my camera and construct the raw materials of my digital painter's painter's palette. singing a world of ethnic peoples together. You must look hard. towers. and unveil such ravishing beauty and resplendent natural wonders as would make an emperor envious. and their myriad interactions designed to sustain trucks.with our inner eyes. my unconscious instinctive mind records in the camera. the eloquent lines of the wires and cables. The bridges sing a syncopated off key tune of creaking girders. elegant constructs of steel and wire. autos. cables. are equally extraordinary. I see the intricacies of design wrought in the girders. I discover myriad colors. colors. the sun peers out from scuddng clouds. These are giant harps. gigantic in relation to flowers. . FLOWERS & BRIDGES The world surprises me every day. For a time my work focuses on flowers and bridges in Manhattan. Far below. shapes.
Our perceptions. Our lifelong work consists of allowing these swarms of . sizes and shapes. Most people in the city rush around so. “it’s your world for the moment. and for a woman that was too remarkable. diverse means of viewing the world. to my eye.” said Steiglitz.” she said. Her avante. Perception and seeing are two distinct. intuitive vision or no-mind sees something else. I want to give that world to someone else. I can trust it and allow the camera to record what. One Hundred Flowers. like our dreams.” —GEORGIA O’KEEFFE. isn't there. Some found them to be to sensual and erotic. My perception. I want them to see it whether they want to or not. Later. displaying huge stamens and pistils. my unconscious. They swim around our unconscious like schools of rainbow colored fish.garde husband. come in many colors. When I stare through my camera viewfinder and carefully view the scene with my normal mind. (Knopf/Callaway) In 1927.VISION & PERCEPTION “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it. People simply had not seen flowers closeup. cupping her hand and holding it closer to her face. they have no time to look at a flower. I see what I couldn't see. when I “develop” them in Photoshop. I see what I am used to seeing. when the images are downloaded into the computer. O'Keeffe's her large canvases of flowers seen closeup shocked and scandalized the public and the critics. “O'keeffe let herself be seen. They were overwhelming. the photographer and gallery owner Steiglitz cautioned her against exhibiting them. gave herself like a flower. I cannot see what it sees at that moment.
In the midst of wildness. of seeing the ever changing. It only grows wilder and more colorful. in the midst of chaos. Wisdom entails sifting all experience through an uncensored sieve of unconscious desires and playful freedom. Nothing is banned. . Such vision never diminishes.. miraculous world around us.perceptions to surface. like a Titan's garden filled with luxuriant brilliant weeds and gaudy flowers. to unveil themselves in the light. Entangled among the exuberant growth and ravishing colors we find single images which delight us with their quiet and repose. This is the beginning of wisdom. order shimmers through and we are comforted.
The visible . we are referring to visible light. That is. Electromagnetic waves exist with an enormous range of frequencies. 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. The longer wavelength. higher frequency regions are on the far right. blue (B). indigo (I). yellow (Y). green (G). we perceive that specific color sensation. 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. Normally when we use the term "light. The separation of visible light into its different colors is known as dispersion. a small spectrum of the range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. Two very narrow regions with the spectrum are the visible light region and the X-ray region. Each individual wavelength within the spectrum of visible light wavelengths is representative of a particular color. The diagram below depicts the electromagnetic spectrum and its various regions. The red wavelengths of light are the longer wavelengths and the violet wavelengths of light are the shorter wavelengths. In this sense. we refer to it as the visible light spectrum. Though electromagnetic waves exist in a vast range of wavelengths. Since this narrow band of wavelengths is the means by which humans see. You may read the following explanation if you wish or go on. It is because of this that visible light is sometimes referred to as ROY G. our eyes are sensitive to only a very narrow band. Each color is characteristic of a distinct wavelength. Colors that we do not see are visible to other creatures on this earth. You are undoubtedly familiar with some of the different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Dispersion of visible light produces the colors red (R). orange (O). there is a continuous range or spectrum of wavelengths. visible light is dispersed upon passage through a prism. BIV.ADDENDUM: THE VISIBLE SPECTRUM We see only a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. and violet (V). Between red and violet. and different wavelengths of light waves will bend varying amounts upon passage through a prism." we are referring to a type of electromagnetic wave which stimulates the retina of our eyes. for these reasons. This continuous range of frequencies is known as the electromagnetic spectrum. The entire range of the spectrum is often broken into specific regions. 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. when light of that particular wavelength strikes the retina of our eye. lower frequency regions are located on the far left of the spectrum and the shorter wavelength.
black is merely the absence of the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum. The visible and invisible rainbows of the electromagnetic spectrum are our lives. white is perceived. author Herrigel speaks of his master constantly referring to archery as a dance. Light is the greatest dancer. So when you are in a room with no lights and everything around you appears black. Technically speaking. then none of the wavelengths would lead to the appearance of black. We dance with light to the farthest reaches of human perception and understanding. We use our intuitive no-mind and Zen like clairvoyance. We see all of the invisible spectrum of light which daily dances through our lives. —physicsclassroom. it means that there are no wavelengths of visible light striking your eye as you sight at the surroundings. white is not a color at all. The archer dances his shots.com Shall we dance? In Zen & the Art of Archery . but rather the combination of all the colors of the visible light spectrum.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. visible light is sometimes referred to as white light. black is not actually a color. Thus. We see what is not there. Technically speaking. Once more. EPILOGUE .
higher peak. A mountain climber trapped above twenty to twenty-five thousand feet or higher must come down for oxygen soon or deteriorate and die. Each new peak we attain reveals views of other heretofore hidden heights. youthfulness in ideas and in the work itself is everything . and the will to make the desert flower. self-examination. beginning again. Our growth and perception never ends. most sanguine and felicitous parts of novels and movies often occur in the first half when striving is all. 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 greatest creativity. must rest from other necessary and tiresome labors unrelated to growth and creating. especially if it knocks us up and away from our preconceptions. AUDACE! . A jazz singer on FM radio the other day sang a refrain. "Every knock is a boost. hard work. a metaphor for the next great endeavour. every campaign to acquire new knowledge. Moses spent forty years in the desert and never reached the promised land. or back down the mountain. Like life itself. At certain periods in our creative lives. It's too easy to begin an enterprise with innocent enthusiasm and passion. enjoy the view! The next step must be to another. when the future beckons tantalizingly and everything is possible. Once a challenging peak is climbed. The body. the winding and endless road to knowledge is our home. success or failure." So it is. tedium overtakes the climber in pursuit of meaning and creative growth. The best. having reached a peak. I believe every great enterprise. Perhaps "desert" is simply a staging ground. Often. we encounter a pivotal time. He or she. has a curve of accomplishment: the beginning. like the brain feeds upon itself. Rest and recuperation is needed before another attempt is possible.
and we must rise with the occasion. and then we shall save our country. ideas won't wait. As our case is new. Something must be done about them. audace" cried de Gaulle. — Lincoln's Second Annual Message to Congress. and if need be. its custodians have fervor and live for it. in Lincoln's words. We must act forcefully before the routine and tedium of endless petty details despoil our dreams and defeat our ends. so we must think anew. The workaday "nitty gritty" conspires to shackle our talents. Shed it! We must each take our inspired and abundant creative talent and free it from the itchy. "disenthrall ourselves" and move on to fresh. Forward. LIGHT THE SKY The vitality of thoughts is in adventure.The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. We must. The occasion is piled high with difficulty. Ideas won't keep. audace. When the idea is new. "Audace. Life demands action. We must disenthrall ourselves. We must send them roaming. always forward. die for it. fecund fields where new ideas may glisten in the dawn of new endeavors like early morning dew on flowers and grass. cold harness of tasks better left to career administrators. and act anew. .
" Isn't that the purpose of all of art and creation. we have purpose. -. Anthony Hopkins playing C. which. a ghostly apparition in an unblinking cosmos—that here on this speck of green earth whirling round a small sun. great ambitions crave great projects. like a blanket of oily soot. great energy. aflame with light. that contain great challenges and require facilities to implement them on a grand and worthy scale. We set out. we wither in a stale environment where bean counters rule and dreams die slowly and painfully. Power and Magic In it. such aspirations. We must unleash our God given extraordinary abilities and free them to race across the sky like the Sun God's fiery steeds. talent. S. "We read to know we are not alone. Shouldn't we spend our time working on projects that illuminate the darkness. smothers the world of new ideas and visions? Shouldn't we work on enterprises that wash away gloom and give birth to a new. Great talent. soul wrenching awareness of the cascading beauty and symbolism of life itself? Whatever you can or want to do -Begin it! Boldness has genius. If not.—ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD Everyone of us is an untapped reservoir of becoming. Lewis speaks an idea garnered from a student. 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. seek and find venues that need.GOETHE WE ARE NOT ALONE In the movie Shadowlands. indeed demand. color and beauty. free will. and we are not alone ? .
our efforts our lives. in the cellars of misers and bean counters. or sadly. Always the journey. The Dehumanization of Art We read in Omar Khayyum's poem The Rubiyat ." We work to display the joy of what we create each day and each day is our reward. to crawl. not grunt. What pleasure compares to a new creative challenge. “What can the vintner buy one half so precious as what he sells?" We are fortune's vintners pressing dreams from dew covered grapes. Passion and joy rule our lives. to the renewal of youthful dreams. moral and cultural values. —ORTEGA Y GASSET. The man's lot is to live his human life. love and creation. 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. Very little of value may be found between. to dance. Our dreams arise from inspiration. not crawl. in the offices of bureaucrats. not recklessly. We must protect the God given flame of inspiration ere it flickers out in the temples of money changers. to setting off on another voyage into the unknown? Odyssus set sail again in search of new worlds after he regained his kingdom Ithaca. We are all poets at heart. “What can the vintner buy one half so precious as what he sells?" We are fortune's vintners pressing dreams from dew covered . our destinations are our inspiration. Without passion we create grey slag heaps of time worn existence. we read of Odysseus. "My voyages are my Ithaca. but as the fires of volcanoes renew the earth. We are born to fly. A Modern Sequel . dreams that make life real. the poet's to invent what is non-existent. In Nikos Kazantzakis's great poem “ The Odyssey. to sally forth into the universes of thought and action. the sole elements that conspire to make us more than slouching beasts.Enjoy life? Of course! We are born to sing. THE WINE OF PASSION We read in Omar Khayyum's poem The Rubiyat . never the end. to fly on wings of thought to far reaches of the planet and to the ends of the universe.
in the offices of bureaucrats. but rise to snow peaked mountains towering into the next world. 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. We are all poets at heart. but as the fires of volcanoes renew the earth. the sole elements that conspire to make us more than slouching beasts. We seek the . in the cellars of misers and bean counters. The man's lot is to live his human life. dreams that make life real. —ORTEGA Y GASSET. moral and cultural values.grapes. love and creation. Our dreams arise from inspiration. 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. Without passion we create grey slag heaps of time worn existence. We must protect the God given flame of inspiration ere it flickers out in the temples of money changers. the poet's to invent what is non-existent. not recklessly.
Such enterprises can be found. it is not made for any decreed purpose. it is the artist himself or herself who must discern what really matters. Basquiat. Removed from our close contact with the earth. pinnacles and arches in the Southwest. No power must come between that holy gift and the expression of it for the joy of mankind. What else compares with the experience of art itself? All of art. ART MAKES US MORE HUMAN We stand measured by the breadth of our expanding souls. a fiery grace that lights the world. The true artist. however new and bold. Brancusi or Rodin. the grand architectonic "musical" forms of canyons. places where human beings embrace mother Gaea with innocence and praise her. explored and made real. wisdom and hospitality of so many peoples that I speak of. de Kooning. the art of music and dance. It is the wonderful kindness. the seeker of the way of art. It is not a viewer. Matisse. to shed light. or an audience that must be enlightened. flaming nebulae millions of light years away. music that comes from Bach in the B minor Mass or from the dying Schubert in the late piano sonatas. I do not ignore the appalling poverty and misery found in many undeveloped and developing countries. sculpture and science. surrounded by paved roads. 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. 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. the sculpture of Moore. our minds that will not age unless left idle. From modesty comes grace. We embrace the human ability to rise to an occasion. must never bow to the whiplash of bureaucracy or cries for what is politically correct. I believe the sometimes hidden purpose of all art is to raise the level of the viewer's perceptions. the uncanny beauty of worlds in collision. bewildered or chastened. I add the caveat that art is . I often encounter this dawn roaming the earth into "primitive" places.unknown. see-er or seeker creates and grows because he or she is creation itself. concrete and glass. they are . the sound of wind and wave and rain. to welcome discoveries. the paintings of Van Gogh. The artist. to make life worthwhile. we must find our way back to that exuberant dawn of innocence and spiritual dignity.
sing to our souls and reward us with innocence. —lARIA MITCHELL Yes to that hymn. Hard it is to wrench oneself from the turmoil of self-created "necessary" mundane projects whose momentum. All of art and science beckons to human beings to look. to see. rocket off. launch. SPRINGTIME IN DECEMBER Every formula which express a law of nature is a hymn to God. to hear. yes to the creative mind. Better to leave the dilapidated train. fly to the places and palaces we dream of. to discover that we are not alone. like a speeding freight train is difficult to stop and makes a great screeching and squawking when slowed. when trees suddenly bud and flowers bloom out of . forever hastening to those places which capture our hearts. or anyone's search for religious meaning in symbols or saints. to touch.one and the same. and yes to going forward! I make no difference between the God of the Christians. the Muslims. the Jews. We will come to know again the joyful springtime that comes unexpected and radiant late in autumn or dead of winter. the Buddhists.
It is the distant hills once more in sight and the enduring constellations above them once again. There is no end to energy. October is the fallen leaf.season. We were born to inhabit this halcyon paradise of earth while we live (living means creating. We must avoid . an insolent mouthpiece for Gaea. energy which is eternal delight in Blake's words. —HAL BORLAND . daring and beautiful. Prometheus. I am a lover and a fool. an unlicensed oracle. then we must and shall employ it for the good of the earth insofar as we are capable of understanding that good. uncharted and unbounded. Our nascent light must not set in darkening shadows of discontent. or be made unbearable by puerile and punitive endeavors. Aphrodite or Apollo in a flourishing civilization where greed and lust for power often overshadow humanity's long journey to the stars. Then we may give thanks and praise and rejoice in the knowledge that we are forever young. but it is also a horizon more clearly seen. a labor fit for Hercules. 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. Autumn is for Understanding FOR THE HAPPY FEW (OR MANY) We all may share the blessed lifelong burden of creating and loving. else it is a lesser life) to strive and seek a distant shore unmapped. a cracked bell. I will sing of joy. If we be favored by the gods with energy.
"blind" and dreaded. seekers and seers who fiercely create and bring these shattering and seductive visions to light shall be as prophets of old. Art is the religion of the spirit and the religion of the deepest unconscious striving of the fecund but tip of evolution. green and gratifying earth. We toil because we must. for the happy few. Art is evolutions' way of knowing herself. 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. It is the business of the future to be dangerous. the burgeoning glory of an ever fecund.When the morning stars sang together. We work. WHO WILL STAND? We happy see-ers. We toil for the coming happy many who seek what we seek. 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.. and all the sons of God shouted for joy? .. ever new. brained and blessed to do Gaea's great bidding.making godlike judgements as to what is good. if thou hast understanding. Nothing else or less will do. in Stendahl's words.” said Alfred North Whitehead. the thrice blessed godly virtue of questioning. We were born. glorious. ever flabbergasting. We toil to give form and space and song to what has not been seen enough before. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare.
*Ye are the light of the world. We must follow our hearts no matter where. and put it under a bushel. that they may see your good works.. a mighty work which make this planet a vaulted heaven where mortals convene and converse with gods. but on a candlestick. Christian. . and it give light unto all that are in the house. the teachings remain. joyfully. the legions of creativity. love and compassion. and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Shinto. the army of the Lord of hosts. a great jazz in the night. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Let your light so shine before men.-. Father. Job XXXVIII Open the gates for we are as sounding brass. Moslem. 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. inspiration and courage we do the bidding of gods and spirits. a tintinnabulation of ringing bells to fill the mountain steeps with echoes of glory. Jew. Neither do men light a candle. The sermon on the mount* goes unheeded.. With zeal. jubilantly. the voice in the wilderness soon forgotten. audacity.THE BIBLE . Gaea's legions.
We stand together with artists and scientists. Bach's music. was as passionate as a water lily in the dawn. to seek. from the soul. . to find. to understand. no dry fugue maker. Starry eyed. It is sometimes hard to keep my eye on the holy beacon of creative enrichment. the Zen monk's traditional shakuhachi flute meditations or any other glorious religious music celebrates the light. the mist shrouded lighthouse whose radiant beams illuminate a thousand. shamans. to make a world where art and love blossom like cactus flowers in vast deserts of ignorance. I witness the seemingly endless striving of fecund humanity to break the shackles of earthbound tedium. Bach. thousand deadly reefs and shoals in a world often gone mad. as a sky flowering lightning and rainbows. CREATION'S STARRY LIGHTHOUSE A wanderer on this earth. to know. Each new challenge begins in innocence. we undertake to make a world more fit for humanity's great mission. Art which comes from the heart. the light of God. the light that is God. filled with zeal and energy..worshipper of Mother Earth or earth spirits? Bach loved the Father as he loved life itself. as the Buddhist monk loves the Eightfold Path and the Four Noble Truths. from the spirit and from the love of life is holy. to celebrate the earth. discovery and enlightenment.
In his monumental poem.." The entire Ode spirals down to us like a glittering nebulae.WORDSWORTH . Wordsworth bemoaned the seeming loss of his own innocence. Hath had elsewhere its setting. Yet. -. We stand beside all who seek to know. — EUNICE TIETJENS . The art's the thing. But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God. Our gifts. Ode on Intimations of Immortality. Our labors flower and bear fruits in their season. the radiant genesis of glory. The fruit of our endeavors. For once I stood In the white windy presence of eternity. voyages into the unknown. Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us.preachers and prophets. whose lives become voyages. yield love potions we toast to the glory of the earth. the dregs of futile toil. rotting fruit. of glory in the flower . he saw shadows. a star swathed cradle of innocence. and my soul stir to the rhythm of the daily round. not measured out like cold coins or lifeless currency. life will not press so close. And not in utter nakedness.. make beautiful solace for a moment of rapture. for we contain in our mortal bodies the whirling troposphere of lightning and great storms. smothering sarcophaguses filled with overripe. We carry our heads high in the myriad constellations of glittering stars. shades of the prison house closing in. his great lament " Though nothing can bring back the hour/Of splendour in the grass. we shape the world we inhabit. having known. And time will come close about me. And cometh from afar: Nor in entire forgetfulness. like fragrant wildflowers.. voyages away from stuffy. our life's star. memento mori of that place from which we came. who is our home.. And always I shall feel time ravel thin about me. a quasar billions of light years away shedding the radiance of a giant collapsing star.
misbegotten misinterpretation of the meaning of life. we are at play in fertile fields filled with spring freshets and flowers. the enigmatic. growing and creating. the cycles of the seasons of art that bestow everlasting youth.she makes hungry where most she satisfies. We will trail clouds of glory as long as we forbear yielding to money-grubbing temptations. We attain our births and rebirths.. Ours is the earth and all that's in it. the adoration of power and money.." --SHAKESPEARE .. innocent and filled with joy at what we do not know yet yearn to know. "success" imprisons us in a grey claustrophobic. Not as solons in the great courts of kings.SUCCESS HAS TWO FACES "Success" that duplicitous Janus-like goddess. defeats our aims.. the tinsel worship of celebrities. True success comes from our joy of learning. but as naifs. Age cannot wither her. conquerors or emperors. one head older than creation. Only constant change and growth fuel the engine of creating the new. One head eternally young. Antony and Cleopatra . the glory of the earth. nor custom stale/Her infinite variety. never from the adulation of media. and the seemingly dangerous.
"Childlikeness" has to be restored with long years of training in the art of self-forgetfulness. man thinks yet he does not think. renew as do the elements and the seasons. . We are one with earth. T. and it is essential to know the night. The absurd man says yes and his efforts will henceforth be unceasing. often must push a heavy rock up a steep mountain path to the top. seeking new visions. starting over.A THINKING REED A creative human being. happy in the knowledge that such efforts renew. he thinks like the green foliage shooting forth in the relaxing spring breeze. gaining mountain tops.he knows himself to be the master of his days. like legendary Sisyphus. the foliage. We begin anew each time. Indeed. Suzuki said: Man is a thinking reed but his great works are done when he is not calculating and thinking. he thinks like the waves rolling on the ocean.. the ocean. he thinks like the stars illuminating the nightly heavens. writer and Zen philosopher D. In his introduction to Zen and the Art of Archery .. only to watch it roll back down again. Then this is attained. he is the showers.”. the stars.. He thinks like the showers coming down from the sky. Albert Camus wrote in The Myth of Sisyphus that “There is no sun without shadow.
to develop our powers to the utmost limits in order to be of use to others and to ourselves. and to shrink from it. the creative life with its thousand broken idols and masks. confront the perplexing mystery of life itself. I must conspire to make illusive vagaries. we were born to radiance. good housekeeping. we will have it. into whirling butterflies and birds of paradise to float out into the great world beyond my small studio. We must endure. as the Red Sea parted for Moses. It is Sunday in winter. arts and crafts. thousand lights glitter in the dusk. They ask us to consider what our presence on this small green and lovely planet means. that failure is his world. Whatever blocks our way must be rent asunder. help define us as human beings. Tomorrow I confront the daily exigencies of city life. —SAMUEL BECKETT . A cold blue sky over Manhattan turns slowly pink. eternal themes. rainbow spattered dreams. and. its thousand fears and follies. which. These themes flaunt fields of eternal energy. desertion. for in the end.IMMORTALITY OR BURN Therein "ends" this essay. if we are willing to burn for it. to add music to the earth. We have but one overriding duty in life. to shed light. as Job endured the trials of the Lord. A thousand. To be an artist is to fail as no other dares to fail. The themes of this essay. whirling and sparkling like the vast star studded hoop of our galaxy.
.. We must freely and fruitfully undertake projects that involve great energies. for it will blow a fair wind. passionate and intransigent things which can and will fulfill our dreams.. and the baths of all the western stars. unleash ourselves from petty ideas.Postscript: LIBERATE THE UNIVERSE WITHIN What should I or you or anyone do? Only those difficult. unbind our limitless creative powers. housekeeping and clinging needs of those who must yet be inspired... still untapped reservoirs of talent.. Perform as one who inspires others to go beyond their self imposed limits. Become as one who midwives and creates things yet unknown. Go where the wind blows. unseen. 'tis not too late to seek a newer world.. Come my friends. Seek and find a place in the sun that understands and strengthens far reaching vision and reinforces your inner search for deep. for my purpose holds to sail beyond the sunset.
—TENNYSON . Ulysses Copyright © Harvey Lloyd 2003 .
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