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