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