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.

INTRODUCTION

People think that they see, but they don’t.

—HENRY MOORE

One sunny day in June, 2003, I go to the New York Botanic Garden to photograph roses at the height of their bloom.. My challenge is to see the roses in a fresh way, a new way, different from the thousands of images of these lovely flowers that I had seen. I wear my digital camera

with a macro or closeup lens attached. I walk through the Rockefeller Rose Garden in a trance, relying on my forty years of photography to do the work. No- mind, a Zen concept and intuitive, reflex action informs my camera. I am very, very close to these blossoms. A hidden world, the spirit and soul of the roses appeared. It is difficult to photograph at extreme close range. The slightest movement of the flower caused by wind, hand shake, or pressing the shutter button too hard, too soon or too late ruins the image. I “dance” around the rose garden, hypnotized and full of joy, out of my workaday mind. Back at my studio, after downloading the images to my computer and reviewing them in Adobe Photoshop, I am happily surprised at the results. I stretched the envelope and was granted entry to a hidden world. I spend the entire week working with the images, revealing their inner beauty, enhancing them, transforming them into images which speak to me of startling designs and hidden spiritual essences. The roses take on a new life for me, one of asymmetric beauty and constant revelations—epiphanies.

Do you have to work for forty years as I did to learn to see beyond the apparent reality of the world? No, you only have to work at it much of the time, gradually peeling murky blinders of conformity and cliche from your eyes. Seeing is taken for granted. We all have eyes. You may believe that you see what I see. That is a false assumption. Everyone sees differently. You see what you learn or have learned to see. Your brain processes visual information from your eye and shows you, based on your conditioning, what you will see. The liberated artist’s eye sees what “isn’t there.” That sounds odd. "How can you see what isn’t there?" Picasso once said, “If only I could tear out my brain and use only my eyes.” He knew and he saw and he wished to see more. The physiology of vision is still an enigma to many scientific researchers. The largest portion of your brain is devoted to seeing. How can you learn to see the wonders of this world? You don’t have to be an artist

to develop this skill. You can find your way back to the innocence of early childhood, when you saw the magic of creation less edited, less conditioned by your elders, your peers and your environment. Wordsworth, in his poem, “Intimations of Immortality... wrote:

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, The earth, and every common sight, To me did seem Appareled in celestial light, The glory and the freshness of a dream. It is not now as it hath been of your; Turn wheresoe'er I may, By night or day, The things which I have see I now can see not more.

Wordsworth, of course, was bemoaning what he felt was loss of his ability to see with the pure innocence of childhood. As a poet, he saw with keen vision the beauty of his own world and revealed it in many poems. Still, he felt that as he grew older, something was lacking which impelled him to write Intimations . It is a long and very beautiful spiritual poem, often read during schooling. It speaks to an adult with a deeper meaning, for youth is blessed with boundless optimism and everything seems possible. How to gain back and retain this vision throughout your life is the subject of this book. 'Genuine art, we say, has “vision,” and good poetry and good seeing quite literally go together almost always. Yet before the more literal seeing can liberate itself into that other vision we speak of, a transfiguration is needed: the eye must learn to abandon its long habit of useful serving and take up instead an active delight in its own ends.' — JANE HIRSHFIELD : excerpt from Kingfishers Catching Fire: Seeing with Poetry's Eyes

DO YOU “SEE” ANYTHING?

I beg your indulgence. Your eye does not see anymore than your computer thinks. Your eye is a marvelous tool for recording and transmitting photons of light to your brain in the form of electrical signals. Beginning at the retina, a series of computer like programs analyze, censor, delete and send certain amounts of information to various parts of the brain. This is not widely understood. Most of us were raised and taught that we see with our eyes.. Recent studies of how the eye and brain work together bring to light the uncanny fact that our it is our brains, not our eyes, which “see” and control our vision.. The Art of Seeing will reveal how early conditioning and genetic inheritance determines how and what we see. We will come to understand that we can learn to truly see the world in all of its miraculous beauty only after hard work and deep insights. We will observe the processes of seeing and creating our world

or a significant part of a landscape. time slows down. such as a great tree or a sculptural rock.999. Light and its bizarre behavior is one of the great mysteries that still baffle physicists and mathematicians. holy light makes vision possible. It can be warped by gravity. Let there be light. for at the speed of light time stops. as you approach the speed of light. be it a person. LIGHTWORKS Light is the source of all vision. To truly see is to enhance one's life and make visible the hidden universe of wonders which surround us. We must begin with training the eye to see “what isn't there. The Old Testament Bible begins (Genesis: 1) with “And God said. We will examine the strange phenomenon of many artist's works that do not resemble the way we see the world. 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 a particle (photon) or a wave. the spirit of the earth. Without the ability to see the light with child-like innocence. we are rendered dumb and speechless. Light behaves in strange ways. as has been written by scientists such as Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.”) Without light. Light. you may not be aware that you are using your “zoom” eye to see. You often do not . Without the light of the mind. we lose the greatest gift conferred on sapient beings. light is ageless. I celebrate the art of true vision. (Star Trek fans know that “crossing a galaxy or galaxies is negotiable in six months in warp 9. It has been said that light is the face of God and/or the mind of God.” According to Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Light gives vision. It cannot escape the “event horizon” of a black hole.” When you look through the eyepiece of a camera. You tend to focus on the main subject. And. no life can exist. an animal.vision. How that process works is a visit to a strange new land. It is the key to becoming one in heart and spirit with the Gaena.

The legendary photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson. 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. and makes us aware that vision is not just what we see. To do this we must learn to see from both sides of our eye without moving our eyeball. His talented. Due to the character of its living materials. a noble samurai would make an ikebana before going into battle. a way that can enchant or intrigue us with its tension and beauty.. You will see this in the Japanese art of Ikebana or floral arrangements. mundane activities can be imbued with new meaning. To create is to live. We may study examples of traditional beauty such as flowers rearranged in a unusual way. one that takes us by surprise. they often do so in an asymmetrical way. as we more fully comprehend this relationship between creativity and our daily lives. Ikebana combines visual surprise with its appearance of seemingly teetering on a precipice of abstract arrangement. “The decisive moment. He made compositions in which all of the elements of the image related to each other in a striking or dynamic way. The loveliness of the flowers is displayed in exquisite handmade stoneware or ceramic vases. Through applying this truth on a daily basis. The presence of an exquisite asymmetrical composition of ikebana renews and refreshes our vision. Hiroshi Teshigahara is a renowned Japanese film director and headmaster of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana. We see the everyday beauty of flowers transformed and our eyes are refreshed. In the preface to his elegiac picture book The Art of Ikebana . It has something beautiful to offer the human spirit. It wrenches our mind's eye out of its complacent socket of sedentary seeing. It was said that the outcome of the battle could be predicted by the success of his floral arrangement. thus transforming them into more vital places.” meaning the moment when the subject and its significance come together for a split second. he writes: Ikebana can play a tremendous role in modern society.Creation is the act of discovering something new. In the feudal days of Samurai warriors in Japan. It is what we are capable of uncovering in the seemingly commonplace everyday environment. ikebana has the power to change and add resonance to our increasingly sterile modern spaces. Bresson was able to do this in a fraction of a second. It takes practice. .notice what appears in most of the image seen in the viewfinder.. coined the phrase. When the Japanese arrange flowers. These arrangements often appear to teeter on the edge of falling apart. practiced eye recognized those fleeting moments. ikebana will become more and more interesting to us. A photographer learns to scan the entire frame in an instant to create an image.

“Chaos in a work of art should shimmer through the veil of order. Back at the studio.but is not the universe within ourselves? The depths of our spirit are unknown to us . he would spend the morning arranging them. he would walk behind the arrangement and paint that view. Renoir said that he went to the flower market early in the morning and bought the most beautiful flowers. for our spirit has been deprived.it throws its shadow into the realm of light. Finally content. At present this realm certainly seems to us so dark inside.We dream of traveling through the universe . The external world is the world of shadows ." (Novalis.THE BACK OF THINGS Monet is said to have asked Renoir how he arranged his flowers in order to paint them.” . We will experience greater enjoyment than ever.when this gloom is past. he told Monet. and the body of shadows has moved away. from 'Miscellaneous Observations'. shapeless.. Eternity with its worlds . But how entirely different it will seem to us . lonely.. Learning to see comes from taking one's self by surprise and absorbing the unfamiliar until the veil of mystery dissolves.is in ourselves or nowhere.the mysterious way leads inwards. The German pre-romantic poet Novalis said. 1798) .the past and future .

friends.. as a flower unfolds in the springtime. The art of seeing relies heavily on the light which comes from our minds. glory in the light. How can we see through the veil of order which imprisons us like caterpillars in a cocoon from which we will never emerge as shining butterflies? The search for beauty is the truest meaning of life. Until we gain the ability to see beauty in the simplest things. It is well. we cannot love in the highest meaning of the word. 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.but these new facts have only come to light in the past twentyfive years. the dark side of art. He tells of a gypsy woman hearing a cello sonata by Bach being played and exclaiming. Inner Vision: An Exploration of Art and the Brain I endeavor to see more each day. the flamenco lacks spiritual depth. holy light which illuminates a dark world with our imaginings and our dreams. discards. the beautiful might become too commonplace. "That really has duendé There is great beauty in the human countenance. glory in the earth glows and sheds its radiance over my life. in its quest for knowledge about the visual world. Gradually. to take a loved one by surprise with an outrageous. the light with which we learn to view the world. We now view it as an active process in which the brain. a process remarkably similar to what the artist does. It is a process that will never end.Light is supreme. Life itself is love and art. We learn to love ourselves which brings about love of others. by comparing the selected information to its stored record. Without duendé he wrote. Without the dark side. . at times. Inner light. It is only with the more recent discoveries about the visual brain that our concept of vision as a process has changed. and rarely see them clear. I do not speak of seeing only what is beautiful. acquaintances. — SEYMOUR ZEKI. hilarious or scandalous comment and suddenly see him or her again. select and.. generates the visual image in the brain. relatives. The poet Lorca spoke of duendé .

. We ride these tempestuous seas hurled high into the sky by monster waves in a storm. redwoods. When I walk (dance) among the trees I see them as anthropomorphic shapes. transform or otherwise “play” with the trees in Adobe Photoshop to reveal what I believe to be their inner lives. We are like captains on the bridges of ocean liners calling out commands. I photograph them (late fall. wise. Our conscious brains control but little of what we do. pines. Many would agree. 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. and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. going and coming like ourselves. "I never saw a discontented tree. but often little concerned with the complex and vast array of machinery below that executes these commands.TREE LIFE I am a tree hugger. but taking action demands a true understanding of how we function in our materialistic society. grand sculpture that makes my heart sing. It is our privileges because we are endowed with an appreciation of “useless” beauty. W. We do not control this. It may not be the trees whose lives I truly see. cypress and a hundred others. but my own imagination running riot in their lofty. They grip the ground as though they liked it. great oaks. regal domains. traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day. benevolent. from the Caucasian Wingnut tree. ancient olives. a rainbow appears. I take my nickname C. patient. or early spring are best for seeing the bare branches). winter. just as with our own unconscious minds. Suddenly. irreplaceable growths for profit. Our too often overly greedy society demands that we cut down many old. I think the trees would be pleased at the attention. they have little or no control. and beautiful. and we see how beautiful it is. I grieve for their loss. It is sad that our vision is deprived of these great trees. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind. I can think of nothing more beautiful than the shapes of noble trees. I vote for the life of trees. and for a wise compromise with our needs. Over the sea itself. I enhance.

I recall flocks of birds. if . The splendor of Moorea and Bora Bora in French Polynesia. Maybe next time. My Great Wall and Forbidden City images are merely a breezy. My images while handsome. elephants and cheetahs. Hong Kong still baffles me. compelled me to try to see these things well. better to have looked harder. I stood transfixed at Macchu Picchu. On safari in the “Last Eden. remembering Pablo Neruda's great poem. the green and turquoise waters there and in the Seychelles dazzled me. Still. the tall grass the and winding streams. do not dig deep into the Inca ruin.NOBLE VISIONS There are visions which never leave my mind because I have not seen them yet. The Heights of MacchuI Picchu. I saw them without truly penetrating beneath the surface. and the pristine archipelagos and icebergs which spoke of time before man.” the Okovango Delta in Botswana. although I saw it clearly rather than with depth. The clarity of the light in Antarctica. I remember the vast main temple at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

a universe which emerges at random. The very term “see the light” bespeaks a seeing beyond what the eye itself sees.. waves or sub-atomic particles arise spontaneously. That is a beginning. 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. over time. how can it permeate the universe without a beginning? We needn't answer questions of such metaphysical depth to see the light. Is a black hole the wormhole(1) to other universes? Quantum physics speaks of fluctuations in the space-time continuum from which vibrations. A world roaming traveler skims the surface too much. Consider the visual mystery of a black hole. this seems better than the Big Bang theory of . We can visit beloved places over and over. to penetrate deep down into the mystery and spiritual life of places and peoples. Around our familiar places. To some. There is a need to learn to see and to work in a vertical as well as a horizontal way.professional look at these great works of antiquity. we can penetrate to the heart of things. This implies a steady state universe. 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.

the light of the visible spectrum.. a point of infinite mass. or observable existence by the process of cosmic censorship. — ALBERT EINSTEIN .uoregon. energy and gravity within which the laws of physics disappear. there we enter the realm of Art and Science. — (excerpt from (zebu. light. in his writings. Where the world ceases to be the scene of our personal hopes and wishes . that if a quantum mechanical process is not strictly forbidden.edu/~js/ast123/lectures/lec17. nor is it a statement on a lack of purpose or destiny. whose properties may always remain beyond our current understanding.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. and voila. It is simply a statement that the Universe was emergent.the universe exploding and expanding from a singularity. The fact that the Universe exists should not be a surprise in the context of what we know about quantum physics. then it must occur). A singularity produces a paradox of infinite forces if observed or experienced. in which light waves or photons enter the lens of the pupil. If there was a Big Bang. a singularity is prevented from having a physical. vision emerges. does happen (this is often called the principle of totalitarianism." A black hole constructs an event horizon around its singularity.. The uncertainty and unpredictability of the quantum world is manifested in the fact that whatever can happen. . You cannot penetrate it to observe the singularity without being destroyed. where did the light come from? One thing is clear in our framing of questions such as `How did the Universe get started?' is that the Universe was self-creating. It is a complex process in which photons are converted into electrical impulses which the brain censors. . was there light in the singularity? If not. deciphers and then decides what you and I see. that the actual of the Universe probably derived from a indeterminate sea of potentiality that we call the quantum vacuum. This is not a statement on a `cause' behind the origin of the Universe. Thus. density. I have not discovered from the above light's origin. are transported to the visual cortex. "the actual point of creation (of the universe) lies outside the scope of presently known laws of physics. strike the retina. Stephen Hawking has said. Although this is a continuing mystery. 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. is our greatest joy.

We are surrounded by images in our technological. Much of it is the ordinary. Since it takes energy to see. You may be a photographer or artist and record what is there or you may be trying to see your world. We do this with a series of quick glances called saccades ( A rapid intermittent eye movement. digital world. No matter you say. Here we are being told what to see..) We are not conscious of this. chaos and beauty that you do not yet see. The interior is dark and mysterious. The myriad photons of light strike the rods and cones which are wired to a complex “computer” in the retina. you must listen to a great rock band. our daily fare. as that which occurs when the eyes fix on one point after another in the visual field. The actual process of seeing is performed by your brain rather than your eye. Are Dubuffet's grotesque paintings of people real. or the host of books about artists of every period and see how artists and photographers view and have viewed our world. or are we? More likely our upbringing and our environment have mapped that which is “important” on our brains. Very little is known. a tiny central zone of the eye. Dubuffet studied the works of children and mad people. why waste this energy in a battle within ourselves to unmask the outside world. Look again. and on to other parts of the brain. to circumvent or overcome our early conditioning. a . Strangely. they were painters. How do you see what isn't there? What “isn't there” is the real world of wonder. Why not visit online the virtual realms of museums or museums themselves. you may ask. Start by educating your eye. First glance is only the beginning of the process of truly seeing. the information goes on to a way station. and may imagine that we see everything sharp. As with music. Preliminary processing of the visual information takes place here. 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. 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. in order to bring an entire scene into focus. Where. The eye is no window! From the retina. scientists find more information comes back to the LGN from various parts of the brain than go from it to the brain. the LGN (lateral geniculate nuclesu) where it is sent to the primary visual cortex.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. The eyeball must constantly move.? Let us “waste” this energy because not to see is to be blind to the real meaning of life on a beautiful planet. Since there is sharpness of vision only at the fovea.

but be patient. THE SAMURAI WAY: Spiritual Journeys with a Warrior Photographer (Ruder Finn Press. knocked breathless by a powerful glance. on the outgoing tide early in the morning. Images play music to my eyes. but in many. You will learn to interpret the ikebana-like arrangements of the rocks and uncover their distinctive personalities. each cell buzzing with flame. your eyes will refresh themselves and begin to see what “isn't there. of shapes which mirror chimeras and gargoyles. a forest or around a lake leads to new visions.. utterly focused and utterly dreaming. One day I was walking along Tinker Creek thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it. June 2004) . Not in one day or two.. I often walked the rock formations at Pebbly Beach now called Weston Beach. Light comes from within and without. I stood on the grass with the lights in it. grass that was wholly fire. and you will see a rainbow of colors on the rocks. It's like seeing what's there. Annie Dillard discovered a universe at Tinker's Creek. Walk these rocks slowly. and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck . the ancient Carmelo and sandstone conglomerates. How do you or I decode this “music of the spheres?” Come with me to Point Lobos. a nature reserve which juts into the ocean south of Carmel. POINT LOBOS My work is a kind of music.I had been my whole life a bell. A walk in a botanical garden. It is easy to hear light music the first time. The tilted slabs of many hued rocks on the ocean's edge. Try it. I describe this place more fully in my picture book. It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen.symphony or a piece of ethnic music a number of times to really hear it. Is that an impossibility. hide a world of abstract art. 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. like viewing a singularity? You are the mirror. or anything else you might fancy. California.” The same may be done nearer home. I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured.

but where's the harm. see a great deal that is invisible to many others.the striate cortex is just the first of over a dozen separate visual areas.. while walking past a field of wild flowers early in the morning. Artists.. of course. —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. 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. 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. a story whose next stages are just coming into view..beginning . Each of us has the power to see in ways that few human beings have learned to see. to penetrate the fog and miasma of lazy looking and wasted vision. Why.. The knowledge we have now is really only the beginning of an effort to understand the physiological basis of perception. the magical tool which worships the light. Do we want to? It may be forbidden fruit.—ANNIE DILLARD . the human eye. All that is needed is the will to use the most powerful tool in our bodies. each of which maps the whole visual field. whether with brush or camera. or do we humans have the ability to see beyond the constructs of early childhood and later conditioning.

our problem is to find out how the information is processed.The ascending connections presumably take the visual information from one region to the next for visual processing.. Joseph Conrad wrote. Brain. We all live near or in the midst of trees. “The mind of man is capable of anything— because everything is in it. To see the beauty and marvelous symmetry and asymmetry disguised or hidden in the twisting.We are far from understanding the perception of objects. Eye. our intuitive mind. precariously hung branches of huge trees that stretch over us takes sudden awakening of our ancient nomind. 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... Shall we not look deeper and study their marvelous construction? The art of nature is the source of all art. each area feeds into two or more areas higher in the hierarchy. For each of these areas. turning. — DAVID HUBEL .” . arching into the sky.. They are indeed lovely.with the striate cortex.. casting cool shadows for us to linger under. altogether delightful.

It's a bit like finding a family scrapbook containing snapshots that capture the lives of family members from infancy through adolescence to adulthood. The Hubble .ORIGINS Two of NASA's Great Observatories. are beginning to harvest new clues to the origin and evolution of the universe's largest building blocks. the galaxies. bolstered by the largest ground-based telescopes around the world.

We will abide so long as we increase our vision in ever expanding circles. — JOSEPH CONRAD It is too soon to quit. wandering eye. The universe within each of our brains contains more possible connections than the number of stars in all of the galaxies combined. outlast the sea. blobs of protoplasm which thinks. — PABLO PICASSO . Painting is a blind man's profession. too soon. That's a miracle. From a drop of dew on a blade of grass to vast ranges of glacier clad mountains. that the human brain functions at the quantum level. and expires—and expires. so our probing minds can discover and see the infinite variety of our whirling planet. from the heart of a flower to tempestuous seas that circle our planet. but what he feels. the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim. to soon—before life itself. Roger Penrose. a gift from the gods. what he tells himself about what he has seen. We can as well open new windows in our brains to view the countless wonders of our own planet. Called the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS). prophets. the earth. to acknowledge that there is an end to life and growth. head of the Hubble Space Telescope portion of the survey. like ripples in a cosmic sea. to love. We can illuminate our world as seers. to perils. Just as the Hubble telescope reveals the more of the cosmic tale of billions of galaxies in interstellar space. the heat of life in the handful of dust. We invented the gods. and all men. and research astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. Olympus. becomes as though we were gods on a high peak.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. He paints not what he sees. We will increase our vision as we enlarge our cosmic curiosity which views all creation with a wondering. the triumphant conviction of strength. I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more—the feeling that I could last for ever. we can discover and see. to vain effort—to death. "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. That means the processes in the brain are virtually infinite and cannot ever be completely understood because of the workings of quantum indeterminacy. and while thinking see. We are more than crawlers on this earth. as artists see into the future. grows small. We become visionaries. wrote in his book Shadows of the Mind. grows cold. shamans and magicians see in their myths and necromancy. the eminent British mathematician. astronomers are studying galaxy formation and evolution over a wide range of distances and ages." says Mauro Giavalisco. The astonishing Hubble telescope opens a new window on our universe. Md. We can see. We have the unlimited potential to see what no one else has seen. we are the stuff the stars are made of. the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys.

shackled by the bonds of daily routine.. but perhaps unwilling.LOOK WITHOUT FEAR We are here to learn. with memory and imagination. I walked among waved albatross courting. while hovering in a helicopter over a deeply crevassed glacier in the Darwin Mountains hard by the Beagle Channel in Patagonia.She sees that which is possible embedded in what is real bridging between seen and unseen realms. clicking their yellow bills and dancing an ancient mating dance. We are too often like those albatross. ashore in the Galapagos Islands.. I felt a chill of fear.. mind-set and fear.” At no age is the human mind limited. Sight and Sensibility. They did not see me. at whatever the cost. used only to seeing what is there in our circumscribed world. Once.. — LAURA SEWALL . Another time. filled with detritus of boring work.of what am I doing here ? . the Psychology of Perception . here on this earth willy nilly. to take the risk of leaping into true vision. as in Shakespeare's words from King Lear: “We must endure our coming hither as our going hence. She perceives what is yet unseen while looking into the world. the mind lies fallow. Ripeness is all.. I saw them. It is only when. able..

Perhaps the most famous English Romantic landscape artist.. Turner studied the science of light and color. he went to the Royal Academy School of art when he was only 15 years old. Turner (1755-1851 saw and painted light.He was a unique artist. like an alchemist's stone. The artist using his or her skill. transmutes all into glory and beauty. he became known as 'the painter of light. Turner saw what “wasn't there.. both in freeing himself from all past artist traditions and art movements.TURNER’S LIGHT J. Instead of merely recording factually what he saw. the flamboyant and miraculous play of light on water and sky. He was to open the way for a visionary anticipation of modern painting. he developed a painting technique all his own. Such vision emerges from deep immersion into intuitive or Zen no-mind. depicts the ravening energy of light which.W. These quotations from web pages on Turner (1775-1851) describe an artist painting during a period when painting generally dealt with landscapes in a traditional manner. however.”to the painters of his day. Venice was the inspiration of some of Turner's finest work.M. . With the years. a world of rainbows and light. His early training had been as a topographic draftsman. We can learn to see this way by discarding our preconceptions and seeing as we fantasize. Turner translated scenes into a light-filled expression of his own romantic feelings.' A Londoner born and bred. Wherever he visited he studied the effects of sea and sky in every kind of weather.

Grosseteste considered that the properties of light have particular significance in natural philosophy.. (Experiments in quantum physics hint or show that the observer affects the observed. that vision involves emanations from the eye to the object perceived. to that in us which is a gift and not an acquisition -. — JOSEPH CONRAD . shared by the earlier Greeks. these signals emanate from our eyes and condition what we see. Whether light or energy. I work with sophisticated visual tools. Our brains send messages to the LGN. he held the view. high end cameras that digitally record images of scenes before me. Does the light from my eyes influence what my cameras record? A scientist or physiologist might laugh at this idea. We will see. i. The Nigger of the Narcissus VISION EMANATES During the 13 th century.' Most importantly to our dissertation. however there is a great truth hidden here.and therefore. to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives: To our sense of pity and beauty.But the artist appeals to that part of our being which is not dependent on wisdom.e. the way station between the retina and the visual cortex. The act of observing a wave/particle at the quantum level raises the probability of that wave being there. He speaks to our capacity for delight and wonder.) We see what our brain instructs us to see. You might say that light from your eyes creates your vision and that you can change that light by learning to truly see. The rainbow was conjectured to be a consequence of reflection and refraction of sunlight by layers in a 'watery cloud. . Robert Grosseteste (England). more permanently enduring. and pain. Current optical theory would disagree with this assertion. the collapse of the wave function. Magister scholarum of the University of Oxford was a proponent of the view that theory should be compared with observation.

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. — ALEXANDER POPE Laws of science should not trap us into complacency about how we see.'. Imagine that your brain behaves as a black hole is believed to do in interstellar space. can we then learn to see the light? The eye/brain alliance is a kind of camera obscura. 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.” If light sees us. our brains map the visual world according to our environments and from instructions received from our parents. Only fear. Catching the Light . a dark chamber which receives and emits light What form these light rays take inside our brains is equally dark and obscure. teachers and peers. Our own event horizons are the limits which our brains enforce to make us see what is already there. author Arthur Zajonc writes.'The eye owes its existence to the light. Out of indifferent animal organs the light produces an organ to correspond to itself.had light not “seen” man. rigidity or laziness can prevent us from viewing and enjoying the works and wonders of all creation. — ALBERT EINSTEIN . The study of light has revealed mystery atop mystery. While light cannot escape from a black hole. God said.. Early in life. We have the keys to unlock the box and dwell in radiance. we should never have seen the light. “Let Newton be" and all was light. In his book.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). we ourselves are not constrained from violating our selfimposed limits. and so the eye is formed by the light for the light so that the inner light may meet the outer. “Goethe phrased it this way..

I am filled with dreams still aborning. While photographing for my book of aerial photography Sacred Lands of the Southwest . chalice of the universe. oxygen deprivation at ten thousand feet. Somnambulist of early evening. one million light years from today. the wistful mote and the wise macrocosm. slightly dizzy reverie. The Cessna airplane bucks and slows.WORLD ICONS Often I am asked what is my favorite place in the world. her chariot. Our aircraft speeds ahead twixt Navajo Point and Navajo Mountain. The confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers slides below. for sheer beauty of the landscape. harbinger of tonight's full moon. We know the same. At five hundred feet over Lake Powell. I lean out to photograph Tower Butte framed by Wild Horse Mesa and the pinnacles round the "Crossing of the Fathers. the high plateau regions of the southwest in America are unsurpassed. Window open. a blackness full of tears. Hozho! .. the magic light paints huge rock monoliths a deep shade of red. one thousand feet above the fissured rocks. hypnosis. The sun's bloody tomahawk cleaves the distant ridge." Fifteen minutes before sunset. Time's fleet arrow speeds across a distant sea of stars out beyond the known universe. Among them. the desert blushing with harmony and music. A red sky bands the horizon. Lake Powell glistens among black rock monoliths and crags. Michael whirls the aircraft around in a steep turn. interwoven like an measureless Mobius strip. Darkness. sets full flaps down and throttles back. I lean out the open window to photograph the last light of evening on the waters beneath the sky glow that reaches across the heavens. a 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. Lake Powell's waters grow dark. the green meadows of the Needles and Chesler Park. spires and obelisks arrayed like marble hat pins. fire the camera and wave Michael the pilot on to Canyonlands. To the right I see my companion Shirlee's favorite southwestern garden. the endless. rapture of the deep or sky. Michael lowers the landing gear. I am chief of the dusk. Row on row of silent sentinels striated with browns and yellows. a speck of protoplasm attached to earth's green bosom. sentient and universal realm of mother earth. a bow-tie ribbon twined in the petrified red hair of the Colorado plateau. these ‘tapers' burn in the orange light as in a cathedral where the devout light candles. We are one. We feel the same. chasing the buffalo rocks down to cliff's edge. During twenty-five years of circling the globe I've encountered many enchanting scenes. I wrote the following: I awake from reverie. her carriage and her dreams. the reddening sky and the dark lake transfix me. All is beautiful.

whirring dervish suspended in thin air.. holy shadows on the desert. ephemeral. shadowed by the sun's grim final burning. whirling the Cessna towards the great stone "Hands of the Great Spirit. Big Indian . ZOLBROD . I was in a trance during those aerial encounters. we fleet across the picket line of monuments— The King on his Throne. or the immolation of heathens by the friars of the Inquisition. Whirling and tumbling about. I see no life.the word means something like harmony. flying low and close to the stone castles. my instinctive. Bear and the Rabbit. The Stagecoach. Spires. our acrobatic pilot of the Cessna 182RG (retractable gear). The earth tumbles beneath me. Fiery embers glow on the horizon. triggering reflex actions on the camera's shutter button. castles. Shirlee and I ride a winged metal spirit that dances in the shimmering yellow sunlight like a mayfly. Loud is the propeller and louder still the hush of millenniums. The setting sun hangs like a burnt brass cymbal. time that painstakingly sculpts wisdom and stone monuments weds necromancy's dark invocations to shadowy spirits.Thirty minutes before sunset. intuitive training born of long years of practice. hogans face east to greet each newborn sun ball trailing a red placenta of clouds. Time. Mitten crosses mitten. no sign of Navajo or sheep. ruins and monuments.. Michael. deep desert time. We veer and turn. spirits of ghost dancers awakening from the afterlife. Dying shadows sink into the parched land. The ancient ones doze. tiny red mounds. I lean out of the open window. Distant cliffs devour the sun shrouding the desert with scorched tears.. a few minutes of epiphany. Long shadows march across the red desert floor. a glorious flight before the sun descends into the underworld. battlements. spins the light plane into a dizzying descent around the Totem Pole and Yei Bi Chei rocks in Monument Valley. beauty and balance all wrapped in one concept that dwells at the heart of the Navajo world view" — PAUL G. evidence of crepuscular deities slumbering among the stone sepulchers. Images flashed across my vision. I relied on no-mind to see for me.Hozhó. One instant more." the red rock mittens of Monument valley. St. . ourselves ghost dancers. Elmo's fire. only the silent ghost dance of shadows. and in the distance. I gesture towards the flaming rock mittens. What I saw was revealed later in the developed film and it was good. a spinning. Michael banks and turns. towers and rock cliffs rear out of the red desert sand.

The eye is no camera. controlled by our brains. Use your camera as you would a magnifying glass to examine the exterior that you try to capture. yet the print shows them as tiny figures in an unresolved landscape. not what is there. reveal the unseen world. No hurry! Otherwise your ‘snapshot' will only reveal that you were careless and unseeing. Our “zoom” eyes coax us to see only that part of the image which is our subject. Study it until you really see it. . emotion. That is why too often. Vision is as infinite in its many guises as the universe within our brains. among majestic ruins. photographs taken on travels at home or abroad. Mood. record what we “should” see. fear.ZOOM EYES A camera is a splendid tool to awaken and train the vision. or a grand cityscape. To truly see through the camera viewfinder. The camera is a magical optical device which can. if used with passion and vision. are disappointing. you must look hard. That is why eyewitnesses often disagree to what they see. anger or love all influence what we think we have seen. stress. seeing what the camera sees through whichever lens you use. Our eyes lie to us. all around the perimeter of the image. from the macroscopic image of dew on the petals of a rose to the sculptural nobility of a giant tree. This is the first step. rather than studying the entire frame. We thought our friends or companion were tall in the image. Our eyes.

How they were used. He answered that he used words as well. I would shudder and experience vertigo at the endless distances above me. In this age of onrushing technology and unlimited travel opportunities. Every one of us can attempt the same. JAMES MICHNER) I acclaim these lines of Hokusai. will be alive. A writer was once asked if he could imagine writing like Shakespeare. .all I produced before the age of seventy is not worth taking into account. Wood block Artist. That's a great way to live. An artist. I beg those who live as long as I to see if I keep my word. if he or she would accomplish much. He lived to eighty-nine in a time when that was very rare.and when I am a hundred and ten everything I do. The night sky filled with constellations is a feast for the eyes. 1760-1849). 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. Japan.at ninety I shall penetrate the mystery of things. He changed his name many times as well.. just as how each of us uses our eyes is another matter. The banquet of the world is always on the table.. and gazed up at the Milky Way. far forward away from all man made light... —HOKUSAI . be it a dot or a line. At seventy-three I learned a little about the real structure of nature. The earth and the heavens flower for us daily.. must be curious and unending in the quest for new visions. to learn and to see. we are richer in opportunities than any rulers of the past. It must have been sheer energy. ( The Manga . Better to drown in the search for knowledge than to languish on barren shores of discontent and blindness. There is no need to fast in the midst of viands beyond imagining.RICHER THAN EMPERORS OR KINGS . I felt how fortunate to be able to comprehend a little of the wheel of our galaxy and the immensity of the universe.. 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. To see is to dine like a king or emperor.

Children learn implicitly that good people are beautiful and bad people are ugly. riches and talent. ‘Ordinary' people are merely glanced at or ignored unless we know them or plan to try to meet them. giving or passion.” We see people according to our own inner needs and conditioning. If you would photograph someone you do not know. author Diane Ackerman writes: We may pretend that beauty is only skin deep. . the heroes are handsome.When in love. the sight of the beloved has a completeness which no words and no embrace can match. In A Natural History of the Senses.After all. A smile goes a long way.HOW DO YOU SEE PEOPLE? In Ways of Seeing. the first stories most of us hear. you must drop your own mask to enable true seeing of the human being beneath. Parents and relatives stir conflicting emotions. Celebrities of screen. All human beings. we need to love and respect them... in fairy tales.. “The way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe. but Aristotle was right when he observed the ‘beauty is a far greater recommendation than any letter of introduction.. then grin. and society restates that message in many subtle ways as they grow older. whether celebrities or otherwise. author John Berger writes. and the wicked sots are ugly. caring. To truly see people. the heroines are beautiful. wear masks. music or politics are usually seen with a halo of power.. Lovers appear wreathed in splendor..'. Look in the mirror.

always men. and he displays a gaping smile with only three front teeth. She tells him “For Noh. then said.'” FROM THE HEART I wrote the following to a lovely lady. straight on. for the rich and powerful. How a mask can change expression is demonstrated in a website (now gone) which sold exquisitely carved masks. To succeed. she asks why he is following her. skulls. she tells him it is bad for Noh. the memories linger on. Alarmed. a very difficult part to play.. ‘The heart is the form. from the eye of the beholder. the music of the earth can bring great meaning and joy and open one's eyes to the splendor in the world. He is covered with ‘medicine' objects. Seen from above. contemptuous looks sported by fashion models in ads these days. are less than beautiful. we read that tradition has it that a young man seeks to learn to act as the woman Komachi. he must feel the thing as a whole. How can anyone spend their brief time on earth in the corporate world only grabbing for more money and things? Only the insubstantial.” I think so too. the actors. the beautiful. A young man from West Africa saw a five foot high power figure from Zaire in my dwelling studio which I call Spirit House. the expressions change. strangely..What is beautiful and what is ugly is in the eye of the beholder.. from the inside. It arises from our own perception of the world just as everyone has their own measure of what art they like or hate. The appearance of beauty truly comes from within. On hearing his reason.it can be a curse in a way for we need to be loved for who and what we truly are which. The young man stared for a while. No one is truly ugly unless the ugliness emanates from inside. the spiritual. the staring. in the street. In Japanese Noh plays. and watches her every move. “That is very beautiful. or from the side or below. . The appearance of people and things changes as we come to know them. time is needed. “It is a Noh saying that. Often. the actor must bring the mask to life. As in developing a taste for eating oysters or grasshoppers. You are beautiful and that attracts the rich and powerful. wear exquisitely carved male and female masks. In Ezra Pound and Ernest Fenollosa's book The Classic Noh Theatre of Japan. but not as most westerners might observe beauty. We cannot define beauty. is often the surface of things. Those we love for their inner beauty appear more beautiful as time passes. or appreciating minimalists or abstract painters. feathers and straw. He follows a fine old woman eighty years of age. wears a horn on its head.” And further on we read. I've forgotten who she is. shells. and depending on the lighting.

I've forgotten the place. She flies with those to whom the spiritual life is all important and love is the banner which flaunts desire and freedom. therefore it is no illusion. P. or albatross we soar into the light and see what only a few can see. talent and a great spirit shall be as a bird that has left its cage. We celebrate the entire world bathed in holy light and filled with becoming. "I want to know God's thoughts. We cannot really teach those who will not hear or see. Our art is the present we freely bestow it on all the others who will share these things. A woman with integrity. Material success is too often an impenetrable fortress and prison for the mind and soul. imagination. all the rest are details." So it is with art and the life of creating.” we change the future by living it and by creating. only those who inquire and learn can change. our source and our inspiration. ‘I've forgotten the lady. You write with the spirit and soul of an artist who has learned that to follow one's own bliss is the only way. wisdom and genius together—Einstein once wrote. To attract even one person to love is a great step forward. We are free when our bonds with another are so light they are fairy spirits darting back and forth—tenins. the deepest meaning and the challenge. But you know that. to feel and be honest with each other. I have known it. It went like this. and seek to learn ever more about the mysteries of our confounding and delightful world. but I remember the wine. sensitivity. inspiration. . feel and love. We immerse ourselves in evolution's great journey to discover in that wisdom all we are and ever hope to be. To travel. My forgetting of the lady reminds me of an elegant wine steward on a ship who told us about a wine he recommends. Free as an eagle. To love.'” Isn't that the way it is? Some things are too dear to keep alive except as smoldering embers.S. those are the wines of life. crane. To keep alight the torches of wisdom. Chambertin. loving and not quite tame is a good motto. to converse is bliss.That is a real tragedy. to care. I went to the Einstein exhibit at the Natural History Museum this morning —relativity. “A man says. Friendly. 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. kindness. All that you say about life being fulfilled with a good companion is exactly the way that I think. or feather spirits as in the Japanese Noh play Hagoromo .

000 miles per second. At the speed of light. a radiance which fills the universe. anything that burns although fusion. 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. Rays of light fill the universe in a kind of chaos of the visible and invisible. mass increases.THE SPEED OF LIGHT The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. as anything travels closer to the speed of light. glowing galaxies. — ALBERT EINSTEIN I find it very mysterious that. The waves and buckshot are like are photons of light which experiments have shown actually behave as though they were both waves and particles.. the kind that makes hydrogen bombs. To add to the mystery. like the art of seeing. the speed of light remains constant. According to Relativity theory. That's easy. may be a more accurate description. according to Einstein's theories. “Can you see the light” contains more deep meaning than it may seem. fuzzily. obscured. If I could travel at half the speed of light.. We see what we ourselves absorb and process. You can see. . What do you see when you see familiar places? The heart of the matter is that we see the world indistinctly. however it is a though we imagined countless waves from the sea arrive along with a accompanying flurries of buckshot. It appears to be the product of any kind of combustion. reflected from every living or inanimate thing colors which are not the color of the object or thing. not “arrows” of light going in special directions. The real enigma is light itself. fire. The actual color is not seen. It excites me that the medium of light. your mass would be infinite and that is impossible. blazing stars. but an all pervasive glow. You cannot imagine light emanating from a frozen body in the blackness of space. is so wrapped in conundrums and mystery. But of course. The true nature of things remains a mystery. You or I can never travel at the speed of light or anything approaching it. no matter how fast an object or human travels relative to the speed of light. it is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. for we only see a small part of the spectrum of electromagnetic waves of which light is a part. this makes sense! The cosmos is afire with light. time slows down! What is the light? Physicists seem happy to define it with formulas and the wave and photon idea. light around me would still be speeding at its normal 186. If you see a red box. Convenient. it is really absorbing all the other colors and reflecting red. as you approach the speed of light.

researcher Michael M. In the chapter “The Mutable Brain. as when a child learns several languages easily. Merzernich says. without surgery. disguise and distort much of the beauty and wonder of .which established its critical functionality in critical periods.” We can reroute visual paths through our brain which will enable us to see through the veils of conditioning and mind-set which hide. sets up new circuitry. such as reading daily or cruising the Internet enhances its powers. “The brain was constructed to change. “scientists thought that the brain was like a computer. These findings are critical to helping overcome various disorders of brain function including Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia. we can learn to see what “isn't there. If your brain and mine can change all through our lives.” He and other researchers now believe the human brain can be extensively remodeled throughout the course of one's life. we are discussing the art of seeing. proper diet and active use of the brain...A NEW BRAIN FOR EVERYONE The September 2003 special issue of Scientific American magazine was entitled “Better Brains.. without drugs. and changes the way in which it operates. This applies especially to older men and women who often do little to protect their brains in these ways.” I'm for that. however.. It had been thought that these processes only happened at certain specific times. Among the most interesting themes is the new research which indicates that the brain constantly changes. “Until recently. Here.” It now appears that exercise.” Merzenich noted. at any age. adds neurons.a hardwired black box.

I take trips. It is easy to travel lugging the baggage of one's preconceptions like an old rug or comforter. peer pressure and smug contentment to shroud the world from view. as the real world. Later on. reroute the pathways around the brain.living on earth. . and we are trying to figure out the rules. worn but homelike. the maturing adult takes what he or she sees for granted. What is often the problem is lack of a passionate. That is a gift from the gods. A recent study shows that brain cell loss holds steady with aging. The Scientific American article ends with “The sky's the limit.” Can you imagine and joy in the favt that our very brains are programmable at any time in our lives. we lose brain cells constantly. “Oh. Brain cell loss is not the problem at any age. our ways of thinking. that we can grow new neurons. marvelously claim that we have the ability to change our brains. and use only a small portion. overweening curiosity about this earth. replace lost brain cells. Scientists now. add circuits. and allows atrophy.” many will say. Youth thinks it has forever. As we age. however we have more than we need at all ages. grow new cells. Only occasionally does the middle-aged adult venture forth into the wide world of vision.

I remember dawn breaking over dark seas as I flew out over the Caribbean in a helicopter.” says Donald Carr. epiphanies and endless wonder. can interpret if. . translucent.” She says that it's a matter of keeping one's eyes open. Annie says there is another kind of seeing that involves a letting go. waiting to be seen. When I see this way I am above all an unscrupulous observer. cuts and splices what I do see. in A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek writes of vision in a chapter called “Seeing. Agreed. sumptuous paragraphs which taste like vision. What a camera sees depends on the mind. when suddenly a hundred red-winged blackbirds flew out of the tree. props up rainbows. like the blush of opening roses.. heart. of writing and thinking of what you see? Isn't it an almost orgasmic like delight of suddenly being jolted into vision. We see what we see. the eye which lurks inside your eye. The two difference between the two ways of seeing is the difference between walking with and without a camera. An endlessly inquiring and insightful mind is as restless as the shimmering mirror of the sea reflecting scudding cloud castles. 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. She mentions walking toward an Osage orange tree which did not appear unusual. my own shutter is always open. Hone and spread your spirit till you yourself are a sail. When I walk with a camera. soul and passion behind the lens. churns green and white in a tempest. charged and firing without my knowledge. not sit on the sidelines. and the moment's light prints on my own silver gut. disheveled. straddle the seas and rise into the heavens. The mead of the Gods tastes sweet. I walk from shot to shot reading the light on a calibrated meter. and vision is sweeter than wine. another hundred took flight. giant luminous ladders. As she walked closer.” Isn't seeing more than a matter of metaphor. on the other side of the spectrum. above mountaintops or on the land. At such times. Burning like desire. since it means that only the simplest animals perceive the universe as it is.'” That begs the question. When I walk without a camera. God's rays. What she or we can see is all there as well. whetted. a brilliant observer who transforms daily visions into fragrant. editing it for my brain. 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. “When I see this way I sway transfixed and emptied. content? Annie is impartial. The sky is afire. Within minutes flares of light. We.” 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. “Not a branch or a twig budged. Silver sheen burnishes their lofty edges as the sun begins to emerge far below. With or without a camera. broadside to the merest puff. The birds were weightless as well as invisible. my own shutter opens. for the simplest animals have no way to interpret what they see in a conscious way. it's rapture. I see a red ball dimly appear through the dawn mist.SEEING IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT Annie Dillard. it sees everything. “A nightmare network of ganglia. exhausted. Annie says it is possible in deep space to sail on a solar wind.”The secret of seeing is to sail on a solar wind. and only if.. we learn to see. I hope this phenomenal gift will be or is already with you. I live for these moments. I add that you must practice seeing. views islands hidden in grey mists. the sky lights up slowly. whether at sea. Out over the sea.” I could as easily reverse that statement and say that when I walk with a camera. Dark thunder clouds roil and tumble high into the dawn light. smell . glows pink and red in the dawn. rapt.. Your eager and inquisitive primal eye.

BETTER TO LIGHT A CANDLE.like vision. a system of ethics built on this basis would be sufficient only for a herd of cattle. ravages of floods and eruptions. the scourge of disease —endless travails which human beings have endured since the dawn of history. it pours out a balm upon a troubled world. Deep in the . What is vision. and truth. The candles lit by art burn brighter than the explosions of stars. the slaughter of millions of innocents. To make a goal of comfort or happiness has never appealed to me. And she has a sense of humor. radio and the Internet. You've read it? Read it again! I will. beauty. —ALBERT EINSTEIN A see-er or seer cannot be too comfortable. life. Can an artist or new vision make the world a better place? Art comes from truly seeing.. To see is to understand the powerful currents that rage across the seas and continents of the earth—dreadful visions of war and genocide. The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness. love or art without a sense of humor? Read A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek . tv. Such spectacles mercilessly invade our vision through the roar and outpourings from newspapers..” said Eleanor Roosevelt. You and I are deeply troubled and moved by these things. sound and feel like vision. “Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

to different from my mind set. from my love of delicate ikebana arrangements. I tried to peer deep into the flowers. passion. 2003. We walked to an exhibition in the Glyndor Gallery located inside a red brick house. There were room size installations of various natural and inorganic materials which bore no resemblance to the ceramic vases holding the ikebana I have known. I went equipped with my Canon digital cameras to see and record the life of the flowers there. I took photographs of the installations in a somewhat shaken manner. Now an then you need a good blow . What we know of evil we cannot ever lightly accept. They were too large. However.playground of myths which inhabit our minds. I exhausted the subject for the moment. an estate and garden in the Bronx open to the public. I went with a friend to visit Wave Hill. understanding and desire inflame our souls. There is a dark side to art. He pointed to the rooms and said that was the contemporary ikebana. I could not yet see these things as ikebana. Dodging the sprinklers in the garden in front of the conservatory. love. SIGHT UNSEEN—MYSTERIOUS IKEBANA On July 6. It was called Perfection/Impermanence: Contemporary Ikebana. I never even noticed a giant explosion of shrubbery attached behind the rear porch. You and I are those fiery furnaces. flowers arranged asymmetrically in vases. I used my macro lens and diffused strobe flash. just as there is a dark side to all of human nature. Soon. lighthouses or blazing candelabra which illuminate some small part of the darkness. I expected to see the ikebana I loved. What I saw when I walked inside took me by surprise and puzzled me. without shadows we could not comprehend the light. I walked up to the man at the desk and asked him where the ikebana was to be found. That was fine.

org. ikasu –– to put in the best light. I write about seeing and I just realized that I didn't see anything at first at the exhibit and. What will I see when I learn to see the new contemporary ikebana? . yet I didn't see it. Annie said that without her camera she was an unscrupulous observer. the unheard clash of galaxies devouring each other in the blackness of space.along the side of the head to wake you up from smugness or complacency.. and the concept of time or the transience of living matter are all components of Ikebana. use of living plants. that heralds true seeing. not enough. a form of arrangement that is released from the confines of the vase. in those incredulous first moments. to arrive at one's essence. I saw little. to arrive at one's essence. ikiru –– to live. certainly. to live. The Wave Hill site on the internet: wavehill. she saw everything. the silence of dewdrops on wild flowers in the mist. To arrange. I went to Wave Hill to see flower gardens. I saw a new variation of a loved theme. At Wave Hill. ikebana. but first I have to constantly see anew. I see with my camera. to see in the best light. the artists'' own creative process and energy. When I view “quiet” asymmetrical arrangements of traditional ikebana. It employs natural and inorganic materials. The practice requires a disciplined training in which the artist strives to create perfection and impermanence in each installation or display. The origins of the word stem from three verbs: ikeru to place or arrange. the roar and splash of icebergs calving. Arrangement. said this in part about the exhibit: Ikebana comes from a long tradition that celebrates life and respects plants as living. Progressive Japanese flower artists have developed Contemporary Ikebana. breathing things. That provokes me to see it again until I see it. relationship to a space. I see the raging drama of great storms at sea. to be alive. and encourages free expression and often takes the form of large-scale installations.

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.

like pterodactyls? I neither proselytize for or embrace any man's religion or woman's either. and you can't control it.. The poet Rumi was born in Wakhsh. (Author: The geniculates are two way stations in the thalamus where visual information from the retina is processed on the way to the visual cortex. Brain and Vision . or can you? Detoxification. Do any of you see visions in the church while eating the body of the Lord. prophet or shaman's intoxicated ruminations. Poetry breeds visions as does the mystic..) What was not clear in the 1950's is what that mapping might mean. and has shed his or her mortal coils for the embrace of the . The pulpit's a bully place if the priest be wise enough. transforming it in such a way as to make it more useful. I want to see. He wrote of the mystical side of life. It's worse than drugs or alcohol.MYSTIC VISION In his book. approaching God as though he was a great bird which wafted down sparkling feathers in the holy light. Tajikistan in central Asia on 30 September 1207 to a family of learned theologians.the message of the next chapter will be that a structure such as the primary visual cortex does exert profound transformations on the information it receives. What you get is what your brain decides.” Digest that! What you see isn't what you get. Their complete functions are still little understood although you may read that the paths are charted. In those days it was not obvious that the brain operates on the information it receives. don't you?. and in metaphysical journeying. I will embrace every religion in spirit. I want to see everything. or do you drink the sacred wine and whirl off into unknown reaches of holy space. Eye. Noble prize winning scientist David Hubel writes: The visual world is systematically mapped on the geniculate and cortex. endless work at detoxification of the visual structure of your brain is needed. in clouds.

Fly away.. not seeing but seeing. The lady with me said she watched me “dance” around the trees which. and the baths of all the western stars. which. Leave behind the stagnant and marshy waters. seeing deep into the hearts and spirits of these noble trees which flung their convoluted. Hurry. is not a bad way to look at the art of seeing. I put saw in italics because my no-mind or intuitive reflex unconscious mind saw these trees.” One mild winter day. spinning mystery of life on earth “to sail beyond the sunsets. asymmetrical spreads of branches high over my head.. It keeps the shark out but it keeps you in while outside rainbow schools of fish flaunt flamboyant colors. We can't all be divers hooked up to aqua lungs and oxygen tanks in or out of cages. enraptured. VERY TREE . I saw a singular kind of beauty. I presided like a floating spirit. hurry. I was in a trance. I visited the Bayard Cutting Arboretum on Long Island to see and photograph the trees for a fine art project I'm working on. fly away bird to your native home.unseeable and holy of holies. wheeling. The vision of a shaman must be earned by dying and rebirth. O bird. dancing around the splendid trunks. You have leapt free of the cage Your wings are flung back in the wind of God. hurry. shorn of leaves. displayed their sculptural grandeur. 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. We are not granted vision without cost. ratcheting. Single branches often appeared too massive and heavy to support themselves. The camera did its work. We can dive naked and filled with wonder into the flowering.

Bright incidental bird Whose melody is fanned Among the bundled sheaves Wild spool of the winding word. Tenacious like a hand Gnarled rootage in the dark Interior of land. Alliterative leaves. Colors pour in and out: Here is a timeless structure wrought Like the candelabrum of pure thought. Reject: and let there be Only tree. Stripped of green root and leaf. 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.Forget the tube of bark. — STANLEY KUNITZ . Getting no seed to sprout.

luring or decoying — color and pattern are basic to communication and concealment among animals in the ocean.BRITTLE STARS I've traveled to hundreds of ports of call around the world on great ships. At night the ocean's surface often glows with luminous light. frighten. A deep sea jellyfish spins like a wheel of fireworks. half plant. worms. Far beneath. here. in that frightening abyss where light never calls. They've been my base during many adventures. clams. The rest is lost in heat. as in the rest of the natural world.But in the gloomy abyss beneath. It deals with the phenomena of light in the depths of the sea. This essay taken from my travel journals was written while making an Atlantic ocean crossing on Cunard Line's QE2. ship captains at sea flashed coded light signals to each other. shrimps and other crustaceans convert chemical energy into light energy. a constellation of fish radiates light. We humans get only 10 percent of electric energy out light bulbs in the form of light. or alert themselves to predators. Deep beneath the surface of the sea. Jellyfish. color has little function. bursts of light flicker round .. A Celebration Communicate with light? We humans do it. They still do at night during wartime to avoid breaking radio silence. half animal—flash myriads of galaxies dancing on the murmuring waves. starfish.. Billions of single celled organisms—dinoflagellates. — THE OCEANS . Beneath the sea nearly 100 percent of bioluminescent energy is converted into light. squid. At night. or at least we used to. before the advent of radio. snails. in eternal night. hiding or hunting. creatures communicate with light. Signalling or seeing. sea-squirts. jellyfish and their relatives the sea-pens arm themselves with light to dazzle.

Brittle star. firefleas swim in groups. discover their consorts and mate in the dark. you birth light as we live by light. leaving a morsel rather than a banquet. a fireworks display to mock a billion whirling chalices of stars birthing in deep space. If a barrage of lights from its arms fail to frighten off its enemy. who have evolved eyelid like shutters to turn out the lights when danger comes. minus one arm tip. coded mites. you are my guiding light. shark toothed jaws. I will enter dreadful abysses where thoughts. I dance through the heavens like the seven daughters of Atlas. In the Caribbean. I will glow with a terrible fire to light deep seas of my mind. I ride beams of light into abyssal clouds. sparking and spitting like a Catherine's wheel. A few clever fish employ a headlight which emits deep red light in the abyss where no colored light penetrates. Meanwhile. At night QE2 sparkles with a thousand lights. which. I wish I could flash lights in the dark and dance away from my sparkling body parts. My light shines forever. pulsing lights. shed my sparkling limbs round Jupiter and Saturn. like voracious angler fish. biochemistry converting energy to light. I wrap myself in light's energy a thousand fathoms down. I am one with Oceanus's womb of sentient life. Radiate.its body. tapestries of fishy design. dangle luminescent lures to entrap my conscious mind and bend my silver head to darkness and despair. What a dance that would be! No special effects. Below the glittering QE2 in the abyssal sea. Each male flashes points of light in unique individual patterns. illuminate. invisible to other predators who see no colors. luminescent signals to open up dialogues. glow. journey on the solar wind into deep space. miles down. an eternal delight. crawls off to safety. miraculously. fly into the clouds of light. lights out. In these labyrinthian corridors. the brittle-star fish outsmarts its enemies with a brilliant strategy. The light comes from clouds of glowing bacteria inhabiting the angler fish's lures. another kind of celebration takes place—a celebration of light. clouds of shimmering thoughts wink on and off. Most wonderful. a beacon across billions of light years. Glowing bacteria flash signals from the eyes of flashlight fish. I glow. it sheds an arm tip. Ocean. dangle luminous 'bait' from their dorsal fin fishing poles to lure prey into gaping. I think. The females recognize their mate's patterns. the brittle star. themselves dark. Myriads of tiny creatures flash lights. continues to flash. Angler fish. interstellar wastes trembling with nascent . They alone can see the red shrimps. veritable clouds of light.

I am certain that there are more yet to be found. as yet unrecognized……There is an immense ocean over which the mind can sail. I want more ideas of soul-life. glitter. I alight where cosmic furnaces glow. 1883. light alone reigns supreme. a Soul-Entity.lies just outside the pale of common thought. The Story of My Heart THE GOD OF LIGHT . flame into furious fusion to cradle countless newborn stars in a universal ocean of pure light. A great life .an entire civilization . upon which the vessel of thought has not yet been launched.novas sparkling amidst fiery seas of condensing dust. There is an entity. — RICHARD JEFFRIES . There is so much beyond all that has ever yet been imagined. Light.

He was also. is very beautiful. rain. heating the parapet. poet. HELIOS was the all-seeing god of the sun. The light from the sun is filtered by the atmosphere and influenced by the angle with which it reaches the earth. there that moment.were said to attend his throne). and man's pollution all change the way we see light. against the lit walls. as a inquisitive world traveler and recorder of the earth's cultures should.. and the three sisters called Seasons . by these I knew the supernatural to be more intensely real than the sun. even when revisiting places. the first' hippie' or flower child and considered the greatest of the Chinese poets. I was intensely conscious of it. Burning on steadfast. the immortal. the seventeenth century Japanese master of the haiku or seventeen syllable form of poetry wrote: “. like a spirit of many colors. Light is the great creator. the goddesses Day. I touched the supernatural.all who have achieved excellence in any art. eighth century A. volcanic eruptions which throw vast clouds of dust into the atmosphere. I am alive because the sun wills it. I am light itself transposed into living mind. The swallows wheeled and climbed. I felt it. I felt the presence of the immense powers of the universe. by extension. always surprising. The fixed point of day—the sun. Basho. By these I saw my soul. — RICHARD JEFFRIES . twittered and glided downwards. always changing. Burning on the great sun stood in the sky. while drunk on wine). like a moonstruck swain chasing the reflections of the moon in a pond (Li Po.. The sun filters through my thoughts the way it burns the mist off a mountainside. the sky. A Guide to Greek Gods. fog. I worship other gods as well.. Mists. in the midst of the supernatural. I have never seen the light the same anywhere in the world. Light and life embrace on this earth and throughout the misty regions of interstellar space.the twelve sister Hours. the god of the gift of sight and of the measurement of time (the time goddesses . In my travels. I felt out into the depths of the ether. as we all know. So intensely conscious of the sun. The sun is my familiar. the broad walls. in the hollows of the houses.. among the immortal. — Theoi Project. that is. The very nature of the air in different parts of the world imparts a variety of colors to way light is seen. I felt too in the midst of eternity then. the limitless space. and ever present as my thought. The light. is said to have drowned watching the moon in a pool. In his book. is evanescent. gleaming on my finger-nail. snow. glowing steadfastly upon me as when I rested in the narrow valley grooved out in prehistoric times. to be . possess one thing in common. the wild spirit which tints my work with glowing colors. lighting the least speck of dust. Dawn and sunset light. lighting the great heaven. and the greatness of the material realised the spirit. Spirits & Monsters I am infatuated with light like a lover. Lighting the broad river. Helios was a close friend of the other fire-god Hephaistos. The Narrow Road to the Far North . The Story of My Heart I worship the sun god..There was a faint blue colour in the air hovering between the built-up banks.D. Month and Year.

Pollock. If you examine your computer screen or television with a magnifying glass. Color is the great deceiver. Isaac Newton studied sunlight and discovered that it could be broken down into a rainbow of colors by a prism. . In the artist's own time. It is the same with the art of photography in its many guises. We see color in relation to other colors. as with Van Gogh. Rather. You will see the yellow change its apparent hue each time. Van Gogh. The light. like flashes of lightning. The beauty of art is that it is subjective. Today. green and blue. Matisse. illuminate the natural world. televisions and computer screens also mix light to produce different colors. and a host of others waited for the public's vision to catch up. you will see tiny dots. a large range of colors can be produced. or they are ignored. for photographs tell no more truth than a wielder of the camera is capable of revealing. probably red.one with nature throughout the four seasons of the year. dictates the color we see. Here is a brief on the character of light: In 1665-1666. whether artificial or natural. often. "White" sunlight is not really whitethere is no wavelength of light that is white. and whatever such a mind dreams of is the moon. DeKooning. By mixing these colors in different amounts. because there is no such thing as “true” color. Basho's short poems. The artist creates color harmonies or dissonances according to his or her desires or compulsions. it is a mixture of many different colors that appears white to our brains after being processed by our eyes. too late. Whatever such a mind sees is a flower. and each of us sees color in his or her own way. An easy test is to put a bright yellow card next to a blue card. finally a black card. the shapes and colors are often not recognized as desirable or lovely. (See incandescent light below) In the same way that the sun can produce light of many different wavelengths that appears white when mixed. then a red card. we know that the rainbow of colors one gets from a prism is a consequence of refraction and the different wavelengths of different colors.

" Although ideal black body materials don't exist in reality. Likewise. microwaves. increasingly more energetic radiation is emitted. hence appearing to be "black bodies". There are two basic types of light sources. then yellow. regular light bulbs (not florescent) and fires are all incandescent sources of light. infrared. for example. Radio waves. have such a long wave length and low energy that our eyes can't detect them and they pass through our bodies. Some sources of incandescent light are: the sun. ultraviolet. emit most of their energy in the infrared). Incandescent light is produced when atoms are heated and release some of their thermal vibration as electromagnetic radiation. then orange. the hottest stars appear to be a blueish-white while cooler stars such as our sun are more yellowish in appearance. so these materials would glow red.The "electromagnetic spectrum" is simply a phrase used to describe electromagnetic radiation of all wavelengths. 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. their different wavelengths and different energies allow them to have different effects on matter. It was found that at lower temperatures. for example. you might ask. Depending on how hot the material is. gamma rays. the photons released have different energies. fire and light bulbs. As temperatures are increased. Incandescent light is also known as "black body radiation. This includes radio waves. Incandescence involves the vibration of entire atoms. and eventually "white-hot. x rays. The wonderful variety of the electromagnetic spectrum is all a result of the same laws. these materials would emit radiation in the infrared wavelengths which we feel as heat (fires. If all electromagnetic radiation is fundamentally the same thing. "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. and other electromagnetic radiation of longer and shorter wavelengths. applied to different wavelengths and energies. most substances are close enough that this color sequence can be observed. and therefore. different colors." 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. . while luminescence involves only the electrons. visible light. It is the most common type of light that you see everyday sunlight.

No physicist truly believes he or she knows what started the colossal. but the view is enchanting and illuminating. supernovas. It turns out that electrons like to have energy at specific "energy levels. light emitting diodes. mercury-vapor street lights. television screens and computer monitors. continued luminescence requires something to continuously give the electrons a boost to a higher energy level to keep the cycle going. or radioactivity as in luminous paints. This boost may be provided by many sources: electrical current as in florescent lights. quasars. It's as good a theory as any. not an entire atom. chemical reactions as in Halloween light sticks and fire-flies." Thus.Unlike incandescence. —Discovering Light . neon light. black holes and a hundred thousand more . ThinkQuest '99 Those paragraphs are like taking a run up a hill or mountainside. when an electron jumps down to a lower energy level. because it is produced when an electron releases some of its energy to electromagnetic radiation. or light of a specific color. Therefore. to name just a few examples. stars and planets. luminescent light occurs at lower temperatures. THE BIG BANG & LIGHT At what incredible moment after the big bang ten or fifteen billion years ago did light suddenly enter the universe? Was it there already and was light the creator of the universe? I like to think that light is God's glowing mantle which He threw across the blackness to begin the process of making galaxies. It's difficult. perhaps infinite collection of galaxies. it will release a specific amount of energy which becomes a photon. star clusters.

I like to think so. he and he are twins that with and in their arts bring alive in this earth the things that sing. Darkness. reflect ashe. as in certain places deep in the sea or in buried caverns.the radiance of the eyes. the grail itself. the brightness of the spirit.. Blind people adjust to their world of four senses.. 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.. author Robert Farris Thompson writes ”.. that swing in the heavens. He will then look very broadly across the whole of all the devotees. Is light the spiritual power of the universe? Is it the holy of holies. the unanswered questions of creation? Life can exist without light. Light/Dark. Let theirs be the light. . a pin prick of a being shivering in the night. African & Afro-American Art and Philosophy . There is here a relative big bang! Albert Einstein: a brain is a silent Internet. his ordinary eyes swell to accommodate the inner eyes.” SEEING WHAT ISN’T THERE .look about grandly with fixed expressions. or do they somehow create luminescence inside their minds.According to the Yoruba: The gods have “inner” or “spiritual” eyes (oju inun) with which to see the world of heaven and “outside eyes” (oju ode) with which to view the world of men and women. the eyes of the god. as theirs is the darkness... but this is not a life we would embrace. Lee W. he will open his eyes abnormally. When a person comes under the influence of a spirit.astounding events which daily explode around the universe. Lightness... Schvaneveldt wrote on the Internet.persons possessed of the spirit of a Yoruba deity. “Albert Einstein and Steve Hawkings. but they can only imagine the world of light. I am dwarfed. In the desert or at sea at night. the magnificence of the gaze. I feel the star filled cosmos suddenly race away from me into the limitless deserts and seas of outer space.

descend And of the curveship lend a myth to God. The digital image is my sketch. free of the constraints of nascent technology and tyrannical mind set.. vividly recreating what is really there but cannot be seen. Basquiat. in the last few years. illuminations really. sometime sweep. and the lover’s cry. which is designed to record approximately what I see will do. abstractly. of the fury fused (How could mere toil align thy choiring strings!) Terrific threshold of the prophet’s pledge.. or de Kooning. audacious and unruly way like Pollock.. “. The 11 plus megapixel camera creates huge 52. The digital camera and digital programs free me to discover worlds of colors..'chaos' now and then. I work with my digital files like an action painter. That is what the camera. Unto us lowliest. O Sleepless as the river under thee. I am not interested in seeing the “reality” of these images. can be seen shimmering through the veil of order.—. Beading thy path—condensed eternity: And we have seen night lifted in thine arms. immaculate sigh of stars.. the prairies’ dreaming sod.9 megabyte files for each image when decompressed.. Vaulting the sea. wild. Against the traffic lights that skim thy swift Unfractioned idiom. I will down load these images into my computer and work with them in Adobe Photoshop.. light and shade.Oh harp and altar. the Photoshop program my brush and paints.” . Pianist Alfred Brendel quotes the German romantic poet Novalis. 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. That has nothing to do with the vast spectrum of electromagnetic radiation that plays invisibly all about me as I walk the bridge. Prayer of pariah.. I experiment with the images in a boisterous. contrast. My aim is to capture the play of clouds against the massive towers and myriad cables and wires.. —HART CRANE. Suddenly. even in Mozart. That is what my brain forces me to do.

no sound. I prowl the infinitely tiny foam of quantum mechanics where the universe quietly explodes insubstantial probabilities. quasars and colossal galactic collisions crossing limitless chasms of outer space. busy with the constant state of remaking itself. In the very beginning. When you read or hear anything about the birth of the universe. so tiny I cannot see the light. no light. I long to see light itself. sentient thing loves not the all-joyous light -. some very short time after creation in the big bang. I am lost in space. I am the light. the all-knowing light which irradiates my mind.with its colors. there was a void. Yet the laws of nature were in place and this curious vacuum held potential. its gentle omnipresence in the form of the wakening Day. I am the cognizant photons of holy light. I desire to see star births. but this story is about the universe and unfortunately there are no data for the very beginnings--none. iridescent. no matter. what living. no time. digital space and I see . someone is making it up--we are in the realm of philosophy. tintinnabulations which ravish my inner eye. a curious form of vacuum. That is. a nothingness containing no space. Only God knows what happened at the very beginning: —Nobel Prize winning physicist Leon Lederman . pure.Before all the wondrous shows of the widespread space around him. Tiny. a hologram of gravity's impure architecture. —NOVALIS I'm intoxicated with exploding light and fireworks which burst from my digital brain transmuted through my digital camera—into the holy grail of energy. zero. I want to observe ravening flares of pure energy thousands of light years across. flaring like the mystical sunrise in my brain stem. We don't know anything about the universe until it reaches the mature age of a billionth of a trillionth of a second. spanning gravity's timeless. I want to see deep. deep. down in the unconscious realms where primitive neurons transmit a web of light which envelops the universe. its rays and undulations. painted with black rainbows. A story logically begins at the beginning.

Right there at the retina. writes: The German physicist and physiologist Herman von Helmhotz (18211894) described vision as a process of unconscious inference: . the quintillions of photons each split second which would literally blind you if accepted raw. Your retina contains hundreds of millions neurons working in parallel. also known as V1. After further processing. The eye is not a window. the results travel on a new set of axons to the primary visual cortex. It's a dreary illusion fostered by evolution and nurture.THE MYSTERIOUS EYE The eye is the supreme organ created by evolution and it is totally misunderstood! That is so important that some of the information below is repeated. What you see isn't there. The computing power at your retina exceeds that of the most powerful supercomputers. your “desktop” computer analyzes and censors much of the fireworks entering your eye. You may jump ahead if desired. Have you “flown” your eye? It is attached to your brain. the electrical impulses are sent through an electric cable containing over one million wires called axons. From the retina. in Visual Intelligence. 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. not to your skull. and to other parts of your brain. Hubel . 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). One LGN lies in the left hemisphere and the other lies in the right hemisphere. And that's just the beginning.

blinded by the need to eliminate irrelevant information.it is intimately connected to your emotional intelligence and your rational intelligence. or fantasize we see. using what I imagined was there. Von Helmhotz surmised these things a century and a half ago. Hubel goes on to say. In his preface to Visual Intelligence. like an evanescent whirlpool of shifting shapes and colors. ....” 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. I discovered. relevant or irrelevant. are generally not conscious activities. It forwards these constructions to your emotional and rational intelligence.” The objects of obscure desire we think we see. Donald Hoffman writes.. but a sophisticated process of construction whose intricacies we are now beginning to understand.. it reveas what I entice it to reveal. “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.. visual feasts. which use them as raw materials in further constructions. but unconscious ones. Playing with the large digital files in Photoshop. The computer has no inhibitions.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. see. 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.. In their result they are equivalent to a conclusion. I sensed that these paintings in the sky were there.. it may be permissible to speak of the psychic acts of ordinary perception as unconscious conclusions. “.what happens when you see is not a mindless process of stimulus and response. perplex neuroscientists today. but my eye could not see them. When I worked with my Brooklyn Bridge images. as behaviorists thought for much of the twentieth century.. It constructs the elaborate visual realities in which you live and move and interact. in the cloud filled skies above the bridge a kaleidoscope of elegant abstract swirls and eddies.

. “Garbage in.9 megabyte) files which come from my Canon EOSD1s digital camera contain a wealth of information which my emotionally and rationally conditioned eye cannot see. 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. at the cutting edge of digital technology. garbage out. Learning to see with a camera is learning to see anywhere. Suddenly. Matisse. or who subtly transforms realities. Playing. we must learn to see.” The well known computer adage goes. It comes from an eye that learns to instantaneously recognizes significant patterns and make strong compositions in the camera before clicking the shutter button. enables me to create images I have only imagined but never seen. Such visionaries as Van Gogh. We must take chances and seek aleatory or chance compositions. First. Hidden in chaos is a higher “order. The art of image transformation begin with a new vision of the world. I can imagine what is there. O'Keefe and de Kooning imagined.” That should never stop us from making tens of thousands of “mistakes. As an artist. Monet. The large (53. we can paint our visions in the computer and print them. my eye/camera symbiosis gives me the vision of a painter who constructs from the raw material of nature his or her wildest fantasies. discovered and painted their fantasies on richly colored.” seeds we continuously plant to await a bountiful harvest of beauty. wildly flamboyant canvases. and I use the word playing in its most creative sense. Today.

bruised my heels on the rough beaches of the northern sea where tall dunes make walking so hard. endow the world with beauty and agape — intense romantic love. gave up city life some ten years ago and now I'm approaching fifty.Azaleas continue in bloom. We live in an all encompassing shower of infinitely tiny meteorites. enter our brains and coalesce into miracles or dreary dust.. like whirling kaleidoscopes. We breathe slowly.. Light from the sun radiates more photons each second than could be stored as bytes on all the computers in the world. the Zen moment of being there. too. a snail without its shell. and a cuckoo now and then passes by. relax and enter a universe of bright mirrors which. a Zen intuitive eye. which was built in 1063.. or quietly observes utter simplicity in shades of grey. He saw in flashes of seventeen syllable . Basho's haiku poems were written with the inner eye.. The grebe attaches its floating nest to a single strand of reed to keep it from washing away in the current. THE HUT OF THE PHANTOM DWELLING In a letter to a friend written in 1690. I. the eye that sees what isn't there. He saw with his clear“camera” eye..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. photons which strike our eyes. And now this year here I am drifting by the waves of Lake Biwa. the god of war. wild wisteria hangs from the pine trees. Inspired vision trusts the intuitive unconscious. I've. I'm like a bagworm that's lost its bag. when the conscious self dissolves into a hail and firestorm of flamboyant colors and shapes. Basho describes his life in the simple hut in which he lived for a while.. The hut was near a shrine of Hachiman.

The promise of early chill. and expended my feelings on flowers and birds.and so in the end.haiku the beauty. Much of what is there escapes notice by the eye conditioned to see what is “useful. Poetry often carries within it the holograms of subtle allusions which only the most sensitive translations can begin to reveal. —BASHO. unskilled and talentless as I am. The Narrow Road to the Far North (Penguin) .. tenderness and sorrows of his world. Heartlessly indifferent to time. It is the same with seeing and making images. however. Basho writes. The wind knows.” Near the end of his letter. I give myself wholly to this one concern.. I am awestruck To hear a cricket singing Underneath the dark cavity Of an old helmet. red is the sun. Red. poetry. “I've worn out my body in journeys as aimless as the winds and clouds.

' —RUDOLPH ARNHEIM I give myself every day to learning how to see. . close to Arches National Park. The falls are part of the learning process. The sky was beginning to light up in a curious way. What has imagination to do with seeing? Our imaginations free us from the tedium of daily chores. scan their surfaces. She says that imagination is a mode of consciousness. my work with images. and careened down the road to the Park entrance. grabbed my camera. catch them. jumped into my car. seeking images unseen and buried and immersed in my unconscious? To see. the necessary housekeeping which we all must endure. I went out for a walk very early that morning and had a sudden flash of instinct or unconscious calling. I was up in a second. Impressed by this experienced. asserts that the gentle fire that warms the human body flows out through the eyes in a smooth and dense stream of light. touch them. “ that it shimmers behind everything we do. go out to the distant places where things are found. With an invisible finger we move through the space around us. I arrived at the formation called Balanced Rock just as the sky came on fire. We we must fall a lot to see this world in its ravishing beauty. trace their borders. or is it my deepest imagination playing with fire. Laura Sewall quotes William Blake: “Let the world of rationalization and of the senses be consumed in the fires of imagination. Plato. and over this bridge the impulses of light that emanate from the object travel to the eyes and thereby to the soul. When I fire my camera. tripped on a low fence and fell hard. I ran to the motel. ran towards the rock. A soft reddish light filled the dawn sky. For example. explore their texture. It is an eminently active occupation. my music. aimed my camera and watched transfixed at the dawn light flaming behind the silhouette of the rock. It simply took quick action to capture the fleeting fiery dawn. Once I was traveling through Utah and had stopped in the now bustling town of Moab.IN SIGHT OF SENSIBILITY 'In looking at an object we reach out for it. I jumped out of the car. I saw nothing anyone couldn't have seen. a unique capacity of the mind and the “deepest voice of the soul. is it I who sees. 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. Free the eternal soul. That is the beginning of my poetry.” Sewall goes on to write about wrapping her imagination around a near quarter moon. At the beginning of her chapter titled “Imagine This” in Sight and Sensibility. in his Timaeus. Thus a tangible bridge is established between the observer and the observed thing. early thinkers describe the process of vision correspondingly. let it taste again Infinity.

” The art of seeing begins with discovery of beauty in the commonplace. “I looked at it with the possession-taking grasp of the imagination—the true one. The power of wildness. We create our visual world with our malleable brains if we dare to use them in seemingly irrational or dangerous ways. mind-set and fear of the new." 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. unfettered imagination.. and I felt a charm in every vine tendril that hung over them.. any artwork has the power to invest the inquiring eye and mind with a startling and eventually very pleasing taste. in the beginning. So obvious an idea is not so easy to achieve. Freed from constraints of early conditioning. any part of such a landscape. it was poetry while it lasted. We discard much of the beauty in life because it occurs in unlikely places. or invent.There's a wild side to seeing. According to Arnheim Aristotle conceives of the "universal character " of an object "directly perceived in it as its essence rather than indirectly collected through the search of common elements in the various specimens of a species or genus. . it gilded all the dead walls. 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. It is well to swim hard and often in these uncharted waters until you float comfortably under benevolent skies. It required an effort to maintain the feeling. or give glory to. hurling away constraints may lead. to a kind of chaos. and I felt that it was only while under it that one could draw.

It has a formidable power still in its infancy. I am struck by the sudden knowledge. I don't know their name. Suddenly the image jumps into life. and walk on. Hundreds of people can talk for one who . I am in my studio with a young student intern studying the images from the flower market on one of my computers. I cannot truly see it on the computer screen immediately. catches my eye. add a bit of brightness and contrast. I photograph the display rather casually. I think.SEEING WHAT ISN’T THERE I walk through the flower market on 28th street off Sixth Avenue and study the displays. Even when my inner eye sees certain images and triggers the camera. The orange display catches our eyes. intensify the color. new power to reveal what our conscious minds censor or obliterate. I had observed this now intensely curvaceous asymmetrical composition when I was making the photograph with my inner or unconscious intuitive eye. I love sunflowers because they speak to me of light's mysteries and shed a cheerful glow on the world. that I don't consciously see as much as I think I see. The computer sees anew. I sharpen it. but it looks rather uninteresting. For fun. The owners pleasantly agree to my photographing their displays. although I view the new digital technology as an alchemist's stone which reveals what ‘isn't there. 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. Using Adobe Photoshop. A display of orange flowers. These markets are filled with visual banquets of flowers. 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. A few days later. I must manipulate the image in odd ways and coax it to reveal itself. The computer programs give us a sudden. I take it into ‘curves' and play. The flowers are wrapped in white paper which makes arabesque-like patterns. The effect on our vision cannot be predicted.' The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and tell what it saw in a plain way.

You must take the lens off the autofocus mode and focus by hand. this Day in July. To see clearly is poetry. not rotate the lens. My tool of choice is a 100 mm. but it is difficult to execute. it (the camera) fires. suddenly. like a samurai warrior wielding his sword in a split second. very fast. Bees abound. since the slightest movement is magnified at close range. the camera fires. A number of times my finger on the shutter at the moment of release pushes the camera slightly. It isn't calendar. for your hand to steady. I will seek the hidden heart of the flowers. Vision: The art of seeing the invisible. macro lens. Since depth of field diminishes rapidly the nearer you get to the subject. It is about seeing without restraint. you maneuver the camera with tiny movements until the image in the finder speaks to you and. and developing the technique to execute your vision with your camera. greeting card images of flowers that I'm after. Sunday. prophecy and religion. I must swoop in. everything moves. is a revelation. shakes. I spot a large bee on a lily and move in very close. The technique sounds simple. I expected few flowers in bloom in the midsummer heat. This will require that you have a flash in the camera or an external flash such as my Canon speedlite 550EX. Waiting for the wind to stop. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden.can think. Once in very close to where you want to be. to attain sharpness where desired. see! Then. Instead. The lens enables me to photograph deep in the heart of flowers if I wish. throwing the composition out of kilter. without volition. postcard. jitters. and in a fraction of a second. I go to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to photograph more flowers. wings covered with yellow pollen. At close range with the macro. all in one. you must move the camera. I must work on this. — JOHN RUSKIN On the next day. but thousands can think for one who can see. buzzing quietly about their tasks. it is well to stop the lens down to f:16 or f:22. —JONATHAN SWIFT . at intense magnification. mysteries unseen and beauty unfolding. I am greeted with a profusion of brilliantly colored flowers from giant lotuses in the pond in front of the conservatory to lavish displays of lilies and many more. their spirits veiled in the chiaroscuro of light and color. It is all about seeing. seeing what is almost invisible to the naked eye.

the opposite of the closeup flower photography. Entrepreneurs are risk takers. the spider web like thrust of girders make ikebana-like patterns of asymmetry The girders are flung high and wide around me. They willingly assume responsibility for the success or failure of a venture and are answerable for all its facets. A subway train roars past.BRIDGE WORKS Training vision is a lifelong task. The resulting images become fodder for a series of joined canvases and psychedelic looking images which I make into dazzling patterns of light. Early in the morning one day. willing to roll the dice with their money or reputation on the line in support of an idea or enterprise. I am busy seeing on a large scale. to see more and more of what isn't there. 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. Spectral sunlight winks in and out between the massive girders which support the bridge along with a network of cables. After forty or more years of making images with cameras. It is only by taking the greatest risks. The buck not only stops at their desks. chiaroscuro. and attempting to re-invent your visual world that you grow and see. I begin to truly see. avoiding self censorship. it starts there too . An array of hidden colors appear like magic in the seemingly monotonous bluish sky hung with misty clouds. and unexpected colors. they groan as they brace this immense structure. Against the light. I hear autos buzzing beneath me. What I saw with my inner eye when on the bridge. I walk across the new pedestrian and biker's path on the Williamsburg Bridge in Manhattan.

That is good. You must work for it. learning to see anew leads to success. Picture postcards rarely carry surprises or awakenings. sudden revelations—colored lights reflected on the streets during rain. He records the sculptures with a camera. trying to see what isn't there. is fodder for his revelations of the unseen beauty in nature. icicles and other natural flotsam and jetsam often last for a few days or less. By surviving in those seas we awaken to a sky filled with a flaming dawn and we see. Whether making images. one which deprives us of much of the beauty which can enrich our lives.” His outdoor sculptures made with stones. The quest for vision is much like daring feats of adventure. 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. So it is with our normal vision of the world around us. we create a shallow life. filled with turbulent pitfalls that sadden us. The sought after place or thing is shrouded in mysteries. most days I don't even get close. The gift of sight is precious. willy nilly. or Livingston seeking the source of the Nile in unexplored Africa. The gift of vision is secured by audaciously setting out into the unknown. a bee in the heart of a flower.— VICTOR KIAM We are all entrepreneurs in this life. light playing across cloud castles—there is no end. with no maps to go by. stalks. The ahhh! of beholding is gone. like Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic alone. We admire the image or we ignore it. We do not have to travel across the country or jet to another continent to discover unexpected wonders. in his book Andy Goldsworthy writes “At its most successful my ‘touch' looks into the heart of nature. to Goldsworthy. We toss about like shipwrecked sailors in a small boat on an immense sea with no horizon in sight. The commonplace. the success of the brave and audacious.. If we don't dare the unknown. or doing business. A COLLABORATION WITH NATURE Andy Goldsworthy. leaves. Albert Einstein put it this way: . flowers. unseen because we have learned to take it for granted.

like a beginner a scuba diving overcoming fear of drowning. The No-Mind is the same as the Right Mind. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. This statement by Takuan is a clue to learning how to see. genius or no. Let us dive deep into the ‘sea' on firm land and begin to see as children again.The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. Each of us. It takes constant practice. Such a myriad of riches must be organized. It does not understand the languages in which they are written.” It is the mind that thinks in one direction. 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 see everything. The child knows that someone must have written these books. Zen Master Takuan Soho says: The Existent Mind is the same as the Confused Mind and is literally read as the “mind that exists. It does not know who or how.. They are not windows. discrimination and thoughts will arise. In The Unfettered Mind (Kodansha). Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight. It's necessary to be overwhelmed now and then. not to reveal the hidden world around us. Each of us is that happy child to whom all of creation from the earth to the starry universe awaits recognition. Do not go gentle into that good night . while all around us. or even more so . regardless of subject. a thousand. And learn. than the Hubble Space Telescope. He saw into the hidden workings of the universe. We glory in these wondrous visions. to penetrate the veil. they grieved it on its way.” It's like hallucinations. They are trained to work at our daily tasks. Our eyes and our brains have been marvelously trained by evolution to do just this.. When there is an object of thought in the mind. Einstein's Relativity Theory revealed new world in which the speed of light could not be surpassed. and therefore censored nothing. Our open eyes gatherer quintillions of photons every minute. We try to detach ourselves from daily tedium and open our eyes like children. The rewards are beyond measure. thousand visions go unnoticed. No-Mind or Right Mind wanders freely to view what “is not there. and time was not a universal clock—his concept of the spacetime continuum. but only dimly suspects. but we hide most of what we see behind a veil in order to avoid being overwhelmed. too late.” First we need to understand that our eyes are as miraculous. It neither congeals nor fixes itself in one place. or daydreaming. Learn to love the gifts of light and enlightenment.a mysterious order which it does not comprehend. is capable of seeing beyond the veil of self imposed or peer imposed “reality. Scuba techniques revealed the surprising rainbows of wonders beneath the surface of the sea to our eyes and brains that had no pre-conditioning. Thus it is known as the Existent Mind. We are like a little child entering a huge library. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books. We relax our eyes and take in everything.

. Our newly innocent eyes. freed of much conditioned restraint. but the act of truly seeing the world is equally brave.. see beyond the surface of things. To paint The Snowstorm. but I felt bound to record it if I did. “. We discard tradition. and I did not expect to escape.” It was a brave act. although we can learn to see many of these enchanting displays of light and color. wildly impressionistic at a time (mid-eighteenth century) when painting was mostly realism. We stare out at the world . ignore the opinions of others whether our peers.. we must abandon safe harbors in the mind. Berger relates that Turner remarked.— DYLAN THOMAS .. The sea paintings carry within them colors and shapes rarely seen at sea or anywhere. Turner's sea paintings.I got sailors to lash me to the mast to observe it. “Writing about a late painting called The Angel Standing in the Sun . show that he dared to see and paint in a new way. I was lashed for four hours. To see like Turner. researchers or mystics. Do Not Go Gentle into That Dark Night LIGHT DEVOURS THE WORLD John Berger. Turner spoke of light devouring the whole visible world. and dare to believe that our own new vision is paramount. in About Looking says.

I discover myriad colors. are equally extraordinary. gigantic in relation to flowers. patterns and designs hidden in these seemingly somber structures. the eloquent lines of the wires and cables. I see the intricacies of design wrought in the girders. flung across the waterways. The bridges sing a syncopated off key tune of creaking girders. towers. elegant constructs of steel and wire. and their myriad interactions designed to sustain trucks. shapes. in their endless varieties. Bridges. girders. Overhead. You must look hard. working with Photoshop. singing a world of ethnic peoples together. and unveil such ravishing beauty and resplendent natural wonders as would make an emperor envious. What I see or do not see. and roaring subway trains. the blue waters reflect the sun. These are giant harps. rumbling traffic. colors. I sight through my camera and construct the raw materials of my digital painter's painter's palette. Far below. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge with its spider work of cables or the cantilevered Williamsburg Bridge and study the wires. and subway trains. What is there to see? Flowers are a universe unto themselves.with our inner eyes. For a time my work focuses on flowers and bridges in Manhattan. the sun peers out from scuddng clouds. . bringing. FLOWERS & BRIDGES The world surprises me every day. autos. cables. my unconscious instinctive mind records in the camera. Later. and shapes.

like our dreams. “it’s your world for the moment. when the images are downloaded into the computer. and for a woman that was too remarkable. One Hundred Flowers.” she said. “O'keeffe let herself be seen. Our perceptions.” —GEORGIA O’KEEFFE. They swim around our unconscious like schools of rainbow colored fish. diverse means of viewing the world. isn't there.garde husband. Her avante. (Knopf/Callaway) In 1927. to my eye. sizes and shapes. I see what I couldn't see. cupping her hand and holding it closer to her face. Perception and seeing are two distinct. I cannot see what it sees at that moment. Most people in the city rush around so. when I “develop” them in Photoshop. Our lifelong work consists of allowing these swarms of . I want to give that world to someone else. my unconscious. come in many colors. I can trust it and allow the camera to record what. Later.” said Steiglitz. Some found them to be to sensual and erotic. displaying huge stamens and pistils. intuitive vision or no-mind sees something else. People simply had not seen flowers closeup. My perception.VISION & PERCEPTION “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it. they have no time to look at a flower. gave herself like a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not. the photographer and gallery owner Steiglitz cautioned her against exhibiting them. O'Keeffe's her large canvases of flowers seen closeup shocked and scandalized the public and the critics. They were overwhelming. I see what I am used to seeing. When I stare through my camera viewfinder and carefully view the scene with my normal mind.

miraculous world around us. Such vision never diminishes. like a Titan's garden filled with luxuriant brilliant weeds and gaudy flowers. of seeing the ever changing. Nothing is banned. Entangled among the exuberant growth and ravishing colors we find single images which delight us with their quiet and repose.perceptions to surface. This is the beginning of wisdom. in the midst of chaos. It only grows wilder and more colorful.. order shimmers through and we are comforted. . In the midst of wildness. to unveil themselves in the light. Wisdom entails sifting all experience through an uncensored sieve of unconscious desires and playful freedom.

Between red and violet. Two very narrow regions with the spectrum are the visible light region and the X-ray region. Since this narrow band of wavelengths is the means by which humans see. In this sense. The separation of visible light into its different colors is known as dispersion. we are referring to visible light. Though electromagnetic waves exist in a vast range of wavelengths. Dispersion of visible light produces the colors red (R). Electromagnetic waves exist with an enormous range of frequencies. and violet (V). yellow (Y). a small spectrum of the range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. for these reasons.ADDENDUM: THE VISIBLE SPECTRUM We see only a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. green (G). higher frequency regions are on the far right. 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. You may read the following explanation if you wish or go on. BIV. The diagram below depicts the electromagnetic spectrum and its various regions. Each color is characteristic of a distinct wavelength. indigo (I). blue (B). This continuous range of frequencies is known as the electromagnetic spectrum. That is. The entire range of the spectrum is often broken into specific regions. orange (O). The red wavelengths of light are the longer wavelengths and the violet wavelengths of light are the shorter wavelengths. The visible . our eyes are sensitive to only a very narrow band. It is because of this that visible light is sometimes referred to as ROY G. 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. and different wavelengths of light waves will bend varying amounts upon passage through a prism. Isaac Newton showed that light shining through a prism will be separated into its different wavelengths and will thus show the various colors that visible light is comprised of. Each individual wavelength within the spectrum of visible light wavelengths is representative of a particular color. Normally when we use the term "light. Colors that we do not see are visible to other creatures on this earth. The longer wavelength." we are referring to a type of electromagnetic wave which stimulates the retina of our eyes. we refer to it as the visible light spectrum. lower frequency regions are located on the far left of the spectrum and the shorter wavelength. we perceive that specific color sensation. 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. You are undoubtedly familiar with some of the different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

visible light is sometimes referred to as white light. Thus. So when you are in a room with no lights and everything around you appears black. We use our intuitive no-mind and Zen like clairvoyance. Technically speaking. it means that there are no wavelengths of visible light striking your eye as you sight at the surroundings. —physicsclassroom. We see all of the invisible spectrum of light which daily dances through our lives. white is not a color at all. We dance with light to the farthest reaches of human perception and understanding. Once more. black is not actually a color. Light is the greatest dancer.light spectrum is shown in the diagram below when all the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum strike your eye at the same time. then none of the wavelengths would lead to the appearance of black. black is merely the absence of the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum. white is perceived.com Shall we dance? In Zen & the Art of Archery . The visible and invisible rainbows of the electromagnetic spectrum are our lives. EPILOGUE . We see what is not there. If all the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum give the appearance of white. The archer dances his shots. but rather the combination of all the colors of the visible light spectrum. Technically speaking. author Herrigel speaks of his master constantly referring to archery as a dance.

every campaign to acquire new knowledge. like the brain feeds upon itself. Once a challenging peak is climbed. AUDACE! . higher peak. Perhaps "desert" is simply a staging ground. tedium overtakes the climber in pursuit of meaning and creative growth. Each new peak we attain reveals views of other heretofore hidden heights. self-examination. must rest from other necessary and tiresome labors unrelated to growth and creating. enjoy the view! The next step must be to another. "Every knock is a boost. The best. A jazz singer on FM radio the other day sang a refrain.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. beginning again. a metaphor for the next great endeavour. Moses spent forty years in the desert and never reached the promised land. Rest and recuperation is needed before another attempt is possible. the greatest creativity. we encounter a pivotal time. success or failure. has a curve of accomplishment: the beginning. He or she. Often." So it is. having reached a peak. when the future beckons tantalizingly and everything is possible. Like life itself. we undergo a rite of passage. Our growth and perception never ends. A mountain climber trapped above twenty to twenty-five thousand feet or higher must come down for oxygen soon or deteriorate and die. The body. most sanguine and felicitous parts of novels and movies often occur in the first half when striving is all. the winding and endless road to knowledge is our home. and the will to make the desert flower. At certain periods in our creative lives. or back down the mountain. youthfulness in ideas and in the work itself is everything . It's too easy to begin an enterprise with innocent enthusiasm and passion. hard work. I believe every great enterprise. especially if it knocks us up and away from our preconceptions.

When the idea is new. and if need be. — Lincoln's Second Annual Message to Congress. in Lincoln's words.The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. Forward. Ideas won't keep. Life demands action. so we must think anew. We must act forcefully before the routine and tedium of endless petty details despoil our dreams and defeat our ends. its custodians have fervor and live for it. We must disenthrall ourselves. The occasion is piled high with difficulty. LIGHT THE SKY The vitality of thoughts is in adventure. cold harness of tasks better left to career administrators. audace" cried de Gaulle. Shed it! We must each take our inspired and abundant creative talent and free it from the itchy. die for it. Something must be done about them. We must. The workaday "nitty gritty" conspires to shackle our talents. "disenthrall ourselves" and move on to fresh. audace. and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new. We must send them roaming. ideas won't wait. fecund fields where new ideas may glisten in the dawn of new endeavors like early morning dew on flowers and grass. and act anew. and then we shall save our country. . always forward. "Audace.

Lewis speaks an idea garnered from a student. Great talent. we have purpose. seek and find venues that need. Shouldn't we spend our time working on projects that illuminate the darkness. color and beauty. which. great ambitions crave great projects. -. such aspirations. that contain great challenges and require facilities to implement them on a grand and worthy scale. Anthony Hopkins playing C. and we are not alone ? . We must unleash our God given extraordinary abilities and free them to race across the sky like the Sun God's fiery steeds. Power and Magic In it." Isn't that the purpose of all of art and creation. S.GOETHE WE ARE NOT ALONE In the movie Shadowlands. We set out. like a blanket of oily soot. smothers the world of new ideas and visions? Shouldn't we work on enterprises that wash away gloom and give birth to a new. indeed demand. "We read to know we are not alone. aflame with light.—ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD Everyone of us is an untapped reservoir of becoming. we wither in a stale environment where bean counters rule and dreams die slowly and painfully. a ghostly apparition in an unblinking cosmos—that here on this speck of green earth whirling round a small sun. 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. great energy. talent. soul wrenching awareness of the cascading beauty and symbolism of life itself? Whatever you can or want to do -Begin it! Boldness has genius. free will. If not.

"My voyages are my Ithaca. We are born to fly. We must protect the God given flame of inspiration ere it flickers out in the temples of money changers. in the cellars of misers and bean counters. in the offices of bureaucrats. our efforts our lives. to the renewal of youthful dreams. love and creation." We work to display the joy of what we create each day and each day is our reward. moral and cultural values. We are all poets at heart. “What can the vintner buy one half so precious as what he sells?" We are fortune's vintners pressing dreams from dew covered . Always the journey. Very little of value may be found between. to dance. to setting off on another voyage into the unknown? Odyssus set sail again in search of new worlds after he regained his kingdom Ithaca. The man's lot is to live his human life. The Dehumanization of Art We read in Omar Khayyum's poem The Rubiyat . or sadly. Passion and joy rule our lives. A Modern Sequel . not crawl. we read of Odysseus. to fly on wings of thought to far reaches of the planet and to the ends of the universe. the sole elements that conspire to make us more than slouching beasts. THE WINE OF PASSION We read in Omar Khayyum's poem The Rubiyat . to sally forth into the universes of thought and action. the poet's to invent what is non-existent.Enjoy life? Of course! We are born to sing. not grunt. our destinations are our inspiration. Without passion we create grey slag heaps of time worn existence. Our dreams arise from inspiration. to crawl. —ORTEGA Y GASSET. “What can the vintner buy one half so precious as what he sells?" We are fortune's vintners pressing dreams from dew covered grapes. not recklessly. never the end. dreams that make life real. In Nikos Kazantzakis's great poem “ The Odyssey. 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. What pleasure compares to a new creative challenge. but as the fires of volcanoes renew the earth.

Our dreams arise from inspiration. love and creation. We must protect the God given flame of inspiration ere it flickers out in the temples of money changers. not recklessly. We seek the . 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. the poet's to invent what is non-existent. in the cellars of misers and bean counters. —ORTEGA Y GASSET. The Dehumanization of Art LONG AND HARD ARE THE SKY ROADS Our creative desires and endeavors must not be reduced to shopping malls of clever exhibits and boutiques. Without passion we create grey slag heaps of time worn existence. but rise to snow peaked mountains towering into the next world. in the offices of bureaucrats. Passion and joy rule our lives. dreams that make life real. but as the fires of volcanoes renew the earth. We are all poets at heart.grapes. The man's lot is to live his human life. moral and cultural values. the sole elements that conspire to make us more than slouching beasts.

the grand architectonic "musical" forms of canyons. concrete and glass. music that comes from Bach in the B minor Mass or from the dying Schubert in the late piano sonatas. It is not a viewer. the paintings of Van Gogh. I often encounter this dawn roaming the earth into "primitive" places. Removed from our close contact with the earth. We embrace the human ability to rise to an occasion. they are . however new and bold. it is not made for any decreed purpose. From modesty comes grace. it is the artist himself or herself who must discern what really matters. The true artist. What else compares with the experience of art itself? All of art. to welcome discoveries. de Kooning. It is the wonderful kindness. surrounded by paved roads. flaming nebulae millions of light years away. the uncanny beauty of worlds in collision. The artist. our minds that will not age unless left idle. we must find our way back to that exuberant dawn of innocence and spiritual dignity. I do not ignore the appalling poverty and misery found in many undeveloped and developing countries. the art of music and dance. Matisse. see-er or seeker creates and grows because he or she is creation itself. 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. Such enterprises can be found. the sculpture of Moore. ART MAKES US MORE HUMAN We stand measured by the breadth of our expanding souls. places where human beings embrace mother Gaea with innocence and praise her. pinnacles and arches in the Southwest. explored and made real. must never bow to the whiplash of bureaucracy or cries for what is politically correct. a fiery grace that lights the world. I believe the sometimes hidden purpose of all art is to raise the level of the viewer's perceptions. but hard and long are the sky roads and many are those who would tame the spirits that ride with the chariot of the sun god. I add the caveat that art is . wisdom and hospitality of so many peoples that I speak of. bewildered or chastened. or an audience that must be enlightened.unknown. Brancusi or Rodin. the sound of wind and wave and rain. No power must come between that holy gift and the expression of it for the joy of mankind. to shed light. the seeker of the way of art. sculpture and science. to make life worthwhile. Basquiat.

to discover that we are not alone. All of art and science beckons to human beings to look. rocket off. We will come to know again the joyful springtime that comes unexpected and radiant late in autumn or dead of winter. and yes to going forward! I make no difference between the God of the Christians. the Buddhists. —lARIA MITCHELL Yes to that hymn. Better to leave the dilapidated train. or anyone's search for religious meaning in symbols or saints. the Muslims. to touch. yes to the creative mind. the Jews. fly to the places and palaces we dream of. to hear. like a speeding freight train is difficult to stop and makes a great screeching and squawking when slowed. when trees suddenly bud and flowers bloom out of . sing to our souls and reward us with innocence. launch.one and the same. forever hastening to those places which capture our hearts. SPRINGTIME IN DECEMBER Every formula which express a law of nature is a hymn to God. Hard it is to wrench oneself from the turmoil of self-created "necessary" mundane projects whose momentum. to see.

daring and beautiful. October is the fallen leaf. or be made unbearable by puerile and punitive endeavors. Aphrodite or Apollo in a flourishing civilization where greed and lust for power often overshadow humanity's long journey to the stars. Autumn is for Understanding FOR THE HAPPY FEW (OR MANY) We all may share the blessed lifelong burden of creating and loving. a labor fit for Hercules. else it is a lesser life) to strive and seek a distant shore unmapped. energy which is eternal delight in Blake's words. I will sing of joy. Our nascent light must not set in darkening shadows of discontent. a cracked bell. an unlicensed oracle. We were born to inhabit this halcyon paradise of earth while we live (living means creating. Prometheus. —HAL BORLAND . There is no end to energy. an insolent mouthpiece for Gaea. then we must and shall employ it for the good of the earth insofar as we are capable of understanding that good. 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. We must avoid . If we be favored by the gods with energy. It is the distant hills once more in sight and the enduring constellations above them once again. I am a lover and a fool.season. Then we may give thanks and praise and rejoice in the knowledge that we are forever young. but it is also a horizon more clearly seen. uncharted and unbounded.

making godlike judgements as to what is good. We were born. brained and blessed to do Gaea's great bidding. seekers and seers who fiercely create and bring these shattering and seductive visions to light shall be as prophets of old. We toil for the coming happy many who seek what we seek. Who will or can stand with the Lord in his place and listen to his words? I neither mock nor defile any religion nor use the cantos of praise other than with respect and joy for spiritual enlightenment. We toil to give form and space and song to what has not been seen enough before. glorious. if thou hast understanding. Art is evolutions' way of knowing herself. We toil because we must. green and gratifying earth. the burgeoning glory of an ever fecund. ever flabbergasting. It is the business of the future to be dangerous.When the morning stars sang together.. ever new. WHO WILL STAND? We happy see-ers. We work. 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. the thrice blessed godly virtue of questioning. Art is the religion of the spirit and the religion of the deepest unconscious striving of the fecund but tip of evolution.” said Alfred North Whitehead.. and all the sons of God shouted for joy? . Nothing else or less will do. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare. "blind" and dreaded. for the happy few.

We must follow our hearts no matter where. but on a candlestick. that they may see your good works. audacity.THE BIBLE . the voice in the wilderness soon forgotten. With zeal. jubilantly. *Ye are the light of the world. The sermon on the mount* goes unheeded. a tintinnabulation of ringing bells to fill the mountain steeps with echoes of glory. and put it under a bushel.. love and compassion. Jew. and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Let your light so shine before men. Moslem. . a mighty work which make this planet a vaulted heaven where mortals convene and converse with gods. a great jazz in the night. Gaea's legions. and it give light unto all that are in the house. joyfully. the teachings remain. 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.. the legions of creativity. Shinto. Father. inspiration and courage we do the bidding of gods and spirits. Christian. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. the army of the Lord of hosts.-. Neither do men light a candle. Job XXXVIII Open the gates for we are as sounding brass.

filled with zeal and energy. from the spirit and from the love of life is holy.. Art which comes from the heart. to make a world where art and love blossom like cactus flowers in vast deserts of ignorance. Bach's music. as a sky flowering lightning and rainbows. from the soul. It is sometimes hard to keep my eye on the holy beacon of creative enrichment. CREATION'S STARRY LIGHTHOUSE A wanderer on this earth. discovery and enlightenment. no dry fugue maker. Bach. the mist shrouded lighthouse whose radiant beams illuminate a thousand. Starry eyed. . I witness the seemingly endless striving of fecund humanity to break the shackles of earthbound tedium.worshipper of Mother Earth or earth spirits? Bach loved the Father as he loved life itself. the light of God. as the Buddhist monk loves the Eightfold Path and the Four Noble Truths. to find. We stand together with artists and scientists. the Zen monk's traditional shakuhachi flute meditations or any other glorious religious music celebrates the light. Each new challenge begins in innocence. to seek. shamans. we undertake to make a world more fit for humanity's great mission. to know. to understand. thousand deadly reefs and shoals in a world often gone mad. was as passionate as a water lily in the dawn. the light that is God. to celebrate the earth.

voyages into the unknown. Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us.preachers and prophets. for we contain in our mortal bodies the whirling troposphere of lightning and great storms. having known. voyages away from stuffy.. of glory in the flower . And cometh from afar: Nor in entire forgetfulness. Our labors flower and bear fruits in their season. -. and my soul stir to the rhythm of the daily round. And time will come close about me.. like fragrant wildflowers. In his monumental poem. our life's star. memento mori of that place from which we came. life will not press so close. Ode on Intimations of Immortality. the radiant genesis of glory. Our gifts. his great lament " Though nothing can bring back the hour/Of splendour in the grass. shades of the prison house closing in. not measured out like cold coins or lifeless currency. For once I stood In the white windy presence of eternity. — EUNICE TIETJENS . We stand beside all who seek to know. we shape the world we inhabit. And always I shall feel time ravel thin about me. The art's the thing. make beautiful solace for a moment of rapture. But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God. Yet. the dregs of futile toil.. rotting fruit. a star swathed cradle of innocence. The fruit of our endeavors. a quasar billions of light years away shedding the radiance of a giant collapsing star. Hath had elsewhere its setting. Wordsworth bemoaned the seeming loss of his own innocence. And not in utter nakedness.WORDSWORTH . who is our home.. yield love potions we toast to the glory of the earth. he saw shadows." The entire Ode spirals down to us like a glittering nebulae. We carry our heads high in the myriad constellations of glittering stars. whose lives become voyages. smothering sarcophaguses filled with overripe.

innocent and filled with joy at what we do not know yet yearn to know. We attain our births and rebirths. we are at play in fertile fields filled with spring freshets and flowers. Antony and Cleopatra . the tinsel worship of celebrities. Not as solons in the great courts of kings.SUCCESS HAS TWO FACES "Success" that duplicitous Janus-like goddess... but as naifs. growing and creating. and the seemingly dangerous. nor custom stale/Her infinite variety. Only constant change and growth fuel the engine of creating the new. Ours is the earth and all that's in it. the adoration of power and money. misbegotten misinterpretation of the meaning of life. conquerors or emperors. the cycles of the seasons of art that bestow everlasting youth.she makes hungry where most she satisfies. One head eternally young. We will trail clouds of glory as long as we forbear yielding to money-grubbing temptations." --SHAKESPEARE . True success comes from our joy of learning. defeats our aims.. the glory of the earth. Age cannot wither her. "success" imprisons us in a grey claustrophobic. one head older than creation. never from the adulation of media.. the enigmatic.

Then this is attained. In his introduction to Zen and the Art of Archery . writer and Zen philosopher D. starting over. he is the showers. He thinks like the showers coming down from the sky. like legendary Sisyphus. happy in the knowledge that such efforts renew. the foliage. man thinks yet he does not think. often must push a heavy rock up a steep mountain path to the top.. Indeed. .he knows himself to be the master of his days. he thinks like the stars illuminating the nightly heavens. T. gaining mountain tops. Albert Camus wrote in The Myth of Sisyphus that “There is no sun without shadow. he thinks like the green foliage shooting forth in the relaxing spring breeze. renew as do the elements and the seasons. seeking new visions.. We are one with earth. the stars. Suzuki said: Man is a thinking reed but his great works are done when he is not calculating and thinking. only to watch it roll back down again.. he thinks like the waves rolling on the ocean. the ocean. "Childlikeness" has to be restored with long years of training in the art of self-forgetfulness. We begin anew each time.A THINKING REED A creative human being. The absurd man says yes and his efforts will henceforth be unceasing.”. and it is essential to know the night.

and. desertion. The themes of this essay. as Job endured the trials of the Lord. eternal themes. rainbow spattered dreams. To be an artist is to fail as no other dares to fail. into whirling butterflies and birds of paradise to float out into the great world beyond my small studio. A thousand. These themes flaunt fields of eternal energy. which. help define us as human beings. —SAMUEL BECKETT . that failure is his world. Tomorrow I confront the daily exigencies of city life.IMMORTALITY OR BURN Therein "ends" this essay. for in the end. to shed light. confront the perplexing mystery of life itself. as the Red Sea parted for Moses. I must conspire to make illusive vagaries. if we are willing to burn for it. A cold blue sky over Manhattan turns slowly pink. We have but one overriding duty in life. to add music to the earth. Whatever blocks our way must be rent asunder. thousand lights glitter in the dusk. we were born to radiance. its thousand fears and follies. arts and crafts. to develop our powers to the utmost limits in order to be of use to others and to ourselves. whirling and sparkling like the vast star studded hoop of our galaxy. They ask us to consider what our presence on this small green and lovely planet means. and to shrink from it. we will have it. We must endure. It is Sunday in winter. the creative life with its thousand broken idols and masks. good housekeeping.

. 'tis not too late to seek a newer world. housekeeping and clinging needs of those who must yet be inspired. Come my friends.. passionate and intransigent things which can and will fulfill our dreams. Become as one who midwives and creates things yet unknown. still untapped reservoirs of talent.. Seek and find a place in the sun that understands and strengthens far reaching vision and reinforces your inner search for deep.. unseen. We must freely and fruitfully undertake projects that involve great energies. unleash ourselves from petty ideas. Perform as one who inspires others to go beyond their self imposed limits.Postscript: LIBERATE THE UNIVERSE WITHIN What should I or you or anyone do? Only those difficult.. for it will blow a fair wind. and the baths of all the western stars. for my purpose holds to sail beyond the sunset. Go where the wind blows.. unbind our limitless creative powers. .

Ulysses Copyright © Harvey Lloyd 2003 .—TENNYSON .

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