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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

.. of course. the human eye. 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. or do we humans have the ability to see beyond the constructs of early childhood and later conditioning.the striate cortex is just the first of over a dozen separate visual areas. The knowledge we have now is really only the beginning of an effort to understand the physiological basis of perception. All that is needed is the will to use the most powerful tool in our bodies. to penetrate the fog and miasma of lazy looking and wasted vision.. Do we want to? It may be forbidden fruit. a story whose next stages are just coming into view. —DAVID MARR.—ANNIE DILLARD . Why. 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. see a great deal that is invisible to many others.beginning . but where's the harm. while walking past a field of wild flowers early in the morning. each of which maps the whole visual field. Each of us has the power to see in ways that few human beings have learned to see.. the magical tool which worships the light. A Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek WHAT DO YOU SEE? Vision is a process that produces from images of the external world a description that is useful to the viewer and not cluttered with irrelevant information. whether with brush or camera. Artists.

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

bolstered by the largest ground-based telescopes around the world. 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. 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 galaxies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. He answered that he used words as well. The night sky filled with constellations is a feast for the eyes. Wood block Artist. far forward away from all man made light.. I felt how fortunate to be able to comprehend a little of the wheel of our galaxy and the immensity of the universe. There is no need to fast in the midst of viands beyond imagining. to learn and to see. if he or she would accomplish much.RICHER THAN EMPERORS OR KINGS . will be alive. Japan. It must have been sheer energy.and when I am a hundred and ten everything I do. How they were used. The banquet of the world is always on the table. I beg those who live as long as I to see if I keep my word. To see is to dine like a king or emperor. That's a great way to live. I would shudder and experience vertigo at the endless distances above me.all I produced before the age of seventy is not worth taking into account. just as how each of us uses our eyes is another matter. 1760-1849). Better to drown in the search for knowledge than to languish on barren shores of discontent and blindness. . An artist.at ninety I shall penetrate the mystery of things.. I've stood on a ship's deck at night far out as sea. ( The Manga .. be it a dot or a line. He changed his name many times as well. we are richer in opportunities than any rulers of the past. JAMES MICHNER) I acclaim these lines of Hokusai. In this age of onrushing technology and unlimited travel opportunities. must be curious and unending in the quest for new visions. A writer was once asked if he could imagine writing like Shakespeare. Every one of us can attempt the same. He lived to eighty-nine in a time when that was very rare. —HOKUSAI ... Nothing can stop us from seeing except the tired habits of mundane or aborted curiosity and striving. At seventy-three I learned a little about the real structure of nature. and gazed up at the Milky Way. The earth and the heavens flower for us daily. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

love. I used my macro lens and diffused strobe flash. He pointed to the rooms and said that was the contemporary ikebana. flowers arranged asymmetrically in vases. 2003. understanding and desire inflame our souls. However. It was called Perfection/Impermanence: Contemporary Ikebana. What I saw when I walked inside took me by surprise and puzzled me. I exhausted the subject for the moment. SIGHT UNSEEN—MYSTERIOUS IKEBANA On July 6. from my love of delicate ikebana arrangements. I went equipped with my Canon digital cameras to see and record the life of the flowers there. You and I are those fiery furnaces. We walked to an exhibition in the Glyndor Gallery located inside a red brick house. Soon. without shadows we could not comprehend the light. to different from my mind set. I tried to peer deep into the flowers. I took photographs of the installations in a somewhat shaken manner. an estate and garden in the Bronx open to the public. They were too large. I went with a friend to visit Wave Hill. I never even noticed a giant explosion of shrubbery attached behind the rear porch. passion. Dodging the sprinklers in the garden in front of the conservatory. Now an then you need a good blow . I walked up to the man at the desk and asked him where the ikebana was to be found. That was fine. I could not yet see these things as ikebana. 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 expected to see the ikebana I loved. What we know of evil we cannot ever lightly accept.playground of myths which inhabit our minds. lighthouses or blazing candelabra which illuminate some small part of the darkness. There is a dark side to art. just as there is a dark side to all of human nature.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It turns out that electrons like to have energy at specific "energy levels. not an entire atom. neon light. light emitting diodes. black holes and a hundred thousand more . or light of a specific color. ThinkQuest '99 Those paragraphs are like taking a run up a hill or mountainside. television screens and computer monitors." Thus. to name just a few examples. It's as good a theory as any. supernovas. —Discovering Light . mercury-vapor street lights. when an electron jumps down to a lower energy level. stars and planets. star clusters. No physicist truly believes he or she knows what started the colossal. because it is produced when an electron releases some of its energy to electromagnetic radiation. 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. luminescent light occurs at lower temperatures. but the view is enchanting and illuminating. continued luminescence requires something to continuously give the electrons a boost to a higher energy level to keep the cycle going. it will release a specific amount of energy which becomes a photon. or radioactivity as in luminous paints. This boost may be provided by many sources: electrical current as in florescent lights.Unlike incandescence. chemical reactions as in Halloween light sticks and fire-flies. It's difficult. Therefore. perhaps infinite collection of galaxies. quasars.

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

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

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

and to other parts of your brain. The eye is not a window. Your retina contains hundreds of millions neurons working in parallel. After further processing. the electrical impulses are sent through an electric cable containing over one million wires called axons. also known as V1. 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). 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 “desktop” computer analyzes and censors much of the fireworks entering your eye.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. One LGN lies in the left hemisphere and the other lies in the right hemisphere. And that's just the beginning. Right there at the retina. Hubel . What you see isn't there. It's a dreary illusion fostered by evolution and nurture. From the retina. the results travel on a new set of axons to the primary visual cortex. Have you “flown” your eye? It is attached to your brain. You may jump ahead if desired. in Visual Intelligence. not to your skull. The computing power at your retina exceeds that of the most powerful supercomputers. Rods and cones in vast arrays (120 million rods and 7 million cones) accept the incoming photons as electrical signals and switch on and off accordingly.

It constructs the elaborate visual realities in which you live and move and interact. it may be permissible to speak of the psychic acts of ordinary perception as unconscious conclusions.” The objects of obscure desire we think we see. Playing with the large digital files in Photoshop.. It forwards these constructions to your emotional and rational intelligence.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. but unconscious ones. like an evanescent whirlpool of shifting shapes and colors. relevant or irrelevant. I sensed that these paintings in the sky were there.. as behaviorists thought for much of the twentieth century. it reveas what I entice it to reveal. blinded by the need to eliminate irrelevant information. We must strike through the masks of obscurity and mirage and uncover all the many colored spices of Samarkand.it is intimately connected to your emotional intelligence and your rational intelligence. Hubel goes on to say. but a sophisticated process of construction whose intricacies we are now beginning to understand. are generally not conscious activities... . see. When I worked with my Brooklyn Bridge images. Von Helmhotz surmised these things a century and a half ago. in the cloud filled skies above the bridge a kaleidoscope of elegant abstract swirls and eddies. which use them as raw materials in further constructions.. In his preface to Visual Intelligence.what happens when you see is not a mindless process of stimulus and response. perplex neuroscientists today.. using what I imagined was there..” Hoffman concludes his book with these words: Visual intelligence occupies almost half of your brain's cortex. “The British neurophysiologist David Marr (1946-1981) described visual constructions by analogy to information processing in computers: “Vision is a process that produces from images of the external world a description that is useful to the viewer and not cluttered with irrelevant information. The computer has no inhibitions. visual feasts. or fantasize we see. Donald Hoffman writes. I discovered. “. I uncovered what my eye could not see. thereby making a distinction of some sort between them and the common so-called conscious conclusions. but my eye could not see them.. In their result they are equivalent to a conclusion..

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. Today. we can paint our visions in the computer and print them. at the cutting edge of digital technology. my eye/camera symbiosis gives me the vision of a painter who constructs from the raw material of nature his or her wildest fantasies. or who subtly transforms realities. .” That should never stop us from making tens of thousands of “mistakes. Such visionaries as Van Gogh. wildly flamboyant canvases. Monet. garbage out. Playing.” The well known computer adage goes. Matisse.” seeds we continuously plant to await a bountiful harvest of beauty. we must learn to see. Learning to see with a camera is learning to see anywhere. We must take chances and seek aleatory or chance compositions.DIGITAL CAMERA GIGABYTES Our new tools create the possibilities for discovering a new vision of the world. As an artist. It comes from an eye that learns to instantaneously recognizes significant patterns and make strong compositions in the camera before clicking the shutter button. The art of image transformation begin with a new vision of the world. First. We must learn as well to instantaneously recognize and discard cliche patterns which enthrall us with scenes resembling our past visions. Suddenly. O'Keefe and de Kooning imagined. The large (53. enables me to create images I have only imagined but never seen. I can imagine what is there. Hidden in chaos is a higher “order. and I use the word playing in its most creative sense. discovered and painted their fantasies on richly colored. “Garbage in.

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

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

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

mind-set and fear of the new. The power of wildness.” The art of seeing begins with discovery of beauty in the commonplace.. It is well to swim hard and often in these uncharted waters until you float comfortably under benevolent skies.There's a wild side to seeing. to a kind of chaos." 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. “I looked at it with the possession-taking grasp of the imagination—the true one. art critic John Ruskin (1819-1900) writes of a simple scene. any part of such a landscape.. which I excavate from among ideas and images found in Japanese culture and in the work of abstract artists anywhere. or give glory to. and I felt a charm in every vine tendril that hung over them. We create our visual world with our malleable brains if we dare to use them in seemingly irrational or dangerous ways. We discard much of the beauty in life because it occurs in unlikely places. 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. unfettered imagination. It required an effort to maintain the feeling. in the beginning. hurling away constraints may lead. or invent. and I felt that it was only while under it that one could draw. it was poetry while it lasted. So obvious an idea is not so easy to achieve. any artwork has the power to invest the inquiring eye and mind with a startling and eventually very pleasing taste. Freed from constraints of early conditioning. .

add a bit of brightness and contrast. Suddenly the image jumps into life. These markets are filled with visual banquets of flowers. Hundreds of people can talk for one who . I think. I photograph the display rather casually. I sharpen it. A few days later. It has a formidable power still in its infancy. We are on the verge of a visual revolution brought on by the emergence of digital photography and digital image programs such as Adobe Photoshop. I am struck by the sudden knowledge.SEEING WHAT ISN’T THERE I walk through the flower market on 28th street off Sixth Avenue and study the displays. I must manipulate the image in odd ways and coax it to reveal itself. I love sunflowers because they speak to me of light's mysteries and shed a cheerful glow on the world. The flowers are wrapped in white paper which makes arabesque-like patterns. new power to reveal what our conscious minds censor or obliterate. It has no censor built in. I had observed this now intensely curvaceous asymmetrical composition when I was making the photograph with my inner or unconscious intuitive eye. catches my eye. The owners pleasantly agree to my photographing their displays. The computer sees anew. The effect on our vision cannot be predicted. but it looks rather uninteresting. intensify the color. that I don't consciously see as much as I think I see.' The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and tell what it saw in a plain way. For fun. although I view the new digital technology as an alchemist's stone which reveals what ‘isn't there. I am in my studio with a young student intern studying the images from the flower market on one of my computers. The computer programs give us a sudden. I don't know their name. Even when my inner eye sees certain images and triggers the camera. A display of orange flowers. newly revealed contrasting colors sharply define the elegant arabesques which my cerebral eye did not see then or now. I cannot truly see it on the computer screen immediately. and walk on. I take it into ‘curves' and play. The orange display catches our eyes. Using Adobe Photoshop.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When the morning stars sang together. We toil because we must. glorious.. Art is evolutions' way of knowing herself. for the happy few. ever new. Art is the religion of the spirit and the religion of the deepest unconscious striving of the fecund but tip of evolution. We work.” said Alfred North Whitehead.. 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. We toil for the coming happy many who seek what we seek.making godlike judgements as to what is good. the thrice blessed godly virtue of questioning. It is the business of the future to be dangerous. ever flabbergasting. 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. WHO WILL STAND? We happy see-ers. in Stendahl's words. "blind" and dreaded. the burgeoning glory of an ever fecund. if thou hast understanding. and all the sons of God shouted for joy? . We were born. green and gratifying earth. Nothing else or less will do. 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. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—TENNYSON . Ulysses Copyright © Harvey Lloyd 2003 .

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