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