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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
Let there be light. How that process works is a visit to a strange new land. we are rendered dumb and speechless. we lose the greatest gift conferred on sapient beings.vision. such as a great tree or a sculptural rock. Without the ability to see the light with child-like innocence. time slows down. You tend to focus on the main subject. holy light makes vision possible. you may not be aware that you are using your “zoom” eye to see. The Old Testament Bible begins (Genesis: 1) with “And God said. We will examine the strange phenomenon of many artist's works that do not resemble the way we see the world. Light and its bizarre behavior is one of the great mysteries that still baffle physicists and mathematicians. be it a person. We must begin with training the eye to see “what isn't there. it can be a particle (photon) or a wave. as you approach the speed of light. It cannot escape the “event horizon” of a black hole. light is ageless. LIGHTWORKS Light is the source of all vision.” According to Einstein's Theory of Relativity. It can be warped by gravity. as has been written by scientists such as Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. It has been said that light is the face of God and/or the mind of God. 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. Light behaves in strange ways. Without the light of the mind. the spirit of the earth.”) Without light. Light gives vision. Light. You often do not . (Star Trek fans know that “crossing a galaxy or galaxies is negotiable in six months in warp 9.999.” When you look through the eyepiece of a camera. It is the key to becoming one in heart and spirit with the Gaena. or a significant part of a landscape. no life can exist. an animal. And. I celebrate the art of true vision. for at the speed of light time stops. To truly see is to enhance one's life and make visible the hidden universe of wonders which surround us.
To create is to live. . When the Japanese arrange flowers. he writes: Ikebana can play a tremendous role in modern society. 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. We see the everyday beauty of flowers transformed and our eyes are refreshed. coined the phrase. You will see this in the Japanese art of Ikebana or floral arrangements. To do this we must learn to see from both sides of our eye without moving our eyeball. ikebana has the power to change and add resonance to our increasingly sterile modern spaces. they often do so in an asymmetrical way. The loveliness of the flowers is displayed in exquisite handmade stoneware or ceramic vases.Creation is the act of discovering something new. practiced eye recognized those fleeting moments. Due to the character of its living materials. a noble samurai would make an ikebana before going into battle. mundane activities can be imbued with new meaning. and makes us aware that vision is not just what we see. “The decisive moment. 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. He made compositions in which all of the elements of the image related to each other in a striking or dynamic way. In the feudal days of Samurai warriors in Japan. Through applying this truth on a daily basis. We may study examples of traditional beauty such as flowers rearranged in a unusual way. In the preface to his elegiac picture book The Art of Ikebana . A photographer learns to scan the entire frame in an instant to create an image. a way that can enchant or intrigue us with its tension and beauty.” meaning the moment when the subject and its significance come together for a split second. These arrangements often appear to teeter on the edge of falling apart.. It wrenches our mind's eye out of its complacent socket of sedentary seeing. His talented. thus transforming them into more vital places. It takes practice. It is what we are capable of uncovering in the seemingly commonplace everyday environment. The legendary photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson. Bresson was able to do this in a fraction of a second. Hiroshi Teshigahara is a renowned Japanese film director and headmaster of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana. ikebana will become more and more interesting to us. 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 combines visual surprise with its appearance of seemingly teetering on a precipice of abstract arrangement.notice what appears in most of the image seen in the viewfinder. It has something beautiful to offer the human spirit.
and the body of shadows has moved away.. for our spirit has been deprived. But how entirely different it will seem to us ." (Novalis.THE BACK OF THINGS Monet is said to have asked Renoir how he arranged his flowers in order to paint them.when this gloom is past. We will experience greater enjoyment than ever. shapeless.it throws its shadow into the realm of light. Finally content.the mysterious way leads inwards. lonely. Eternity with its worlds . The external world is the world of shadows . from 'Miscellaneous Observations'. “Chaos in a work of art should shimmer through the veil of order. Learning to see comes from taking one's self by surprise and absorbing the unfamiliar until the veil of mystery dissolves. At present this realm certainly seems to us so dark inside. The German pre-romantic poet Novalis said.but is not the universe within ourselves? The depths of our spirit are unknown to us . 1798) .is in ourselves or nowhere. he would spend the morning arranging them.the past and future . Renoir said that he went to the flower market early in the morning and bought the most beautiful flowers.. he told Monet. he would walk behind the arrangement and paint that view. Back at the studio.We dream of traveling through the universe .” .
in its quest for knowledge about the visual world. a process remarkably similar to what the artist does. I do not speak of seeing only what is beautiful. friends. It is only with the more recent discoveries about the visual brain that our concept of vision as a process has changed. discards. It is a process that will never end.Light is supreme. as a flower unfolds in the springtime. the dark side of art. glory in the light. the light with which we learn to view the world. holy light which illuminates a dark world with our imaginings and our dreams. the flamenco lacks spiritual depth. to take a loved one by surprise with an outrageous. generates the visual image in the brain. Inner light. Without duendé he wrote. — SEYMOUR ZEKI. relatives. We learn to love ourselves which brings about love of others. at times. by comparing the selected information to its stored record. select and. It is well. acquaintances.. Until we gain the ability to see beauty in the simplest things. 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. He tells of a gypsy woman hearing a cello sonata by Bach being played and exclaiming.but these new facts have only come to light in the past twentyfive years. Life itself is love and art.. and rarely see them clear. How can we see through the veil of order which imprisons us like caterpillars in a cocoon from which we will never emerge as shining butterflies? The search for beauty is the truest meaning of life. We now view it as an active process in which the brain. The poet Lorca spoke of duendé . Inner Vision: An Exploration of Art and the Brain I endeavor to see more each day. Can you see it? Can you see it in the faces of old people graven with the erosion of time and circumstance? We live with people. "That really has duendé There is great beauty in the human countenance. glory in the earth glows and sheds its radiance over my life. we cannot love in the highest meaning of the word. Gradually. Without the dark side. the beautiful might become too commonplace.
We do not control this. and we see how beautiful it is. wise. It is sad that our vision is deprived of these great trees. benevolent. from the Caucasian Wingnut tree. I take my nickname C. and beautiful. Over the sea itself. winter. and through space heaven knows how fast and far! — JOHN MUIR We live on the surface of the earth and on the surface of our own beings. a rainbow appears. When I walk (dance) among the trees I see them as anthropomorphic shapes. I enhance. ancient olives. or early spring are best for seeing the bare branches). great oaks. Suddenly. We are like captains on the bridges of ocean liners calling out commands.TREE LIFE I am a tree hugger. regal domains. I think the trees would be pleased at the attention. transform or otherwise “play” with the trees in Adobe Photoshop to reveal what I believe to be their inner lives. I grieve for their loss. but often little concerned with the complex and vast array of machinery below that executes these commands. "I never saw a discontented tree. but taking action demands a true understanding of how we function in our materialistic society. It is our privileges because we are endowed with an appreciation of “useless” beauty. just as with our own unconscious minds. They grip the ground as though they liked it. We ride these tempestuous seas hurled high into the sky by monster waves in a storm. but my own imagination running riot in their lofty. I vote for the life of trees. redwoods. Our conscious brains control but little of what we do. W. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind. I photograph them (late fall. Our too often overly greedy society demands that we cut down many old. It may not be the trees whose lives I truly see. and for a wise compromise with our needs. patient. going and coming like ourselves. pines. irreplaceable growths for profit. and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day. . grand sculpture that makes my heart sing. Many would agree. I can think of nothing more beautiful than the shapes of noble trees. cypress and a hundred others. they have little or no control.
On safari in the “Last Eden. My Great Wall and Forbidden City images are merely a breezy. Hong Kong still baffles me. although I saw it clearly rather than with depth. and the pristine archipelagos and icebergs which spoke of time before man. remembering Pablo Neruda's great poem. My images while handsome.” the Okovango Delta in Botswana.NOBLE VISIONS There are visions which never leave my mind because I have not seen them yet. The splendor of Moorea and Bora Bora in French Polynesia. I remember the vast main temple at Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The clarity of the light in Antarctica. I saw them without truly penetrating beneath the surface. elephants and cheetahs. compelled me to try to see these things well. I recall flocks of birds. better to have looked harder. do not dig deep into the Inca ruin. if . Still. the green and turquoise waters there and in the Seychelles dazzled me. The Heights of MacchuI Picchu. I stood transfixed at Macchu Picchu. Maybe next time. the tall grass the and winding streams.
how can it permeate the universe without a beginning? We needn't answer questions of such metaphysical depth to see the light. That is a beginning. LIGHT'S GENESIS Where in the infinity of space and time does light come from? If indeed it is the mind of God or the manifestation of His splendor.professional look at these great works of antiquity. a universe which emerges at random. to penetrate deep down into the mystery and spiritual life of places and peoples. We can visit beloved places over and over. Around our familiar places. Is a black hole the wormhole(1) to other universes? Quantum physics speaks of fluctuations in the space-time continuum from which vibrations. 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. This implies a steady state universe. waves or sub-atomic particles arise spontaneously. this seems better than the Big Bang theory of . over time. we can penetrate to the heart of things. Consider the visual mystery of a black hole. 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. To some.. The very term “see the light” bespeaks a seeing beyond what the eye itself sees.
. "the actual point of creation (of the universe) lies outside the scope of presently known laws of physics. does happen (this is often called the principle of totalitarianism. Where the world ceases to be the scene of our personal hopes and wishes . Thus. A singularity produces a paradox of infinite forces if observed or experienced. If there was a Big Bang. in which light waves or photons enter the lens of the pupil." A black hole constructs an event horizon around its singularity. there we enter the realm of Art and Science. vision emerges. You cannot penetrate it to observe the singularity without being destroyed. — (excerpt from (zebu. are transported to the visual cortex. energy and gravity within which the laws of physics disappear. deciphers and then decides what you and I see. light. The uncertainty and unpredictability of the quantum world is manifested in the fact that whatever can happen. 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. Although this is a continuing mystery.uoregon. that if a quantum mechanical process is not strictly forbidden. then it must occur). is our greatest joy. a singularity is prevented from having a physical. 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. strike the retina. I have not discovered from the above light's origin. nor is it a statement on a lack of purpose or destiny..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. . Stephen Hawking has said. that the actual of the Universe probably derived from a indeterminate sea of potentiality that we call the quantum vacuum. or observable existence by the process of cosmic censorship. density. It is simply a statement that the Universe was emergent. — ALBERT EINSTEIN . 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. the light of the visible spectrum. and voila. a point of infinite mass.edu/~js/ast123/lectures/lec17. was there light in the singularity? If not. This is not a statement on a `cause' behind the origin of the Universe. . in his writings.the universe exploding and expanding from a singularity. The fact that the Universe exists should not be a surprise in the context of what we know about quantum physics.
in order to bring an entire scene into focus. digital world. Since it takes energy to see. The myriad photons of light strike the rods and cones which are wired to a complex “computer” in the retina.. a . We do this with a series of quick glances called saccades ( A rapid intermittent eye movement. our daily fare. You may be a photographer or artist and record what is there or you may be trying to see your world. or the host of books about artists of every period and see how artists and photographers view and have viewed our world. the information goes on to a way station. as that which occurs when the eyes fix on one point after another in the visual field.? Let us “waste” this energy because not to see is to be blind to the real meaning of life on a beautiful planet. Dubuffet studied the works of children and mad people. The actual process of seeing is performed by your brain rather than your eye. We are surrounded by images in our technological. Why not visit online the virtual realms of museums or museums themselves. or are we? More likely our upbringing and our environment have mapped that which is “important” on our brains. How do you see what isn't there? What “isn't there” is the real world of wonder. scientists find more information comes back to the LGN from various parts of the brain than go from it to the brain. and may imagine that we see everything sharp. The eyeball must constantly move. Where. 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. Look again. The eye is no window! From the retina. you may ask. to circumvent or overcome our early conditioning. Since there is sharpness of vision only at the fovea. why waste this energy in a battle within ourselves to unmask the outside world. Start by educating your eye. a tiny central zone of the eye. 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. Very little is known. No matter you say. Are Dubuffet's grotesque paintings of people real. The interior is dark and mysterious. Here we are being told what to see.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. they were painters. the LGN (lateral geniculate nuclesu) where it is sent to the primary visual cortex. Preliminary processing of the visual information takes place here. chaos and beauty that you do not yet see. As with music.) We are not conscious of this. First glance is only the beginning of the process of truly seeing. Much of it is the ordinary. and on to other parts of the brain. you must listen to a great rock band. Strangely.
of shapes which mirror chimeras and gargoyles. or anything else you might fancy. utterly focused and utterly dreaming. I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured. 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. a forest or around a lake leads to new visions. Images play music to my eyes. One day I was walking along Tinker Creek thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it. and you will see a rainbow of colors on the rocks. and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck ... like viewing a singularity? You are the mirror. grass that was wholly fire. Try it. hide a world of abstract art. California. It's like seeing what's there. POINT LOBOS My work is a kind of music. I stood on the grass with the lights in it. but be patient. Annie Dillard discovered a universe at Tinker's Creek. your eyes will refresh themselves and begin to see what “isn't there. June 2004) . I describe this place more fully in my picture book. You will learn to interpret the ikebana-like arrangements of the rocks and uncover their distinctive personalities. a nature reserve which juts into the ocean south of Carmel. knocked breathless by a powerful glance. Is that an impossibility. Light comes from within and without. It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen. Walk these rocks slowly. A walk in a botanical garden. Not in one day or two. the ancient Carmelo and sandstone conglomerates. each cell buzzing with flame.symphony or a piece of ethnic music a number of times to really hear it. but in many.I had been my whole life a bell. THE SAMURAI WAY: Spiritual Journeys with a Warrior Photographer (Ruder Finn Press. on the outgoing tide early in the morning. How do you or I decode this “music of the spheres?” Come with me to Point Lobos. I often walked the rock formations at Pebbly Beach now called Weston Beach.” The same may be done nearer home. The tilted slabs of many hued rocks on the ocean's edge. It is easy to hear light music the first time.
. whether with brush or camera.. Each of us has the power to see in ways that few human beings have learned to see. the human eye. The knowledge we have now is really only the beginning of an effort to understand the physiological basis of perception. Why. but where's the harm. All that is needed is the will to use the most powerful tool in our bodies.—ANNIE DILLARD .beginning . while walking past a field of wild flowers early in the morning. see a great deal that is invisible to many others. a story whose next stages are just coming into view. each of which maps the whole visual field.. Artists. Do we want to? It may be forbidden fruit.. or do we humans have the ability to see beyond the constructs of early childhood and later conditioning. stop to notice a bee supping on a dew drenched golden cup? Why observe the unusual harmony of colors on sea drenched rocks on a storm swept coast? Why study cloud castles? Do we construct worlds of visual processing all of us alike. A Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek WHAT DO YOU SEE? Vision is a process that produces from images of the external world a description that is useful to the viewer and not cluttered with irrelevant information.the striate cortex is just the first of over a dozen separate visual areas. —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. to penetrate the fog and miasma of lazy looking and wasted vision. the magical tool which worships the light. of course.
Joseph Conrad wrote. all the past as well as all the future... turning.with the striate cortex. For each of these areas.. our problem is to find out how the information is processed.We are far from understanding the perception of objects. Brain. precariously hung branches of huge trees that stretch over us takes sudden awakening of our ancient nomind.The ascending connections presumably take the visual information from one region to the next for visual processing. To see the beauty and marvelous symmetry and asymmetry disguised or hidden in the twisting. “The mind of man is capable of anything— because everything is in it. each area feeds into two or more areas higher in the hierarchy. casting cool shadows for us to linger under. Eye... — DAVID HUBEL . Shall we not look deeper and study their marvelous construction? The art of nature is the source of all art. altogether delightful. and Vision The mystery of how vision works compels us to discover what we may truly learn to see. We all live near or in the midst of trees. arching into the sky.” .. They are indeed lovely. our intuitive mind.
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. bolstered by the largest ground-based telescopes around the world. the galaxies. The Hubble . are beginning to harvest new clues to the origin and evolution of the universe's largest building blocks.
"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 heat of life in the handful of dust. from the heart of a flower to tempestuous seas that circle our planet. We will abide so long as we increase our vision in ever expanding circles. We have the unlimited potential to see what no one else has seen. We can illuminate our world as seers. that the human brain functions at the quantum level. Called the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS). the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys. We become visionaries. I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more—the feeling that I could last for ever. what he tells himself about what he has seen. The astonishing Hubble telescope opens a new window on our universe. like ripples in a cosmic sea. too soon. as artists see into the future. We invented the gods.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. head of the Hubble Space Telescope portion of the survey. That means the processes in the brain are virtually infinite and cannot ever be completely understood because of the workings of quantum indeterminacy. grows small. so our probing minds can discover and see the infinite variety of our whirling planet. We will increase our vision as we enlarge our cosmic curiosity which views all creation with a wondering. to perils. Roger Penrose. the earth. astronomers are studying galaxy formation and evolution over a wide range of distances and ages. Olympus. — PABLO PICASSO . We can see. a gift from the gods. Painting is a blind man's profession. becomes as though we were gods on a high peak. to soon—before life itself. The universe within each of our brains contains more possible connections than the number of stars in all of the galaxies combined. We can as well open new windows in our brains to view the countless wonders of our own planet. and while thinking see. the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim. we are the stuff the stars are made of. we can discover and see. wrote in his book Shadows of the Mind. to vain effort—to death. That's a miracle. shamans and magicians see in their myths and necromancy. the triumphant conviction of strength. the eminent British mathematician. and expires—and expires. grows cold. wandering eye. to acknowledge that there is an end to life and growth. — JOSEPH CONRAD It is too soon to quit. but what he feels. Just as the Hubble telescope reveals the more of the cosmic tale of billions of galaxies in interstellar space. and all men. He paints not what he sees. outlast the sea. and research astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. We are more than crawlers on this earth. prophets. blobs of protoplasm which thinks." says Mauro Giavalisco. From a drop of dew on a blade of grass to vast ranges of glacier clad mountains. Md. to love.
as in Shakespeare's words from King Lear: “We must endure our coming hither as our going hence. She perceives what is yet unseen while looking into the world.. used only to seeing what is there in our circumscribed world.She sees that which is possible embedded in what is real bridging between seen and unseen realms. They did not see me. to take the risk of leaping into true vision. Another time. We are too often like those albatross.” At no age is the human mind limited. It is only when. the Psychology of Perception . clicking their yellow bills and dancing an ancient mating dance.. but perhaps unwilling. while hovering in a helicopter over a deeply crevassed glacier in the Darwin Mountains hard by the Beagle Channel in Patagonia. Sight and Sensibility. I saw them.. ashore in the Galapagos Islands. at whatever the cost. able.. the mind lies fallow.. — LAURA SEWALL . mind-set and fear.of what am I doing here ? . here on this earth willy nilly.. I walked among waved albatross courting. Ripeness is all. with memory and imagination. I felt a chill of fear. filled with detritus of boring work. shackled by the bonds of daily routine. Once.LOOK WITHOUT FEAR We are here to learn.
His early training had been as a topographic draftsman. . however. Venice was the inspiration of some of Turner's finest work. a world of rainbows and light. He was to open the way for a visionary anticipation of modern painting.. With the years. Turner (1755-1851 saw and painted light. transmutes all into glory and beauty. Wherever he visited he studied the effects of sea and sky in every kind of weather. he became known as 'the painter of light. Instead of merely recording factually what he saw.”to the painters of his day. both in freeing himself from all past artist traditions and art movements.. Turner translated scenes into a light-filled expression of his own romantic feelings.' A Londoner born and bred. he developed a painting technique all his own. he went to the Royal Academy School of art when he was only 15 years old. Turner studied the science of light and color.He was a unique artist. We can learn to see this way by discarding our preconceptions and seeing as we fantasize. depicts the ravening energy of light which. 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. The artist using his or her skill. the flamboyant and miraculous play of light on water and sky. Turner saw what “wasn't there.W. like an alchemist's stone. Such vision emerges from deep immersion into intuitive or Zen no-mind.M.TURNER’S LIGHT J. Perhaps the most famous English Romantic landscape artist.
Does the light from my eyes influence what my cameras record? A scientist or physiologist might laugh at this idea. that vision involves emanations from the eye to the object perceived. — JOSEPH CONRAD . Whether light or energy. The rainbow was conjectured to be a consequence of reflection and refraction of sunlight by layers in a 'watery cloud. Our brains send messages to the LGN. He speaks to our capacity for delight and wonder. Magister scholarum of the University of Oxford was a proponent of the view that theory should be compared with observation.) We see what our brain instructs us to see. however there is a great truth hidden here. more permanently enduring. these signals emanate from our eyes and condition what we see. the collapse of the wave function.' Most importantly to our dissertation. . I work with sophisticated visual tools. the way station between the retina and the visual cortex.and therefore. The Nigger of the Narcissus VISION EMANATES During the 13 th century. high end cameras that digitally record images of scenes before me.e. to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives: To our sense of pity and beauty. Grosseteste considered that the properties of light have particular significance in natural philosophy. (Experiments in quantum physics hint or show that the observer affects the observed. We will see. Robert Grosseteste (England).. and pain. You might say that light from your eyes creates your vision and that you can change that light by learning to truly see. Current optical theory would disagree with this assertion. shared by the earlier Greeks. The act of observing a wave/particle at the quantum level raises the probability of that wave being there. to that in us which is a gift and not an acquisition -.But the artist appeals to that part of our being which is not dependent on wisdom. he held the view. i.
had light not “seen” man.. teachers and peers. Only fear.. “Let Newton be" and all was light. Catching the Light . God said. — ALBERT EINSTEIN . rigidity or laziness can prevent us from viewing and enjoying the works and wonders of all creation. “Goethe phrased it this way. author Arthur Zajonc writes. We have the keys to unlock the box and dwell in radiance.Nature and nature's laws lay hid in the night. — ALEXANDER POPE Laws of science should not trap us into complacency about how we see. While light cannot escape from a black hole. In his book. we ourselves are not constrained from violating our selfimposed limits. and so the eye is formed by the light for the light so that the inner light may meet the outer. our brains map the visual world according to our environments and from instructions received from our parents. Imagine that your brain behaves as a black hole is believed to do in interstellar space. Newton's theories of light as corpuscles eventually gave way to Einstein and the enigma of light as both waves and particles (photons).'The eye owes its existence to the light. It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. we should never have seen the light. The study of light has revealed mystery atop mystery. Out of indifferent animal organs the light produces an organ to correspond to itself.” If light sees us. Our own event horizons are the limits which our brains enforce to make us see what is already there. Early in life. A black hole is surrounded by the “event horizon” which is the limit beyond which even light cannot escape the ravening gravity of the hole.'. 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.
her carriage and her dreams. the reddening sky and the dark lake transfix me. one million light years from today. the green meadows of the Needles and Chesler Park. We know the same. a bow-tie ribbon twined in the petrified red hair of the Colorado plateau. Darkness. spires and obelisks arrayed like marble hat pins. While photographing for my book of aerial photography Sacred Lands of the Southwest . a blackness full of tears. 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. her chariot.." Fifteen minutes before sunset. I lean out to photograph Tower Butte framed by Wild Horse Mesa and the pinnacles round the "Crossing of the Fathers. Lake Powell's waters grow dark. sets full flaps down and throttles back. interwoven like an measureless Mobius strip. To the right I see my companion Shirlee's favorite southwestern garden. Hozho! . Lake Powell glistens among black rock monoliths and crags. oxygen deprivation at ten thousand feet. slightly dizzy reverie. All is beautiful.WORLD ICONS Often I am asked what is my favorite place in the world. I am chief of the dusk. the desert blushing with harmony and music. a speck of protoplasm attached to earth's green bosom. the wistful mote and the wise macrocosm. Row on row of silent sentinels striated with browns and yellows. hypnosis. Our aircraft speeds ahead twixt Navajo Point and Navajo Mountain. these ‘tapers' burn in the orange light as in a cathedral where the devout light candles. chalice of the universe. chasing the buffalo rocks down to cliff's edge. We are one. Michael lowers the landing gear. rapture of the deep or sky. During twenty-five years of circling the globe I've encountered many enchanting scenes. A red sky bands the horizon. I wrote the following: I awake from reverie. Somnambulist of early evening. At five hundred feet over Lake Powell. The confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers slides below. Among them. harbinger of tonight's full moon. The Cessna airplane bucks and slows. riding my thunder stallion down the fading light. the magic light paints huge rock monoliths a deep shade of red. sentient and universal realm of mother earth. a vibrant breathing chalice of all that she has dreamed during an eternity of fecund and felicitous birthing. Time's fleet arrow speeds across a distant sea of stars out beyond the known universe. for sheer beauty of the landscape. the high plateau regions of the southwest in America are unsurpassed. I am filled with dreams still aborning. The sun's bloody tomahawk cleaves the distant ridge. Michael whirls the aircraft around in a steep turn. the endless. Window open. We feel the same. one thousand feet above the fissured rocks. fire the camera and wave Michael the pilot on to Canyonlands.
tiny red mounds. intuitive training born of long years of practice. shadowed by the sun's grim final burning. Whirling and tumbling about. we fleet across the picket line of monuments— The King on his Throne. I relied on no-mind to see for me. Mitten crosses mitten.Hozhó. I was in a trance during those aerial encounters. What I saw was revealed later in the developed film and it was good. deep desert time. Bear and the Rabbit. a spinning. whirling the Cessna towards the great stone "Hands of the Great Spirit. One instant more. a glorious flight before the sun descends into the underworld. Loud is the propeller and louder still the hush of millenniums. time that painstakingly sculpts wisdom and stone monuments weds necromancy's dark invocations to shadowy spirits. evidence of crepuscular deities slumbering among the stone sepulchers. I gesture towards the flaming rock mittens. Dying shadows sink into the parched land. Fiery embers glow on the horizon. I see no life. flying low and close to the stone castles. Distant cliffs devour the sun shrouding the desert with scorched tears. . beauty and balance all wrapped in one concept that dwells at the heart of the Navajo world view" — PAUL G.. no sign of Navajo or sheep. ruins and monuments. only the silent ghost dance of shadows. St. The Stagecoach. ourselves ghost dancers. The earth tumbles beneath me.Thirty minutes before sunset. Shirlee and I ride a winged metal spirit that dances in the shimmering yellow sunlight like a mayfly. hogans face east to greet each newborn sun ball trailing a red placenta of clouds. ephemeral. I lean out of the open window.. towers and rock cliffs rear out of the red desert sand. a few minutes of epiphany. We veer and turn. Spires. holy shadows on the desert. whirring dervish suspended in thin air. Michael banks and turns. The setting sun hangs like a burnt brass cymbal. our acrobatic pilot of the Cessna 182RG (retractable gear). spirits of ghost dancers awakening from the afterlife. Images flashed across my vision.. Big Indian . The ancient ones doze. Time.the word means something like harmony. Elmo's fire. and in the distance. my instinctive. triggering reflex actions on the camera's shutter button. or the immolation of heathens by the friars of the Inquisition. Long shadows march across the red desert floor. spins the light plane into a dizzying descent around the Totem Pole and Yei Bi Chei rocks in Monument Valley." the red rock mittens of Monument valley. Michael. ZOLBROD . castles. battlements.
To truly see through the camera viewfinder. Our eyes. you must look hard. not what is there. anger or love all influence what we think we have seen. No hurry! Otherwise your ‘snapshot' will only reveal that you were careless and unseeing. among majestic ruins. if used with passion and vision. fear. from the macroscopic image of dew on the petals of a rose to the sculptural nobility of a giant tree. That is why too often. Our “zoom” eyes coax us to see only that part of the image which is our subject. stress. Study it until you really see it. rather than studying the entire frame. Our eyes lie to us. emotion. That is why eyewitnesses often disagree to what they see. record what we “should” see. photographs taken on travels at home or abroad. We thought our friends or companion were tall in the image. Mood. are disappointing.ZOOM EYES A camera is a splendid tool to awaken and train the vision. The camera is a magical optical device which can. controlled by our brains. all around the perimeter of the image. Use your camera as you would a magnifying glass to examine the exterior that you try to capture. seeing what the camera sees through whichever lens you use. yet the print shows them as tiny figures in an unresolved landscape. The eye is no camera. Vision is as infinite in its many guises as the universe within our brains. This is the first step. . or a grand cityscape. reveal the unseen world.
The banquet of the world is always on the table. be it a dot or a line. we are richer in opportunities than any rulers of the past. Wood block Artist. just as how each of us uses our eyes is another matter. That's a great way to live. He lived to eighty-nine in a time when that was very rare... will be alive. . JAMES MICHNER) I acclaim these lines of Hokusai. He changed his name many times as well.at ninety I shall penetrate the mystery of things. and gazed up at the Milky Way. 1760-1849). must be curious and unending in the quest for new visions. It must have been sheer energy. I would shudder and experience vertigo at the endless distances above me. He answered that he used words as well. An artist. ( The Manga . I beg those who live as long as I to see if I keep my word. In this age of onrushing technology and unlimited travel opportunities.and when I am a hundred and ten everything I do. to learn and to see. I felt how fortunate to be able to comprehend a little of the wheel of our galaxy and the immensity of the universe. Every one of us can attempt the same. How they were used. I've stood on a ship's deck at night far out as sea.. A writer was once asked if he could imagine writing like Shakespeare. if he or she would accomplish much..RICHER THAN EMPERORS OR KINGS . To see is to dine like a king or emperor. The earth and the heavens flower for us daily. At seventy-three I learned a little about the real structure of nature. Japan.all I produced before the age of seventy is not worth taking into account. far forward away from all man made light. The night sky filled with constellations is a feast for the eyes.. —HOKUSAI . Nothing can stop us from seeing except the tired habits of mundane or aborted curiosity and striving.. Better to drown in the search for knowledge than to languish on barren shores of discontent and blindness. There is no need to fast in the midst of viands beyond imagining. 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.
Celebrities of screen. giving or passion. you must drop your own mask to enable true seeing of the human being beneath. . A smile goes a long way. and society restates that message in many subtle ways as they grow older. ‘Ordinary' people are merely glanced at or ignored unless we know them or plan to try to meet them. If you would photograph someone you do not know. in fairy tales. caring. “The way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe. Parents and relatives stir conflicting emotions.'. music or politics are usually seen with a halo of power. but Aristotle was right when he observed the ‘beauty is a far greater recommendation than any letter of introduction.. the heroines are beautiful. author John Berger writes.... All human beings. we need to love and respect them.After all. then grin. In A Natural History of the Senses.. author Diane Ackerman writes: We may pretend that beauty is only skin deep. the first stories most of us hear. the sight of the beloved has a completeness which no words and no embrace can match.. To truly see people. the heroes are handsome. Lovers appear wreathed in splendor. whether celebrities or otherwise. wear masks. riches and talent. Children learn implicitly that good people are beautiful and bad people are ugly.” We see people according to our own inner needs and conditioning. Look in the mirror.HOW DO YOU SEE PEOPLE? In Ways of Seeing. and the wicked sots are ugly.When in love.
strangely. Those we love for their inner beauty appear more beautiful as time passes. On hearing his reason. To succeed. or from the side or below. the actors. she tells him it is bad for Noh. we read that tradition has it that a young man seeks to learn to act as the woman Komachi.What is beautiful and what is ugly is in the eye of the beholder. We cannot define beauty.” And further on we read. for the rich and powerful.'” FROM THE HEART I wrote the following to a lovely lady. As in developing a taste for eating oysters or grasshoppers. he must feel the thing as a whole. skulls. straight on. ‘The heart is the form. I've forgotten who she is. always men. feathers and straw. contemptuous looks sported by fashion models in ads these days. the memories linger on. the actor must bring the mask to life. in the street.. The appearance of beauty truly comes from within. but not as most westerners might observe beauty.. the music of the earth can bring great meaning and joy and open one's eyes to the splendor in the world. the expressions change. and watches her every move. the staring. No one is truly ugly unless the ugliness emanates from inside. A young man from West Africa saw a five foot high power figure from Zaire in my dwelling studio which I call Spirit House. the spiritual. She tells him “For Noh. the beautiful. How a mask can change expression is demonstrated in a website (now gone) which sold exquisitely carved masks. she asks why he is following her. and he displays a gaping smile with only three front teeth. Alarmed. He is covered with ‘medicine' objects.it can be a curse in a way for we need to be loved for who and what we truly are which. is often the surface of things. a very difficult part to play. In Ezra Pound and Ernest Fenollosa's book The Classic Noh Theatre of Japan. Seen from above. It arises from our own perception of the world just as everyone has their own measure of what art they like or hate. “That is very beautiful. “It is a Noh saying that.. He follows a fine old woman eighty years of age. from the eye of the beholder. and depending on the lighting. wears a horn on its head. How can anyone spend their brief time on earth in the corporate world only grabbing for more money and things? Only the insubstantial. then said. shells. The appearance of people and things changes as we come to know them. You are beautiful and that attracts the rich and powerful. from the inside. wear exquisitely carved male and female masks. . In Japanese Noh plays.” I think so too. time is needed. or appreciating minimalists or abstract painters. Often. are less than beautiful. The young man stared for a while.
A woman with integrity. P. imagination.S. crane.” we change the future by living it and by creating. and seek to learn ever more about the mysteries of our confounding and delightful world." So it is with art and the life of creating. To travel. only those who inquire and learn can change. sensitivity. to converse is bliss. talent and a great spirit shall be as a bird that has left its cage. or albatross we soar into the light and see what only a few can see. Material success is too often an impenetrable fortress and prison for the mind and soul. to care. Our art is the present we freely bestow it on all the others who will share these things. All that you say about life being fulfilled with a good companion is exactly the way that I think. Free as an eagle. the deepest meaning and the challenge. inspiration. but I remember the wine. Chambertin. wisdom and genius together—Einstein once wrote.'” Isn't that the way it is? Some things are too dear to keep alive except as smoldering embers. I went to the Einstein exhibit at the Natural History Museum this morning —relativity. I have known it. My forgetting of the lady reminds me of an elegant wine steward on a ship who told us about a wine he recommends. "I want to know God's thoughts. We cannot really teach those who will not hear or see. To love. 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. to feel and be honest with each other. loving and not quite tame is a good motto. She flies with those to whom the spiritual life is all important and love is the banner which flaunts desire and freedom. Friendly. To keep alight the torches of wisdom. therefore it is no illusion. I've forgotten the place. We immerse ourselves in evolution's great journey to discover in that wisdom all we are and ever hope to be. or feather spirits as in the Japanese Noh play Hagoromo . kindness. You write with the spirit and soul of an artist who has learned that to follow one's own bliss is the only way. ‘I've forgotten the lady.That is a real tragedy. feel and love. To attract even one person to love is a great step forward. “A man says. those are the wines of life. all the rest are details. It went like this. We celebrate the entire world bathed in holy light and filled with becoming. our source and our inspiration. But you know that. . We are free when our bonds with another are so light they are fairy spirits darting back and forth—tenins.
. not “arrows” of light going in special directions. time slows down! What is the light? Physicists seem happy to define it with formulas and the wave and photon idea. reflected from every living or inanimate thing colors which are not the color of the object or thing. but an all pervasive glow. glowing galaxies. according to Einstein's theories. At the speed of light. Rays of light fill the universe in a kind of chaos of the visible and invisible. It appears to be the product of any kind of combustion. That's easy. The actual color is not seen. To add to the mystery. for we only see a small part of the spectrum of electromagnetic waves of which light is a part. But of course. What do you see when you see familiar places? The heart of the matter is that we see the world indistinctly. blazing stars. “Can you see the light” contains more deep meaning than it may seem. it is really absorbing all the other colors and reflecting red. this makes sense! The cosmos is afire with light. The real enigma is light itself. the kind that makes hydrogen bombs.THE SPEED OF LIGHT The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. obscured. like the art of seeing. the speed of light remains constant. is so wrapped in conundrums and mystery. after much cogitating. The waves and buckshot are like are photons of light which experiments have shown actually behave as though they were both waves and particles. light around me would still be speeding at its normal 186. a radiance which fills the universe. it is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Convenient. According to Relativity theory. It excites me that the medium of light. If I could travel at half the speed of light. You or I can never travel at the speed of light or anything approaching it.000 miles per second. as you approach the speed of light. fire. The true nature of things remains a mystery. I cannot race a “ray” of light anymore than I can choose to swim with a wavelet among myriads fluttering in the sea. anything that burns although fusion. You can see.. as anything travels closer to the speed of light. mass increases. You cannot imagine light emanating from a frozen body in the blackness of space. If you see a red box. your mass would be infinite and that is impossible. fuzzily. We see what we ourselves absorb and process. however it is a though we imagined countless waves from the sea arrive along with a accompanying flurries of buckshot. — ALBERT EINSTEIN I find it very mysterious that. no matter how fast an object or human travels relative to the speed of light.. may be a more accurate description.
however. In the chapter “The Mutable Brain.” We can reroute visual paths through our brain which will enable us to see through the veils of conditioning and mind-set which hide..” He and other researchers now believe the human brain can be extensively remodeled throughout the course of one's life. disguise and distort much of the beauty and wonder of . as when a child learns several languages easily. If your brain and mine can change all through our lives.” Merzenich noted. Among the most interesting themes is the new research which indicates that the brain constantly changes. we are discussing the art of seeing.. Merzernich says. without surgery. we can learn to see what “isn't there. “scientists thought that the brain was like a computer. and changes the way in which it operates. These findings are critical to helping overcome various disorders of brain function including Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia.” It now appears that exercise. Here.. This applies especially to older men and women who often do little to protect their brains in these ways. such as reading daily or cruising the Internet enhances its powers. without drugs.a hardwired black box. “The brain was constructed to change. proper diet and active use of the brain.A NEW BRAIN FOR EVERYONE The September 2003 special issue of Scientific American magazine was entitled “Better Brains. adds neurons. researcher Michael M. at any age.” I'm for that. It had been thought that these processes only happened at certain specific times.. sets up new circuitry.which established its critical functionality in critical periods. “Until recently.
and allows atrophy. replace lost brain cells. A recent study shows that brain cell loss holds steady with aging. That is a gift from the gods. as the real world.” many will say. we lose brain cells constantly. What is often the problem is lack of a passionate. reroute the pathways around the brain.” Can you imagine and joy in the favt that our very brains are programmable at any time in our lives. Only occasionally does the middle-aged adult venture forth into the wide world of vision. the maturing adult takes what he or she sees for granted. .living on earth. Later on. that we can grow new neurons. overweening curiosity about this earth. add circuits. and use only a small portion. marvelously claim that we have the ability to change our brains. It is easy to travel lugging the baggage of one's preconceptions like an old rug or comforter. grow new cells. Youth thinks it has forever. however we have more than we need at all ages. Brain cell loss is not the problem at any age. As we age. our ways of thinking. I take trips. The Scientific American article ends with “The sky's the limit. Scientists now. worn but homelike. and we are trying to figure out the rules. peer pressure and smug contentment to shroud the world from view. “Oh.
“When I see this way I sway transfixed and emptied. What a camera sees depends on the mind. With or without a camera.” She says that it's a matter of keeping one's eyes open. the eye which lurks inside your eye. 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.”The secret of seeing is to sail on a solar wind. it sees everything. Burning like desire. not sit on the sidelines. translucent. At such times. I hope this phenomenal gift will be or is already with you. I live for these moments. 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. Annie says it is possible in deep space to sail on a solar wind. disheveled. since it means that only the simplest animals perceive the universe as it is. . whether at sea. “Not a branch or a twig budged. of writing and thinking of what you see? Isn't it an almost orgasmic like delight of suddenly being jolted into vision. rapt. I remember dawn breaking over dark seas as I flew out over the Caribbean in a helicopter. can interpret if. props up rainbows. views islands hidden in grey mists. like the blush of opening roses. I see a red ball dimly appear through the dawn mist. when suddenly a hundred red-winged blackbirds flew out of the tree. exhausted. in A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek writes of vision in a chapter called “Seeing. smell . Your eager and inquisitive primal eye. broadside to the merest puff. whetted.. heart. We see what we see. and the moment's light prints on my own silver gut.” Isn't seeing more than a matter of metaphor.SEEING IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT Annie Dillard. She mentions walking toward an Osage orange tree which did not appear unusual. another hundred took flight. glows pink and red in the dawn. we learn to see.” I could as easily reverse that statement and say that when I walk with a camera. editing it for my brain. cuts and splices what I do see. Silver sheen burnishes their lofty edges as the sun begins to emerge far below. When I see this way I am above all an unscrupulous observer. churns green and white in a tempest. and vision is sweeter than wine. “A nightmare network of ganglia. giant luminous ladders. straddle the seas and rise into the heavens.. The sky is afire. As she walked closer. God's rays. The two difference between the two ways of seeing is the difference between walking with and without a camera. What she or we can see is all there as well. When I walk without a camera. charged and firing without my knowledge. my own shutter opens. An endlessly inquiring and insightful mind is as restless as the shimmering mirror of the sea reflecting scudding cloud castles.” 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. I add that you must practice seeing.” says Donald Carr. I walk from shot to shot reading the light on a calibrated meter. my own shutter is always open. content? Annie is impartial. Hone and spread your spirit till you yourself are a sail. When I walk with a camera. waiting to be seen. above mountaintops or on the land. Within minutes flares of light. a brilliant observer who transforms daily visions into fragrant. on the other side of the spectrum. it's rapture. Agreed. soul and passion behind the lens. Dark thunder clouds roil and tumble high into the dawn light. sumptuous paragraphs which taste like vision. Out over the sea. We. for the simplest animals have no way to interpret what they see in a conscious way. and only if.'” That begs the question.. The birds were weightless as well as invisible. epiphanies and endless wonder. Annie says there is another kind of seeing that involves a letting go. the sky lights up slowly. The mead of the Gods tastes sweet.
Can an artist or new vision make the world a better place? Art comes from truly seeing. tv. the scourge of disease —endless travails which human beings have endured since the dawn of history. You've read it? Read it again! I will. What is vision. sound and feel like vision. and truth. love or art without a sense of humor? Read A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek . Such spectacles mercilessly invade our vision through the roar and outpourings from newspapers... radio and the Internet. —ALBERT EINSTEIN A see-er or seer cannot be too comfortable. BETTER TO LIGHT A CANDLE. To make a goal of comfort or happiness has never appealed to me.” said Eleanor Roosevelt. the slaughter of millions of innocents. To see is to understand the powerful currents that rage across the seas and continents of the earth—dreadful visions of war and genocide. life. “Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. it pours out a balm upon a troubled world. The candles lit by art burn brighter than the explosions of stars.like vision. The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness. ravages of floods and eruptions. a system of ethics built on this basis would be sufficient only for a herd of cattle. You and I are deeply troubled and moved by these things. Deep in the . And she has a sense of humor. beauty.
flowers arranged asymmetrically in vases. without shadows we could not comprehend the light. They were too large. SIGHT UNSEEN—MYSTERIOUS IKEBANA On July 6. I could not yet see these things as ikebana. I used my macro lens and diffused strobe flash. lighthouses or blazing candelabra which illuminate some small part of the darkness. He pointed to the rooms and said that was the contemporary ikebana. passion. I expected to see the ikebana I loved. There is a dark side to art. understanding and desire inflame our souls.playground of myths which inhabit our minds. It was called Perfection/Impermanence: Contemporary Ikebana. 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. What I saw when I walked inside took me by surprise and puzzled me. 2003. 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. love. to different from my mind set. an estate and garden in the Bronx open to the public. We walked to an exhibition in the Glyndor Gallery located inside a red brick house. Now an then you need a good blow . You and I are those fiery furnaces. I never even noticed a giant explosion of shrubbery attached behind the rear porch. just as there is a dark side to all of human nature. I went with a friend to visit Wave Hill. I exhausted the subject for the moment. I took photographs of the installations in a somewhat shaken manner. What we know of evil we cannot ever lightly accept. Soon. Dodging the sprinklers in the garden in front of the conservatory. I tried to peer deep into the flowers. I walked up to the man at the desk and asked him where the ikebana was to be found. However. That was fine.
Arrangement. to arrive at one's essence. ikiru –– to live.along the side of the head to wake you up from smugness or complacency. breathing things. a form of arrangement that is released from the confines of the vase. relationship to a space. not enough. It employs natural and inorganic materials. certainly. ikebana. When I view “quiet” asymmetrical arrangements of traditional ikebana. to be alive. At Wave Hill. and encourages free expression and often takes the form of large-scale installations. to see in the best light. the silence of dewdrops on wild flowers in the mist. I write about seeing and I just realized that I didn't see anything at first at the exhibit and. Annie said that without her camera she was an unscrupulous observer. yet I didn't see it. I see with my camera. said this in part about the exhibit: Ikebana comes from a long tradition that celebrates life and respects plants as living. I saw a new variation of a loved theme. I see the raging drama of great storms at sea. the unheard clash of galaxies devouring each other in the blackness of space. that heralds true seeing. I went to Wave Hill to see flower gardens. The origins of the word stem from three verbs: ikeru to place or arrange. Progressive Japanese flower artists have developed Contemporary Ikebana.org. but first I have to constantly see anew. What will I see when I learn to see the new contemporary ikebana? . to arrive at one's essence. The Wave Hill site on the internet: wavehill. use of living plants. I saw little. in those incredulous first moments. That provokes me to see it again until I see it.. the artists'' own creative process and energy. to live. and the concept of time or the transience of living matter are all components of Ikebana. the roar and splash of icebergs calving. To arrange. she saw everything. ikasu –– to put in the best light. The practice requires a disciplined training in which the artist strives to create perfection and impermanence in each installation or display.
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.
in clouds. and you can't control it. (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.” Digest that! What you see isn't what you get. like pterodactyls? I neither proselytize for or embrace any man's religion or woman's either.. The poet Rumi was born in Wakhsh.MYSTIC VISION In his book. It's worse than drugs or alcohol. In those days it was not obvious that the brain operates on the information it receives. I want to see. Brain and Vision . don't you?. Noble prize winning scientist David Hubel writes: The visual world is systematically mapped on the geniculate and cortex. approaching God as though he was a great bird which wafted down sparkling feathers in the holy light.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. or can you? Detoxification. He wrote of the mystical side of life. Poetry breeds visions as does the mystic. and in metaphysical journeying. What you get is what your brain decides.. endless work at detoxification of the visual structure of your brain is needed. transforming it in such a way as to make it more useful. Do any of you see visions in the church while eating the body of the Lord.) What was not clear in the 1950's is what that mapping might mean. Their complete functions are still little understood although you may read that the paths are charted. or do you drink the sacred wine and whirl off into unknown reaches of holy space. prophet or shaman's intoxicated ruminations. I want to see everything. and has shed his or her mortal coils for the embrace of the . The pulpit's a bully place if the priest be wise enough. Tajikistan in central Asia on 30 September 1207 to a family of learned theologians. I will embrace every religion in spirit. Eye.
. Fly away. fly away bird to your native home. The vision of a shaman must be earned by dying and rebirth. The camera did its work. I saw a singular kind of beauty. We are not granted vision without cost. 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. wheeling. hurry. dancing around the splendid trunks. O bird. I visited the Bayard Cutting Arboretum on Long Island to see and photograph the trees for a fine art project I'm working on. I presided like a floating spirit. We can't all be divers hooked up to aqua lungs and oxygen tanks in or out of cages. It keeps the shark out but it keeps you in while outside rainbow schools of fish flaunt flamboyant colors. displayed their sculptural grandeur. enraptured. which. hurry. is not a bad way to look at the art of seeing.” One mild winter day. not seeing but seeing. ratcheting. VERY TREE . shorn of leaves. We can dive naked and filled with wonder into the flowering. Single branches often appeared too massive and heavy to support themselves. The lady with me said she watched me “dance” around the trees which.. and the baths of all the western stars. I put saw in italics because my no-mind or intuitive reflex unconscious mind saw these trees.unseeable and holy of holies. spinning mystery of life on earth “to sail beyond the sunsets. Hurry. I was in a trance. seeing deep into the hearts and spirits of these noble trees which flung their convoluted. Leave behind the stagnant and marshy waters. asymmetrical spreads of branches high over my head. You have leapt free of the cage Your wings are flung back in the wind of God.
Getting no seed to sprout. Reject: and let there be Only tree. Tenacious like a hand Gnarled rootage in the dark Interior of land.Forget the tube of bark. Earth's absolute arithmetic Of being is not in the flowering stick Filled with the sperm of sun But in a figure seen Behind our eyelids when we close Slow petals of the brain to match the night's repose. Bright incidental bird Whose melody is fanned Among the bundled sheaves Wild spool of the winding word. Stripped of green root and leaf. Alliterative leaves. — STANLEY KUNITZ . Colors pour in and out: Here is a timeless structure wrought Like the candelabrum of pure thought.
Signalling or seeing. ship captains at sea flashed coded light signals to each other. bursts of light flicker round . We humans get only 10 percent of electric energy out light bulbs in the form of light. half plant. creatures communicate with light. clams. They still do at night during wartime to avoid breaking radio silence. At night. or alert themselves to predators. They've been my base during many adventures. jellyfish and their relatives the sea-pens arm themselves with light to dazzle. luring or decoying — color and pattern are basic to communication and concealment among animals in the ocean. worms.. The rest is lost in heat. It deals with the phenomena of light in the depths of the sea. shrimps and other crustaceans convert chemical energy into light energy. Jellyfish. before the advent of radio. or at least we used to. — THE OCEANS . sea-squirts. Billions of single celled organisms—dinoflagellates. frighten.BRITTLE STARS I've traveled to hundreds of ports of call around the world on great ships. Beneath the sea nearly 100 percent of bioluminescent energy is converted into light. here. A deep sea jellyfish spins like a wheel of fireworks. A Celebration Communicate with light? We humans do it. snails. squid. as in the rest of the natural world. Far beneath. in eternal night. in that frightening abyss where light never calls. Deep beneath the surface of the sea. a constellation of fish radiates light. hiding or hunting.But in the gloomy abyss beneath. This essay taken from my travel journals was written while making an Atlantic ocean crossing on Cunard Line's QE2. half animal—flash myriads of galaxies dancing on the murmuring waves.. At night the ocean's surface often glows with luminous light. starfish. color has little function.
firefleas swim in groups. invisible to other predators who see no colors. shark toothed jaws. Meanwhile. miraculously. Ocean. Each male flashes points of light in unique individual patterns. I ride beams of light into abyssal clouds. clouds of shimmering thoughts wink on and off.its body. the brittle star. veritable clouds of light. another kind of celebration takes place—a celebration of light. pulsing lights. I am one with Oceanus's womb of sentient life. a beacon across billions of light years. I glow. who have evolved eyelid like shutters to turn out the lights when danger comes. illuminate. like voracious angler fish. journey on the solar wind into deep space. I dance through the heavens like the seven daughters of Atlas. which. Angler fish. miles down. it sheds an arm tip. leaving a morsel rather than a banquet. A few clever fish employ a headlight which emits deep red light in the abyss where no colored light penetrates. I wrap myself in light's energy a thousand fathoms down. In the Caribbean. discover their consorts and mate in the dark. coded mites. Myriads of tiny creatures flash lights. The females recognize their mate's patterns. lights out. Glowing bacteria flash signals from the eyes of flashlight fish. dangle luminescent lures to entrap my conscious mind and bend my silver head to darkness and despair. sparking and spitting like a Catherine's wheel. Most wonderful. I will enter dreadful abysses where thoughts. biochemistry converting energy to light. tapestries of fishy design. you birth light as we live by light. I wish I could flash lights in the dark and dance away from my sparkling body parts. Below the glittering QE2 in the abyssal sea. In these labyrinthian corridors. an eternal delight. dangle luminous 'bait' from their dorsal fin fishing poles to lure prey into gaping. the brittle-star fish outsmarts its enemies with a brilliant strategy. luminescent signals to open up dialogues. What a dance that would be! No special effects. They alone can see the red shrimps. continues to flash. interstellar wastes trembling with nascent . Radiate. My light shines forever. At night QE2 sparkles with a thousand lights. shed my sparkling limbs round Jupiter and Saturn. If a barrage of lights from its arms fail to frighten off its enemy. The light comes from clouds of glowing bacteria inhabiting the angler fish's lures. glow. themselves dark. crawls off to safety. minus one arm tip. I will glow with a terrible fire to light deep seas of my mind. fly into the clouds of light. I think. a fireworks display to mock a billion whirling chalices of stars birthing in deep space. Brittle star. you are my guiding light.
I want more ideas of soul-life. a Soul-Entity. There is an entity. — RICHARD JEFFRIES .lies just outside the pale of common thought. The Story of My Heart THE GOD OF LIGHT . I alight where cosmic furnaces glow. glitter. 1883. I am certain that there are more yet to be found. upon which the vessel of thought has not yet been launched. A great life .an entire civilization . There is so much beyond all that has ever yet been imagined. flame into furious fusion to cradle countless newborn stars in a universal ocean of pure light. light alone reigns supreme. as yet unrecognized……There is an immense ocean over which the mind can sail. Light.novas sparkling amidst fiery seas of condensing dust.
in the midst of the supernatural. like a moonstruck swain chasing the reflections of the moon in a pond (Li Po. as we all know. The light. and the greatness of the material realised the spirit. volcanic eruptions which throw vast clouds of dust into the atmosphere. — Theoi Project. I felt it. while drunk on wine). poet. lighting the great heaven. heating the parapet. and ever present as my thought. as a inquisitive world traveler and recorder of the earth's cultures should.all who have achieved excellence in any art. I am light itself transposed into living mind. I felt the presence of the immense powers of the universe. that is. A Guide to Greek Gods. The Story of My Heart I worship the sun god. Light and life embrace on this earth and throughout the misty regions of interstellar space. The fixed point of day—the sun. the sky. like a spirit of many colors. The swallows wheeled and climbed. fog. Light is the great creator. and man's pollution all change the way we see light. Spirits & Monsters I am infatuated with light like a lover.. So intensely conscious of the sun. snow. against the lit walls. the wild spirit which tints my work with glowing colors. is said to have drowned watching the moon in a pool.There was a faint blue colour in the air hovering between the built-up banks. I am alive because the sun wills it. is very beautiful. HELIOS was the all-seeing god of the sun. the broad walls. He was also.. the immortal. by these I knew the supernatural to be more intensely real than the sun.. the first' hippie' or flower child and considered the greatest of the Chinese poets. the seventeenth century Japanese master of the haiku or seventeen syllable form of poetry wrote: “. Basho. possess one thing in common. the limitless space. Helios was a close friend of the other fire-god Hephaistos. Burning on the great sun stood in the sky. By these I saw my soul. even when revisiting places.. I felt too in the midst of eternity then. Lighting the broad river.the twelve sister Hours. I touched the supernatural. eighth century A. among the immortal. the goddesses Day. gleaming on my finger-nail. Month and Year. — RICHARD JEFFRIES . The light from the sun is filtered by the atmosphere and influenced by the angle with which it reaches the earth. The sun filters through my thoughts the way it burns the mist off a mountainside. The very nature of the air in different parts of the world imparts a variety of colors to way light is seen.. In his book. to be . lighting the least speck of dust. and the three sisters called Seasons . I have never seen the light the same anywhere in the world. twittered and glided downwards. Dawn and sunset light. In my travels. Mists. I worship other gods as well. is evanescent. the god of the gift of sight and of the measurement of time (the time goddesses . always changing. glowing steadfastly upon me as when I rested in the narrow valley grooved out in prehistoric times.D. by extension. I felt out into the depths of the ether. always surprising. I was intensely conscious of it. The Narrow Road to the Far North .were said to attend his throne). rain. in the hollows of the houses. Burning on steadfast. there that moment. The sun is my familiar.
and each of us sees color in his or her own way. the shapes and colors are often not recognized as desirable or lovely. Today. It is the same with the art of photography in its many guises. green and blue. often. Pollock. a large range of colors can be produced. probably red. Here is a brief on the character of light: In 1665-1666. Whatever such a mind sees is a flower. Matisse. Basho's short poems. as with Van Gogh. We see color in relation to other colors. Color is the great deceiver.one with nature throughout the four seasons of the year. The artist creates color harmonies or dissonances according to his or her desires or compulsions. then a red card. or they are ignored. You will see the yellow change its apparent hue each time. finally a black card. Van Gogh. and whatever such a mind dreams of is the moon. and a host of others waited for the public's vision to catch up. televisions and computer screens also mix light to produce different colors. Rather. you will see tiny dots. because there is no such thing as “true” color. By mixing these colors in different amounts. In the artist's own time. (See incandescent light below) In the same way that the sun can produce light of many different wavelengths that appears white when mixed. illuminate the natural world. If you examine your computer screen or television with a magnifying glass. "White" sunlight is not really whitethere is no wavelength of light that is white. . too late. dictates the color we see. Isaac Newton studied sunlight and discovered that it could be broken down into a rainbow of colors by a prism. whether artificial or natural. An easy test is to put a bright yellow card next to a blue card. for photographs tell no more truth than a wielder of the camera is capable of revealing. we know that the rainbow of colors one gets from a prism is a consequence of refraction and the different wavelengths of different colors. it is a mixture of many different colors that appears white to our brains after being processed by our eyes. The beauty of art is that it is subjective. DeKooning. The light. like flashes of lightning.
It was found that at lower temperatures. regular light bulbs (not florescent) and fires are all incandescent sources of light. and therefore. then yellow. have such a long wave length and low energy that our eyes can't detect them and they pass through our bodies. and other electromagnetic radiation of longer and shorter wavelengths. "Why don't we see radio waves like we see light?" or "Why do we need special infrared light bulbs to heat things up?" Although all portions of the electromagnetic spectrum are governed by the same laws. There are two basic types of light sources. most substances are close enough that this color sequence can be observed. applied to different wavelengths and energies. Some sources of incandescent light are: the sun. then orange. Incandescent light is produced when atoms are heated and release some of their thermal vibration as electromagnetic radiation. This is why a fire tends to be redder than a halogen lamp-the filament in a halogen lamp is heated to a higher temperature than normal fires. . you might ask. and eventually "white-hot. emit most of their energy in the infrared). If all electromagnetic radiation is fundamentally the same thing. Depending on how hot the material is." Although ideal black body materials don't exist in reality. these materials would emit radiation in the infrared wavelengths which we feel as heat (fires. while luminescence involves only the electrons. for example. the hottest stars appear to be a blueish-white while cooler stars such as our sun are more yellowish in appearance. increasingly more energetic radiation is emitted. Radio waves. The wonderful variety of the electromagnetic spectrum is all a result of the same laws. infrared.The "electromagnetic spectrum" is simply a phrase used to describe electromagnetic radiation of all wavelengths. x rays. Incandescent light is also known as "black body radiation. fire and light bulbs. As temperatures are increased. It is the most common type of light that you see everyday sunlight. This includes radio waves. different colors. so these materials would glow red." 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. Likewise. microwaves. their different wavelengths and different energies allow them to have different effects on matter. the photons released have different energies. hence appearing to be "black bodies". Incandescence involves the vibration of entire atoms. gamma rays. ultraviolet. for example.
" Thus. It's as good a theory as any. —Discovering Light . luminescent light occurs at lower temperatures. or light of a specific color. when an electron jumps down to a lower energy level.Unlike incandescence. not an entire atom. No physicist truly believes he or she knows what started the colossal. Therefore. to name just a few examples. because it is produced when an electron releases some of its energy to electromagnetic radiation. star clusters. black holes and a hundred thousand more . supernovas. it will release a specific amount of energy which becomes a photon. chemical reactions as in Halloween light sticks and fire-flies. This boost may be provided by many sources: electrical current as in florescent lights. or radioactivity as in luminous paints. but the view is enchanting and illuminating. mercury-vapor street lights. neon light. quasars. continued luminescence requires something to continuously give the electrons a boost to a higher energy level to keep the cycle going. television screens and computer monitors. It's difficult. ThinkQuest '99 Those paragraphs are like taking a run up a hill or mountainside. stars and planets. THE BIG BANG & LIGHT At what incredible moment after the big bang ten or fifteen billion years ago did light suddenly enter the universe? Was it there already and was light the creator of the universe? I like to think that light is God's glowing mantle which He threw across the blackness to begin the process of making galaxies. perhaps infinite collection of galaxies. light emitting diodes. It turns out that electrons like to have energy at specific "energy levels.
or do they somehow create luminescence inside their minds. but this is not a life we would embrace. African & Afro-American Art and Philosophy .look about grandly with fixed expressions. I am dwarfed. Let theirs be the light.. the brightness of the spirit... the magnificence of the gaze. as in certain places deep in the sea or in buried caverns. the eyes of the god. In the desert or at sea at night..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.. He will then look very broadly across the whole of all the devotees.. the unanswered questions of creation? Life can exist without light. Schvaneveldt wrote on the Internet. reflect ashe. I feel the star filled cosmos suddenly race away from me into the limitless deserts and seas of outer space. his ordinary eyes swell to accommodate the inner eyes. Lightness. Blind people adjust to their world of four senses. When a person comes under the influence of a spirit. 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. I like to think so.the radiance of the eyes. “Albert Einstein and Steve Hawkings. There is here a relative big bang! Albert Einstein: a brain is a silent Internet. the grail itself. he will open his eyes abnormally. Lee W.. he and he are twins that with and in their arts bring alive in this earth the things that sing. as theirs is the darkness. a pin prick of a being shivering in the night..” SEEING WHAT ISN’T THERE .astounding events which daily explode around the universe. but they can only imagine the world of light. . Darkness.persons possessed of the spirit of a Yoruba deity. Is light the spiritual power of the universe? Is it the holy of holies. Light/Dark. author Robert Farris Thompson writes ”. that swing in the heavens.
can be seen shimmering through the veil of order.Oh harp and altar.. Basquiat... vividly recreating what is really there but cannot be seen.. “. wild. in the last few years. Prayer of pariah.—. The digital camera and digital programs free me to discover worlds of colors.. descend And of the curveship lend a myth to God. contrast. Vaulting the sea. Against the traffic lights that skim thy swift Unfractioned idiom. Pianist Alfred Brendel quotes the German romantic poet Novalis.. of the fury fused (How could mere toil align thy choiring strings!) Terrific threshold of the prophet’s pledge. Suddenly. I work with my digital files like an action painter. I am not interested in seeing the “reality” of these images.'chaos' now and then. Unto us lowliest. I will down load these images into my computer and work with them in Adobe Photoshop. O Sleepless as the river under thee. —HART CRANE.9 megabyte files for each image when decompressed. The digital image is my sketch. illuminations really. The 11 plus megapixel camera creates huge 52. audacious and unruly way like Pollock. That is what my brain forces me to do... sometime sweep. the prairies’ dreaming sod. and the lover’s cry. abstractly. which is designed to record approximately what I see will do. That has nothing to do with the vast spectrum of electromagnetic radiation that plays invisibly all about me as I walk the bridge. My aim is to capture the play of clouds against the massive towers and myriad cables and wires. 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. the Photoshop program my brush and paints. light and shade. immaculate sigh of stars. I experiment with the images in a boisterous. even in Mozart. free of the constraints of nascent technology and tyrannical mind set. That is what the camera. or de Kooning..” . Beading thy path—condensed eternity: And we have seen night lifted in thine arms.
a hologram of gravity's impure architecture. quasars and colossal galactic collisions crossing limitless chasms of outer space. I am the cognizant photons of holy light. no light. tintinnabulations which ravish my inner eye. I prowl the infinitely tiny foam of quantum mechanics where the universe quietly explodes insubstantial probabilities. its gentle omnipresence in the form of the wakening Day. no time. what living. a nothingness containing no space. That is. its rays and undulations. In the very beginning. A story logically begins at the beginning. We don't know anything about the universe until it reaches the mature age of a billionth of a trillionth of a second. iridescent. I want to observe ravening flares of pure energy thousands of light years across. I am lost in space. but this story is about the universe and unfortunately there are no data for the very beginnings--none. there was a void. pure. no sound. flaring like the mystical sunrise in my brain stem. no matter. digital space and I see . the all-knowing light which irradiates my mind.with its colors. I desire to see star births. When you read or hear anything about the birth of the universe. Yet the laws of nature were in place and this curious vacuum held potential. I am the light. someone is making it up--we are in the realm of philosophy.Before all the wondrous shows of the widespread space around him. spanning gravity's timeless. sentient thing loves not the all-joyous light -. deep. zero. Only God knows what happened at the very beginning: —Nobel Prize winning physicist Leon Lederman . busy with the constant state of remaking itself. Tiny. so tiny I cannot see the light. some very short time after creation in the big bang. painted with black rainbows. —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. I want to see deep. down in the unconscious realms where primitive neurons transmit a web of light which envelops the universe. a curious form of vacuum. I long to see light itself.
It's a dreary illusion fostered by evolution and nurture. Hubel .THE MYSTERIOUS EYE The eye is the supreme organ created by evolution and it is totally misunderstood! That is so important that some of the information below is repeated. What you see isn't there. One LGN lies in the left hemisphere and the other lies in the right hemisphere. writes: The German physicist and physiologist Herman von Helmhotz (18211894) described vision as a process of unconscious inference: . and to other parts of your brain. And that's just the beginning. Rods and cones in vast arrays (120 million rods and 7 million cones) accept the incoming photons as electrical signals and switch on and off accordingly. in Visual Intelligence. From the retina. not to your skull. the electrical impulses are sent through an electric cable containing over one million wires called axons. You may jump ahead if desired. The optic nerve fibers from the eyes terminate at two bodies in the thalamus (the aforementioned structure in the middle of the brain) known as the Lateral Geniculate Nuclei (or LGN for short). Your retina contains hundreds of millions neurons working in parallel. Have you “flown” your eye? It is attached to your brain. After further processing. your “desktop” computer analyzes and censors much of the fireworks entering your eye. The eye is not a window. the results travel on a new set of axons to the primary visual cortex. Right there at the retina. The computing power at your retina exceeds that of the most powerful supercomputers. the quintillions of photons each split second which would literally blind you if accepted raw. also known as V1.
blinded by the need to eliminate irrelevant information.. Playing with the large digital files in Photoshop. but unconscious ones. like an evanescent whirlpool of shifting shapes and colors. thereby making a distinction of some sort between them and the common so-called conscious conclusions. but a sophisticated process of construction whose intricacies we are now beginning to understand. Donald Hoffman writes. visual feasts. but my eye could not see them. It constructs the elaborate visual realities in which you live and move and interact. The computer has no inhibitions. in the cloud filled skies above the bridge a kaleidoscope of elegant abstract swirls and eddies. It forwards these constructions to your emotional and rational intelligence. as behaviorists thought for much of the twentieth century. I uncovered what my eye could not see. I discovered. “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 reveas what I entice it to reveal. perplex neuroscientists today.. relevant or irrelevant.. see. Hubel goes on to say. Von Helmhotz surmised these things a century and a half ago.. In their result they are equivalent to a conclusion. or fantasize we see. “. it may be permissible to speak of the psychic acts of ordinary perception as unconscious conclusions. . using what I imagined was there. I sensed that these paintings in the sky were there. which use them as raw materials in further constructions...” The objects of obscure desire we think we see. We must strike through the masks of obscurity and mirage and uncover all the many colored spices of Samarkand. In his preface to Visual Intelligence.The psychic activities that lead us to infer that there in front of us at a certain place is a certain object of a certain character.what happens when you see is not a mindless process of stimulus and response..” Hoffman concludes his book with these words: Visual intelligence occupies almost half of your brain's cortex.it is intimately connected to your emotional intelligence and your rational intelligence. are generally not conscious activities. When I worked with my Brooklyn Bridge images..
my eye/camera symbiosis gives me the vision of a painter who constructs from the raw material of nature his or her wildest fantasies. Suddenly. Monet.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. The large (53. I can imagine what is there. and I use the word playing in its most creative sense. Today. enables me to create images I have only imagined but never seen. .” seeds we continuously plant to await a bountiful harvest of beauty. Such visionaries as Van Gogh. As an artist. “Garbage in. Matisse. we can paint our visions in the computer and print them. The art of image transformation begin with a new vision of the world. wildly flamboyant canvases. discovered and painted their fantasies on richly colored. O'Keefe and de Kooning imagined. at the cutting edge of digital technology. Hidden in chaos is a higher “order. We must take chances and seek aleatory or chance compositions. we must learn to see. or who subtly transforms realities.” That should never stop us from making tens of thousands of “mistakes. It comes from an eye that learns to instantaneously recognizes significant patterns and make strong compositions in the camera before clicking the shutter button. First. Learning to see with a camera is learning to see anywhere. Playing.” The well known computer adage goes. We must learn as well to instantaneously recognize and discard cliche patterns which enthrall us with scenes resembling our past visions. garbage out.DIGITAL CAMERA GIGABYTES Our new tools create the possibilities for discovering a new vision of the world.
I. and a cuckoo now and then passes by. the eye that sees what isn't there.Azaleas continue in bloom. We live in an all encompassing shower of infinitely tiny meteorites. or quietly observes utter simplicity in shades of grey. Basho's haiku poems were written with the inner eye..Onrushing technology gives a digital artist a suddenly extravagant and limitless palette containing countless gigabytes of information—like the human brain and the starry universe... I'm like a bagworm that's lost its bag. We breathe slowly. wild wisteria hangs from the pine trees. the god of war. The hut was near a shrine of Hachiman. a snail without its shell. Light from the sun radiates more photons each second than could be stored as bytes on all the computers in the world. a Zen intuitive eye. photons which strike our eyes. like whirling kaleidoscopes.. endow the world with beauty and agape — intense romantic love. when the conscious self dissolves into a hail and firestorm of flamboyant colors and shapes.. the Zen moment of being there. Inspired vision trusts the intuitive unconscious. He saw with his clear“camera” eye.. bruised my heels on the rough beaches of the northern sea where tall dunes make walking so hard. too. enter our brains and coalesce into miracles or dreary dust. gave up city life some ten years ago and now I'm approaching fifty. He saw in flashes of seventeen syllable . THE HUT OF THE PHANTOM DWELLING In a letter to a friend written in 1690. The grebe attaches its floating nest to a single strand of reed to keep it from washing away in the current. which was built in 1063. Basho describes his life in the simple hut in which he lived for a while. I've. relax and enter a universe of bright mirrors which. And now this year here I am drifting by the waves of Lake Biwa.
and expended my feelings on flowers and birds. Much of what is there escapes notice by the eye conditioned to see what is “useful. —BASHO. unskilled and talentless as I am.. Poetry often carries within it the holograms of subtle allusions which only the most sensitive translations can begin to reveal. The promise of early chill. I give myself wholly to this one concern. Red. poetry.” Near the end of his letter. It is the same with seeing and making images. I am awestruck To hear a cricket singing Underneath the dark cavity Of an old helmet. however.and so in the end. tenderness and sorrows of his world. Basho writes. The Narrow Road to the Far North (Penguin) . The wind knows. Heartlessly indifferent to time.haiku the beauty. red is the sun. “I've worn out my body in journeys as aimless as the winds and clouds..
I was up in a second. and over this bridge the impulses of light that emanate from the object travel to the eyes and thereby to the soul. tripped on a low fence and fell hard. my work with images. I ran to the motel. early thinkers describe the process of vision correspondingly. Laura Sewall quotes William Blake: “Let the world of rationalization and of the senses be consumed in the fires of imagination. I went out for a walk very early that morning and had a sudden flash of instinct or unconscious calling. What has imagination to do with seeing? Our imaginations free us from the tedium of daily chores. grabbed my camera. A soft reddish light filled the dawn sky. seeking images unseen and buried and immersed in my unconscious? To see. go out to the distant places where things are found. the necessary housekeeping which we all must endure. I jumped out of the car. catch them. or is it my deepest imagination playing with fire. ran towards the rock. It is an eminently active occupation. The falls are part of the learning process. a unique capacity of the mind and the “deepest voice of the soul. When I fire my camera. I saw nothing anyone couldn't have seen. I arrived at the formation called Balanced Rock just as the sky came on fire. close to Arches National Park. Free the eternal soul. explore their texture. That is the beginning of my poetry. . Plato. With an invisible finger we move through the space around us. For example. asserts that the gentle fire that warms the human body flows out through the eyes in a smooth and dense stream of light. Once I was traveling through Utah and had stopped in the now bustling town of Moab. We we must fall a lot to see this world in its ravishing beauty. and careened down the road to the Park entrance. She says that imagination is a mode of consciousness. aimed my camera and watched transfixed at the dawn light flaming behind the silhouette of the rock. scan their surfaces. “ that it shimmers behind everything we do. in his Timaeus. is it I who sees.' —RUDOLPH ARNHEIM I give myself every day to learning how to see.” Sewall goes on to write about wrapping her imagination around a near quarter moon. trace their borders. touch them. Thus a tangible bridge is established between the observer and the observed thing. my music. 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. jumped into my car. Impressed by this experienced. let it taste again Infinity.IN SIGHT OF SENSIBILITY 'In looking at an object we reach out for it. The sky was beginning to light up in a curious way. It simply took quick action to capture the fleeting fiery dawn. At the beginning of her chapter titled “Imagine This” in Sight and Sensibility.
" 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. or invent. It required an effort to maintain the feeling. to a kind of chaos. The power of wildness. . or give glory to.. in the beginning. any part of such a landscape. Freed from constraints of early conditioning. hurling away constraints may lead. and I felt that it was only while under it that one could draw. and I felt a charm in every vine tendril that hung over them. art critic John Ruskin (1819-1900) writes of a simple scene. it gilded all the dead walls.There's a wild side to seeing. “I looked at it with the possession-taking grasp of the imagination—the true one. unfettered imagination. it was poetry while it lasted.” The art of seeing begins with discovery of beauty in the commonplace. any artwork has the power to invest the inquiring eye and mind with a startling and eventually very pleasing taste. mind-set and fear of the new.. We create our visual world with our malleable brains if we dare to use them in seemingly irrational or dangerous ways. It is well to swim hard and often in these uncharted waters until you float comfortably under benevolent skies. which I excavate from among ideas and images found in Japanese culture and in the work of abstract artists anywhere. So obvious an idea is not so easy to achieve. We discard much of the beauty in life because it occurs in unlikely places. According to Arnheim Aristotle conceives of the "universal character " of an object "directly perceived in it as its essence rather than indirectly collected through the search of common elements in the various specimens of a species or genus.
I think. catches my eye. and walk on. I sharpen it. I had observed this now intensely curvaceous asymmetrical composition when I was making the photograph with my inner or unconscious intuitive eye. I am struck by the sudden knowledge. add a bit of brightness and contrast. Even when my inner eye sees certain images and triggers the camera. A display of orange flowers. newly revealed contrasting colors sharply define the elegant arabesques which my cerebral eye did not see then or now. Suddenly the image jumps into life. The computer programs give us a sudden.' The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and tell what it saw in a plain way. It has a formidable power still in its infancy. It has no censor built in. I am in my studio with a young student intern studying the images from the flower market on one of my computers. The effect on our vision cannot be predicted. I don't know their name. although I view the new digital technology as an alchemist's stone which reveals what ‘isn't there. I love sunflowers because they speak to me of light's mysteries and shed a cheerful glow on the world. These markets are filled with visual banquets of flowers. but it looks rather uninteresting. The owners pleasantly agree to my photographing their displays. The computer sees anew. I must manipulate the image in odd ways and coax it to reveal itself. I photograph the display rather casually. The flowers are wrapped in white paper which makes arabesque-like patterns. I take it into ‘curves' and play. A few days later. Using Adobe Photoshop. I cannot truly see it on the computer screen immediately. Hundreds of people can talk for one who . 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. that I don't consciously see as much as I think I see. The orange display catches our eyes.SEEING WHAT ISN’T THERE I walk through the flower market on 28th street off Sixth Avenue and study the displays. new power to reveal what our conscious minds censor or obliterate. For fun. intensify the color.
Since depth of field diminishes rapidly the nearer you get to the subject. their spirits veiled in the chiaroscuro of light and color. throwing the composition out of kilter. but thousands can think for one who can see. You must take the lens off the autofocus mode and focus by hand. but it is difficult to execute. postcard. suddenly. wings covered with yellow pollen. very fast. Bees abound. to attain sharpness where desired. macro lens. It isn't calendar. The lens enables me to photograph deep in the heart of flowers if I wish. At close range with the macro. like a samurai warrior wielding his sword in a split second. This will require that you have a flash in the camera or an external flash such as my Canon speedlite 550EX. not rotate the lens. the camera fires. —JONATHAN SWIFT . you must move the camera. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden. at intense magnification. and in a fraction of a second. prophecy and religion. The technique sounds simple. I go to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to photograph more flowers. mysteries unseen and beauty unfolding. I must swoop in. seeing what is almost invisible to the naked eye. is a revelation. everything moves. all in one. Once in very close to where you want to be. since the slightest movement is magnified at close range. I expected few flowers in bloom in the midsummer heat. I will seek the hidden heart of the flowers. 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. To see clearly is poetry. this Day in July. jitters. Vision: The art of seeing the invisible. shakes. Waiting for the wind to stop. buzzing quietly about their tasks. see! Then. I must work on this. My tool of choice is a 100 mm. I spot a large bee on a lily and move in very close. it is well to stop the lens down to f:16 or f:22. Instead. it (the camera) fires. greeting card images of flowers that I'm after. A number of times my finger on the shutter at the moment of release pushes the camera slightly. without volition. It is all about seeing. Sunday. you maneuver the camera with tiny movements until the image in the finder speaks to you and. — JOHN RUSKIN On the next day. It is about seeing without restraint.can think. and developing the technique to execute your vision with your camera. for your hand to steady.
the opposite of the closeup flower photography. and unexpected colors. After forty or more years of making images with cameras. I begin to truly see. chiaroscuro. A subway train roars past. What I saw with my inner eye when on the bridge. the spider web like thrust of girders make ikebana-like patterns of asymmetry The girders are flung high and wide around me. they groan as they brace this immense structure. An array of hidden colors appear like magic in the seemingly monotonous bluish sky hung with misty clouds. Early in the morning one day. The resulting images become fodder for a series of joined canvases and psychedelic looking images which I make into dazzling patterns of light. willing to roll the dice with their money or reputation on the line in support of an idea or enterprise.BRIDGE WORKS Training vision is a lifelong task. Entrepreneurs are risk takers. I hear autos buzzing beneath me. The buck not only stops at their desks. I am busy seeing on a large scale. and attempting to re-invent your visual world that you grow and see. Against the light. 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. It is only by taking the greatest risks. it starts there too . to see more and more of what isn't there. avoiding self censorship. I walk across the new pedestrian and biker's path on the Williamsburg Bridge in Manhattan. They willingly assume responsibility for the success or failure of a venture and are answerable for all its facets. Spectral sunlight winks in and out between the massive girders which support the bridge along with a network of cables.
most days I don't even get close. The gift of sight is precious. By surviving in those seas we awaken to a sky filled with a flaming dawn and we see.— VICTOR KIAM We are all entrepreneurs in this life. We toss about like shipwrecked sailors in a small boat on an immense sea with no horizon in sight. We do not have to travel across the country or jet to another continent to discover unexpected wonders. That is good. sudden revelations—colored lights reflected on the streets during rain. a bee in the heart of a flower. 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. The quest for vision is much like daring feats of adventure. We admire the image or we ignore it. unseen because we have learned to take it for granted. with no maps to go by. like Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic alone. The gift of vision is secured by audaciously setting out into the unknown. Albert Einstein put it this way: . You must work for it. stalks. in his book Andy Goldsworthy writes “At its most successful my ‘touch' looks into the heart of nature. icicles and other natural flotsam and jetsam often last for a few days or less. willy nilly. leaves. So it is with our normal vision of the world around us. or Livingston seeking the source of the Nile in unexplored Africa. flowers. the success of the brave and audacious. one which deprives us of much of the beauty which can enrich our lives. light playing across cloud castles—there is no end. trying to see what isn't there. Picture postcards rarely carry surprises or awakenings. If we don't dare the unknown. The commonplace. A COLLABORATION WITH NATURE Andy Goldsworthy. we create a shallow life. The ahhh! of beholding is gone. The sought after place or thing is shrouded in mysteries. or doing business.” His outdoor sculptures made with stones.. Whether making images. learning to see anew leads to success. to Goldsworthy. filled with turbulent pitfalls that sadden us. He records the sculptures with a camera. is fodder for his revelations of the unseen beauty in nature.
and therefore censored nothing.” It is the mind that thinks in one direction. and time was not a universal clock—his concept of the spacetime continuum. Do not go gentle into that good night . to penetrate the veil. It is called No-Mind when the mind has neither discriminations nor thought but wanders about the entire body and extends throughout the entire self.” It's like hallucinations. Let us dive deep into the ‘sea' on firm land and begin to see as children again. We relax our eyes and take in everything.. not to reveal the hidden world around us. It takes constant practice. or even more so . but only dimly suspects. like a beginner a scuba diving overcoming fear of drowning. It's necessary to be overwhelmed now and then. regardless of subject. Such a myriad of riches must be organized. discrimination and thoughts will arise. Einstein's Relativity Theory revealed new world in which the speed of light could not be surpassed. This statement by Takuan is a clue to learning how to see. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. It does not know who or how. It neither congeals nor fixes itself in one place.a mysterious order which it does not comprehend.. And learn. Zen Master Takuan Soho says: The Existent Mind is the same as the Confused Mind and is literally read as the “mind that exists. We glory in these wondrous visions. No-Mind or Right Mind wanders freely to view what “is not there. Our eyes and our brains have been marvelously trained by evolution to do just this. Each of us is that happy child to whom all of creation from the earth to the starry universe awaits recognition. Our open eyes gatherer quintillions of photons every minute. The rewards are beyond measure. When there is an object of thought in the mind.” First we need to understand that our eyes are as miraculous. Thus it is known as the Existent Mind. The No-Mind is the same as the Right Mind. The child knows that someone must have written these books.The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. Scuba techniques revealed the surprising rainbows of wonders beneath the surface of the sea to our eyes and brains that had no pre-conditioning. than the Hubble Space Telescope. Each of us. We see everything. is capable of seeing beyond the veil of self imposed or peer imposed “reality. thousand visions go unnoticed. In The Unfettered Mind (Kodansha). a thousand. or daydreaming. while all around us. They are not windows. We are like a little child entering a huge library. 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. Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight. genius or no. too late. Learn to love the gifts of light and enlightenment. We try to detach ourselves from daily tedium and open our eyes like children. He saw into the hidden workings of the universe. They are trained to work at our daily tasks. they grieved it on its way.
in About Looking says.I got sailors to lash me to the mast to observe it.. Our newly innocent eyes.. To paint The Snowstorm. and dare to believe that our own new vision is paramount. ignore the opinions of others whether our peers. We discard tradition. The sea paintings carry within them colors and shapes rarely seen at sea or anywhere.. “Writing about a late painting called The Angel Standing in the Sun . “. I was lashed for four hours. Turner's sea paintings.. wildly impressionistic at a time (mid-eighteenth century) when painting was mostly realism. but the act of truly seeing the world is equally brave. but I felt bound to record it if I did. freed of much conditioned restraint. Turner spoke of light devouring the whole visible world.— DYLAN THOMAS . we must abandon safe harbors in the mind. although we can learn to see many of these enchanting displays of light and color. We stare out at the world . Berger relates that Turner remarked. show that he dared to see and paint in a new way. and I did not expect to escape. Do Not Go Gentle into That Dark Night LIGHT DEVOURS THE WORLD John Berger. researchers or mystics. see beyond the surface of things.” It was a brave act. To see like Turner.
The bridges sing a syncopated off key tune of creaking girders. What I see or do not see. I sight through my camera and construct the raw materials of my digital painter's painter's palette. and shapes. Later. I discover myriad colors. patterns and designs hidden in these seemingly somber structures. girders. shapes. rumbling traffic. the blue waters reflect the sun. working with Photoshop. towers. These are giant harps. I see the intricacies of design wrought in the girders. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge with its spider work of cables or the cantilevered Williamsburg Bridge and study the wires. and their myriad interactions designed to sustain trucks. in their endless varieties. autos. flung across the waterways. cables. and roaring subway trains. gigantic in relation to flowers. singing a world of ethnic peoples together. the eloquent lines of the wires and cables. colors. Far below. my unconscious instinctive mind records in the camera. elegant constructs of steel and wire. .with our inner eyes. are equally extraordinary. Bridges. FLOWERS & BRIDGES The world surprises me every day. and subway trains. What is there to see? Flowers are a universe unto themselves. the sun peers out from scuddng clouds. Overhead. You must look hard. and unveil such ravishing beauty and resplendent natural wonders as would make an emperor envious. bringing. For a time my work focuses on flowers and bridges in Manhattan.
I want to give that world to someone else. O'Keeffe's her large canvases of flowers seen closeup shocked and scandalized the public and the critics.garde husband. my unconscious. When I stare through my camera viewfinder and carefully view the scene with my normal mind. My perception. Her avante. isn't there. diverse means of viewing the world. cupping her hand and holding it closer to her face. sizes and shapes. (Knopf/Callaway) In 1927. I see what I couldn't see. like our dreams. They swim around our unconscious like schools of rainbow colored fish. “it’s your world for the moment. I cannot see what it sees at that moment. Most people in the city rush around so. and for a woman that was too remarkable.” she said.” said Steiglitz. Some found them to be to sensual and erotic. gave herself like a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not. I see what I am used to seeing. Our lifelong work consists of allowing these swarms of . Our perceptions. to my eye. they have no time to look at a flower. One Hundred Flowers. the photographer and gallery owner Steiglitz cautioned her against exhibiting them.” —GEORGIA O’KEEFFE. I can trust it and allow the camera to record what. People simply had not seen flowers closeup. when I “develop” them in Photoshop. “O'keeffe let herself be seen. come in many colors. Later.VISION & PERCEPTION “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it. displaying huge stamens and pistils. Perception and seeing are two distinct. intuitive vision or no-mind sees something else. They were overwhelming. when the images are downloaded into the computer.
In the midst of wildness.. Such vision never diminishes. in the midst of chaos. . 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. order shimmers through and we are comforted. Wisdom entails sifting all experience through an uncensored sieve of unconscious desires and playful freedom. Nothing is banned. It only grows wilder and more colorful. miraculous world around us. like a Titan's garden filled with luxuriant brilliant weeds and gaudy flowers. to unveil themselves in the light.perceptions to surface. of seeing the ever changing.
The visible . This continuous range of frequencies is known as the electromagnetic spectrum. 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. orange (O). You are undoubtedly familiar with some of the different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. a small spectrum of the range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. That is. Colors that we do not see are visible to other creatures on this earth. Dispersion of visible light produces the colors red (R). there is a continuous range or spectrum of wavelengths. and violet (V). Each individual wavelength within the spectrum of visible light wavelengths is representative of a particular color. lower frequency regions are located on the far left of the spectrum and the shorter wavelength. The entire range of the spectrum is often broken into specific regions. In this sense. The red wavelengths of light are the longer wavelengths and the violet wavelengths of light are the shorter wavelengths. when light of that particular wavelength strikes the retina of our eye. yellow (Y). Between red and violet. indigo (I). blue (B). and different wavelengths of light waves will bend varying amounts upon passage through a prism. It is because of this that visible light is sometimes referred to as ROY G. The separation of visible light into its different colors is known as dispersion. higher frequency regions are on the far right. The visible light region is the very narrow band of wavelengths located to the right of the infrared region and to the left of the ultraviolet region. 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. we perceive that specific color sensation. we refer to it as the visible light spectrum." we are referring to a type of electromagnetic wave which stimulates the retina of our eyes. Each color is characteristic of a distinct wavelength. The diagram below depicts the electromagnetic spectrum and its various regions. visible light is dispersed upon passage through a prism. You may read the following explanation if you wish or go on. Since this narrow band of wavelengths is the means by which humans see. Normally when we use the term "light. we are referring to visible light. green (G). Though electromagnetic waves exist in a vast range of wavelengths.ADDENDUM: THE VISIBLE SPECTRUM We see only a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Electromagnetic waves exist with an enormous range of frequencies. BIV. The longer wavelength. 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. for these reasons.
but rather the combination of all the colors of the visible light spectrum. white is perceived. then none of the wavelengths would lead to the appearance of black. Light is the greatest dancer. white is not a color at all. The visible and invisible rainbows of the electromagnetic spectrum are our lives. We see all of the invisible spectrum of light which daily dances through our lives. We see what is not there. We dance with light to the farthest reaches of human perception and understanding.com Shall we dance? In Zen & the Art of Archery . We use our intuitive no-mind and Zen like clairvoyance.light spectrum is shown in the diagram below when all the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum strike your eye at the same time. Once more. Technically speaking. Thus. Technically speaking. author Herrigel speaks of his master constantly referring to archery as a dance. The archer dances his shots. black is not actually a color. EPILOGUE . it means that there are no wavelengths of visible light striking your eye as you sight at the surroundings. If all the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum give the appearance of white. visible light is sometimes referred to as white light. black is merely the absence of the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum. So when you are in a room with no lights and everything around you appears black. —physicsclassroom.
tedium overtakes the climber in pursuit of meaning and creative growth. when the future beckons tantalizingly and everything is possible. The best. and the will to make the desert flower. the greatest creativity. like the brain feeds upon itself. 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. AUDACE! . He or she. Perhaps "desert" is simply a staging ground. the winding and endless road to knowledge is our home. higher peak. Like life itself. A jazz singer on FM radio the other day sang a refrain. we encounter a pivotal time. we undergo a rite of passage. "Every knock is a boost. A mountain climber trapped above twenty to twenty-five thousand feet or higher must come down for oxygen soon or deteriorate and die. Each new peak we attain reveals views of other heretofore hidden heights. Our growth and perception never ends. beginning again. especially if it knocks us up and away from our preconceptions. has a curve of accomplishment: the beginning. having reached a peak. Rest and recuperation is needed before another attempt is possible. most sanguine and felicitous parts of novels and movies often occur in the first half when striving is all. Once a challenging peak is climbed. The body. success or failure.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. youthfulness in ideas and in the work itself is everything . enjoy the view! The next step must be to another. self-examination. It's too easy to begin an enterprise with innocent enthusiasm and passion. I believe every great enterprise. hard work. Often. or back down the mountain. every campaign to acquire new knowledge. a metaphor for the next great endeavour. At certain periods in our creative lives." So it is.
so we must think anew. As our case is new. and act anew. cold harness of tasks better left to career administrators. audace. audace" cried de Gaulle. "disenthrall ourselves" and move on to fresh. Life demands action. in Lincoln's words. ideas won't wait. and we must rise with the occasion. We must disenthrall ourselves. We must act forcefully before the routine and tedium of endless petty details despoil our dreams and defeat our ends. When the idea is new. . and then we shall save our country. Something must be done about them. We must send them roaming. — Lincoln's Second Annual Message to Congress. Ideas won't keep. The workaday "nitty gritty" conspires to shackle our talents. "Audace. The occasion is piled high with difficulty. always forward. fecund fields where new ideas may glisten in the dawn of new endeavors like early morning dew on flowers and grass. LIGHT THE SKY The vitality of thoughts is in adventure. and if need be. its custodians have fervor and live for it. Forward. Shed it! We must each take our inspired and abundant creative talent and free it from the itchy.The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. die for it. We must.
color and beauty. aflame with light. soul wrenching awareness of the cascading beauty and symbolism of life itself? Whatever you can or want to do -Begin it! Boldness has genius. great energy. We set out. indeed demand. that contain great challenges and require facilities to implement them on a grand and worthy scale. which. we wither in a stale environment where bean counters rule and dreams die slowly and painfully. like a blanket of oily soot. and we are not alone ? . "We read to know we are not alone. S. Great talent. Shouldn't we spend our time working on projects that illuminate the darkness. such aspirations. a ghostly apparition in an unblinking cosmos—that here on this speck of green earth whirling round a small sun. Anthony Hopkins playing C. talent. to make us know that? To make us know that placed here willy-nilly on this spinning globe that sometimes seems like the Sea of Fertility on the moon—a nihilistic wasteland. we have purpose.GOETHE WE ARE NOT ALONE In the movie Shadowlands.—ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD Everyone of us is an untapped reservoir of becoming. We must unleash our God given extraordinary abilities and free them to race across the sky like the Sun God's fiery steeds. seek and find venues that need. great ambitions crave great projects. -. smothers the world of new ideas and visions? Shouldn't we work on enterprises that wash away gloom and give birth to a new. If not. Lewis speaks an idea garnered from a student. Power and Magic In it. free will." Isn't that the purpose of all of art and creation.
to crawl. love and creation. In Nikos Kazantzakis's great poem “ The Odyssey. "My voyages are my Ithaca. A Modern Sequel .Enjoy life? Of course! We are born to sing. we read of Odysseus. our destinations are our inspiration. Passion and joy rule our lives. our efforts our lives. We must protect the God given flame of inspiration ere it flickers out in the temples of money changers. —ORTEGA Y GASSET. to sally forth into the universes of thought and action. The man's lot is to live his human life. We are born to fly. dreams that make life real. not crawl. We are all poets at heart. to fly on wings of thought to far reaches of the planet and to the ends of the universe. moral and cultural values. Our dreams arise from inspiration. What pleasure compares to a new creative challenge. to setting off on another voyage into the unknown? Odyssus set sail again in search of new worlds after he regained his kingdom Ithaca. the sole elements that conspire to make us more than slouching beasts. or sadly. in the cellars of misers and bean counters. “What can the vintner buy one half so precious as what he sells?" We are fortune's vintners pressing dreams from dew covered . Very little of value may be found between. but as the fires of volcanoes renew the earth. never the end. Always the journey. “What can the vintner buy one half so precious as what he sells?" We are fortune's vintners pressing dreams from dew covered grapes. Without passion we create grey slag heaps of time worn existence. 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. to dance. THE WINE OF PASSION We read in Omar Khayyum's poem The Rubiyat . not grunt. to the renewal of youthful dreams. not recklessly. We were born to inhabit and create on a planet so fair and beautiful that "heaven" is but a solipsism and a mockery of Paradise here and now The poet begins where the man ends. the poet's to invent what is non-existent. in the offices of bureaucrats.
We must protect the God given flame of inspiration ere it flickers out in the temples of money changers. in the cellars of misers and bean counters. the poet's to invent what is non-existent. Our dreams arise from inspiration. moral and cultural values. not recklessly. Passion and joy rule our lives. the sole elements that conspire to make us more than slouching beasts. but as the fires of volcanoes renew the earth. but rise to snow peaked mountains towering into the next world. The man's lot is to live his human life. We are all poets at heart. dreams that make life real. Without passion we create grey slag heaps of time worn existence. 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. in the offices of bureaucrats. —ORTEGA Y GASSET. We seek the .grapes. 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. love and creation.
bewildered or chastened. our minds that will not age unless left idle. the sculpture of Moore. The artist. Matisse. the art of music and dance. From modesty comes grace. Removed from our close contact with the earth. to welcome discoveries. Brancusi or Rodin. Such enterprises can be found. ART MAKES US MORE HUMAN We stand measured by the breadth of our expanding souls. 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. de Kooning. wisdom and hospitality of so many peoples that I speak of. No power must come between that holy gift and the expression of it for the joy of mankind. Basquiat. see-er or seeker creates and grows because he or she is creation itself. What else compares with the experience of art itself? All of art. it is not made for any decreed purpose. concrete and glass. surrounded by paved roads. the seeker of the way of art. I do not ignore the appalling poverty and misery found in many undeveloped and developing countries. must never bow to the whiplash of bureaucracy or cries for what is politically correct. explored and made real. The true artist. it is the artist himself or herself who must discern what really matters.unknown. We embrace the human ability to rise to an occasion. places where human beings embrace mother Gaea with innocence and praise her. or an audience that must be enlightened. It is not a viewer. they are . flaming nebulae millions of light years away. the uncanny beauty of worlds in collision. pinnacles and arches in the Southwest. to make life worthwhile. we must find our way back to that exuberant dawn of innocence and spiritual dignity. I add the caveat that art is . a fiery grace that lights the world. It is the wonderful kindness. however new and bold. the paintings of Van Gogh. I believe the sometimes hidden purpose of all art is to raise the level of the viewer's perceptions. the grand architectonic "musical" forms of canyons. I often encounter this dawn roaming the earth into "primitive" places. music that comes from Bach in the B minor Mass or from the dying Schubert in the late piano sonatas. to shed light. our hearts filled with the sheer exuberance of liberation—liberation of our uncanny abilities to grow and flower in the commonplace wastelands of over civilized citified cultures. the sound of wind and wave and rain. sculpture and science.
sing to our souls and reward us with innocence. Hard it is to wrench oneself from the turmoil of self-created "necessary" mundane projects whose momentum. SPRINGTIME IN DECEMBER Every formula which express a law of nature is a hymn to God. or anyone's search for religious meaning in symbols or saints. yes to the creative mind. We will come to know again the joyful springtime that comes unexpected and radiant late in autumn or dead of winter.one and the same. to discover that we are not alone. and yes to going forward! I make no difference between the God of the Christians. to touch. when trees suddenly bud and flowers bloom out of . Better to leave the dilapidated train. the Buddhists. rocket off. like a speeding freight train is difficult to stop and makes a great screeching and squawking when slowed. the Jews. fly to the places and palaces we dream of. forever hastening to those places which capture our hearts. —lARIA MITCHELL Yes to that hymn. the Muslims. to hear. All of art and science beckons to human beings to look. launch. to see.
else it is a lesser life) to strive and seek a distant shore unmapped. I will sing of joy. Prometheus. or be made unbearable by puerile and punitive endeavors. I am a lover and a fool. then we must and shall employ it for the good of the earth insofar as we are capable of understanding that good. Great deeds begin with a multitude of tedious details which may seem to deny the light of creation from rising each morning like the sun. October is the fallen leaf. Our nascent light must not set in darkening shadows of discontent. There is no end to energy. energy which is eternal delight in Blake's words. We were born to inhabit this halcyon paradise of earth while we live (living means creating. Then we may give thanks and praise and rejoice in the knowledge that we are forever young.season. Autumn is for Understanding FOR THE HAPPY FEW (OR MANY) We all may share the blessed lifelong burden of creating and loving. Aphrodite or Apollo in a flourishing civilization where greed and lust for power often overshadow humanity's long journey to the stars. but it is also a horizon more clearly seen. We must avoid . an unlicensed oracle. If we be favored by the gods with energy. a labor fit for Hercules. —HAL BORLAND . uncharted and unbounded. It is the distant hills once more in sight and the enduring constellations above them once again. daring and beautiful. a cracked bell. an insolent mouthpiece for Gaea.
ever new. green and gratifying earth. We toil for the coming happy many who seek what we seek. and all the sons of God shouted for joy? . Art is evolutions' way of knowing herself. WHO WILL STAND? We happy see-ers. We toil to give form and space and song to what has not been seen enough before. the burgeoning glory of an ever fecund. 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. ever flabbergasting. if thou hast understanding. brained and blessed to do Gaea's great bidding. the thrice blessed godly virtue of questioning.When the morning stars sang together. We were born. in Stendahl's words.” said Alfred North Whitehead. We work. Nothing else or less will do. 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. for the happy few. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare. glorious. seekers and seers who fiercely create and bring these shattering and seductive visions to light shall be as prophets of old. We toil because we must. It is the business of the future to be dangerous.. Art is the religion of the spirit and the religion of the deepest unconscious striving of the fecund but tip of evolution. "blind" and dreaded.making godlike judgements as to what is good..
The sermon on the mount* goes unheeded. a great jazz in the night. Moslem.THE BIBLE . 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. Let your light so shine before men. Jew. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. that they may see your good works.. *Ye are the light of the world. Gaea's legions. Father. and put it under a bushel. but on a candlestick. We must follow our hearts no matter where. joyfully. the legions of creativity. the teachings remain. the voice in the wilderness soon forgotten. and it give light unto all that are in the house. love and compassion. With zeal. Christian. Job XXXVIII Open the gates for we are as sounding brass. Neither do men light a candle. and glorify your Father which is in heaven.-. . Shinto. inspiration and courage we do the bidding of gods and spirits. a tintinnabulation of ringing bells to fill the mountain steeps with echoes of glory. the army of the Lord of hosts. audacity.. a mighty work which make this planet a vaulted heaven where mortals convene and converse with gods. jubilantly.
no dry fugue maker. to understand. Starry eyed. thousand deadly reefs and shoals in a world often gone mad. as a sky flowering lightning and rainbows. filled with zeal and energy. to seek. Art which comes from the heart. the light that is God. discovery and enlightenment.worshipper of Mother Earth or earth spirits? Bach loved the Father as he loved life itself. It is sometimes hard to keep my eye on the holy beacon of creative enrichment. to find. Bach's music. we undertake to make a world more fit for humanity's great mission. I witness the seemingly endless striving of fecund humanity to break the shackles of earthbound tedium. shamans. to know. . the light of God. to celebrate the earth. CREATION'S STARRY LIGHTHOUSE A wanderer on this earth. the Zen monk's traditional shakuhachi flute meditations or any other glorious religious music celebrates the light. as the Buddhist monk loves the Eightfold Path and the Four Noble Truths. from the soul. Bach. We stand together with artists and scientists. from the spirit and from the love of life is holy. was as passionate as a water lily in the dawn.. to make a world where art and love blossom like cactus flowers in vast deserts of ignorance. the mist shrouded lighthouse whose radiant beams illuminate a thousand. Each new challenge begins in innocence.
The art's the thing. For once I stood In the white windy presence of eternity. like fragrant wildflowers. We stand beside all who seek to know.. the radiant genesis of glory. Our labors flower and bear fruits in their season." The entire Ode spirals down to us like a glittering nebulae. And not in utter nakedness. Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us. of glory in the flower . life will not press so close. his great lament " Though nothing can bring back the hour/Of splendour in the grass. voyages into the unknown. Yet. In his monumental poem. — EUNICE TIETJENS .. We carry our heads high in the myriad constellations of glittering stars.WORDSWORTH . having known.. a quasar billions of light years away shedding the radiance of a giant collapsing star. The fruit of our endeavors.preachers and prophets. And time will come close about me. memento mori of that place from which we came. smothering sarcophaguses filled with overripe. voyages away from stuffy. Ode on Intimations of Immortality. And cometh from afar: Nor in entire forgetfulness. Hath had elsewhere its setting. Wordsworth bemoaned the seeming loss of his own innocence. he saw shadows. and my soul stir to the rhythm of the daily round. Our gifts. for we contain in our mortal bodies the whirling troposphere of lightning and great storms.. rotting fruit. But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God. And always I shall feel time ravel thin about me. not measured out like cold coins or lifeless currency. a star swathed cradle of innocence. -. our life's star. whose lives become voyages. who is our home. shades of the prison house closing in. make beautiful solace for a moment of rapture. the dregs of futile toil. we shape the world we inhabit. yield love potions we toast to the glory of the earth.
never from the adulation of media.SUCCESS HAS TWO FACES "Success" that duplicitous Janus-like goddess.. the cycles of the seasons of art that bestow everlasting youth.. We attain our births and rebirths. misbegotten misinterpretation of the meaning of life. one head older than creation. the tinsel worship of celebrities. Ours is the earth and all that's in it. We will trail clouds of glory as long as we forbear yielding to money-grubbing temptations.she makes hungry where most she satisfies. defeats our aims. Age cannot wither her. but as naifs. innocent and filled with joy at what we do not know yet yearn to know. Only constant change and growth fuel the engine of creating the new. the adoration of power and money. nor custom stale/Her infinite variety. Not as solons in the great courts of kings. the glory of the earth. the enigmatic. and the seemingly dangerous. "success" imprisons us in a grey claustrophobic.. True success comes from our joy of learning. conquerors or emperors.." --SHAKESPEARE . we are at play in fertile fields filled with spring freshets and flowers. Antony and Cleopatra . growing and creating. One head eternally young.
seeking new visions. happy in the knowledge that such efforts renew. he thinks like the green foliage shooting forth in the relaxing spring breeze.he knows himself to be the master of his days. man thinks yet he does not think. he thinks like the waves rolling on the ocean. only to watch it roll back down again. writer and Zen philosopher D. The absurd man says yes and his efforts will henceforth be unceasing. Indeed. starting over. he is the showers. Suzuki said: Man is a thinking reed but his great works are done when he is not calculating and thinking. We are one with earth. We begin anew each time. "Childlikeness" has to be restored with long years of training in the art of self-forgetfulness. often must push a heavy rock up a steep mountain path to the top. gaining mountain tops. Albert Camus wrote in The Myth of Sisyphus that “There is no sun without shadow.. He thinks like the showers coming down from the sky.”. renew as do the elements and the seasons. . the foliage. the ocean. In his introduction to Zen and the Art of Archery .A THINKING REED A creative human being. T. he thinks like the stars illuminating the nightly heavens.. the stars. Then this is attained. and it is essential to know the night. like legendary Sisyphus..
A cold blue sky over Manhattan turns slowly pink. that failure is his world. for in the end. Whatever blocks our way must be rent asunder. —SAMUEL BECKETT . if we are willing to burn for it. These themes flaunt fields of eternal energy. arts and crafts. we were born to radiance. whirling and sparkling like the vast star studded hoop of our galaxy. and. to shed light. its thousand fears and follies.IMMORTALITY OR BURN Therein "ends" this essay. we will have it. We must endure. confront the perplexing mystery of life itself. eternal themes. as the Red Sea parted for Moses. help define us as human beings. The themes of this essay. Tomorrow I confront the daily exigencies of city life. to add music to the earth. desertion. thousand lights glitter in the dusk. We have but one overriding duty in life. to develop our powers to the utmost limits in order to be of use to others and to ourselves. good housekeeping. They ask us to consider what our presence on this small green and lovely planet means. It is Sunday in winter. the creative life with its thousand broken idols and masks. into whirling butterflies and birds of paradise to float out into the great world beyond my small studio. as Job endured the trials of the Lord. A thousand. which. I must conspire to make illusive vagaries. rainbow spattered dreams. To be an artist is to fail as no other dares to fail. and to shrink from it.
Seek and find a place in the sun that understands and strengthens far reaching vision and reinforces your inner search for deep.. Perform as one who inspires others to go beyond their self imposed limits. Go where the wind blows. . for my purpose holds to sail beyond the sunset. Become as one who midwives and creates things yet unknown... for it will blow a fair wind.Postscript: LIBERATE THE UNIVERSE WITHIN What should I or you or anyone do? Only those difficult. We must freely and fruitfully undertake projects that involve great energies. still untapped reservoirs of talent. unleash ourselves from petty ideas. unbind our limitless creative powers. housekeeping and clinging needs of those who must yet be inspired... passionate and intransigent things which can and will fulfill our dreams.. Come my friends. 'tis not too late to seek a newer world. unseen. and the baths of all the western stars.
—TENNYSON . Ulysses Copyright © Harvey Lloyd 2003 .
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