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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
as you approach the speed of light. LIGHTWORKS Light is the source of all vision. It can be warped by gravity. (Star Trek fans know that “crossing a galaxy or galaxies is negotiable in six months in warp 9. we are rendered dumb and speechless. To truly see is to enhance one's life and make visible the hidden universe of wonders which surround us. holy light makes vision possible. We will examine the strange phenomenon of many artist's works that do not resemble the way we see the world. Light. we lose the greatest gift conferred on sapient beings. Light gives vision. an animal.” According to Einstein's Theory of Relativity. such as a great tree or a sculptural rock. You often do not .vision.”) Without light. for at the speed of light time stops. And.999. time slows down. Light behaves in strange ways. We must begin with training the eye to see “what isn't there. Without the light of the mind. It has been said that light is the face of God and/or the mind of God. I celebrate the art of true vision. It cannot escape the “event horizon” of a black hole. It is the key to becoming one in heart and spirit with the Gaena. 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. Without the ability to see the light with child-like innocence. or a significant part of a landscape. Let there be light. You tend to focus on the main subject. Light and its bizarre behavior is one of the great mysteries that still baffle physicists and mathematicians. light is ageless. no life can exist.” When you look through the eyepiece of a camera. as has been written by scientists such as Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. you may not be aware that you are using your “zoom” eye to see. How that process works is a visit to a strange new land. it can be a particle (photon) or a wave. The Old Testament Bible begins (Genesis: 1) with “And God said. the spirit of the earth. be it a person.
To create is to live. a way that can enchant or intrigue us with its tension and beauty. thus transforming them into more vital places. ikebana will become more and more interesting to us. he writes: Ikebana can play a tremendous role in modern society. It was said that the outcome of the battle could be predicted by the success of his floral arrangement. mundane activities can be imbued with new meaning.. It takes practice. Ikebana combines visual surprise with its appearance of seemingly teetering on a precipice of abstract arrangement. We may study examples of traditional beauty such as flowers rearranged in a unusual way. A photographer learns to scan the entire frame in an instant to create an image. He made compositions in which all of the elements of the image related to each other in a striking or dynamic way.Creation is the act of discovering something new. The presence of an exquisite asymmetrical composition of ikebana renews and refreshes our vision. ikebana has the power to change and add resonance to our increasingly sterile modern spaces. and makes us aware that vision is not just what we see. The legendary photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson. they often do so in an asymmetrical way. Due to the character of its living materials. We see the everyday beauty of flowers transformed and our eyes are refreshed. It wrenches our mind's eye out of its complacent socket of sedentary seeing. coined the phrase. a noble samurai would make an ikebana before going into battle. In the feudal days of Samurai warriors in Japan. These arrangements often appear to teeter on the edge of falling apart. In the preface to his elegiac picture book The Art of Ikebana . When the Japanese arrange flowers. Through applying this truth on a daily basis.” meaning the moment when the subject and its significance come together for a split second. It is what we are capable of uncovering in the seemingly commonplace everyday environment. 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.notice what appears in most of the image seen in the viewfinder. Hiroshi Teshigahara is a renowned Japanese film director and headmaster of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana. as we more fully comprehend this relationship between creativity and our daily lives. . practiced eye recognized those fleeting moments. The loveliness of the flowers is displayed in exquisite handmade stoneware or ceramic vases. It has something beautiful to offer the human spirit. one that takes us by surprise. To do this we must learn to see from both sides of our eye without moving our eyeball. Bresson was able to do this in a fraction of a second. His talented. You will see this in the Japanese art of Ikebana or floral arrangements.. “The decisive moment.
he would walk behind the arrangement and paint that view. from 'Miscellaneous Observations'. At present this realm certainly seems to us so dark inside.the past and future .” . shapeless.it throws its shadow into the realm of light.but is not the universe within ourselves? The depths of our spirit are unknown to us . Back at the studio.the mysterious way leads inwards.when this gloom is past. Finally content.. and the body of shadows has moved away. Learning to see comes from taking one's self by surprise and absorbing the unfamiliar until the veil of mystery dissolves. “Chaos in a work of art should shimmer through the veil of order. The German pre-romantic poet Novalis said. We will experience greater enjoyment than ever. for our spirit has been deprived." (Novalis. 1798) .We dream of traveling through the universe . he told Monet. Eternity with its worlds . Renoir said that he went to the flower market early in the morning and bought the most beautiful flowers. The external world is the world of shadows . But how entirely different it will seem to us .is in ourselves or nowhere.THE BACK OF THINGS Monet is said to have asked Renoir how he arranged his flowers in order to paint them. he would spend the morning arranging them. lonely..
glory in the earth glows and sheds its radiance over my life. the beautiful might become too commonplace. to take a loved one by surprise with an outrageous. in its quest for knowledge about the visual world. Life itself is love and art. . Gradually. We learn to love ourselves which brings about love of others. acquaintances. we cannot love in the highest meaning of the word. at times. as a flower unfolds in the springtime. the flamenco lacks spiritual depth. generates the visual image in the brain.. relatives.Light is supreme. Without the dark side. a process remarkably similar to what the artist does. discards. "That really has duendé There is great beauty in the human countenance. and rarely see them clear. It is only with the more recent discoveries about the visual brain that our concept of vision as a process has changed. Without duendé he wrote. 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. We now view it as an active process in which the brain. hilarious or scandalous comment and suddenly see him or her again. — SEYMOUR ZEKI.but these new facts have only come to light in the past twentyfive years. He tells of a gypsy woman hearing a cello sonata by Bach being played and exclaiming. the light with which we learn to view the world. The art of seeing relies heavily on the light which comes from our minds. Inner light. The poet Lorca spoke of duendé . friends.. glory in the light. It is well. by comparing the selected information to its stored record. It is a process that will never end. I do not speak of seeing only what is beautiful. Until we gain the ability to see beauty in the simplest things. 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. the dark side of art. holy light which illuminates a dark world with our imaginings and our dreams. Inner Vision: An Exploration of Art and the Brain I endeavor to see more each day. select and.
wise. traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day. and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. I take my nickname C. just as with our own unconscious minds. We ride these tempestuous seas hurled high into the sky by monster waves in a storm. and for a wise compromise with our needs. pines. They grip the ground as though they liked it. going and coming like ourselves. but often little concerned with the complex and vast array of machinery below that executes these commands. Our too often overly greedy society demands that we cut down many old. grand sculpture that makes my heart sing. they have little or no control. I vote for the life of trees. and we see how beautiful it is. . great oaks. patient. a rainbow appears. It is sad that our vision is deprived of these great trees. I think the trees would be pleased at the attention. cypress and a hundred others. I photograph them (late fall. Many would agree. I enhance. transform or otherwise “play” with the trees in Adobe Photoshop to reveal what I believe to be their inner lives. benevolent. Our conscious brains control but little of what we do.TREE LIFE I am a tree hugger. regal domains. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind. and beautiful. but taking action demands a true understanding of how we function in our materialistic society. winter. from the Caucasian Wingnut tree. I grieve for their loss. I can think of nothing more beautiful than the shapes of noble trees. but my own imagination running riot in their lofty. It may not be the trees whose lives I truly see. W. It is our privileges because we are endowed with an appreciation of “useless” beauty. "I never saw a discontented tree. and through space heaven knows how fast and far! — JOHN MUIR We live on the surface of the earth and on the surface of our own beings. We are like captains on the bridges of ocean liners calling out commands. Suddenly. redwoods. ancient olives. irreplaceable growths for profit. We do not control this. Over the sea itself. When I walk (dance) among the trees I see them as anthropomorphic shapes. or early spring are best for seeing the bare branches).
The clarity of the light in Antarctica.” the Okovango Delta in Botswana. On safari in the “Last Eden. remembering Pablo Neruda's great poem. the tall grass the and winding streams. compelled me to try to see these things well. Still. I recall flocks of birds. and the pristine archipelagos and icebergs which spoke of time before man. better to have looked harder. My images while handsome. I saw them without truly penetrating beneath the surface. elephants and cheetahs. the green and turquoise waters there and in the Seychelles dazzled me. The splendor of Moorea and Bora Bora in French Polynesia. I remember the vast main temple at Angkor Wat in Cambodia. do not dig deep into the Inca ruin.NOBLE VISIONS There are visions which never leave my mind because I have not seen them yet. Maybe next time. if . Hong Kong still baffles me. I stood transfixed at Macchu Picchu. The Heights of MacchuI Picchu. although I saw it clearly rather than with depth. My Great Wall and Forbidden City images are merely a breezy.
This implies a steady state universe. how can it permeate the universe without a beginning? We needn't answer questions of such metaphysical depth to see the light. LIGHT'S GENESIS Where in the infinity of space and time does light come from? If indeed it is the mind of God or the manifestation of His splendor. To some. Around our familiar places. to penetrate deep down into the mystery and spiritual life of places and peoples.professional look at these great works of antiquity. 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. waves or sub-atomic particles arise spontaneously. this seems better than the Big Bang theory of . over time. There is a need to learn to see and to work in a vertical as well as a horizontal way. Is a black hole the wormhole(1) to other universes? Quantum physics speaks of fluctuations in the space-time continuum from which vibrations. Consider the visual mystery of a black hole. A world roaming traveler skims the surface too much. That is a beginning. The very term “see the light” bespeaks a seeing beyond what the eye itself sees. a universe which emerges at random. We can visit beloved places over and over.. we can penetrate to the heart of things.
in his writings. "the actual point of creation (of the universe) lies outside the scope of presently known laws of physics. Where the world ceases to be the scene of our personal hopes and wishes . a singularity is prevented from having a physical. It is a complex process in which photons are converted into electrical impulses which the brain censors. Thus. vision emerges. This is not a statement on a `cause' behind the origin of the Universe. was there light in the singularity? If not. It is simply a statement that the Universe was emergent. The uncertainty and unpredictability of the quantum world is manifested in the fact that whatever can happen. and voila. I have not discovered from the above light's origin..uoregon. are transported to the visual cortex. . or observable existence by the process of cosmic censorship. is our greatest joy. — ALBERT EINSTEIN ." A black hole constructs an event horizon around its singularity. Although this is a continuing mystery. in which light waves or photons enter the lens of the pupil. 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. The fact that the Universe exists should not be a surprise in the context of what we know about quantum physics. a point of infinite mass. then it must occur). density. A singularity produces a paradox of infinite forces if observed or experienced. Stephen Hawking has said. deciphers and then decides what you and I see. whose properties may always remain beyond our current understanding.the universe exploding and expanding from a singularity. the light of the visible spectrum.. strike the retina. there we enter the realm of Art and Science. that the actual of the Universe probably derived from a indeterminate sea of potentiality that we call the quantum vacuum. nor is it a statement on a lack of purpose or destiny. energy and gravity within which the laws of physics disappear. that if a quantum mechanical process is not strictly forbidden. . does happen (this is often called the principle of totalitarianism. — (excerpt from (zebu. light. 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. You cannot penetrate it to observe the singularity without being destroyed. If there was a Big Bang.edu/~js/ast123/lectures/lec17.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.
.) We are not conscious of this. Preliminary processing of the visual information takes place here. We are surrounded by images in our technological. Here we are being told what to see.? Let us “waste” this energy because not to see is to be blind to the real meaning of life on a beautiful planet. you may ask. The eye is no window! From the retina. 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. Strangely. a tiny central zone of the eye. No matter you say. Start by educating your eye. you must listen to a great rock band.YOUR EYE IS NO WINDOW Light which enters our eyes through the pupils passes through a number of almost transparent layers to arrive at the retina. The myriad photons of light strike the rods and cones which are wired to a complex “computer” in the retina. How do you see what isn't there? What “isn't there” is the real world of wonder. Very little is known. Look again. Much of it is the ordinary. Since it takes energy to see. We do this with a series of quick glances called saccades ( A rapid intermittent eye movement. Why not visit online the virtual realms of museums or museums themselves. to circumvent or overcome our early conditioning. The actual process of seeing is performed by your brain rather than your eye. scientists find more information comes back to the LGN from various parts of the brain than go from it to the brain. Where. the information goes on to a way station. chaos and beauty that you do not yet see. digital world. they were painters. the LGN (lateral geniculate nuclesu) where it is sent to the primary visual cortex. First glance is only the beginning of the process of truly seeing. You may be a photographer or artist and record what is there or you may be trying to see your world. As with music. The interior is dark and mysterious. a . Since there is sharpness of vision only at the fovea. or the host of books about artists of every period and see how artists and photographers view and have viewed our world. and on to other parts of the brain. our daily fare. Dubuffet studied the works of children and mad people. and may imagine that we see everything sharp. as that which occurs when the eyes fix on one point after another in the visual field. or are we? More likely our upbringing and our environment have mapped that which is “important” on our brains. in order to bring an entire scene into focus. Are Dubuffet's grotesque paintings of people real. The eyeball must constantly move. 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. why waste this energy in a battle within ourselves to unmask the outside world.
You will learn to interpret the ikebana-like arrangements of the rocks and uncover their distinctive personalities. California. of shapes which mirror chimeras and gargoyles. the ancient Carmelo and sandstone conglomerates. I describe this place more fully in my picture book. 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. but in many. It is easy to hear light music the first time. Walk these rocks slowly. I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured. like viewing a singularity? You are the mirror. I stood on the grass with the lights in it. It's like seeing what's there. Is that an impossibility. POINT LOBOS My work is a kind of music. The tilted slabs of many hued rocks on the ocean's edge. a forest or around a lake leads to new visions. One day I was walking along Tinker Creek thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it.I had been my whole life a bell. and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck . or anything else you might fancy. Not in one day or two. Annie Dillard discovered a universe at Tinker's Creek. I often walked the rock formations at Pebbly Beach now called Weston Beach. knocked breathless by a powerful glance. but be patient. each cell buzzing with flame. utterly focused and utterly dreaming. Light comes from within and without. Images play music to my eyes. on the outgoing tide early in the morning. A walk in a botanical garden.symphony or a piece of ethnic music a number of times to really hear it. How do you or I decode this “music of the spheres?” Come with me to Point Lobos. It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen.. and you will see a rainbow of colors on the rocks.. Try it. your eyes will refresh themselves and begin to see what “isn't there. June 2004) .” The same may be done nearer home. THE SAMURAI WAY: Spiritual Journeys with a Warrior Photographer (Ruder Finn Press. hide a world of abstract art. grass that was wholly fire. a nature reserve which juts into the ocean south of Carmel.
but where's the harm.beginning . each of which maps the whole visual field. Artists. Why. 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. All that is needed is the will to use the most powerful tool in our bodies. see a great deal that is invisible to many others. Do we want to? It may be forbidden fruit. of course. the magical tool which worships the light.. —DAVID MARR... or do we humans have the ability to see beyond the constructs of early childhood and later conditioning. A Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek WHAT DO YOU SEE? Vision is a process that produces from images of the external world a description that is useful to the viewer and not cluttered with irrelevant information. to penetrate the fog and miasma of lazy looking and wasted vision.—ANNIE DILLARD . while walking past a field of wild flowers early in the morning. whether with brush or camera.the striate cortex is just the first of over a dozen separate visual areas. British neurologist Irrelevant to who? Your doting brain busily keeps you from seeing all of the “irrelevant” information that makes the world a place of beauty and wonder. The knowledge we have now is really only the beginning of an effort to understand the physiological basis of perception. the human eye. a story whose next stages are just coming into view. Each of us has the power to see in ways that few human beings have learned to see..
We are far from understanding the perception of objects. Eye. “The mind of man is capable of anything— because everything is in it. and Vision The mystery of how vision works compels us to discover what we may truly learn to see.with the striate cortex. Shall we not look deeper and study their marvelous construction? The art of nature is the source of all art.. Brain..” .The ascending connections presumably take the visual information from one region to the next for visual processing. each area feeds into two or more areas higher in the hierarchy... our intuitive mind. To see the beauty and marvelous symmetry and asymmetry disguised or hidden in the twisting. arching into the sky.. turning. precariously hung branches of huge trees that stretch over us takes sudden awakening of our ancient nomind. — DAVID HUBEL .. our problem is to find out how the information is processed. For each of these areas. casting cool shadows for us to linger under. We all live near or in the midst of trees. altogether delightful. They are indeed lovely. all the past as well as all the future. Joseph Conrad wrote.
The Hubble .ORIGINS Two of NASA's Great Observatories. the galaxies. are beginning to harvest new clues to the origin and evolution of the universe's largest building blocks. It's a bit like finding a family scrapbook containing snapshots that capture the lives of family members from infancy through adolescence to adulthood. bolstered by the largest ground-based telescopes around the world.
prophets. 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. a gift from the gods. We can illuminate our world as seers. blobs of protoplasm which thinks. astronomers are studying galaxy formation and evolution over a wide range of distances and ages. wandering eye. Olympus. Called the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS). that the human brain functions at the quantum level. We are more than crawlers on this earth. shamans and magicians see in their myths and necromancy. the heat of life in the handful of dust. but what he feels. as artists see into the future. We can see. We become visionaries. 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. That means the processes in the brain are virtually infinite and cannot ever be completely understood because of the workings of quantum indeterminacy. The astonishing Hubble telescope opens a new window on our universe. — PABLO PICASSO . we can discover and see. The universe within each of our brains contains more possible connections than the number of stars in all of the galaxies combined. Roger Penrose. head of the Hubble Space Telescope portion of the survey. and expires—and expires. From a drop of dew on a blade of grass to vast ranges of glacier clad mountains. grows cold. we are the stuff the stars are made of. to vain effort—to death. 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. wrote in his book Shadows of the Mind. Just as the Hubble telescope reveals the more of the cosmic tale of billions of galaxies in interstellar space. — JOSEPH CONRAD It is too soon to quit. the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys. to love. "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. He paints not what he sees. the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim. grows small. becomes as though we were gods on a high peak. like ripples in a cosmic sea. the earth. to soon—before life itself. outlast the sea. to acknowledge that there is an end to life and growth. We invented the gods. the eminent British mathematician. Painting is a blind man's profession. and all men." says Mauro Giavalisco. and research astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. That's a miracle.Space Telescope has joined forces with the Chandra X-ray Observatory to survey a relatively broad swath of sky encompassing tens of thousands of galaxies stretching far back in time. Md. to perils. We have the unlimited potential to see what no one else has seen. We can as well open new windows in our brains to view the countless wonders of our own planet. too soon. the triumphant conviction of strength. and while thinking see.
Ripeness is all.LOOK WITHOUT FEAR We are here to learn. ashore in the Galapagos Islands. Sight and Sensibility. with memory and imagination. the Psychology of Perception . Another time. I walked among waved albatross courting. I felt a chill of fear.” At no age is the human mind limited. here on this earth willy nilly. — LAURA SEWALL . clicking their yellow bills and dancing an ancient mating dance.She sees that which is possible embedded in what is real bridging between seen and unseen realms. filled with detritus of boring work.. We are too often like those albatross.. She perceives what is yet unseen while looking into the world.. to take the risk of leaping into true vision. able.. while hovering in a helicopter over a deeply crevassed glacier in the Darwin Mountains hard by the Beagle Channel in Patagonia. but perhaps unwilling. at whatever the cost. mind-set and fear. the mind lies fallow. Once. used only to seeing what is there in our circumscribed world. It is only when. I saw them... shackled by the bonds of daily routine. They did not see me. as in Shakespeare's words from King Lear: “We must endure our coming hither as our going hence.of what am I doing here ? .
transmutes all into glory and beauty. both in freeing himself from all past artist traditions and art movements. he went to the Royal Academy School of art when he was only 15 years old. Such vision emerges from deep immersion into intuitive or Zen no-mind. The artist using his or her skill. Turner saw what “wasn't there. however. like an alchemist's stone.TURNER’S LIGHT J. With the years.”to the painters of his day.He was a unique artist. Instead of merely recording factually what he saw. he developed a painting technique all his own. Wherever he visited he studied the effects of sea and sky in every kind of weather. Venice was the inspiration of some of Turner's finest work.W. Turner studied the science of light and color..M. His early training had been as a topographic draftsman.. Turner (1755-1851 saw and painted light.' A Londoner born and bred. he became known as 'the painter of light. Perhaps the most famous English Romantic landscape artist. We can learn to see this way by discarding our preconceptions and seeing as we fantasize. a world of rainbows and light. Turner translated scenes into a light-filled expression of his own romantic feelings. the flamboyant and miraculous play of light on water and sky. . These quotations from web pages on Turner (1775-1851) describe an artist painting during a period when painting generally dealt with landscapes in a traditional manner. He was to open the way for a visionary anticipation of modern painting. depicts the ravening energy of light which.
You might say that light from your eyes creates your vision and that you can change that light by learning to truly see. to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives: To our sense of pity and beauty. high end cameras that digitally record images of scenes before me. We will see. Grosseteste considered that the properties of light have particular significance in natural philosophy. Robert Grosseteste (England). The rainbow was conjectured to be a consequence of reflection and refraction of sunlight by layers in a 'watery cloud.' Most importantly to our dissertation. Does the light from my eyes influence what my cameras record? A scientist or physiologist might laugh at this idea. he held the view. these signals emanate from our eyes and condition what we see.and therefore. The Nigger of the Narcissus VISION EMANATES During the 13 th century.) We see what our brain instructs us to see. that vision involves emanations from the eye to the object perceived. . to that in us which is a gift and not an acquisition -. Current optical theory would disagree with this assertion.e. I work with sophisticated visual tools. shared by the earlier Greeks. Magister scholarum of the University of Oxford was a proponent of the view that theory should be compared with observation. (Experiments in quantum physics hint or show that the observer affects the observed. i.But the artist appeals to that part of our being which is not dependent on wisdom. He speaks to our capacity for delight and wonder. the collapse of the wave function.. Our brains send messages to the LGN. — JOSEPH CONRAD . Whether light or energy. and pain. however there is a great truth hidden here. more permanently enduring. The act of observing a wave/particle at the quantum level raises the probability of that wave being there. the way station between the retina and the visual cortex.
— ALEXANDER POPE Laws of science should not trap us into complacency about how we see. we ourselves are not constrained from violating our selfimposed limits. It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. Our own event horizons are the limits which our brains enforce to make us see what is already there. can we then learn to see the light? The eye/brain alliance is a kind of camera obscura.Nature and nature's laws lay hid in the night.'. Newton's theories of light as corpuscles eventually gave way to Einstein and the enigma of light as both waves and particles (photons). A black hole is surrounded by the “event horizon” which is the limit beyond which even light cannot escape the ravening gravity of the hole. Catching the Light . “Goethe phrased it this way.had light not “seen” man. “Let Newton be" and all was light. While light cannot escape from a black hole. We have the keys to unlock the box and dwell in radiance.. The study of light has revealed mystery atop mystery. a dark chamber which receives and emits light What form these light rays take inside our brains is equally dark and obscure.'The eye owes its existence to the light. our brains map the visual world according to our environments and from instructions received from our parents. author Arthur Zajonc writes. rigidity or laziness can prevent us from viewing and enjoying the works and wonders of all creation.” If light sees us. we should never have seen the light. and so the eye is formed by the light for the light so that the inner light may meet the outer. Imagine that your brain behaves as a black hole is believed to do in interstellar space. — ALBERT EINSTEIN . teachers and peers. Out of indifferent animal organs the light produces an organ to correspond to itself. God said. In his book. Early in life. Only fear..
I wrote the following: I awake from reverie. riding my thunder stallion down the fading light. 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. Lake Powell's waters grow dark. We know the same. Somnambulist of early evening. We are one. her carriage and her dreams. these ‘tapers' burn in the orange light as in a cathedral where the devout light candles. the desert blushing with harmony and music. the wistful mote and the wise macrocosm. sets full flaps down and throttles back. one million light years from today. fire the camera and wave Michael the pilot on to Canyonlands. To the right I see my companion Shirlee's favorite southwestern garden. The Cessna airplane bucks and slows. Lake Powell glistens among black rock monoliths and crags. Darkness.. Our aircraft speeds ahead twixt Navajo Point and Navajo Mountain. I am chief of the dusk. harbinger of tonight's full moon. The sun's bloody tomahawk cleaves the distant ridge. slightly dizzy reverie. the reddening sky and the dark lake transfix me. Row on row of silent sentinels striated with browns and yellows." Fifteen minutes before sunset. her chariot. a bow-tie ribbon twined in the petrified red hair of the Colorado plateau. spires and obelisks arrayed like marble hat pins. rapture of the deep or sky. Among them. Michael whirls the aircraft around in a steep turn. the magic light paints huge rock monoliths a deep shade of red. the high plateau regions of the southwest in America are unsurpassed. for sheer beauty of the landscape. All is beautiful. A red sky bands the horizon. Hozho! . During twenty-five years of circling the globe I've encountered many enchanting scenes. hypnosis. While photographing for my book of aerial photography Sacred Lands of the Southwest . a speck of protoplasm attached to earth's green bosom. 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.WORLD ICONS Often I am asked what is my favorite place in the world. Michael lowers the landing gear. The confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers slides below. chalice of the universe. I am filled with dreams still aborning. a blackness full of tears. Window open. oxygen deprivation at ten thousand feet. At five hundred feet over Lake Powell. sentient and universal realm of mother earth. I lean out to photograph Tower Butte framed by Wild Horse Mesa and the pinnacles round the "Crossing of the Fathers. the endless. chasing the buffalo rocks down to cliff's edge. We feel the same. interwoven like an measureless Mobius strip. the green meadows of the Needles and Chesler Park. one thousand feet above the fissured rocks.
Images flashed across my vision. tiny red mounds. Big Indian . The Stagecoach. our acrobatic pilot of the Cessna 182RG (retractable gear). Long shadows march across the red desert floor. I lean out of the open window.Hozhó. St. beauty and balance all wrapped in one concept that dwells at the heart of the Navajo world view" — PAUL G. Michael. ZOLBROD . Elmo's fire. my instinctive. a spinning.. and in the distance. we fleet across the picket line of monuments— The King on his Throne. whirling the Cessna towards the great stone "Hands of the Great Spirit. spins the light plane into a dizzying descent around the Totem Pole and Yei Bi Chei rocks in Monument Valley. towers and rock cliffs rear out of the red desert sand. Distant cliffs devour the sun shrouding the desert with scorched tears.Thirty minutes before sunset. I see no life. evidence of crepuscular deities slumbering among the stone sepulchers." the red rock mittens of Monument valley.the word means something like harmony. whirring dervish suspended in thin air. The earth tumbles beneath me.. I gesture towards the flaming rock mittens. Whirling and tumbling about. battlements. The ancient ones doze. hogans face east to greet each newborn sun ball trailing a red placenta of clouds. only the silent ghost dance of shadows. We veer and turn. Mitten crosses mitten. Dying shadows sink into the parched land. Time. Fiery embers glow on the horizon. Michael banks and turns. The setting sun hangs like a burnt brass cymbal. I relied on no-mind to see for me. Bear and the Rabbit. ephemeral. One instant more. no sign of Navajo or sheep. deep desert time. shadowed by the sun's grim final burning. Spires. What I saw was revealed later in the developed film and it was good. I was in a trance during those aerial encounters. holy shadows on the desert. Loud is the propeller and louder still the hush of millenniums. spirits of ghost dancers awakening from the afterlife. triggering reflex actions on the camera's shutter button. . castles. a glorious flight before the sun descends into the underworld. time that painstakingly sculpts wisdom and stone monuments weds necromancy's dark invocations to shadowy spirits. ruins and monuments. intuitive training born of long years of practice. ourselves ghost dancers. or the immolation of heathens by the friars of the Inquisition.. Shirlee and I ride a winged metal spirit that dances in the shimmering yellow sunlight like a mayfly. a few minutes of epiphany. flying low and close to the stone castles.
not what is there. or a grand cityscape. you must look hard. controlled by our brains. if used with passion and vision. To truly see through the camera viewfinder. reveal the unseen world. yet the print shows them as tiny figures in an unresolved landscape. The camera is a magical optical device which can. Mood. photographs taken on travels at home or abroad. That is why eyewitnesses often disagree to what they see. This is the first step. stress. Vision is as infinite in its many guises as the universe within our brains. from the macroscopic image of dew on the petals of a rose to the sculptural nobility of a giant tree. No hurry! Otherwise your ‘snapshot' will only reveal that you were careless and unseeing. emotion. among majestic ruins. record what we “should” see. seeing what the camera sees through whichever lens you use. The eye is no camera. That is why too often. anger or love all influence what we think we have seen. Study it until you really see it. fear. Our “zoom” eyes coax us to see only that part of the image which is our subject. are disappointing. Our eyes lie to us. rather than studying the entire frame. . Use your camera as you would a magnifying glass to examine the exterior that you try to capture.ZOOM EYES A camera is a splendid tool to awaken and train the vision. all around the perimeter of the image. Our eyes. We thought our friends or companion were tall in the image.
and when I am a hundred and ten everything I do. The banquet of the world is always on the table. The earth and the heavens flower for us daily. just as how each of us uses our eyes is another matter. I felt how fortunate to be able to comprehend a little of the wheel of our galaxy and the immensity of the universe.at ninety I shall penetrate the mystery of things. In this age of onrushing technology and unlimited travel opportunities. He lived to eighty-nine in a time when that was very rare. Japan. . I beg those who live as long as I to see if I keep my word. —HOKUSAI .. if he or she would accomplish much. I've stood on a ship's deck at night far out as sea. An artist. ( The Manga . There is no need to fast in the midst of viands beyond imagining. to learn and to see. Every one of us can attempt the same. He changed his name many times as well.. I would shudder and experience vertigo at the endless distances above me. be it a dot or a line.all I produced before the age of seventy is not worth taking into account. far forward away from all man made light. Wood block Artist. To see is to dine like a king or emperor. 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. The night sky filled with constellations is a feast for the eyes. He answered that he used words as well. we are richer in opportunities than any rulers of the past. At seventy-three I learned a little about the real structure of nature. JAMES MICHNER) I acclaim these lines of Hokusai.. 1760-1849).. A writer was once asked if he could imagine writing like Shakespeare.RICHER THAN EMPERORS OR KINGS . will be alive. How they were used. and gazed up at the Milky Way. Better to drown in the search for knowledge than to languish on barren shores of discontent and blindness. It must have been sheer energy. That's a great way to live.. Nothing can stop us from seeing except the tired habits of mundane or aborted curiosity and striving.. must be curious and unending in the quest for new visions.
and the wicked sots are ugly. Lovers appear wreathed in splendor.. music or politics are usually seen with a halo of power.'. If you would photograph someone you do not know. but Aristotle was right when he observed the ‘beauty is a far greater recommendation than any letter of introduction. then grin. ‘Ordinary' people are merely glanced at or ignored unless we know them or plan to try to meet them. Look in the mirror. To truly see people. In A Natural History of the Senses.” We see people according to our own inner needs and conditioning. we need to love and respect them.HOW DO YOU SEE PEOPLE? In Ways of Seeing.. A smile goes a long way. whether celebrities or otherwise.After all..When in love. the heroines are beautiful. caring.... the sight of the beloved has a completeness which no words and no embrace can match. author John Berger writes. Children learn implicitly that good people are beautiful and bad people are ugly. Parents and relatives stir conflicting emotions. in fairy tales. wear masks. the first stories most of us hear. riches and talent. giving or passion. Celebrities of screen. “The way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe. you must drop your own mask to enable true seeing of the human being beneath. author Diane Ackerman writes: We may pretend that beauty is only skin deep. the heroes are handsome. All human beings. and society restates that message in many subtle ways as they grow older. .
skulls. the music of the earth can bring great meaning and joy and open one's eyes to the splendor in the world. The young man stared for a while. feathers and straw. She tells him “For Noh. wears a horn on its head. the spiritual. time is needed.” I think so too. and watches her every move. a very difficult part to play. from the inside. for the rich and powerful.” And further on we read. wear exquisitely carved male and female masks. or appreciating minimalists or abstract painters. is often the surface of things. The appearance of people and things changes as we come to know them. always men. the actor must bring the mask to life. shells. We cannot define beauty. Often. from the eye of the beholder. the staring. How can anyone spend their brief time on earth in the corporate world only grabbing for more money and things? Only the insubstantial. she tells him it is bad for Noh. The appearance of beauty truly comes from within. Those we love for their inner beauty appear more beautiful as time passes. In Japanese Noh plays. or from the side or below. straight on. As in developing a taste for eating oysters or grasshoppers. strangely. are less than beautiful. . the memories linger on. I've forgotten who she is. He follows a fine old woman eighty years of age. the expressions change. How a mask can change expression is demonstrated in a website (now gone) which sold exquisitely carved masks. and depending on the lighting. It arises from our own perception of the world just as everyone has their own measure of what art they like or hate. You are beautiful and that attracts the rich and powerful. In Ezra Pound and Ernest Fenollosa's book The Classic Noh Theatre of Japan. and he displays a gaping smile with only three front teeth. No one is truly ugly unless the ugliness emanates from inside..'” FROM THE HEART I wrote the following to a lovely lady. 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 actors. Seen from above. “That is very beautiful. “It is a Noh saying that. in the street. Alarmed. contemptuous looks sported by fashion models in ads these days. he must feel the thing as a whole.. but not as most westerners might observe beauty. the beautiful.. then said. He is covered with ‘medicine' objects. On hearing his reason. she asks why he is following her.What is beautiful and what is ugly is in the eye of the beholder. To succeed.it can be a curse in a way for we need to be loved for who and what we truly are which. ‘The heart is the form. we read that tradition has it that a young man seeks to learn to act as the woman Komachi.
Material success is too often an impenetrable fortress and prison for the mind and soul. those are the wines of life. the deepest meaning and the challenge. and seek to learn ever more about the mysteries of our confounding and delightful world. or feather spirits as in the Japanese Noh play Hagoromo . She flies with those to whom the spiritual life is all important and love is the banner which flaunts desire and freedom. We immerse ourselves in evolution's great journey to discover in that wisdom all we are and ever hope to be. My forgetting of the lady reminds me of an elegant wine steward on a ship who told us about a wine he recommends. We cannot really teach those who will not hear or see. Friendly. but I remember the wine. inspiration. to feel and be honest with each other.” we change the future by living it and by creating." So it is with art and the life of creating.S. to converse is bliss. “A man says. It went like this. Chambertin.That is a real tragedy. To attract even one person to love is a great step forward. only those who inquire and learn can change. All that you say about life being fulfilled with a good companion is exactly the way that I think. We are free when our bonds with another are so light they are fairy spirits darting back and forth—tenins. Free as an eagle. all the rest are details. talent and a great spirit shall be as a bird that has left its cage. A woman with integrity. Our art is the present we freely bestow it on all the others who will share these things. I have known it. To travel. To love. our source and our inspiration. or albatross we soar into the light and see what only a few can see. loving and not quite tame is a good motto. 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 keep alight the torches of wisdom. feel and love.'” Isn't that the way it is? Some things are too dear to keep alive except as smoldering embers. imagination. sensitivity. to care. We celebrate the entire world bathed in holy light and filled with becoming. therefore it is no illusion. . "I want to know God's thoughts. I went to the Einstein exhibit at the Natural History Museum this morning —relativity. kindness. ‘I've forgotten the lady. P. wisdom and genius together—Einstein once wrote. crane. But you know that. I've forgotten the place. You write with the spirit and soul of an artist who has learned that to follow one's own bliss is the only way.
We see what we ourselves absorb and process. reflected from every living or inanimate thing colors which are not the color of the object or thing. — ALBERT EINSTEIN I find it very mysterious that. light around me would still be speeding at its normal 186. Rays of light fill the universe in a kind of chaos of the visible and invisible. You cannot imagine light emanating from a frozen body in the blackness of space. If I could travel at half the speed of light. It appears to be the product of any kind of combustion. To add to the mystery. your mass would be infinite and that is impossible. like the art of seeing. a radiance which fills the universe. You can see. According to Relativity theory. At the speed of light. no matter how fast an object or human travels relative to the speed of light. may be a more accurate description. If you see a red box. fire. it is really absorbing all the other colors and reflecting red. I cannot race a “ray” of light anymore than I can choose to swim with a wavelet among myriads fluttering in the sea. according to Einstein's theories. not “arrows” of light going in special directions. “Can you see the light” contains more deep meaning than it may seem. this makes sense! The cosmos is afire with light. . time slows down! What is the light? Physicists seem happy to define it with formulas and the wave and photon idea. the speed of light remains constant. for we only see a small part of the spectrum of electromagnetic waves of which light is a part. as you approach the speed of light. Convenient. That's easy.. after much cogitating.THE SPEED OF LIGHT The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. blazing stars. The waves and buckshot are like are photons of light which experiments have shown actually behave as though they were both waves and particles. The true nature of things remains a mystery.000 miles per second. It excites me that the medium of light. fuzzily. the kind that makes hydrogen bombs. But of course. The actual color is not seen. The real enigma is light itself. anything that burns although fusion. What do you see when you see familiar places? The heart of the matter is that we see the world indistinctly.. mass increases. You or I can never travel at the speed of light or anything approaching it. however it is a though we imagined countless waves from the sea arrive along with a accompanying flurries of buckshot. it is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. glowing galaxies. as anything travels closer to the speed of light. obscured. is so wrapped in conundrums and mystery. but an all pervasive glow.
. Merzernich says. “scientists thought that the brain was like a computer.a hardwired black box.” It now appears that exercise. without surgery. however. adds neurons. sets up new circuitry. disguise and distort much of the beauty and wonder of . we are discussing the art of seeing.” He and other researchers now believe the human brain can be extensively remodeled throughout the course of one's life. Here. Among the most interesting themes is the new research which indicates that the brain constantly changes. proper diet and active use of the brain. such as reading daily or cruising the Internet enhances its powers. “The brain was constructed to change. It had been thought that these processes only happened at certain specific times. at any age.which established its critical functionality in critical periods.. without drugs. “Until recently.. If your brain and mine can change all through our lives. and changes the way in which it operates. In the chapter “The Mutable Brain. as when a child learns several languages easily. These findings are critical to helping overcome various disorders of brain function including Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia.” We can reroute visual paths through our brain which will enable us to see through the veils of conditioning and mind-set which hide. researcher Michael M. we can learn to see what “isn't there.” Merzenich noted. This applies especially to older men and women who often do little to protect their brains in these ways.A NEW BRAIN FOR EVERYONE The September 2003 special issue of Scientific American magazine was entitled “Better Brains.” I'm for that..
the maturing adult takes what he or she sees for granted. and allows atrophy. that we can grow new neurons. replace lost brain cells. . Later on. overweening curiosity about this earth. worn but homelike. “Oh. That is a gift from the gods.” Can you imagine and joy in the favt that our very brains are programmable at any time in our lives. I take trips. Youth thinks it has forever. Only occasionally does the middle-aged adult venture forth into the wide world of vision. What is often the problem is lack of a passionate. Brain cell loss is not the problem at any age.” many will say. and use only a small portion. however we have more than we need at all ages. It is easy to travel lugging the baggage of one's preconceptions like an old rug or comforter. grow new cells. add circuits. as the real world. reroute the pathways around the brain.living on earth. our ways of thinking. As we age. we lose brain cells constantly. The Scientific American article ends with “The sky's the limit. A recent study shows that brain cell loss holds steady with aging. peer pressure and smug contentment to shroud the world from view. and we are trying to figure out the rules. marvelously claim that we have the ability to change our brains. Scientists now.
Dark thunder clouds roil and tumble high into the dawn light. and vision is sweeter than wine. 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. smell . When I see this way I am above all an unscrupulous observer.. and only if. Out over the sea. The two difference between the two ways of seeing is the difference between walking with and without a camera. another hundred took flight. Annie says there is another kind of seeing that involves a letting go. translucent. Your eager and inquisitive primal eye. charged and firing without my knowledge. it sees everything. An endlessly inquiring and insightful mind is as restless as the shimmering mirror of the sea reflecting scudding cloud castles. The sky is afire.'” That begs the question. cuts and splices what I do see. The birds were weightless as well as invisible.” I could as easily reverse that statement and say that when I walk with a camera. We see what we see. whetted. whether at sea. like the blush of opening roses. my own shutter is always open. since it means that only the simplest animals perceive the universe as it is. on the other side of the spectrum. editing it for my brain. above mountaintops or on the land. Hone and spread your spirit till you yourself are a sail. my own shutter opens. giant luminous ladders. the sky lights up slowly. not sit on the sidelines.SEEING IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT Annie Dillard. God's rays. “When I see this way I sway transfixed and emptied. When I walk with a camera. I live for these moments. soul and passion behind the lens. Within minutes flares of light. I remember dawn breaking over dark seas as I flew out over the Caribbean in a helicopter.. I hope this phenomenal gift will be or is already with you. exhausted. epiphanies and endless wonder. I add that you must practice seeing. What she or we can see is all there as well. I see a red ball dimly appear through the dawn mist. disheveled.. She mentions walking toward an Osage orange tree which did not appear unusual. of writing and thinking of what you see? Isn't it an almost orgasmic like delight of suddenly being jolted into vision. At such times. “Not a branch or a twig budged. churns green and white in a tempest. We. content? Annie is impartial. props up rainbows. Agreed. Silver sheen burnishes their lofty edges as the sun begins to emerge far below.” 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. in A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek writes of vision in a chapter called “Seeing. waiting to be seen. can interpret if.” She says that it's a matter of keeping one's eyes open. Annie says it is possible in deep space to sail on a solar wind. when suddenly a hundred red-winged blackbirds flew out of the tree. it's rapture. “A nightmare network of ganglia. sumptuous paragraphs which taste like vision. Burning like desire. With or without a camera. for the simplest animals have no way to interpret what they see in a conscious way. glows pink and red in the dawn. straddle the seas and rise into the heavens. The mead of the Gods tastes sweet. broadside to the merest puff. I walk from shot to shot reading the light on a calibrated meter. a brilliant observer who transforms daily visions into fragrant. .” Isn't seeing more than a matter of metaphor. What a camera sees depends on the mind. When I walk without a camera. views islands hidden in grey mists. As she walked closer.”The secret of seeing is to sail on a solar wind. and the moment's light prints on my own silver gut. 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.” says Donald Carr. the eye which lurks inside your eye. we learn to see. heart. rapt.
What is vision. “Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. —ALBERT EINSTEIN A see-er or seer cannot be too comfortable.” said Eleanor Roosevelt. tv. a system of ethics built on this basis would be sufficient only for a herd of cattle. Can an artist or new vision make the world a better place? Art comes from truly seeing. To see is to understand the powerful currents that rage across the seas and continents of the earth—dreadful visions of war and genocide. You and I are deeply troubled and moved by these things. it pours out a balm upon a troubled world. You've read it? Read it again! I will. love or art without a sense of humor? Read A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek . And she has a sense of humor. BETTER TO LIGHT A CANDLE. the scourge of disease —endless travails which human beings have endured since the dawn of history. Deep in the . Such spectacles mercilessly invade our vision through the roar and outpourings from newspapers. beauty. ravages of floods and eruptions. and truth. radio and the Internet.. The candles lit by art burn brighter than the explosions of stars. life.like vision.. To make a goal of comfort or happiness has never appealed to me. the slaughter of millions of innocents. The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness. sound and feel like vision.
Soon. 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. What I saw when I walked inside took me by surprise and puzzled me. Now an then you need a good blow . passion. I tried to peer deep into the flowers. There is a dark side to art. to different from my mind set. flowers arranged asymmetrically in vases. You and I are those fiery furnaces. They were too large. from my love of delicate ikebana arrangements. 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. That was fine. I went equipped with my Canon digital cameras to see and record the life of the flowers there. understanding and desire inflame our souls. without shadows we could not comprehend the light. We walked to an exhibition in the Glyndor Gallery located inside a red brick house. I expected to see the ikebana I loved. I exhausted the subject for the moment. However. an estate and garden in the Bronx open to the public. 2003. I could not yet see these things as ikebana. Dodging the sprinklers in the garden in front of the conservatory. What we know of evil we cannot ever lightly accept. I took photographs of the installations in a somewhat shaken manner. love. I walked up to the man at the desk and asked him where the ikebana was to be found. SIGHT UNSEEN—MYSTERIOUS IKEBANA On July 6. It was called Perfection/Impermanence: Contemporary Ikebana. I went with a friend to visit Wave Hill.playground of myths which inhabit our minds. just as there is a dark side to all of human nature. I never even noticed a giant explosion of shrubbery attached behind the rear porch.
said this in part about the exhibit: Ikebana comes from a long tradition that celebrates life and respects plants as living. relationship to a space. When I view “quiet” asymmetrical arrangements of traditional ikebana. It employs natural and inorganic materials. ikasu –– to put in the best light. a form of arrangement that is released from the confines of the vase. I see with my camera. and encourages free expression and often takes the form of large-scale installations. I saw a new variation of a loved theme. she saw everything.. and the concept of time or the transience of living matter are all components of Ikebana. ikiru –– to live. to arrive at one's essence. the unheard clash of galaxies devouring each other in the blackness of space. I write about seeing and I just realized that I didn't see anything at first at the exhibit and. certainly. ikebana. I see the raging drama of great storms at sea. The practice requires a disciplined training in which the artist strives to create perfection and impermanence in each installation or display. the roar and splash of icebergs calving. Annie said that without her camera she was an unscrupulous observer. The Wave Hill site on the internet: wavehill.org. What will I see when I learn to see the new contemporary ikebana? . to live. use of living plants. That provokes me to see it again until I see it. Progressive Japanese flower artists have developed Contemporary Ikebana. the artists'' own creative process and energy. I went to Wave Hill to see flower gardens. in those incredulous first moments. At Wave Hill. yet I didn't see it. to see in the best light. not enough. Arrangement.along the side of the head to wake you up from smugness or complacency. I saw little. that heralds true seeing. to arrive at one's essence. The origins of the word stem from three verbs: ikeru to place or arrange. breathing things. but first I have to constantly see anew. to be alive. the silence of dewdrops on wild flowers in the mist. To arrange.
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. The poet Rumi was born in Wakhsh.) What was not clear in the 1950's is what that mapping might mean. like pterodactyls? I neither proselytize for or embrace any man's religion or woman's either. I will embrace every religion in spirit.. Eye. He wrote of the mystical side of life.MYSTIC VISION In his book. Poetry breeds visions as does the mystic. and has shed his or her mortal coils for the embrace of the . Their complete functions are still little understood although you may read that the paths are charted. and in metaphysical journeying. Brain and Vision .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. don't you?. approaching God as though he was a great bird which wafted down sparkling feathers in the holy light. In those days it was not obvious that the brain operates on the information it receives.. prophet or shaman's intoxicated ruminations. I want to see everything. (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. Noble prize winning scientist David Hubel writes: The visual world is systematically mapped on the geniculate and cortex. endless work at detoxification of the visual structure of your brain is needed. transforming it in such a way as to make it more useful. or do you drink the sacred wine and whirl off into unknown reaches of holy space. I want to see. and you can't control it. 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. It's worse than drugs or alcohol. Do any of you see visions in the church while eating the body of the Lord.” Digest that! What you see isn't what you get. What you get is what your brain decides.
displayed their sculptural grandeur. Hurry. We can dive naked and filled with wonder into the flowering.. I put saw in italics because my no-mind or intuitive reflex unconscious mind saw these trees.” One mild winter day. which. spinning mystery of life on earth “to sail beyond the sunsets. You have leapt free of the cage Your wings are flung back in the wind of God. I saw a singular kind of beauty. hurry. Leave behind the stagnant and marshy waters. The camera did its work. Single branches often appeared too massive and heavy to support themselves. We are not granted vision without cost. I visited the Bayard Cutting Arboretum on Long Island to see and photograph the trees for a fine art project I'm working on. The vision of a shaman must be earned by dying and rebirth. The lady with me said she watched me “dance” around the trees which. shorn of leaves. We can't all be divers hooked up to aqua lungs and oxygen tanks in or out of cages. VERY TREE . ratcheting. seeing deep into the hearts and spirits of these noble trees which flung their convoluted. wheeling. fly away bird to your native home. O bird. enraptured. I presided like a floating spirit. is not a bad way to look at the art of seeing. Fly away. asymmetrical spreads of branches high over my head. and the baths of all the western stars.. I was in a trance. not seeing but seeing.unseeable and holy of holies. 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. It keeps the shark out but it keeps you in while outside rainbow schools of fish flaunt flamboyant colors. hurry. dancing around the splendid trunks.
— STANLEY KUNITZ . Earth's absolute arithmetic Of being is not in the flowering stick Filled with the sperm of sun But in a figure seen Behind our eyelids when we close Slow petals of the brain to match the night's repose. Reject: and let there be Only tree. Colors pour in and out: Here is a timeless structure wrought Like the candelabrum of pure thought. Getting no seed to sprout.Forget the tube of bark. Tenacious like a hand Gnarled rootage in the dark Interior of land. Bright incidental bird Whose melody is fanned Among the bundled sheaves Wild spool of the winding word. Alliterative leaves. Stripped of green root and leaf.
Signalling or seeing. before the advent of radio. Jellyfish. A Celebration Communicate with light? We humans do it..But in the gloomy abyss beneath. — THE OCEANS . bursts of light flicker round . half animal—flash myriads of galaxies dancing on the murmuring waves..BRITTLE STARS I've traveled to hundreds of ports of call around the world on great ships. A deep sea jellyfish spins like a wheel of fireworks. creatures communicate with light. At night the ocean's surface often glows with luminous light. starfish. in that frightening abyss where light never calls. They've been my base during many adventures. shrimps and other crustaceans convert chemical energy into light energy. clams. here. worms. color has little function. half plant. Billions of single celled organisms—dinoflagellates. At night. ship captains at sea flashed coded light signals to each other. They still do at night during wartime to avoid breaking radio silence. a constellation of fish radiates light. as in the rest of the natural world. The rest is lost in heat. luring or decoying — color and pattern are basic to communication and concealment among animals in the ocean. Far beneath. hiding or hunting. Deep beneath the surface of the sea. snails. This essay taken from my travel journals was written while making an Atlantic ocean crossing on Cunard Line's QE2. It deals with the phenomena of light in the depths of the sea. or at least we used to. or alert themselves to predators. Beneath the sea nearly 100 percent of bioluminescent energy is converted into light. frighten. in eternal night. jellyfish and their relatives the sea-pens arm themselves with light to dazzle. squid. We humans get only 10 percent of electric energy out light bulbs in the form of light. sea-squirts.
coded mites. Angler fish. who have evolved eyelid like shutters to turn out the lights when danger comes. leaving a morsel rather than a banquet. I ride beams of light into abyssal clouds. Each male flashes points of light in unique individual patterns. If a barrage of lights from its arms fail to frighten off its enemy. Radiate. I wish I could flash lights in the dark and dance away from my sparkling body parts. Most wonderful. an eternal delight. journey on the solar wind into deep space. The light comes from clouds of glowing bacteria inhabiting the angler fish's lures. I dance through the heavens like the seven daughters of Atlas. it sheds an arm tip. miraculously. luminescent signals to open up dialogues. the brittle star. minus one arm tip. I am one with Oceanus's womb of sentient life. continues to flash.its body. biochemistry converting energy to light. In these labyrinthian corridors. My light shines forever. veritable clouds of light. themselves dark. a fireworks display to mock a billion whirling chalices of stars birthing in deep space. interstellar wastes trembling with nascent . crawls off to safety. What a dance that would be! No special effects. dangle luminescent lures to entrap my conscious mind and bend my silver head to darkness and despair. miles down. invisible to other predators who see no colors. I will glow with a terrible fire to light deep seas of my mind. In the Caribbean. A few clever fish employ a headlight which emits deep red light in the abyss where no colored light penetrates. Ocean. which. fly into the clouds of light. I will enter dreadful abysses where thoughts. lights out. illuminate. sparking and spitting like a Catherine's wheel. Brittle star. Myriads of tiny creatures flash lights. dangle luminous 'bait' from their dorsal fin fishing poles to lure prey into gaping. I wrap myself in light's energy a thousand fathoms down. you birth light as we live by light. clouds of shimmering thoughts wink on and off. I think. shed my sparkling limbs round Jupiter and Saturn. the brittle-star fish outsmarts its enemies with a brilliant strategy. Glowing bacteria flash signals from the eyes of flashlight fish. tapestries of fishy design. Meanwhile. At night QE2 sparkles with a thousand lights. Below the glittering QE2 in the abyssal sea. you are my guiding light. I glow. The females recognize their mate's patterns. a beacon across billions of light years. firefleas swim in groups. glow. pulsing lights. They alone can see the red shrimps. discover their consorts and mate in the dark. shark toothed jaws. another kind of celebration takes place—a celebration of light. like voracious angler fish.
I alight where cosmic furnaces glow. Light. There is so much beyond all that has ever yet been imagined. A great life . light alone reigns supreme. There is an entity. glitter.lies just outside the pale of common thought.an entire civilization .novas sparkling amidst fiery seas of condensing dust. I am certain that there are more yet to be found. The Story of My Heart THE GOD OF LIGHT . flame into furious fusion to cradle countless newborn stars in a universal ocean of pure light. a Soul-Entity. upon which the vessel of thought has not yet been launched. I want more ideas of soul-life. as yet unrecognized……There is an immense ocean over which the mind can sail. — RICHARD JEFFRIES . 1883.
I am alive because the sun wills it. the first' hippie' or flower child and considered the greatest of the Chinese poets. Spirits & Monsters I am infatuated with light like a lover. lighting the great heaven. always changing. by extension. I am light itself transposed into living mind. Mists. I felt the presence of the immense powers of the universe. the broad walls. A Guide to Greek Gods. and man's pollution all change the way we see light. the sky. HELIOS was the all-seeing god of the sun. snow. poet. — Theoi Project.. among the immortal. I felt out into the depths of the ether. the wild spirit which tints my work with glowing colors. Basho.. eighth century A. I touched the supernatural. is very beautiful. by these I knew the supernatural to be more intensely real than the sun. the limitless space. twittered and glided downwards. The light. fog. there that moment. Lighting the broad river. Light is the great creator. like a spirit of many colors. volcanic eruptions which throw vast clouds of dust into the atmosphere. The light from the sun is filtered by the atmosphere and influenced by the angle with which it reaches the earth. the immortal. the god of the gift of sight and of the measurement of time (the time goddesses .all who have achieved excellence in any art. gleaming on my finger-nail. the goddesses Day. The Story of My Heart I worship the sun god. that is. I felt too in the midst of eternity then. The sun is my familiar. The fixed point of day—the sun. to be . rain. in the midst of the supernatural.. He was also. as a inquisitive world traveler and recorder of the earth's cultures should. So intensely conscious of the sun. even when revisiting places. I have never seen the light the same anywhere in the world. like a moonstruck swain chasing the reflections of the moon in a pond (Li Po. Light and life embrace on this earth and throughout the misty regions of interstellar space. and the greatness of the material realised the spirit. Dawn and sunset light. Burning on the great sun stood in the sky. The very nature of the air in different parts of the world imparts a variety of colors to way light is seen. as we all know. In his book. I felt it. is said to have drowned watching the moon in a pool. heating the parapet. in the hollows of the houses. — RICHARD JEFFRIES .D. and ever present as my thought. glowing steadfastly upon me as when I rested in the narrow valley grooved out in prehistoric times..the twelve sister Hours. lighting the least speck of dust. Burning on steadfast. By these I saw my soul. In my travels. I worship other gods as well. The swallows wheeled and climbed.There was a faint blue colour in the air hovering between the built-up banks. The sun filters through my thoughts the way it burns the mist off a mountainside. while drunk on wine). the seventeenth century Japanese master of the haiku or seventeen syllable form of poetry wrote: “. always surprising.were said to attend his throne). I was intensely conscious of it.. and the three sisters called Seasons . against the lit walls. possess one thing in common. is evanescent. Helios was a close friend of the other fire-god Hephaistos. Month and Year. The Narrow Road to the Far North .
it is a mixture of many different colors that appears white to our brains after being processed by our eyes. Rather. Color is the great deceiver. You will see the yellow change its apparent hue each time. The artist creates color harmonies or dissonances according to his or her desires or compulsions. too late. Today. An easy test is to put a bright yellow card next to a blue card. we know that the rainbow of colors one gets from a prism is a consequence of refraction and the different wavelengths of different colors. Matisse. and whatever such a mind dreams of is the moon.one with nature throughout the four seasons of the year. By mixing these colors in different amounts. "White" sunlight is not really whitethere is no wavelength of light that is white. often. for photographs tell no more truth than a wielder of the camera is capable of revealing. whether artificial or natural. If you examine your computer screen or television with a magnifying glass. dictates the color we see. Van Gogh. a large range of colors can be produced. probably red. illuminate the natural world. televisions and computer screens also mix light to produce different colors. like flashes of lightning. finally a black card. as with Van Gogh. and a host of others waited for the public's vision to catch up. or they are ignored. because there is no such thing as “true” color. It is the same with the art of photography in its many guises. We see color in relation to other colors. Whatever such a mind sees is a flower. DeKooning. Pollock. Isaac Newton studied sunlight and discovered that it could be broken down into a rainbow of colors by a prism. Basho's short poems. and each of us sees color in his or her own way. The light. The beauty of art is that it is subjective. . you will see tiny dots. Here is a brief on the character of light: In 1665-1666. In the artist's own time. the shapes and colors are often not recognized as desirable or lovely. green and blue. then a red card. (See incandescent light below) In the same way that the sun can produce light of many different wavelengths that appears white when mixed.
It is the most common type of light that you see everyday sunlight. and therefore. applied to different wavelengths and energies. so these materials would glow red. As temperatures are increased. while luminescence involves only the electrons. If all electromagnetic radiation is fundamentally the same thing. The wonderful variety of the electromagnetic spectrum is all a result of the same laws. Incandescence involves the vibration of entire atoms. the hottest stars appear to be a blueish-white while cooler stars such as our sun are more yellowish in appearance. ultraviolet. emit most of their energy in the infrared). different colors. and other electromagnetic radiation of longer and shorter wavelengths. microwaves. and eventually "white-hot. This includes radio waves. these materials would emit radiation in the infrared wavelengths which we feel as heat (fires. x rays. Likewise. have such a long wave length and low energy that our eyes can't detect them and they pass through our bodies. the photons released have different energies. for example. hence appearing to be "black bodies". infrared. you might ask. It was found that at lower temperatures. .The "electromagnetic spectrum" is simply a phrase used to describe electromagnetic radiation of all wavelengths." This seemingly self-contradictory name arises from the history of physics-scientists studying this type of light emission modeled their theories on ideal materials that would absorb all colors of light. for example. Incandescent light is also known as "black body radiation. visible light. 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. "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. Radio waves. then yellow. There are two basic types of light sources. increasingly more energetic radiation is emitted. Depending on how hot the material is. regular light bulbs (not florescent) and fires are all incandescent sources of light. most substances are close enough that this color sequence can be observed. gamma rays. their different wavelengths and different energies allow them to have different effects on matter." Although ideal black body materials don't exist in reality. fire and light bulbs. Incandescent light is produced when atoms are heated and release some of their thermal vibration as electromagnetic radiation. Some sources of incandescent light are: the sun. then orange.
Unlike incandescence. television screens and computer monitors. stars and planets. quasars. It's difficult. This boost may be provided by many sources: electrical current as in florescent lights. No physicist truly believes he or she knows what started the colossal. or light of a specific color. ThinkQuest '99 Those paragraphs are like taking a run up a hill or mountainside." Thus. Therefore. but the view is enchanting and illuminating. THE BIG BANG & LIGHT At what incredible moment after the big bang ten or fifteen billion years ago did light suddenly enter the universe? Was it there already and was light the creator of the universe? I like to think that light is God's glowing mantle which He threw across the blackness to begin the process of making galaxies. it will release a specific amount of energy which becomes a photon. when an electron jumps down to a lower energy level. neon light. luminescent light occurs at lower temperatures. light emitting diodes. —Discovering Light . not an entire atom. It's as good a theory as any. or radioactivity as in luminous paints. mercury-vapor street lights. because it is produced when an electron releases some of its energy to electromagnetic radiation. to name just a few examples. supernovas. perhaps infinite collection of galaxies. black holes and a hundred thousand more . continued luminescence requires something to continuously give the electrons a boost to a higher energy level to keep the cycle going. star clusters. It turns out that electrons like to have energy at specific "energy levels. chemical reactions as in Halloween light sticks and fire-flies.
a pin prick of a being shivering in the night. the magnificence of the gaze. I like to think so. the grail itself. but this is not a life we would embrace. “Albert Einstein and Steve Hawkings. 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. as in certain places deep in the sea or in buried caverns.look about grandly with fixed expressions. he and he are twins that with and in their arts bring alive in this earth the things that sing.. Blind people adjust to their world of four senses. he will open his eyes abnormally. as theirs is the darkness. his ordinary eyes swell to accommodate the inner eyes.persons possessed of the spirit of a Yoruba deity.. Lee W. African & Afro-American Art and Philosophy . that swing in the heavens. There is here a relative big bang! Albert Einstein: a brain is a silent Internet. the unanswered questions of creation? Life can exist without light. the eyes of the god. In the desert or at sea at night... I feel the star filled cosmos suddenly race away from me into the limitless deserts and seas of outer space.” SEEING WHAT ISN’T THERE . Lightness.the radiance of the eyes.astounding events which daily explode around the universe.. or do they somehow create luminescence inside their minds.. Is light the spiritual power of the universe? Is it the holy of holies. Schvaneveldt wrote on the Internet. I am dwarfed.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. Let theirs be the light. Darkness. but they can only imagine the world of light. . the brightness of the spirit.. When a person comes under the influence of a spirit.. reflect ashe. Light/Dark. author Robert Farris Thompson writes ”.
vividly recreating what is really there but cannot be seen. of the fury fused (How could mere toil align thy choiring strings!) Terrific threshold of the prophet’s pledge. I will down load these images into my computer and work with them in Adobe Photoshop.” .. illuminations really. I am not interested in seeing the “reality” of these images. audacious and unruly way like Pollock.. Against the traffic lights that skim thy swift Unfractioned idiom. contrast. even in Mozart. free of the constraints of nascent technology and tyrannical mind set.. abstractly. The digital camera and digital programs free me to discover worlds of colors. in the last few years.. Vaulting the sea. Suddenly. That is what my brain forces me to do.. That has nothing to do with the vast spectrum of electromagnetic radiation that plays invisibly all about me as I walk the bridge. —HART CRANE. or de Kooning... and the lover’s cry. the Photoshop program my brush and paints. Unto us lowliest. the prairies’ dreaming sod.9 megabyte files for each image when decompressed.. My aim is to capture the play of clouds against the massive towers and myriad cables and wires. Prayer of pariah. Beading thy path—condensed eternity: And we have seen night lifted in thine arms. Basquiat.'chaos' now and then. “.. Pianist Alfred Brendel quotes the German romantic poet Novalis. Poem: To Brooklyn Bridge On a breezy beautiful sunny summer day I walk across the Brooklyn Bridge with my Canon EOS1Ds digital top of the line camera. sometime sweep. descend And of the curveship lend a myth to God. which is designed to record approximately what I see will do. The 11 plus megapixel camera creates huge 52. I experiment with the images in a boisterous. light and shade. O Sleepless as the river under thee. The digital image is my sketch. wild. That is what the camera. can be seen shimmering through the veil of order.Oh harp and altar.—. I work with my digital files like an action painter. immaculate sigh of stars.
no light. deep. I am lost in space. busy with the constant state of remaking itself. but this story is about the universe and unfortunately there are no data for the very beginnings--none. a hologram of gravity's impure architecture.with its colors. iridescent. Tiny. A story logically begins at the beginning. pure. the all-knowing light which irradiates my mind. quasars and colossal galactic collisions crossing limitless chasms of outer space. —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. no matter. Yet the laws of nature were in place and this curious vacuum held potential. down in the unconscious realms where primitive neurons transmit a web of light which envelops the universe.Before all the wondrous shows of the widespread space around him. When you read or hear anything about the birth of the universe. I desire to see star births. That is. I am the cognizant photons of holy light. I prowl the infinitely tiny foam of quantum mechanics where the universe quietly explodes insubstantial probabilities. Only God knows what happened at the very beginning: —Nobel Prize winning physicist Leon Lederman . I am the light. I long to see light itself. spanning gravity's timeless. its rays and undulations. zero. sentient thing loves not the all-joyous light -. painted with black rainbows. flaring like the mystical sunrise in my brain stem. no time. a curious form of vacuum. no sound. there was a void. what living. I want to observe ravening flares of pure energy thousands of light years across. tintinnabulations which ravish my inner eye. In the very beginning. so tiny I cannot see the light. We don't know anything about the universe until it reaches the mature age of a billionth of a trillionth of a second. some very short time after creation in the big bang. I want to see deep. a nothingness containing no space. its gentle omnipresence in the form of the wakening Day. digital space and I see . someone is making it up--we are in the realm of philosophy.
Rods and cones in vast arrays (120 million rods and 7 million cones) accept the incoming photons as electrical signals and switch on and off accordingly. It's a dreary illusion fostered by evolution and nurture. your “desktop” computer analyzes and censors much of the fireworks entering your eye. Your retina contains hundreds of millions neurons working in parallel. in Visual Intelligence. writes: The German physicist and physiologist Herman von Helmhotz (18211894) described vision as a process of unconscious inference: . the electrical impulses are sent through an electric cable containing over one million wires called axons. Hubel . Right there at the retina. From the retina. the results travel on a new set of axons to the primary visual cortex. And that's just the beginning. The computing power at your retina exceeds that of the most powerful supercomputers. After further processing. not to your skull. the quintillions of photons each split second which would literally blind you if accepted raw. and to other parts of your brain. The eye is not a window. also known as V1. The optic nerve fibers from the eyes terminate at two bodies in the thalamus (the aforementioned structure in the middle of the brain) known as the Lateral Geniculate Nuclei (or LGN for short). Have you “flown” your eye? It is attached to your brain.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. You may jump ahead if desired. What you see isn't there. One LGN lies in the left hemisphere and the other lies in the right hemisphere.
or fantasize we see.what happens when you see is not a mindless process of stimulus and response.” The objects of obscure desire we think we see. relevant or irrelevant. I sensed that these paintings in the sky were there.it is intimately connected to your emotional intelligence and your rational intelligence. perplex neuroscientists today. We must strike through the masks of obscurity and mirage and uncover all the many colored spices of Samarkand. are generally not conscious activities. it reveas what I entice it to reveal. using what I imagined was there.. see. When I worked with my Brooklyn Bridge images. “. It forwards these constructions to your emotional and rational intelligence. it may be permissible to speak of the psychic acts of ordinary perception as unconscious conclusions. in the cloud filled skies above the bridge a kaleidoscope of elegant abstract swirls and eddies. but unconscious ones. Von Helmhotz surmised these things a century and a half ago. In his preface to Visual Intelligence... like an evanescent whirlpool of shifting shapes and colors. It constructs the elaborate visual realities in which you live and move and interact. visual feasts.. which use them as raw materials in further constructions. blinded by the need to eliminate irrelevant information. but a sophisticated process of construction whose intricacies we are now beginning to understand. thereby making a distinction of some sort between them and the common so-called conscious conclusions.. In their result they are equivalent to a conclusion. Hubel goes on to say.. I discovered. The computer has no inhibitions. as behaviorists thought for much of the twentieth century.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. I uncovered what my eye could not see. Donald Hoffman writes. but my eye could not see them... Playing with the large digital files in Photoshop. . “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.” Hoffman concludes his book with these words: Visual intelligence occupies almost half of your brain's cortex..
” seeds we continuously plant to await a bountiful harvest of beauty. or who subtly transforms realities. at the cutting edge of digital technology. First. We must learn as well to instantaneously recognize and discard cliche patterns which enthrall us with scenes resembling our past visions. O'Keefe and de Kooning imagined. As an artist. The large (53.9 megabyte) files which come from my Canon EOSD1s digital camera contain a wealth of information which my emotionally and rationally conditioned eye cannot see. Such visionaries as Van Gogh. Playing. “Garbage in. we must learn to see. discovered and painted their fantasies on richly colored. Hidden in chaos is a higher “order. enables me to create images I have only imagined but never seen. Today. Learning to see with a camera is learning to see anywhere. and I use the word playing in its most creative sense. Matisse. Monet. wildly flamboyant canvases. garbage out. The art of image transformation begin with a new vision of the world. we can paint our visions in the computer and print them.” 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. . I can imagine what is there. Suddenly. my eye/camera symbiosis gives me the vision of a painter who constructs from the raw material of nature his or her wildest fantasies.DIGITAL CAMERA GIGABYTES Our new tools create the possibilities for discovering a new vision of the world.” The well known computer adage goes. We must take chances and seek aleatory or chance compositions.
. and a cuckoo now and then passes by. The hut was near a shrine of Hachiman. the eye that sees what isn't there. gave up city life some ten years ago and now I'm approaching fifty. The grebe attaches its floating nest to a single strand of reed to keep it from washing away in the current. the god of war. bruised my heels on the rough beaches of the northern sea where tall dunes make walking so hard. photons which strike our eyes. Light from the sun radiates more photons each second than could be stored as bytes on all the computers in the world. He saw in flashes of seventeen syllable . He saw with his clear“camera” eye. I've. relax and enter a universe of bright mirrors which. We live in an all encompassing shower of infinitely tiny meteorites... or quietly observes utter simplicity in shades of grey. THE HUT OF THE PHANTOM DWELLING In a letter to a friend written in 1690. which was built in 1063. enter our brains and coalesce into miracles or dreary dust. And now this year here I am drifting by the waves of Lake Biwa. wild wisteria hangs from the pine trees.. when the conscious self dissolves into a hail and firestorm of flamboyant colors and shapes. a Zen intuitive eye. Basho's haiku poems were written with the inner eye. I.Onrushing technology gives a digital artist a suddenly extravagant and limitless palette containing countless gigabytes of information—like the human brain and the starry universe. a snail without its shell. Inspired vision trusts the intuitive unconscious. I'm like a bagworm that's lost its bag.Azaleas continue in bloom. the Zen moment of being there.. We breathe slowly. Basho describes his life in the simple hut in which he lived for a while. like whirling kaleidoscopes. endow the world with beauty and agape — intense romantic love.. too.
Red. Heartlessly indifferent to time. It is the same with seeing and making images. tenderness and sorrows of his world.” Near the end of his letter. Much of what is there escapes notice by the eye conditioned to see what is “useful. —BASHO. Basho writes.haiku the beauty. poetry. I give myself wholly to this one concern. unskilled and talentless as I am. and expended my feelings on flowers and birds. The wind knows. The promise of early chill. however. red is the sun. I am awestruck To hear a cricket singing Underneath the dark cavity Of an old helmet.and so in the end. The Narrow Road to the Far North (Penguin) . “I've worn out my body in journeys as aimless as the winds and clouds.. Poetry often carries within it the holograms of subtle allusions which only the most sensitive translations can begin to reveal..
and careened down the road to the Park entrance. For example. ran towards the rock. Once I was traveling through Utah and had stopped in the now bustling town of Moab. I ran to the motel. When I fire my camera. a unique capacity of the mind and the “deepest voice of the soul. With an invisible finger we move through the space around us. asserts that the gentle fire that warms the human body flows out through the eyes in a smooth and dense stream of light. . She says that imagination is a mode of consciousness. I went out for a walk very early that morning and had a sudden flash of instinct or unconscious calling. trace their borders. my work with images. in his Timaeus.' —RUDOLPH ARNHEIM I give myself every day to learning how to see. and over this bridge the impulses of light that emanate from the object travel to the eyes and thereby to the soul. touch them. my music. catch them. What has imagination to do with seeing? Our imaginations free us from the tedium of daily chores. aimed my camera and watched transfixed at the dawn light flaming behind the silhouette of the rock. The sky was beginning to light up in a curious way. is it I who sees. jumped into my car. Impressed by this experienced. “ that it shimmers behind everything we do. That is the beginning of my poetry. the necessary housekeeping which we all must endure. Laura Sewall quotes William Blake: “Let the world of rationalization and of the senses be consumed in the fires of imagination. A soft reddish light filled the dawn sky. I saw nothing anyone couldn't have seen. grabbed my camera. let it taste again Infinity. The falls are part of the learning process. go out to the distant places where things are found. It simply took quick action to capture the fleeting fiery dawn. At the beginning of her chapter titled “Imagine This” in Sight and Sensibility. or is it my deepest imagination playing with fire. Free the eternal soul. scan their surfaces. I arrived at the formation called Balanced Rock just as the sky came on fire. It is an eminently active occupation. I jumped out of the car. Plato. seeking images unseen and buried and immersed in my unconscious? To see. tripped on a low fence and fell hard. close to Arches National Park. I was up in a second. Thus a tangible bridge is established between the observer and the observed thing. We we must fall a lot to see this world in its ravishing beauty.” Sewall goes on to write about wrapping her imagination around a near quarter moon. explore their texture.IN SIGHT OF SENSIBILITY 'In looking at an object we reach out for it. early thinkers describe the process of vision correspondingly. 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.
” 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. it gilded all the dead walls. or give glory to." 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.There's a wild side to seeing.. The power of wildness. “I looked at it with the possession-taking grasp of the imagination—the true one. to a kind of chaos. it was poetry while it lasted. art critic John Ruskin (1819-1900) writes of a simple scene. hurling away constraints may lead. . 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. in the beginning. mind-set and fear of the new. So obvious an idea is not so easy to achieve. unfettered imagination.. and I felt a charm in every vine tendril that hung over them. and I felt that it was only while under it that one could draw. which I excavate from among ideas and images found in Japanese culture and in the work of abstract artists anywhere. any part of such a landscape. It is well to swim hard and often in these uncharted waters until you float comfortably under benevolent skies. We create our visual world with our malleable brains if we dare to use them in seemingly irrational or dangerous ways. or invent. We discard much of the beauty in life because it occurs in unlikely places. It required an effort to maintain the feeling. Freed from constraints of early conditioning.
I sharpen it. and walk on. The computer programs give us a sudden. Hundreds of people can talk for one who . but it looks rather uninteresting. Suddenly the image jumps into life. that I don't consciously see as much as I think I see. The effect on our vision cannot be predicted. I think. I love sunflowers because they speak to me of light's mysteries and shed a cheerful glow on the world. I don't know their name. The flowers are wrapped in white paper which makes arabesque-like patterns. catches my eye. A display of orange flowers. newly revealed contrasting colors sharply define the elegant arabesques which my cerebral eye did not see then or now. I must manipulate the image in odd ways and coax it to reveal itself. add a bit of brightness and contrast. I photograph the display rather casually. For fun. I had observed this now intensely curvaceous asymmetrical composition when I was making the photograph with my inner or unconscious intuitive eye. The orange display catches our eyes. The computer sees anew. The owners pleasantly agree to my photographing their displays. 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. although I view the new digital technology as an alchemist's stone which reveals what ‘isn't there.' The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and tell what it saw in a plain way. Even when my inner eye sees certain images and triggers the camera. It has a formidable power still in its infancy. new power to reveal what our conscious minds censor or obliterate. I cannot truly see it on the computer screen immediately. I take it into ‘curves' and play. Using Adobe Photoshop. I am in my studio with a young student intern studying the images from the flower market on one of my computers. It has no censor built in. A few days later. I am struck by the sudden knowledge. intensify the color.SEEING WHAT ISN’T THERE I walk through the flower market on 28th street off Sixth Avenue and study the displays. These markets are filled with visual banquets of flowers.
throwing the composition out of kilter. It is about seeing without restraint. My tool of choice is a 100 mm. mysteries unseen and beauty unfolding. A number of times my finger on the shutter at the moment of release pushes the camera slightly. You must take the lens off the autofocus mode and focus by hand. This will require that you have a flash in the camera or an external flash such as my Canon speedlite 550EX. I expected few flowers in bloom in the midsummer heat. to attain sharpness where desired. Waiting for the wind to stop. and developing the technique to execute your vision with your camera. I spot a large bee on a lily and move in very close. jitters. all in one. It isn't calendar. The lens enables me to photograph deep in the heart of flowers if I wish. The technique sounds simple. you maneuver the camera with tiny movements until the image in the finder speaks to you and. you must move the camera. I must work on this. for your hand to steady. To see clearly is poetry. Since depth of field diminishes rapidly the nearer you get to the subject. everything moves. buzzing quietly about their tasks. I must swoop in. It is all about seeing. — JOHN RUSKIN On the next day. it (the camera) fires. this Day in July. Instead. I will seek the hidden heart of the flowers. the camera fires. macro lens. Sunday. shakes. without volition. and in a fraction of a second. at intense magnification. it is well to stop the lens down to f:16 or f:22. prophecy and religion. 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. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden. but it is difficult to execute. I go to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to photograph more flowers. At close range with the macro. greeting card images of flowers that I'm after. not rotate the lens. Vision: The art of seeing the invisible. but thousands can think for one who can see. Once in very close to where you want to be.can think. see! Then. very fast. —JONATHAN SWIFT . seeing what is almost invisible to the naked eye. their spirits veiled in the chiaroscuro of light and color. since the slightest movement is magnified at close range. Bees abound. suddenly. like a samurai warrior wielding his sword in a split second. is a revelation. postcard. wings covered with yellow pollen.
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 starts there too . chiaroscuro. They willingly assume responsibility for the success or failure of a venture and are answerable for all its facets. they groan as they brace this immense structure. the spider web like thrust of girders make ikebana-like patterns of asymmetry The girders are flung high and wide around me. avoiding self censorship. I walk across the new pedestrian and biker's path on the Williamsburg Bridge in Manhattan. The buck not only stops at their desks. After forty or more years of making images with cameras. the opposite of the closeup flower photography. to see more and more of what isn't there. A subway train roars past. It is only by taking the greatest risks. The resulting images become fodder for a series of joined canvases and psychedelic looking images which I make into dazzling patterns of light. I am busy seeing on a large scale. An array of hidden colors appear like magic in the seemingly monotonous bluish sky hung with misty clouds. What I saw with my inner eye when on the bridge. Spectral sunlight winks in and out between the massive girders which support the bridge along with a network of cables.BRIDGE WORKS Training vision is a lifelong task. Against the light. Entrepreneurs are risk takers. I hear autos buzzing beneath me. willing to roll the dice with their money or reputation on the line in support of an idea or enterprise. and unexpected colors. Early in the morning one day. and attempting to re-invent your visual world that you grow and see. I begin to truly see.
So it is with our normal vision of the world around us. The quest for vision is much like daring feats of adventure. Picture postcards rarely carry surprises or awakenings. unseen because we have learned to take it for granted. 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. learning to see anew leads to success. leaves.” His outdoor sculptures made with stones. By surviving in those seas we awaken to a sky filled with a flaming dawn and we see. icicles and other natural flotsam and jetsam often last for a few days or less. is fodder for his revelations of the unseen beauty in nature. most days I don't even get close. with no maps to go by. The commonplace. That is good. to Goldsworthy. like Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic alone.. in his book Andy Goldsworthy writes “At its most successful my ‘touch' looks into the heart of nature. The gift of vision is secured by audaciously setting out into the unknown. a bee in the heart of a flower. We admire the image or we ignore it. willy nilly. one which deprives us of much of the beauty which can enrich our lives. We toss about like shipwrecked sailors in a small boat on an immense sea with no horizon in sight. sudden revelations—colored lights reflected on the streets during rain. or doing business. the success of the brave and audacious. Whether making images. The ahhh! of beholding is gone. Albert Einstein put it this way: . He records the sculptures with a camera. You must work for it. stalks. The gift of sight is precious. flowers. we create a shallow life. light playing across cloud castles—there is no end.— VICTOR KIAM We are all entrepreneurs in this life. or Livingston seeking the source of the Nile in unexplored Africa. trying to see what isn't there. filled with turbulent pitfalls that sadden us. We do not have to travel across the country or jet to another continent to discover unexpected wonders. If we don't dare the unknown. A COLLABORATION WITH NATURE Andy Goldsworthy. The sought after place or thing is shrouded in mysteries.
They are not windows. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. Such a myriad of riches must be organized. than the Hubble Space Telescope. thousand visions go unnoticed. No-Mind or Right Mind wanders freely to view what “is not there. while all around us. Each of us. We glory in these wondrous visions. 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. Our eyes and our brains have been marvelously trained by evolution to do just this.. regardless of subject. like a beginner a scuba diving overcoming fear of drowning. It does not know who or how. He saw into the hidden workings of the universe. and therefore censored nothing. Each of us is that happy child to whom all of creation from the earth to the starry universe awaits recognition.. The rewards are beyond measure. It takes constant practice. Do not go gentle into that good night . or even more so . Scuba techniques revealed the surprising rainbows of wonders beneath the surface of the sea to our eyes and brains that had no pre-conditioning. Our open eyes gatherer quintillions of photons every minute. to penetrate the veil. They are trained to work at our daily tasks. and time was not a universal clock—his concept of the spacetime continuum. Learn to love the gifts of light and enlightenment. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books. not to reveal the hidden world around us. Let us dive deep into the ‘sea' on firm land and begin to see as children again. 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. genius or no. Thus it is known as the Existent Mind. We see everything. Einstein's Relativity Theory revealed new world in which the speed of light could not be surpassed. We relax our eyes and take in everything. but only dimly suspects. is capable of seeing beyond the veil of self imposed or peer imposed “reality. they grieved it on its way.a mysterious order which it does not comprehend. It's necessary to be overwhelmed now and then.” It is the mind that thinks in one direction. When there is an object of thought in the mind. Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight. a thousand. The No-Mind is the same as the Right Mind. It neither congeals nor fixes itself in one place. but we hide most of what we see behind a veil in order to avoid being overwhelmed. or daydreaming. too late. We are like a little child entering a huge library. In The Unfettered Mind (Kodansha). Zen Master Takuan Soho says: The Existent Mind is the same as the Confused Mind and is literally read as the “mind that exists.” It's like hallucinations. We try to detach ourselves from daily tedium and open our eyes like children.” First we need to understand that our eyes are as miraculous.The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. The child knows that someone must have written these books. And learn. discrimination and thoughts will arise.
but I felt bound to record it if I did. but the act of truly seeing the world is equally brave. Our newly innocent eyes. and dare to believe that our own new vision is paramount. freed of much conditioned restraint. Turner's sea paintings. in About Looking says. “. The sea paintings carry within them colors and shapes rarely seen at sea or anywhere.I got sailors to lash me to the mast to observe it. see beyond the surface of things.. Berger relates that Turner remarked. we must abandon safe harbors in the mind. To see like Turner. ignore the opinions of others whether our peers.... We discard tradition. wildly impressionistic at a time (mid-eighteenth century) when painting was mostly realism.— DYLAN THOMAS . “Writing about a late painting called The Angel Standing in the Sun . Turner spoke of light devouring the whole visible world.” It was a brave act. I was lashed for four hours. To paint The Snowstorm. show that he dared to see and paint in a new way. researchers or mystics. Do Not Go Gentle into That Dark Night LIGHT DEVOURS THE WORLD John Berger. We stare out at the world . although we can learn to see many of these enchanting displays of light and color. and I did not expect to escape.
Far below. FLOWERS & BRIDGES The world surprises me every day. and shapes. I sight through my camera and construct the raw materials of my digital painter's painter's palette. colors. gigantic in relation to flowers. What is there to see? Flowers are a universe unto themselves. Overhead. shapes. singing a world of ethnic peoples together. You must look hard.with our inner eyes. rumbling traffic. Bridges. working with Photoshop. flung across the waterways. my unconscious instinctive mind records in the camera. and unveil such ravishing beauty and resplendent natural wonders as would make an emperor envious. the blue waters reflect the sun. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge with its spider work of cables or the cantilevered Williamsburg Bridge and study the wires. are equally extraordinary. and their myriad interactions designed to sustain trucks. towers. girders. patterns and designs hidden in these seemingly somber structures. bringing. . the eloquent lines of the wires and cables. The bridges sing a syncopated off key tune of creaking girders. autos. I see the intricacies of design wrought in the girders. and roaring subway trains. and subway trains. For a time my work focuses on flowers and bridges in Manhattan. I discover myriad colors. in their endless varieties. the sun peers out from scuddng clouds. Later. What I see or do not see. cables. These are giant harps. elegant constructs of steel and wire.
Some found them to be to sensual and erotic. to my eye. come in many colors.” she said. gave herself like a flower.” said Steiglitz. (Knopf/Callaway) In 1927. the photographer and gallery owner Steiglitz cautioned her against exhibiting them. I want to give that world to someone else. I want them to see it whether they want to or not. I see what I am used to seeing. O'Keeffe's her large canvases of flowers seen closeup shocked and scandalized the public and the critics.VISION & PERCEPTION “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it. intuitive vision or no-mind sees something else. I see what I couldn't see. “it’s your world for the moment. diverse means of viewing the world. People simply had not seen flowers closeup. cupping her hand and holding it closer to her face. I can trust it and allow the camera to record what. isn't there. My perception. my unconscious. displaying huge stamens and pistils. “O'keeffe let herself be seen. and for a woman that was too remarkable. like our dreams. they have no time to look at a flower. Later. I cannot see what it sees at that moment. Most people in the city rush around so.garde husband. Perception and seeing are two distinct. sizes and shapes. when the images are downloaded into the computer. when I “develop” them in Photoshop. Our lifelong work consists of allowing these swarms of . Her avante. They swim around our unconscious like schools of rainbow colored fish. They were overwhelming. Our perceptions.” —GEORGIA O’KEEFFE. One Hundred Flowers. When I stare through my camera viewfinder and carefully view the scene with my normal mind.
perceptions to surface. Such vision never diminishes. This is the beginning of wisdom. in the midst of chaos. In the midst of wildness.. to unveil themselves in the light. It only grows wilder and more colorful. order shimmers through and we are comforted. miraculous world around us. Nothing is banned. of seeing the ever changing. Wisdom entails sifting all experience through an uncensored sieve of unconscious desires and playful freedom. Entangled among the exuberant growth and ravishing colors we find single images which delight us with their quiet and repose. . like a Titan's garden filled with luxuriant brilliant weeds and gaudy flowers.
The entire range of the spectrum is often broken into specific regions. higher frequency regions are on the far right. we refer to it as the visible light spectrum. In this sense. 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. we are referring to visible light. a small spectrum of the range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. The diagram below depicts the electromagnetic spectrum and its various regions. The red wavelengths of light are the longer wavelengths and the violet wavelengths of light are the shorter wavelengths. The visible . Each individual wavelength within the spectrum of visible light wavelengths is representative of a particular color. The subdividing of the entire spectrum into smaller spectra is done mostly on the basis of how each region of electromagnetic waves interacts with matter. and different wavelengths of light waves will bend varying amounts upon passage through a prism. Two very narrow regions with the spectrum are the visible light region and the X-ray region. This continuous range of frequencies is known as the electromagnetic spectrum. The longer wavelength. for these reasons. yellow (Y). BIV.ADDENDUM: THE VISIBLE SPECTRUM We see only a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Each color is characteristic of a distinct wavelength. green (G). It is because of this that visible light is sometimes referred to as ROY G." we are referring to a type of electromagnetic wave which stimulates the retina of our eyes. orange (O). That is. there is a continuous range or spectrum of wavelengths. when light of that particular wavelength strikes the retina of our eye. Since this narrow band of wavelengths is the means by which humans see. You may read the following explanation if you wish or go on. we perceive that specific color sensation. Normally when we use the term "light. You are undoubtedly familiar with some of the different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Electromagnetic waves exist with an enormous range of frequencies. Colors that we do not see are visible to other creatures on this earth. our eyes are sensitive to only a very narrow band. Between red and violet. visible light is dispersed upon passage through a prism. blue (B). The separation of visible light into its different colors is known as dispersion. Dispersion of visible light produces the colors red (R). and violet (V). indigo (I). 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. lower frequency regions are located on the far left of the spectrum and the shorter wavelength. Though electromagnetic waves exist in a vast range of wavelengths.
com Shall we dance? In Zen & the Art of Archery . visible light is sometimes referred to as white light. So when you are in a room with no lights and everything around you appears black. it means that there are no wavelengths of visible light striking your eye as you sight at the surroundings. We dance with light to the farthest reaches of human perception and understanding. We see all of the invisible spectrum of light which daily dances through our lives. If all the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum give the appearance of white. white is perceived. Thus. —physicsclassroom. then none of the wavelengths would lead to the appearance of black. Once more. We see what is not there. Technically speaking. The visible and invisible rainbows of the electromagnetic spectrum are our lives. 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. Light is the greatest dancer. white is not a color at all. black is not actually a color. The archer dances his shots. but rather the combination of all the colors of the visible light spectrum. EPILOGUE . black is merely the absence of the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum. Technically speaking. author Herrigel speaks of his master constantly referring to archery as a dance.
like the brain feeds upon itself. higher peak. every campaign to acquire new knowledge. especially if it knocks us up and away from our preconceptions. Often. most sanguine and felicitous parts of novels and movies often occur in the first half when striving is all. Rest and recuperation is needed before another attempt is possible. beginning again. self-examination. youthfulness in ideas and in the work itself is everything . and the will to make the desert flower. A jazz singer on FM radio the other day sang a refrain. has a curve of accomplishment: the beginning. Like life itself. enjoy the view! The next step must be to another. Once a challenging peak is climbed. AUDACE! . we undergo a rite of passage. Moses spent forty years in the desert and never reached the promised land. The best. tedium overtakes the climber in pursuit of meaning and creative growth. A mountain climber trapped above twenty to twenty-five thousand feet or higher must come down for oxygen soon or deteriorate and die.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. hard work." So it is. Each new peak we attain reveals views of other heretofore hidden heights. Perhaps "desert" is simply a staging ground. He or she. having reached a peak. must rest from other necessary and tiresome labors unrelated to growth and creating. "Every knock is a boost. The body. success or failure. Our growth and perception never ends. It's too easy to begin an enterprise with innocent enthusiasm and passion. I believe every great enterprise. the greatest creativity. a metaphor for the next great endeavour. we encounter a pivotal time. At certain periods in our creative lives. the winding and endless road to knowledge is our home. or back down the mountain. when the future beckons tantalizingly and everything is possible.
and then we shall save our country. fecund fields where new ideas may glisten in the dawn of new endeavors like early morning dew on flowers and grass. always forward. so we must think anew. Forward. audace. Life demands action. LIGHT THE SKY The vitality of thoughts is in adventure. in Lincoln's words. cold harness of tasks better left to career administrators. ideas won't wait. We must. audace" cried de Gaulle. . The workaday "nitty gritty" conspires to shackle our talents. Something must be done about them. We must disenthrall ourselves. We must act forcefully before the routine and tedium of endless petty details despoil our dreams and defeat our ends. — Lincoln's Second Annual Message to Congress. "Audace. and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new. and act anew.The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. We must send them roaming. and if need be. its custodians have fervor and live for it. Ideas won't keep. The occasion is piled high with difficulty. Shed it! We must each take our inspired and abundant creative talent and free it from the itchy. When the idea is new. "disenthrall ourselves" and move on to fresh. die for it.
We must unleash our God given extraordinary abilities and free them to race across the sky like the Sun God's fiery steeds. If not. which. indeed demand.GOETHE WE ARE NOT ALONE In the movie Shadowlands. S." Isn't that the purpose of all of art and creation. Power and Magic In it. Great 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. color and beauty. and we are not alone ? . we have purpose. "We read to know we are not alone. talent. great ambitions crave great projects. that contain great challenges and require facilities to implement them on a grand and worthy scale. a ghostly apparition in an unblinking cosmos—that here on this speck of green earth whirling round a small sun. great energy. 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. -. like a blanket of oily soot. We set out. Lewis speaks an idea garnered from a student. we wither in a stale environment where bean counters rule and dreams die slowly and painfully. smothers the world of new ideas and visions? Shouldn't we work on enterprises that wash away gloom and give birth to a new. such aspirations.—ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD Everyone of us is an untapped reservoir of becoming. Anthony Hopkins playing C. Shouldn't we spend our time working on projects that illuminate the darkness. seek and find venues that need. free will.
to fly on wings of thought to far reaches of the planet and to the ends of the universe. A Modern Sequel . or sadly. “What can the vintner buy one half so precious as what he sells?" We are fortune's vintners pressing dreams from dew covered grapes. our efforts our lives. THE WINE OF PASSION We read in Omar Khayyum's poem The Rubiyat . We must protect the God given flame of inspiration ere it flickers out in the temples of money changers. What pleasure compares to a new creative challenge. Always the journey. Our dreams arise from inspiration. in the cellars of misers and bean counters. to dance. not grunt.Enjoy life? Of course! We are born to sing. love and creation. we read of Odysseus. not crawl. 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. but as the fires of volcanoes renew the earth. —ORTEGA Y GASSET. our destinations are our inspiration. In Nikos Kazantzakis's great poem “ The Odyssey. to sally forth into the universes of thought and action. Passion and joy rule our lives. “What can the vintner buy one half so precious as what he sells?" We are fortune's vintners pressing dreams from dew covered . not recklessly. in the offices of bureaucrats. to the renewal of youthful dreams. to crawl. never the end. We are born to fly." We work to display the joy of what we create each day and each day is our reward. "My voyages are my Ithaca. moral and cultural values. to setting off on another voyage into the unknown? Odyssus set sail again in search of new worlds after he regained his kingdom Ithaca. dreams that make life real. Without passion we create grey slag heaps of time worn existence. the sole elements that conspire to make us more than slouching beasts. Very little of value may be found between. We are all poets at heart. The man's lot is to live his human life. the poet's to invent what is non-existent. The Dehumanization of Art We read in Omar Khayyum's poem The Rubiyat .
The man's lot is to live his human life. the poet's to invent what is non-existent. We were born to inhabit and create on a planet so fair and beautiful that "heaven" is but a solipsism and a mockery of Paradise here and now The poet begins where the man ends. moral and cultural values. love and creation. Passion and joy rule our lives. dreams that make life real. Without passion we create grey slag heaps of time worn existence. Our dreams arise from inspiration. in the offices of bureaucrats. We are all poets at heart.grapes. the sole elements that conspire to make us more than slouching beasts. We must protect the God given flame of inspiration ere it flickers out in the temples of money changers. 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. We seek the . not recklessly. —ORTEGA Y GASSET. but as the fires of volcanoes renew the earth. but rise to snow peaked mountains towering into the next world. in the cellars of misers and bean counters.
We embrace the human ability to rise to an occasion. a fiery grace that lights the world. The artist. flaming nebulae millions of light years away. or an audience that must be enlightened. Basquiat. 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. however new and bold. to shed light. Removed from our close contact with the earth. music that comes from Bach in the B minor Mass or from the dying Schubert in the late piano sonatas. the uncanny beauty of worlds in collision. Brancusi or Rodin. de Kooning. From modesty comes grace. sculpture and science. I do not ignore the appalling poverty and misery found in many undeveloped and developing countries. I often encounter this dawn roaming the earth into "primitive" places. It is the wonderful kindness. explored and made real. Such enterprises can be found. surrounded by paved roads. we must find our way back to that exuberant dawn of innocence and spiritual dignity. it is not made for any decreed purpose. ART MAKES US MORE HUMAN We stand measured by the breadth of our expanding souls. concrete and glass. the sculpture of Moore. What else compares with the experience of art itself? All of art. to make life worthwhile.unknown. I believe the sometimes hidden purpose of all art is to raise the level of the viewer's perceptions. The true artist. the art of music and dance. it is the artist himself or herself who must discern what really matters. see-er or seeker creates and grows because he or she is creation itself. the grand architectonic "musical" forms of canyons. the paintings of Van Gogh. I add the caveat that art is . to welcome discoveries. Matisse. the seeker of the way of art. wisdom and hospitality of so many peoples that I speak of. It is not a viewer. 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. our minds that will not age unless left idle. must never bow to the whiplash of bureaucracy or cries for what is politically correct. they are . places where human beings embrace mother Gaea with innocence and praise her. bewildered or chastened. No power must come between that holy gift and the expression of it for the joy of mankind. pinnacles and arches in the Southwest.
to touch. when trees suddenly bud and flowers bloom out of . sing to our souls and reward us with innocence. the Muslims. the Jews. 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. rocket off. We will come to know again the joyful springtime that comes unexpected and radiant late in autumn or dead of winter. All of art and science beckons to human beings to look. like a speeding freight train is difficult to stop and makes a great screeching and squawking when slowed. to see. forever hastening to those places which capture our hearts. Hard it is to wrench oneself from the turmoil of self-created "necessary" mundane projects whose momentum. yes to the creative mind. the Buddhists. fly to the places and palaces we dream of. —lARIA MITCHELL Yes to that hymn. to discover that we are not alone. launch. Better to leave the dilapidated train.one and the same. and yes to going forward! I make no difference between the God of the Christians. to hear.
or be made unbearable by puerile and punitive endeavors. We were born to inhabit this halcyon paradise of earth while we live (living means creating. Prometheus. an insolent mouthpiece for Gaea. uncharted and unbounded.season. a labor fit for Hercules. 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. —HAL BORLAND . We must avoid . Autumn is for Understanding FOR THE HAPPY FEW (OR MANY) We all may share the blessed lifelong burden of creating and loving. There is no end to energy. but it is also a horizon more clearly seen. October is the fallen leaf. energy which is eternal delight in Blake's words. It is the distant hills once more in sight and the enduring constellations above them once again. 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. an unlicensed oracle. I will sing of joy. else it is a lesser life) to strive and seek a distant shore unmapped. Then we may give thanks and praise and rejoice in the knowledge that we are forever young. If we be favored by the gods with energy. Our nascent light must not set in darkening shadows of discontent. daring and beautiful. a cracked bell. Aphrodite or Apollo in a flourishing civilization where greed and lust for power often overshadow humanity's long journey to the stars.
It is the business of the future to be dangerous.. We toil to give form and space and song to what has not been seen enough before. WHO WILL STAND? We happy see-ers. "blind" and dreaded. We were born. green and gratifying earth.When the morning stars sang together. the burgeoning glory of an ever fecund. ever flabbergasting. for the happy few. Art is the religion of the spirit and the religion of the deepest unconscious striving of the fecund but tip of evolution. glorious. and all the sons of God shouted for joy? . 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. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare. ever new. the thrice blessed godly virtue of questioning. We toil because we must. We work. Nothing else or less will do. We bring to Gaea (and Gaea is God and earth and holy) all that she is and wants to be and we cannot help ourselves. brained and blessed to do Gaea's great bidding. Art is evolutions' way of knowing herself.” said Alfred North Whitehead. in Stendahl's words. We toil for the coming happy many who seek what we seek. if thou hast understanding.making godlike judgements as to what is good. seekers and seers who fiercely create and bring these shattering and seductive visions to light shall be as prophets of old..
audacity. Gaea's legions. and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Jew. the army of the Lord of hosts. The sermon on the mount* goes unheeded. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Shinto. *Ye are the light of the world. a great jazz in the night. 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 voice in the wilderness soon forgotten. that they may see your good works.. Father. and put it under a bushel. Let your light so shine before men. Job XXXVIII Open the gates for we are as sounding brass. a mighty work which make this planet a vaulted heaven where mortals convene and converse with gods.THE BIBLE . jubilantly. . 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. joyfully. Neither do men light a candle. Moslem. We must follow our hearts no matter where.-. and it give light unto all that are in the house.. the legions of creativity. Christian. love and compassion. the teachings remain. but on a candlestick. With zeal.
to know. thousand deadly reefs and shoals in a world often gone mad. as the Buddhist monk loves the Eightfold Path and the Four Noble Truths. the light that is God.worshipper of Mother Earth or earth spirits? Bach loved the Father as he loved life itself. the Zen monk's traditional shakuhachi flute meditations or any other glorious religious music celebrates the light. as a sky flowering lightning and rainbows. Art which comes from the heart. Bach's music. the mist shrouded lighthouse whose radiant beams illuminate a thousand.. I witness the seemingly endless striving of fecund humanity to break the shackles of earthbound tedium. shamans. from the soul. to understand. to seek. It is sometimes hard to keep my eye on the holy beacon of creative enrichment. We stand together with artists and scientists. Each new challenge begins in innocence. . to make a world where art and love blossom like cactus flowers in vast deserts of ignorance. discovery and enlightenment. from the spirit and from the love of life is holy. we undertake to make a world more fit for humanity's great mission. no dry fugue maker. CREATION'S STARRY LIGHTHOUSE A wanderer on this earth. Bach. the light of God. to find. was as passionate as a water lily in the dawn. Starry eyed. filled with zeal and energy. to celebrate the earth.
But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God.preachers and prophets. And always I shall feel time ravel thin about me. Our gifts.. Yet. And not in utter nakedness. We stand beside all who seek to know. and my soul stir to the rhythm of the daily round. we shape the world we inhabit. smothering sarcophaguses filled with overripe.WORDSWORTH . life will not press so close. our life's star. Ode on Intimations of Immortality. And time will come close about me. Wordsworth bemoaned the seeming loss of his own innocence.. voyages into the unknown. -. like fragrant wildflowers. In his monumental poem.. Our labors flower and bear fruits in their season. who is our home. a star swathed cradle of innocence. voyages away from stuffy. the dregs of futile toil. And cometh from afar: Nor in entire forgetfulness. Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us. he saw shadows. For once I stood In the white windy presence of eternity. — EUNICE TIETJENS . shades of the prison house closing in. his great lament " Though nothing can bring back the hour/Of splendour in the grass. for we contain in our mortal bodies the whirling troposphere of lightning and great storms. whose lives become voyages. having known. We carry our heads high in the myriad constellations of glittering stars. the radiant genesis of glory. yield love potions we toast to the glory of the earth. The fruit of our endeavors. Hath had elsewhere its setting.. make beautiful solace for a moment of rapture. not measured out like cold coins or lifeless currency. memento mori of that place from which we came. of glory in the flower . a quasar billions of light years away shedding the radiance of a giant collapsing star. The art's the thing. rotting fruit." The entire Ode spirals down to us like a glittering nebulae.
We will trail clouds of glory as long as we forbear yielding to money-grubbing temptations. one head older than creation.SUCCESS HAS TWO FACES "Success" that duplicitous Janus-like goddess. never from the adulation of media.. conquerors or emperors. Antony and Cleopatra . One head eternally young. innocent and filled with joy at what we do not know yet yearn to know. and the seemingly dangerous.. defeats our aims. "success" imprisons us in a grey claustrophobic. but as naifs. the adoration of power and money. True success comes from our joy of learning. the cycles of the seasons of art that bestow everlasting youth.. We attain our births and rebirths. Age cannot wither her. misbegotten misinterpretation of the meaning of life. Ours is the earth and all that's in it.she makes hungry where most she satisfies. nor custom stale/Her infinite variety.." --SHAKESPEARE . we are at play in fertile fields filled with spring freshets and flowers. the tinsel worship of celebrities. the glory of the earth. the enigmatic. Not as solons in the great courts of kings. growing and creating. Only constant change and growth fuel the engine of creating the new.
he thinks like the stars illuminating the nightly heavens. . T. "Childlikeness" has to be restored with long years of training in the art of self-forgetfulness. the stars. starting over. only to watch it roll back down again.. gaining mountain tops. In his introduction to Zen and the Art of Archery . We begin anew each time. The absurd man says yes and his efforts will henceforth be unceasing. the ocean. he is the showers. renew as do the elements and the seasons.. seeking new visions. Indeed. happy in the knowledge that such efforts renew. and it is essential to know the night.. Suzuki said: Man is a thinking reed but his great works are done when he is not calculating and thinking. often must push a heavy rock up a steep mountain path to the top. he thinks like the green foliage shooting forth in the relaxing spring breeze.he knows himself to be the master of his days. like legendary Sisyphus. he thinks like the waves rolling on the ocean.A THINKING REED A creative human being. He thinks like the showers coming down from the sky. writer and Zen philosopher D. man thinks yet he does not think. the foliage. We are one with earth. Then this is attained. Albert Camus wrote in The Myth of Sisyphus that “There is no sun without shadow.”.
we were born to radiance. good housekeeping. The themes of this essay. These themes flaunt fields of eternal energy. —SAMUEL BECKETT . confront the perplexing mystery of life itself. that failure is his world. and to shrink from it.IMMORTALITY OR BURN Therein "ends" this essay. as Job endured the trials of the Lord. Whatever blocks our way must be rent asunder. as the Red Sea parted for Moses. we will have it. the creative life with its thousand broken idols and masks. thousand lights glitter in the dusk. A thousand. which. We must endure. if we are willing to burn for it. To be an artist is to fail as no other dares to fail. into whirling butterflies and birds of paradise to float out into the great world beyond my small studio. whirling and sparkling like the vast star studded hoop of our galaxy. arts and crafts. desertion. rainbow spattered dreams. They ask us to consider what our presence on this small green and lovely planet means. We have but one overriding duty in life. its thousand fears and follies. A cold blue sky over Manhattan turns slowly pink. help define us as human beings. to shed light. Tomorrow I confront the daily exigencies of city life. and. I must conspire to make illusive vagaries. It is Sunday in winter. to develop our powers to the utmost limits in order to be of use to others and to ourselves. eternal themes. to add music to the earth. for in the end.
and the baths of all the western stars. unleash ourselves from petty ideas. We must freely and fruitfully undertake projects that involve great energies. still untapped reservoirs of talent. for my purpose holds to sail beyond the sunset. . unseen. Seek and find a place in the sun that understands and strengthens far reaching vision and reinforces your inner search for deep. Go where the wind blows. Perform as one who inspires others to go beyond their self imposed limits. for it will blow a fair wind... housekeeping and clinging needs of those who must yet be inspired..... unbind our limitless creative powers. Come my friends. Become as one who midwives and creates things yet unknown. 'tis not too late to seek a newer world.Postscript: LIBERATE THE UNIVERSE WITHIN What should I or you or anyone do? Only those difficult. passionate and intransigent things which can and will fulfill our dreams.
—TENNYSON . Ulysses Copyright © Harvey Lloyd 2003 .
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