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