THE ART OF SEEING

Harvey Lloyd © 2003

This book is dedicated to one I loved dearly. S.P saw better than I did all the beauty in the world. She is sorely missed.

INTRODUCTION

People think that they see, but they don’t.

—HENRY MOORE

One sunny day in June, 2003, I go to the New York Botanic Garden to photograph roses at the height of their bloom.. My challenge is to see the roses in a fresh way, a new way, different from the thousands of images of these lovely flowers that I had seen. I wear my digital camera

with a macro or closeup lens attached. I walk through the Rockefeller Rose Garden in a trance, relying on my forty years of photography to do the work. No- mind, a Zen concept and intuitive, reflex action informs my camera. I am very, very close to these blossoms. A hidden world, the spirit and soul of the roses appeared. It is difficult to photograph at extreme close range. The slightest movement of the flower caused by wind, hand shake, or pressing the shutter button too hard, too soon or too late ruins the image. I “dance” around the rose garden, hypnotized and full of joy, out of my workaday mind. Back at my studio, after downloading the images to my computer and reviewing them in Adobe Photoshop, I am happily surprised at the results. I stretched the envelope and was granted entry to a hidden world. I spend the entire week working with the images, revealing their inner beauty, enhancing them, transforming them into images which speak to me of startling designs and hidden spiritual essences. The roses take on a new life for me, one of asymmetric beauty and constant revelations—epiphanies.

Do you have to work for forty years as I did to learn to see beyond the apparent reality of the world? No, you only have to work at it much of the time, gradually peeling murky blinders of conformity and cliche from your eyes. Seeing is taken for granted. We all have eyes. You may believe that you see what I see. That is a false assumption. Everyone sees differently. You see what you learn or have learned to see. Your brain processes visual information from your eye and shows you, based on your conditioning, what you will see. The liberated artist’s eye sees what “isn’t there.” That sounds odd. "How can you see what isn’t there?" Picasso once said, “If only I could tear out my brain and use only my eyes.” He knew and he saw and he wished to see more. The physiology of vision is still an enigma to many scientific researchers. The largest portion of your brain is devoted to seeing. How can you learn to see the wonders of this world? You don’t have to be an artist

to develop this skill. You can find your way back to the innocence of early childhood, when you saw the magic of creation less edited, less conditioned by your elders, your peers and your environment. Wordsworth, in his poem, “Intimations of Immortality... wrote:

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, The earth, and every common sight, To me did seem Appareled in celestial light, The glory and the freshness of a dream. It is not now as it hath been of your; Turn wheresoe'er I may, By night or day, The things which I have see I now can see not more.

Wordsworth, of course, was bemoaning what he felt was loss of his ability to see with the pure innocence of childhood. As a poet, he saw with keen vision the beauty of his own world and revealed it in many poems. Still, he felt that as he grew older, something was lacking which impelled him to write Intimations . It is a long and very beautiful spiritual poem, often read during schooling. It speaks to an adult with a deeper meaning, for youth is blessed with boundless optimism and everything seems possible. How to gain back and retain this vision throughout your life is the subject of this book. 'Genuine art, we say, has “vision,” and good poetry and good seeing quite literally go together almost always. Yet before the more literal seeing can liberate itself into that other vision we speak of, a transfiguration is needed: the eye must learn to abandon its long habit of useful serving and take up instead an active delight in its own ends.' — JANE HIRSHFIELD : excerpt from Kingfishers Catching Fire: Seeing with Poetry's Eyes

DO YOU “SEE” ANYTHING?

I beg your indulgence. Your eye does not see anymore than your computer thinks. Your eye is a marvelous tool for recording and transmitting photons of light to your brain in the form of electrical signals. Beginning at the retina, a series of computer like programs analyze, censor, delete and send certain amounts of information to various parts of the brain. This is not widely understood. Most of us were raised and taught that we see with our eyes.. Recent studies of how the eye and brain work together bring to light the uncanny fact that our it is our brains, not our eyes, which “see” and control our vision.. The Art of Seeing will reveal how early conditioning and genetic inheritance determines how and what we see. We will come to understand that we can learn to truly see the world in all of its miraculous beauty only after hard work and deep insights. We will observe the processes of seeing and creating our world

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hubble . bolstered by the largest ground-based telescopes around the world. the galaxies. are beginning to harvest new clues to the origin and evolution of the universe's largest building blocks.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.

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

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

a world of rainbows and light.. the flamboyant and miraculous play of light on water and sky.TURNER’S LIGHT J. These quotations from web pages on Turner (1775-1851) describe an artist painting during a period when painting generally dealt with landscapes in a traditional manner.M. . both in freeing himself from all past artist traditions and art movements. Perhaps the most famous English Romantic landscape artist. he developed a painting technique all his own. he became known as 'the painter of light. Instead of merely recording factually what he saw. He was to open the way for a visionary anticipation of modern painting. His early training had been as a topographic draftsman. Turner saw what “wasn't there. he went to the Royal Academy School of art when he was only 15 years old. depicts the ravening energy of light which.W. transmutes all into glory and beauty. Turner studied the science of light and color. Such vision emerges from deep immersion into intuitive or Zen no-mind. The artist using his or her skill. like an alchemist's stone. With the years.' A Londoner born and bred. Wherever he visited he studied the effects of sea and sky in every kind of weather. Turner (1755-1851 saw and painted light.He was a unique artist. Turner translated scenes into a light-filled expression of his own romantic feelings. Venice was the inspiration of some of Turner's finest work. however. We can learn to see this way by discarding our preconceptions and seeing as we fantasize..”to the painters of his day.

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

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

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

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

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

be it a dot or a line. A writer was once asked if he could imagine writing like Shakespeare. —HOKUSAI .. will be alive.and when I am a hundred and ten everything I do. ( The Manga . if he or she would accomplish much. .at ninety I shall penetrate the mystery of things.. far forward away from all man made light. He lived to eighty-nine in a time when that was very rare. I've stood on a ship's deck at night far out as sea. The earth and the heavens flower for us daily. How they were used. Better to drown in the search for knowledge than to languish on barren shores of discontent and blindness. Nothing can stop us from seeing except the tired habits of mundane or aborted curiosity and striving. To see is to dine like a king or emperor. In this age of onrushing technology and unlimited travel opportunities. That's a great way to live.. An artist.. we are richer in opportunities than any rulers of the past. It must have been sheer energy. The night sky filled with constellations is a feast for the eyes. Japan. 1760-1849). I would shudder and experience vertigo at the endless distances above me... to learn and to see. He changed his name many times as well. just as how each of us uses our eyes is another matter. Every one of us can attempt the same. At seventy-three I learned a little about the real structure of nature. I felt how fortunate to be able to comprehend a little of the wheel of our galaxy and the immensity of the universe. 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 answered that he used words as well. There is no need to fast in the midst of viands beyond imagining. JAMES MICHNER) I acclaim these lines of Hokusai. and gazed up at the Milky Way. His modesty about his work bespeaks an intense curiosity and desire to better know (see) his own world of Japan and to never be satisfied. The banquet of the world is always on the table.RICHER THAN EMPERORS OR KINGS . Wood block Artist. I beg those who live as long as I to see if I keep my word.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

playground of myths which inhabit our minds. lighthouses or blazing candelabra which illuminate some small part of the darkness. to different from my mind set. You and I are those fiery furnaces. without shadows we could not comprehend the light. However. I expected to see the ikebana I loved. understanding and desire inflame our souls. There were room size installations of various natural and inorganic materials which bore no resemblance to the ceramic vases holding the ikebana I have known. That was fine. an estate and garden in the Bronx open to the public. It was called Perfection/Impermanence: Contemporary Ikebana. just as there is a dark side to all of human nature. What I saw when I walked inside took me by surprise and puzzled me. Dodging the sprinklers in the garden in front of the conservatory. passion. I went equipped with my Canon digital cameras to see and record the life of the flowers there. I tried to peer deep into the flowers. What we know of evil we cannot ever lightly accept. I could not yet see these things as ikebana. 2003. There is a dark side to art. He pointed to the rooms and said that was the contemporary ikebana. from my love of delicate ikebana arrangements. I never even noticed a giant explosion of shrubbery attached behind the rear porch. SIGHT UNSEEN—MYSTERIOUS IKEBANA On July 6. I walked up to the man at the desk and asked him where the ikebana was to be found. I used my macro lens and diffused strobe flash. They were too large. love. flowers arranged asymmetrically in vases. I took photographs of the installations in a somewhat shaken manner. I exhausted the subject for the moment. Soon. I went with a friend to visit Wave Hill. We walked to an exhibition in the Glyndor Gallery located inside a red brick house. Now an then you need a good blow .

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

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.

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

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

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

This essay taken from my travel journals was written while making an Atlantic ocean crossing on Cunard Line's QE2. worms. Jellyfish. before the advent of radio. ship captains at sea flashed coded light signals to each other. in eternal night. frighten. here. A Celebration Communicate with light? We humans do it. Billions of single celled organisms—dinoflagellates.BRITTLE STARS I've traveled to hundreds of ports of call around the world on great ships. Signalling or seeing. squid. A deep sea jellyfish spins like a wheel of fireworks. They still do at night during wartime to avoid breaking radio silence. or alert themselves to predators. — THE OCEANS . clams. It deals with the phenomena of light in the depths of the sea. snails. luring or decoying — color and pattern are basic to communication and concealment among animals in the ocean.But in the gloomy abyss beneath. bursts of light flicker round . in that frightening abyss where light never calls. We humans get only 10 percent of electric energy out light bulbs in the form of light. At night the ocean's surface often glows with luminous light. sea-squirts. as in the rest of the natural world. shrimps and other crustaceans convert chemical energy into light energy. They've been my base during many adventures. half animal—flash myriads of galaxies dancing on the murmuring waves. The rest is lost in heat. starfish... Deep beneath the surface of the sea. creatures communicate with light. At night. Far beneath. half plant. hiding or hunting. Beneath the sea nearly 100 percent of bioluminescent energy is converted into light. jellyfish and their relatives the sea-pens arm themselves with light to dazzle. or at least we used to. color has little function. a constellation of fish radiates light.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the quintillions of photons each split second which would literally blind you if accepted raw. And that's just the beginning.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. in Visual Intelligence. What you see isn't there. The eye is not a window. 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. and to other parts of your brain. Your retina contains hundreds of millions neurons working in parallel. Hubel . writes: The German physicist and physiologist Herman von Helmhotz (18211894) described vision as a process of unconscious inference: . not to your skull. also known as V1. One LGN lies in the left hemisphere and the other lies in the right hemisphere. 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). The computing power at your retina exceeds that of the most powerful supercomputers. You may jump ahead if desired. From the retina. your “desktop” computer analyzes and censors much of the fireworks entering your eye. After further processing. It's a dreary illusion fostered by evolution and nurture. Have you “flown” your eye? It is attached to your brain. the results travel on a new set of axons to the primary visual cortex. Right there at the retina. the electrical impulses are sent through an electric cable containing over one million wires called axons.

but my eye could not see them. it may be permissible to speak of the psychic acts of ordinary perception as unconscious conclusions. but a sophisticated process of construction whose intricacies we are now beginning to understand. Playing with the large digital files in Photoshop.. In his preface to Visual Intelligence. In their result they are equivalent to a conclusion. or fantasize we see.. perplex neuroscientists today. “.. blinded by the need to eliminate irrelevant information.. Donald Hoffman writes. but unconscious ones.” The objects of obscure desire we think we see. It constructs the elaborate visual realities in which you live and move and interact.it is intimately connected to your emotional intelligence and your rational intelligence.. are generally not conscious activities. I uncovered what my eye could not see. I sensed that these paintings in the sky were there. using what I imagined was there.what happens when you see is not a mindless process of stimulus and response.. Hubel goes on to say.” Hoffman concludes his book with these words: Visual intelligence occupies almost half of your brain's cortex. relevant or irrelevant. thereby making a distinction of some sort between them and the common so-called conscious conclusions. in the cloud filled skies above the bridge a kaleidoscope of elegant abstract swirls and eddies. see. It forwards these constructions to your emotional and rational intelligence. which use them as raw materials in further constructions. I discovered. Von Helmhotz surmised these things a century and a half ago. as behaviorists thought for much of the twentieth century. 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. visual feasts. like an evanescent whirlpool of shifting shapes and colors. it reveas what I entice it to reveal. .... We must strike through the masks of obscurity and mirage and uncover all the many colored spices of Samarkand. When I worked with my Brooklyn Bridge images. “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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

” said Alfred North Whitehead. 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. for the happy few.making godlike judgements as to what is good. green and gratifying earth. "blind" and dreaded.. Art is evolutions' way of knowing herself. 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. WHO WILL STAND? We happy see-ers. ever flabbergasting.. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare. glorious. ever new. brained and blessed to do Gaea's great bidding. the burgeoning glory of an ever fecund.When the morning stars sang together. the thrice blessed godly virtue of questioning. It is the business of the future to be dangerous. in Stendahl's words. if thou hast understanding. We were born. We toil to give form and space and song to what has not been seen enough before. and all the sons of God shouted for joy? . seekers and seers who fiercely create and bring these shattering and seductive visions to light shall be as prophets of old. Nothing else or less will do. We toil for the coming happy many who seek what we seek. Art is the religion of the spirit and the religion of the deepest unconscious striving of the fecund but tip of evolution. We work. We toil because we must.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—TENNYSON . Ulysses Copyright © Harvey Lloyd 2003 .

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