I have just promised to make a 'cycle' of 21 ochre, red and black chalk
drawings in a project with a friend of a few years. This was the result of
a set of coincidences in one day this week and to give me something to do
while a colleague was helping me clarify some thoughts on related subjects
more immediately relevant to the 'life' of a LO theorist and
When we have created these images, they will be marketed in a variety of
ways all of which will distribute 100% of the profit to children based
charities and as anonymously as possible. When this has all been done the
images are preferably to be burned, all together and preferably after they
have been auctioned to release even more 'capital' into the better, higher
cause preferably by those who just paid to have them.
$10 or $10,000 will make no 'real' difference to the ocean of suffering
and ignorance you may well think.
You are right. But I have a mentor. He taught another way me through a
story, so I pass the story on again with thanks.
He was apparently walking down a beach strewn with living starfish and as
fast as the sea threw them up onto the beach into the burning sun to
perish he was throwing them back, he was fighting a losing battle. A man
saw this with crystal clarity and helpfully informed him of the obvious,
saying to him, ' No point in doing that old son, you'll never throw them
all back, so what's the point?' Brian replied, ' I know, but you see it
makes a difference to those I do throw back.'
Funny how the man did not see until he could see.
"In the light there is darkness,
but don't take it as darkness.
In the dark there is light,
but don't take it as light."
Student: When one comes to see the darkness in the light and the light in
the darkness, do they finally become the same thing or do they remain
separately darkness and light?
Suzuki Roshi: Yes, they are the same thing, but our lazy mind separates
darkness from light. To plunge into the light, to find darkness in light,
to find Buddha nature in perfect zazen is our way. Whether sleepy or not,
good students or bad students, you should sit. That is the only way to
have darkness in your bright dualistic practice.
Or, the one pointedness of mind.
So, this can also be understood through the tradition of Samadhi (Sanskrit
or Pali) as an outcome of profound meditation, a non dualistic state of
consciousness in which subject and object are one, or, the one pointedness
of mind. Mmm, the one pointedness of mind casting the five pointedness of
star fish into an unpointedness of ocean...mmm. An outcome of profound
caring I'd say as well...
Moving On Through In the Light of Destruction
" I think in many ways great works of art have crystallized certain
universal sensations of what it is like to be a human being. The same
sensations are rediscovered by successive generations in a new way, a way
that is particular to their time." Michael Phillipson
I expect most people will be familiar with at least a few paintings by the
British painter JMW Turner? One of his more famous compositions was called
'Wind, Speed and Rain' which is a picture of a steam engine, hurtling through
space and time like some crazy becoming 'emergence' that is heralding the
industrial revolution at the very edge of an historical chaos.
I once read a very perceptive critique of his way of painting during much of
his career; it pointed up that he painted his subjects in the very face of
the sun (set against the artist's eye) and in this way the 'form' of the
subject was 'eaten alive' at the edges by the very radiance that brought it
forth, material made immaterial.
A lesson from one great birthing age to another?
How does one differentiate between being blinded by the light and being
blinded by the very lack of it? You might think that a silly question to
wrestle with, but it is one that frequently comes to my mind when I see the
LO responses the 'rich pictures' of At de Lange.
The problem with light filled pictures is that they simultaneously make use
of the illuminating element to both create and destroy, 'revelation and
obliteration' as the art critic says of Turner's modus operandi.
I sense we are beginning to feel the effects of dematerialization in the
world of work and commerce, boundaries blur and millions and billions of
dollars exist as paper underpinnings of a million personal one on one
expectations (pensions) of profit and future happiness all on the 'gossamer
wings' of a virtual economy.
There are lessons to take from the great artists.
Was Picasso a leader? Senge asked.
I have another question.
'Can we cage the sun?'
One of the ways in which artists work might be simply termed, 'procedural'.
Pollock's famous 'drip paintings' are for me a fine example of such painting.
Most great paintings have many 'skins' of life covering ever upward the
ground from which they commenced. Go look close up and see the pulse
underneath the top layers. The funny thing about these veils or skins is that
at each stage they both cover and reveal, suffocating one level imbibes
another level, making ignorance that creates insight possibilities elsewhere
and 'elsehow' so that we can grow 'elsewise'.
In a new mergence becomes transcendence. My personal and painful experience
of public discourse about this aspect of art is that very few lay-persons
realise the sometimes profound importance artists attach to not having an
outcome at the outset at all, often the expressed reason that is more
commonly heard is, that they never quite know when the work is 'finished'.
In my limited experience with business people they invariable speak of
setting outcomes prior to a meeting when it seems the point of any meeting to
me is to create an outcome and that cannot happen until we have done the
doing, danced the dance of reciprocal and involving change.
Painting as a 'practice' has many times been diagnosed 'dead, dormant,
deceased.' Rather like car manufacturing in the UK. Who would have thought
that half a dozen commercial art galleries in the UK could bring in more tax
income through profit to the nation than the entire indigenous motor
industry? But the fact is painting is not dead. Death is often in one form or
another the lifeblood of true creativity. In essence 'The Creative Collapse'
of At de Lange's more complete understanding.
'Those images that yet, fresh images beget.' (WB Yeates. Byzantium II)
You think this is esoteric?
At de Lange speaks occasionally of the Renaissance, the Guilds, 'old things',
history. OK At, let me a little 'connecting' do ;-)
I see a world of people very much in 'uncreative collapse' mode. The age will
still demand and fashion a generation who will convert that dark into light,
that entropy production will be harnessed, regathered, in the crucible of
authentic experiential learning and a new creative space will be born out of
it. But first, the nature of a collapse prefigured in a Durer etching.
There is it seems to me an 'edginess' that I might as well simply term 'the
edge'. But this 'edge' is not one sitting to the side in full and predictable
easy view, like the edge of an ocean, a table or a sheet of canvas. It is an
'inner edge'. It is the edge of our comprehensive capacity for understanding;
of caring; borne perhaps too much of wanting and not having and it is welling
up us underneath like a great 'soliton' wave.
What will the wave do to us? Will it 'flatten' us? Or it will it flatten just
those not ready or prepared for the new state of flatness?
To the picture Andrew, to the picture‚^ņ¶
" You will find -verticality in Albrecht Durer's etching St Eustace. An
engraving in which the (flattening) allows exploitation of coincidences of
contour." - Where things in the picture should overlap they do not, so it is
that a stag in the background stands upon the back of the horse in the
foreground, the clasped hands of the kneeling 'knight' touch somewhat
impossibly the muzzle of his horse who stands a good ten feet in front of
where he kneels - the whole picture is about the collapse of space - the
symbolic import of which seems to be that in this new 'collapsed domain'
things touch that could/would not otherwise touch, contacts/contracts between
unlikely things proliferate. Distance is an illusion among illusions now. Out
of this newly hammered sparking spatiality new links of light and bright
golden chains are forged - new gestures occur, realignments just happen and
are accepted in the new reality, albeit with all its psychological overtones
and undertones, and in places the chains of the new signifiers get somehow
lost in other collapses of the signified and so people talk of 'nothing' in
cellular networks that invisible girdle the world and we become their little
lightening conductors. And virtual worlds birth and die in relative instants
just like sub atomic particles do that make the world tingle a million times
a second, if we could but see them.
And what is the fitting name to give such an image as emblem to a new age,
We are living maybe in a prefigurative age then; we must make or create the
outcomes in real time space as it newly presents itself, not seek them
through walking along the neat converging lines of the old linear
perspectives and accept the deeper realities of a 'smashed space' and build
what we can with the voids and pieces.
- "And moan th' expense of many a vanish'd sight."
Shakespeare Sonnets. 30.7-8
At' I want to ask you here and now, are we living ourselves into an age
demanding of us our maximum 'spareness' potential and is this paradox a true
Thanks to David Olivant asst. Professor of Fine Art, California State
University, Stanislaus for the analysis of Durer etching. (From his catalogue
essays in 'Last Dreams of the MIllennium.')
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