Pondering the past, wondering about who we are as human beings, and attempting to decipher the code of human heritage are all components of the research found at human journey. We live in a time unprecedented in human history when, and where we are able to use science as a tool to refine our understanding of the past, unlocking the code of human evolution.
Werner Herzog, and his recent film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams points to an earlier time in human history, a time when humans had a capacity for art, long before most of us think of human beings as the artists we have become in the twenty first century. www.wernerherzog.com
Thank you to all who put these ideas into the ethers, and for all of the great educators who continue to propel our understanding of things.
“One night [ca. 1920] I was in my studio drawing my own portrait. On the ceiling, a light. All of a sudden I thought: suppose I were a fly. I could fly on to the easel, fly around me, go for a walk on my back, go up to the wall, etc…. In this closed space I projected the path taken by the fly: no more frame, no more Renaissance.”
“The old Chinese used to say: ‘It is better to feel a painting than to look at it.’ So much today is only to look at. It is one thing to paint a picture and another to experience it: in attempting to find on what level one accepts this experience, one discovers what one sees and on what level the discovery takes place. Christopher Columbus left in search of one world and discovered another.”
“‘Let nature take over in your work.’ These words from my old friend Takizaki were at first confusing but cleared to the idea – ‘Get out of the way.’ We hear some artists speak today of the act of painting. This in its best sense could include the meaning of my old friend. But a State of Mind is the first preparation and from there this action proceeds. Peace of Mind is another ideal, perhaps the ideal state to be sought for in the painting and certainly preparatory to the act.
OBERVATION: Mark Tobey (December 11, 1890 – April 24, 1976), can be defined as a genuine artist, one worthy of the name, who saw the known and the unknown, who held insight into the abstract world of the unconscious, being able to define and make real glimpses into the world of human capability. All of us benefit from individuals like Mark Tobey, in that he, and others like him leave a legacy of ideas, thoughts, and actions that open our minds to new vistas.
Ernesto Cardenal, The Origin of Species and Other Poems,
ISBN 0896726894 Publisher: Texas Tech Press, U.S., 2011
THE ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES (Excerpt)
That all life on earth
should come from a single cell:
the great mystery
Everyone from a single ancestor
a universe still creating itself
one like a cow entered the sea
and became the whale
Fish or mammal?
Or mammal and fish
To Linnaeus a mammal
with a heart and lungs
and eyelashes that move
but with aquatic habits
By adapting to the environment
fins of fish develop
into paws of invertebrates
why is one a parrot
and another a tiger
once there were no brains
now there are billions
there was no leaf
now everything is green
From a single cell
trees animals you
we are all a modification of another
the bird wing was dinosaur’s paw ………….
OBSERVATION: How do we define the poet? The true poet lives, linked to the world, to life, to being human. Those poets who leave an indelible mark on the history of human thought offer us a glimpse into what is possible, what is truly possible when the human organism functions at its peak potential. Find this book, read it, ponder it, absorb it, learn from it!
“I say that one must be a seer, make oneself a seer. The poet makes himself a seer by a long, prodigious, and rational disordering of all the senses. Every form of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he consumes all the poisons in him, and keeps only their quintessences. This is an unspeakable torture during which he needs all his faith and superhuman strength, and during which he becomes the great patient, the great criminal, the great accursed – and the great learned one! – among men. – For he arrives at the unknown! Because he has cultivated his own soul – which was rich to begin with – more than any other man! He reaches the unknown; and even if, crazed, he ends up by losing the understanding of his visions, at least he has seen them! Let him die charging through those unutterable, unnameable things: other horrible workers will come; they will begin from the horizons where he has succumbed.”
OBSERVATION: The intensity and difficulty of life endured by those closely in touch with the world and the self is evident in this excerpt from Rimbaud. Perhaps it is necessary to simply understand contributions by artists, rather than attempting to dissect and interpret them. Perhaps true art exists, independent of criticism. Maybe true art is meant to be experienced, somehow reliving the intense moment of intuition and expression drawn from the life force of the artist.
Humans have extraordinary capacity for abstract reasoning. Through the years they have developed religious awareness, spiritual life, and assorted elements of mythological, and metaphysical belief. Additionally, the ability to appreciate aesthetic, moral, and ethical behavior have become part of the human psyche. Through self-conscious discipline humans have been able to harness the will. While it is easy to recognize the genius involved in all of these capabilities, humans also function without conscience, building horror upon horror in the lives of others, and in the natural world.
In aesthetics, artists delve into the mysteries of the human capacity for imagination, intuition, expression; a world of the yet unknown. This is the place where art bridges the instinctual with the conscious. At the instinctual level, the human mind invokes, reacts, and processes ideas in an immediate (pre-conscious) way. Prior to the mechanism of conscious intervention, the instinctual creative mind brings to the surface ideas, organizing thoughts from the many regions of the mind, the intellect, the emotions. These processes of inspiration, intuition, instinct, and imagination, all contribute to the ability to foresee that which is intangible. In bringing forth ideas from these complex regions of the mind and brain, the artist transforms idea into a fashioned, constructed manifestation (the form). The medium takes on the characteristics of that original thought, allowing material to act as a cohesive device, a kind of matrix holding ideas in place.
Aesthetic encounter takes the art further, when a viewer, or participant interacts with the concept using powers of perception to draw the idea into the self, merging mind with mind. As the perceptual mechanism absorbs data, feeding the information to the higher functions of the brain, a new impression forms in the viewers mind, perhaps, nearly identical with the original moment of creation, perhaps different, but at the very least becoming a tool, an experience for new and uncharted mental ideation. Art is the catalyst, the enzyme triggering a cascade of secondary responses in the viewer’s mind. Perhaps this is the greatest function of art, where the mind of the viewer takes on new characteristics, new capacity to learn, understand, and feel, becoming immersed in the aesthetic experience.
Each viewer enters this action of aesthetic encounter with unique criteria; perceiving, processing, and making new the art put in place by the artist. Here we find the power of communication evident in the language of art; the tangible, the unknown, beauty, horror, complexity.
“To finish with Herzog. I meant the novel to show how little strength “higher education” had to offer a troubled man. In the end he is aware that he has had no education in the conduct of life (at the university who was there to teach him how to deal with his erotic needs, with women, with family matters?) and he returns, in the language of games, to square one—or as I put it to myself while writing the book, to some primal point of balance. Herzog’s confusion is barbarous. Well, what else can it be? But there is one point at which, assisted by his comic sense, he is able to hold fast. In the greatest confusion there is still an open channel to the soul. It may be difficult to find because by midlife it is overgrown, and some of the wildest thickets that surround it grow out of what we describe as our education. But the channel is always there, and it is our business to keep it open, to have access to the deepest part of ourselves—to that part of us which is conscious of higher consciousness, by means of which we make final judgments and put everything together. The independence of this consciousness, which has the strength to be immune to the noise of history and the distractions of our immediate surroundings, is what the life struggle is all about. The soul has to find and hold its ground against hostile forces, sometimes embodied in ideas which frequently deny its very existence, and which indeed often seem to be trying to annul it altogether.”
OBSERVATION: There are great thinkers, people with powerful insight, who live, and have lived on this planet. We all need to be thankful for those who offer this insight to the world. Saul Bellow points to a genuine need to recognize, and participate in the process of knowing the inner self, the life force existing within all human beings. Through the process of recognizing and activating this true nature of humanity, we can all participate more fully in the process of living, the active principle of life itself.