Sunday, June 15, 2008

Comic picture art.

I am once again exploring comic picture art, this time with a technique I have developed since my earlier guddling below. I'm much more happy with this style and am daring to think in terms of a story board and a serious attempt at some comic action.

The imposition of science and reason.

I took a picture of the above little creature yesterday in my garden and posted it on a photographic forum with the title, 'Little furry friend'. A member asked, 'any idea what kind it is?' to which I replied, 'Someone suggested today it might be a Red Admiral, but I am as ignorant as the day is long about such things, only a recent country boy. I'm still in the generic stage, trees, plants, flowers, grass, a low tech yokel.' Another member responded with, ' I think what you might have here is actually a moth - Rusty Tussock Moth or Vapourer Orgyia antiqua.'

As I read these responses I discovered something about myself. I am entirely incurious about what kind of caterpillar/moth/butterfly it might be and will almost certainly not retain the information that it is a Rusty Tussock Moth and definitely not the
'Vapourer Orgyia antiqua' bit. It is not yet, as pictured, a moth of any description.

It may matter to some people, gardeners, perhaps, and scientists, to know what kind of creature this is, but that isn't why I took the picture and it isn't how I function as a person. In naming this creature and supplying other information that I have not bothered to include here, this person has distracted and, I feel, detracted, from the story the picture is telling. I took the picture because I appreciated this little creature, it's colour, the light and, indeed, the vibrant life going on in and around it and me.

I do appreciate that people have gone to a great deal of trouble to name this creature and all (as many as they have 'discovered') the creatures that fill our world, but I have to wonder what real relevance that had in this case and in this situation? Does it matter in the least to know that in this picture is a Rusty Tussock Moth, or, if it is relevant, is it not equally relevant to ask what leaf it is on? Why be curious about the moth and not the leaf? If I knew what leaf it's on I might assume that if I could spot the plant again I might find another such creature on it. But again, I have no real interest in taking another shot of such a creature, my only interest was in this one, in that moment and in the very particular situation I was in.

I feel oddly let down in all this, as if science and reason have somehow intruded once again where they should not have done without my permission and without thought or consideration. I am, in fact, offended. This is my picture and the imposition of science and reason was entirely unnecessary and unasked for.

The picture requires no more information than it contains to be the very picture it is. If the viewer is curious about what kind of creature it is or what leaf it is on, then that is entirely their business and none of mine. And there's an end to it.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Returning to intuition.

We do not start life as reasoning creatures, we begin our process of learning intuitively, absorbing, osmosing, observing, feeling, doing, being. We do not begin with a language or any explanations of the world we have entered, and reason has no place in us until we learn to reason some way down the road. It is perhaps the very fact that we do not have reason available to us that we learn so much in such a short time. Within two years we have not only mastered an incredible array of motor skills, including, amazingly, walking, but have learnt a language from scratch, having nothing on which to build as we do later in learning a foreign language. I am not sure, were reason available to us at that age, that such an incredible feat of learning would be possible. It is only once we have learnt to reason that we can decide something is difficult, or perhaps too difficult. Young children clearly get frustrated some times, but a well nurtured child will persist, day by day, for a child is naturally an intuitive learning being.

Sadly, the vast majority of us are taught to put aside that intuitive ability. As we grow older and begin to be 'educated', we are taught through a process of reason to use and rely on our intellect. It is a sad failing of schooling that intuitive learning has little or no place in education.

Intuition is still with us, though, we are still impacted intuitively by the world around us. We do not use reason or intellect when we see an awesome sunset or experience the majesty of a storm, it is our being that responds to beauty, we absorb it pre-reason, pre-intellect, in an intuitive, free way. At any point on our journey we can go back to intuitive learning and re-develop it. There are many ways to engage with the world intuitively, through meditation, art, music, creative writing and we can re-learn to be in the world in an intuitive way, to shut down our inner noise and absorb the world around us, to be in it and a part of it, rather than a mere observer.

Just taking off our shoes and walking on grass engages us intuitively, in a tactile experience that requires no inner processing, or a crawl on hands and knees, climbing a mountain, canoeing a river, swimming. The world awaits us, each leaf, each blade of grass, each breath of wind, each moment is ours.

Labels: ,

Friday, June 06, 2008

Here's a thought.

Study any tree or leaf and consider, would you ever call a tree or leaf a bad tree or leaf no matter what time and weather had done to it? Nature's odd because whilst the effects of nature can sometimes be disastrous, I'd look pretty silly if I said that nature was bad. There is really nothing bad in nature, it does what it does and everything has its place, even if I don't understand what that is. Nature is perfect all the time, doing what nature does, no matter the consequences of the sometimes cataclysmic upheavals that take place in nature from time to time.

The complications start with us humans, it is we who define things as good or bad, and some things certainly are good or bad and we must stand up for those things or we become lacklustre, lifeless beings lacking any real substance. But it seems to me we take it too far. When it comes to thoughts and feelings we seem to apply our good and bad criteria and come up with some pretty wrong headed conclusions. You may disagree with me and everything I stand for, but that does not make me wrong or you right. We are all a work in progress on a vast journey of discovery.

My thoughts are not static, I have changed dramatically over time and am certainly not the same person I was at 16 or even 50, my being has changed and it has changed despite my frequent resistance to that change. And here's a thing, I have never once thought my way through a process of change, even though I may have been frantically thinking all the time. Every moment of change that has occurred in my life has come about through a eureka moment, when all the thoughts, ideas and events of my life have precipitated a moment or a process of enlightenment, of breakthrough. They have a unique savour, a real 'wow' feeling and they have taught me to be less frenetic in my thinking because they come despite me. it's almost as if I get in the way too much of the time. I have learnt to trust growth as an intuitive process rather than a rational process.

This is all part of the new paradigm. We have come through an age when science and reason were supreme, and it is only relatively recently that science has come to realise that there is no such thing as dispassionate observation. Quantum physics has taught us that the observer is part of the life of the observed and cannot be separated from it. There are limits to intellect and reason, they are incapable of addressing all reality, just as one cannot reason ones way through grief, for example, one must go through the process, or shut it out and down. Reason and intellect cannot help us become intuitive beings, or to experience the world in an intuitive way. Reason and intellect are descriptive, intuition is something else, holistic, a way of being. It is broader and deeper than our faculties of reason can deal with.

Zen and other paths of enlightenment have long known this. Zen in particular is all about the 'Ah, ah' moment, the moment when you 'get it'. I feel we have been the prisoners of science, religion and reason for so long, it's hard to break out, but the process of breaking out is what is happening, and I am grateful to live in such times and in this place to be a part of, and engaged with, that process.

Labels: , , ,

Out with the old.

I find myself in the position of considering another way forward. I have been protesting against the old way for so many years it is second nature to me, corrupt politics, corrupt corporations, corrupt wars and of course it is right to protest and I shall continue to do so by whatever direct means are available to me. However, all that is not good enough, it fails to address that there is a new paradigm, one that I have been embracing for years yet have never found the internal space to explore or develop, caught up, as I have been, in censuring the old paradigm.

The new paradigm is that of a person centred, positive, moral and ethical way of being, one in which I embrace and accept the responsibility for my thoughts and actions and being on what is a jewel of a world over which those who are so very power hungry have not yet gained complete mastery and never will. I do not want to spend as much time in protest, so much as I desire to grow and to learn and to increase my own personal sense of worth and value as a human being.

We are all quite simply wonderful creatures and it is time, I feel, that I spent more time exploring my wonder than I have spent in protest against those who seek to denigrate our life and worth.

I have spent so many years feeling lost and confused and I have been slow to realise that protest can never establish who I am, it falls to me to 'be' who I am and to learn to be comfortable in my own skin no matter what anyone else does or thinks.

Protest is reactive and I now feel that a more proactive way of being is the only way forward. It is not going to be easy, old habits and all that, but it is time and timely to change.