CULTURESCAPE, with Car Wash & Beer . . .
SEEING THE FORMATIVE FORCES SHAPING SEEING
On of the benefits of my radically hi-tech / no-tech lifestyle of intensively
working with digital technology for a week or two, and then doing
complementary solo wilderness writing and photography fieldwork,
also for two or three weeks at a time, is that I am constantly looking at the
difference between the two.
Some contrasts are especially pronounced in the winter months.
Winter, in the mountains, is for me a deeply spiritual time and space. There
is a profound attenuation of difference in every realm. The radical reduction
of color makes way for a matrix of infinite shades of white, and gray, and blue.
The symphony of structures which is the green world of plants makes way for
the water-like emergence of flowforms out of generative movement.
And then there is the turning down of sound to the muted depth of snowy
silence, especially at night when camping in snow-wikis or igloos.
When returning to the lowlands after a period of winter fieldwork, the first
thing that strikes me is how dirty and noisy the world of human design is.
And then the amount of visual pollution and disharmony. To observe how
these negative forces work in a tacit way to shape our perception is, I think,
a necessary part of meditation. Why? Because as we observe in neutrality
how the cultural world and artifacts of the aggressive corporate commercialization
of just about everything with which we have surrounded ourselves shapes our
consciousness, we begin to free ourselves of their influence and distortions.
This is why, in the Arts, in order to protect the Beautiful, it is often necessary
to study the Ugly. And also why it is so important to see that Freedom
always has two sides, i.e., the essential balance of the freedom to, and
freedom from, which allows us to reclaim the right to clear away the messy
pages of cultural space so as to create more human, creative and harmonious
environments in which to live and work.
On the road in the American Northwest. [click photo for next . . . ]
THREE MINIATURES ON SEEING
(1) The greatest instrument of change is the new idea. It brings to-
gether both for the individual and the collective our hitherto scattered,
diffuse and confused creative energies into one unified movement.
The new idea does not show us the details of how, but rather the
necessity of why. And that makes all the difference.
(2) The interval between two tones, the shadow cast by a tree, the
flashing sparkles of waves on a stream or leaves on a tree, all are not
static “things,” but rather movements of relationship.
Perception is always a problem of relationship.
(3) One advantage of eyes that grow weaker with age is that
one sees less and less of the disturbing detail reflected in the
unforgiving mirrors of physical decline.
But then there’s also the possibility that the mind’s inner eye,
if it learns to see more deeply into the nature of seeing itself,
with such insight grows younger, brighter, and ever-more resilient.
with each passing day.