Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Order/Disorder


"A beam or pillar can be used to batter down a city wall, but it is no good for stopping up a little hole - this refers to a difference in function. Thoroughbreds like Qiji and Hualiu could gallop a thousand li in one day, but when it came to catching rats they were no match for the wildcat or the weasel - this refers to a difference in skill. The horned owl catches fleas at night and can spot the tip of a hair, but when daylight comes, no matter how wide it opens its eyes, it cannot see a mound or a hill - this refers to a difference in nature. Now do you say, that you are going to make Right your master and do away with Wrong, or make Order your master and do away with Disorder? If you do, then you have not understood the principle of heaven and earth or the nature of the ten thousand things. This is like saying that you are going to make Heaven your master and do away with Earth, or make Yin your master and do away with Yang. Obviously it is impossible."

- Chuang Tzu (c.369 BC - c.286 BC)

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Precious Stillness


"Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards."

- Edward Abbey (1927 - 1989)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Patience and Time


"Everything comes in time
to him who knows how to wait...
there is nothing stronger
than these two:
patience and time,
they will do it all."

- Leo Tolstoy (1828 - 1910)

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Relation is Mutual


"I consider a tree.

I can look on it as a picture: stiff column in a shock of light, or splash of green shot with the delicate blue and silver of the background.

I can perceive it as movement: flowing veins on clinging, pressing pith, suck of the roots, breathing of the leaves, ceaseless commerce with earth and air—and the obscure growth itself.

I can classify it in a species and study it as a type in its structure and mode of life.

I can subdue its actual presence and form so sternly that I recognise it only as an expression of law — of the laws in accordance with which a constant opposition of forces is continually adjusted, or of those in accordance with which the component substances mingle and separate.

I can dissipate it and perpetuate it in number, in pure numerical relation.

In all this the tree remains my object, occupies space and time, and has its nature and constitution.

It can, however, also come about, if I have both will and grace, that in considering the tree I become bound up in relation to it. The tree is now no longer It. I have been seized by the power of exclusiveness.

To effect this it is not necessary for me to give up any of the ways in which I consider the tree. There is nothing from which I would have to turn my eyes away in order to see, and no knowledge that I would have to forget. Rather is everything, picture and movement, species and type, law and number, indivisibly united in this event.

Everything belonging to the tree is in this: its form and structure, its colours and chemical composition, its intercourse with the elements and with the stars, are all present in a single whole.

The tree is no impression, no play of my imagination, no value depending on my mood; but it is bodied over against me and has to do with me, as I with it — only in a different way.

Let no attempt be made to sap the strength from the meaning of the relation: relation is mutual."

- Martin Buber (1878 - 965) 

Monday, October 08, 2018

Light-Sensitive Cells


"At this moment, in this place, the shifting action potential in my neurons cascade into certain arrangements, patterns, thoughts; they flow down my spine, branch into my arms, my fingers, until muscles twitch and thought is translated into motion; mechanical levers are pressed; electrons are rearranged; marks are made on paper.

At another time, in another place, light strikes the marks, reflects into a pair of high-precision optical instruments sculpted by nature after billions of years of random mutations; upside-down images are formed against two screens made up of millions of light-sensitive cells, which translate light into electrical pulses that go up the optic nerves, cross the chiasm, down the optic tracts, and into the visual cortex, where the pulses are reassembled into letters, punctuation marks, words, sentences, vehicles, tenors, thoughts.

The entire system seems fragile, preposterous, science fictional."

- Ken Liu (1976 - )

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Exploring the Neighborhood


"I am no scientist. I explore the neighborhood. An infant who has just learned to hold up his head has a frank and forthright way of gazing about him in bewilderment. He hasn’t the faintest clue where he is, and he aims to find out. In a couple of years, what he will have learned instead is how to fake it: he’ll have the cocksure air of a squatter who has come to feel he owns the place. Some unwonted, taught pride diverts us from our original intent, which is to explore the neighborhood, view the landscape, to discover at least where it is that we have been so startlingly set down, if we can’t learn why."

- Annie Dillard (1945 - )

Friday, October 05, 2018

Human Thought


"There is something at the bottom of every new human thought, every thought of genius, or even every earnest thought that springs up in any brain, which can never be communicated to others, even if one were to write volumes about it and were explaining one's idea for thirty-five years; there's something left which cannot be induced to emerge from your brain, and remains with you forever."

- Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821 - 1881)

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Unpossessed Places


"What he sought was always something lying ahead, and even if it was a matter of the past it was a past that changed gradually as he advanced on his journey, because the traveller's past changes according to the route he has followed: not the immediate past, that is, to which each day that goes by adds a day, but the more remote past. Arriving at each new city, the traveller finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places."

- Italo Calvino (1923 - 1985)

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Sense of the Ineffable


"The Search for reason ends at the known; on the immense expanse beyond it only the sense of the ineffable can glide. It alone knows the route to that which is remote from experience and understanding. Neither of them is amphibious: reason cannot go beyond the shore, and the sense of the ineffable is out of place where we measure, where we weigh. We do not leave the shore of the known in search of adventure or suspense or because of the failure of reason to answer our questions. We sail because our mind is like a fantastic seashell, and when applying our ear to its lips we hear a perpetual murmur from the waves beyond the shore. Citizens of two realms, we all must sustain a dual allegiance: we sense the ineffable in one realm, we name and exploit reality in another. Between the two we set up a system of references, but we can never fill the gap. They are as far and as close to each other as time and calendar, as violin and melody, as life and what lies beyond the last breath."

- Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907 - 1972)

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Limits of Comprehension


"Man is not born to
solve the problem
of the universe,
but to find out
what he has to do;
and to restrain himself
within the limits
of his comprehension."

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Mountains are not Stadiums


"Mountains are not Stadiums
where I satisfy my
ambition to achieve,
they are the cathedrals
where I practice my religion."

- Anatoli Boukreev (1958 - 1997)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Ocean of Chaos


"The creative act is a letting down of the net of human imagination into the ocean of chaos on which we are suspended, and the attempt to bring out of it ideas.

It is the night sea journey, the lone fisherman on a tropical sea with his nets, and you let these nets down - sometimes, something tears through them that leaves them in shreds and you just row for shore, and put your head under your bed and pray. 

At other times what slips through are the minutiae, the minnows of this ichthyological metaphor of idea chasing.

But, sometimes, you can actually bring home something that is food, food for the human community that we can sustain ourselves on and go forward."

- Terence McKenna (1946 - 2000)

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Structure of Reality


"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day."

- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Unfathomable


"We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature."

- Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Blessing of the Mountains


"The true blessing of the mountains is not that they provide a challenge or a contest, something to be overcome and dominated (although this is how many people have approached them). It is that they offer something gentler and infinitely more powerful: they make us ready to credit marvels - whether it is the dark swirl which water makes beneath a plate of ice, or the feel of the soft pelts of moss which form on the lee sides of boulders and trees. Being in the mountains reignites our astonishment at the simplest transactions of the physical world: a snowflake a millionth of an ounce in weight falling on to one's outstretched palm, water patiently carving a runnel in a face of granite, the apparently motiveless shift of a stone in a scree-filled gully. To put a hand down and feel the ridges and score in a rock where a glaciers has passed, to hear how a hillside comes alive with moving water after a rain shower, to see late summer light filling miles of landscape like an inexhaustible liquid - none of these is a trivial experience. Mountains returns to us priceless capacity for wonder which can so insensibly be leached away by modern existence, and they urge us to apply that wonder to our own everyday lives."


Robert Macfarlane (1976 - )

Monday, September 17, 2018

Relationship to Existence


"If a man begins to take life as work, then his whole relationship to existence begins to change, because the meaning of life changes for him. He sees life in another light, not as an end but as a means, and this enables him….to take what happens in life so that he learns from life and all that happens in life and in this way life becomes his teacher."

- Maurice Nicholl (1884 - 1953)

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Field of the Finite, Quality of the Infinite


“The field of the finite is all that we can see, hear, touch, remember and describe. This field is basically that which is manifest, or tangible. The essential quality of the infinite, by contrast, is its subtlety, its intangibility. This quality is conveyed in the word spirit, whose root meaning is “wind or breath.” This suggests an invisible but pervasive energy to which the manifest world of the finite responds. This energy, or spirit, infuses all living beings, and without it any organism must fall apart into its constituent elements. That which is truly alive in the living being is the energy of spirit, and this is never born and never dies.”

- David Bohm (1917 - 1992)

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Announcement: New Shanti-Arts Sponsored Online Photography Workshop Scheduled for Sep/Oct 2018

"Seeing is perception 
with the original, 
unconditioned eye. 
It is a state of consciousness 
in which separation of 
photographer/subject, 
audience/image dissolves; 
in which a reality beyond words 
and concepts opens up, 
whose "point" or "meaning" is 
the direct experience itself."

- JOHN DAIDO LOORI
Zen Buddhist Rōshi (1931 - 2009)

For those of you who follow my blog, you may recall that I led an online photography workshop last year, sponsored by Shanti Arts. Unfortunately, due to last year's enrollment limit (which was set at 8), not everyone who wanted to participate in last year's workshop could do so. Well, for those of you who may have wanted to join last year's creative dialectic but were unable to do so, and/or for those newly intrigued and interested, I'm happy to announce that the editor of Shanti Arts, Christine Cote, has asked me to lead another "Cultivating the Art of Simplicity in Photography" online workshop this coming fall, scheduled for Sep 10 through Oct 22. You can sign up here. (Note that participation in this year's workshop is again limited to 8 - though there is the possibility of increasing the total to 10 - so, please make sure to sign up sooner than later.)

I thoroughly enjoyed the inaugural workshop (held roughly during the same time frame last year), and am looking forward to engaging with another fun group, as we share our work and experiences,  develop skills - and ways of seeing - that help infuse simplicity into our photography, and simply muse on art and the creative process. If you are interested in participating and want to find out more about what the workshop consists of and what to expect, please feel free to email me directly (my contact info is on my main website).

As an overview, there will be six sessions in all (one per week), where by "session" I mean a main topic-of-discussion that will be further elaborated upon, mused-about, and generally used as a basis for follow-up interactive engagement with other workshop participants on the ("secret") Facebook I've set up. Here's the complete list of sessions:

Session 1 (Sep 10 - 16): Introduction and Preliminary Musings. An overview of what “cultivating simplicity in photography” really means, a discussion of various aspects of photography on which “simplicity” depends, and a few easy exercises to get us started. Introduces key themes of this workshop, before taking a deeper dive in later sessions.

Session 2 (Sep 17 - 23): The “Eye” – Seeking Simplicity in the Environment. This session will explore the idea that cultivating simplicity is synonymous with achieving an expanded awareness of place and time. We will explore how our state of mind determines what is visible to us and profoundly influences what we most strongly resonate with in our surroundings, and provide examples and exercises to heighten our powers of observation and perception. 

Session 3 (Sep 24 - Sep 30): The “I” – Seeking Simplicity Within Oneself. Session 3 expands on a theme introduced during the last session, namely that all of our outwardly directed efforts to find simplicity and beauty “out there” in the world will come to naught if we cannot find the calm center in our own deepest selves, and from which all creative works naturally spring forth. 

Session 4 (Oct 1 - 7): The Medium, Part I – Toward a Visual Grammar. Sessions 4 and 5 focus on the practical side of image making by introducing some of the key tools that a photographer can use to direct and sculpt a viewer’s interpretation of an image; i.e., the essential elements of a visual grammar. We will discuss the basic elements of composition (e.g., the frame, light, contrast, tone, form, texture, etc.) and how they can be combined for a specific purpose, inclusing “seeing” the world in color vs. black-and-white.

Session 5 (Oct 8 - 14): The Medium, Part II – Abstraction as simplification. Session 5 will expand will expand on the practical lessons introduced in Session 4, and focus on the art of abstraction as, somewhat paradoxically, a concrete method of "simplifying" photographs. 

Session 6 (Oct 15 - 21): Photography as a Path Toward Self-discovery. The workshop concludes by exploring how (in the purest spiritual sense) the “cultivation of simplicity” while doing our photography - indeed, how art and the creative process, in general - may all be be viewed as paths toward self-discovery.

While the workshop is ostensibly a photography workshop (after all, photography is the core theme, and both the stand-alone essays and embedded exercises all stress image "seeing" and image "creating"), my hope is that the interactive part includes an equal part philosophical dialectic about the meaning of photography. If there is anything my 45+ years of "seeing" the world with a camera has taught me it is that the most meaningful images appear only when the "I" behind the "eye" ceases making distinctions between what is felt and what is seen; when inner and outer landscapes become one. It is a theme I eagerly look forward to exploring - through images and discussion - with workshop participants. I hope to see you all online soon :-)

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Life Itself


"Water, thou hast no taste, no color, no odor; canst not be defined, art relished while ever mysterious. Not necessary to life, but rather life itself, thou fillest us with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses. By thy might, there return into us treasures that we had abandoned. By thy grace, there are released in us all the dried-up runnels of our heart. Of the riches that exist in the world, thou art the rarest and also the most delicate - thou so pure within the bowels of the earth! A man may die of thirst lying beside a magnesian spring. He may die within reach of a salt lake. He may die though he hold in his hand a jug of dew, if it be inhabited by evil salts. For thou, water, art a proud divinity, allowing no alteration, no foreignness in thy being. And the joy that thou spreadest is an infinitely simple joy."

- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900 - 1944)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Silence


"The basic condition for us
to be able to hear the call of beauty
and respond to it is silence.
If we don’t have
silence in ourselves,
if our mind, our body,
are full of noise, 
then we can’t hear
beauty’s call."

Thich Nhat Hanh (1926 - )

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Illusion of Time


"We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infintesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas."

- Alan Watts (1915 - 1973)

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Well-Watered Shore


"Say you could view a time-lapse film of our planet: what would you see? Transparent images moving through light, “an infinite storm of beauty.”

The beginning is swaddled in mists, blasted by random blinding flashes. Lava pours and cools; seas boil and flood. Clouds materialize and shift; now you can see the earth’s face through only random patches of clarity. The land shudders and splits, like pack ice rent by a widening lead. Mountains burst up, jutting and dull and soften before your eyes, clothed in forests like felt. The ice rolls up, grinding green land under water forever; the ice rolls back. Forests erupt and disappear like fairy rings. The ice rolls up-mountains are mowed into lakes, land rises wet from the sea like a surfacing whale- the ice rolls back.

A blue-green streaks the highest ridges, a yellow-green spreads from the south like a wave up a strand. A red dye seems to leak from the north down the ridges and into the valleys, seeping south; a white follows the red, then yellow-green washes north, then red spreads again, then white, over and over, making patterns of color too swift and intricate to follow. Slow the film. You see dust storms, locusts, floods, in dizzying flash frames. 

Zero in on a well-watered shore and see smoke from fires drifting. Stone cities rise, spread, and then crumble, like patches of alpine blossoms that flourish for a day an inch above the permafrost, that iced earth no root can suck, and wither in a hour. New cities appear, and rivers sift silt onto their rooftops; more cities emerge and spread in lobes like lichen on rock. The great human figures of history, those intricate, spirited tissues that roamed the earth’s surface, are a wavering blur whose split second in the light was too brief an exposure to yield any images. The great herds of caribou pour into the valleys and trickle back, and pour, a brown fluid. 

Slow it down more, come closer still. A dot appears, like a flesh-flake. It swells like a balloon; it moves, circles, slows, and vanishes. This is your life."

- Annie Dillard (1945 - )

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Beauty


"One may ask the question as to the extent to which the quest for beauty is an aim in the pursuit of science... It is, indeed, an incredible fact that what the human mind, at its deepest and most profound, perceives as beautiful finds its realization in external nature. What is intelligible is also beautiful…Beauty is that to what the human mind responds at its deepest and most profound."

(1910 - 1995)

Monday, April 30, 2018

Grey Commotion of Mind


"I do nothing, with as little shame as satisfaction. It is the state that suits me best. I write the odd poem when it is there, that is the only thing worth doing. There is an ecstasy of accidia — will-less in a grey tumult of idées obscures. There is an end to the temptation of light, its polite scorchings & consolations. It is good for children & insects. There is an end of making up one's mind, like a pound of tea, an end of patting the butter of consciousness into opinions. The real consciousness is the chaos, a grey commotion of mind, with no premises or conclusions or problems or solutions or cases or judgments."

-  Samuel Beckett (1906 - 1989)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Form


"No permanence is ours;
we are a wave
That flows to fit
whatever form it finds:
Through night or day,
cathedral or the cave
We pass forever,
craving form that binds."

-  Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962)

Friday, April 27, 2018

Shadows


"Henceforth space by itself,
and time by itself,
are doomed to fade away
into mere shadows,
and only a kind of union
of the two will preserve
an independent reality."

- Hermann Minkowski (1864 - 1909)

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sense of Unity


"I think nothing can be compared to the Hills for the elevation of spirit, and peace of mind...All aspects of nature lead to elevation and knowledge when you once have an idea. The commonplace growth of weeds beneath a pile of refuse appear to shine with the divine light when you know the meaning of the world and sense of unity of all things. In a great city the buildings, the machinery, the works of art, everything produced by man, are naught but the material expression of ideas. We look on lines and forms and masses of what we call matter, and we know these things existed in the mind of man in the form of ideas before they were expressed in the physical world in the form of matter. I look on the lines and forms of the mountains and all other aspects of nature as if they were but the vast expression of ideas within the Cosmic Mind, if such it can be called. Without that outlook, I am assured there is nothing in the Universe that is not the expression of mind or of life. The sense of unity is enormously increased."

- Ansel Adams (1902 - 1984)
Letter to Virginia Best, Sep 22, 1925
Ansel Adams: Letters, 1916 - 1984

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Intimate Presence


"Beginning with these harmonies of the universe that could in some manner be expressed in mathematical equations, an intense scientific mediation on the structure and functioning of the universe was begun by western scientists some centuries ago. Among the insights attained by this meditation has been a sense of the curvature of the universe whereby all things are held together in their intimate presence to each other. This bonding is what makes the universe what it is, not a collection of disparate objects but an intimate presence of all things to each other, each thing sustained in its being by everything else...That the universe is a communion of subjects rather than a collection of objects is the central commitment of the Ecozoic. Existence itself is derived from and sustained by this intimacy of each being with every other being of the universe."

- Brian Swimme (1950 - ) and Thomas Berry (1914 - 2009)

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Reinvigoration


"If we analyze the operations of scenes of beauty upon the mind, and consider the intimate relation of the mind upon the nervous system and the whole physical economy, the action and reaction which constantly occur between bodily and mental conditions, the reinvigoration which results from such scenes is readily comprehended. . . . The enjoyment of scenery employs the mind without fatigue and yet exercises it; tranquilizes it and yet enlivens it; and thus, through the influence of the mind over the body gives the effect of refreshing rest and reinvigoration to the whole system."

- Frederick Law Olmsted (1822 - 1903)

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Earth's Eye


"A lake is a landscape's most
beautiful and expressive feature.
It is Earth's eye;
looking into which the
beholder measures the
depth of his own nature."

-  Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

Monday, April 02, 2018

Embedded Patterns


"No pattern is an isolated entity.
Each pattern can exist in the world
only to the extent that is
supported by other patterns:
the larger patterns in
which it is embedded,
the patterns of the same
size that surround it,
and the smaller patterns
which are embedded in it. "

Saturday, March 31, 2018

'Silent' = 'Listen'


"The word 'listen'
contains the same letters
as the word 'silent'."

- Alfred Brendel (1931 - )

Friday, March 30, 2018

Hush of Silence


"Listen closely... 
the eternal hush of silence
goes on and on throughout all this,
and has been going on,
and will go on and on.
This is because the world
is nothing but a dream
and is just thought of
 and the everlasting eternity
pays no attention to it."

- Jack Kerouac (1922 - 1969)

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Hardly Noticeable


"If you will stay close to nature,
to its simplicity,
to the small things hardly noticeable,
those things can unexpectedly
become great and immeasurable."

Monday, March 26, 2018

Crepuscular Cryptographs


"One of the schools of Tlön goes so far as to negate time; it reasons that the present is indefinite, that the future has no reality other than as a present hope, that the past has no reality other than as a present memory. Another school declares that all time has already transpired and that our life is only the crepuscular and no doubt falsified an mutilated memory or reflection of an irrecoverable process. Another, that the history of the universe — and in it our lives and the most tenuous detail of our lives — is the scripture produced by a subordinate god in order to communicate with a demon. Another, that the universe is comparable to those cryptographs in which not all the symbols are valid and that only what happens every three hundred nights is true. Another, that while we sleep here, we are awake elsewhere and that in this way every man is two men."

- Jorge Luis Borges (1899 - 1986)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Perception of the Infinite


"Thus the perception of the infinite is somehow prior in me to the perception of the finite, that is, my perception of God is prior to my perception of myself. For how would I understand that I doubt and that I desire, that is, that I lack something and that I am not wholly perfect, unless there were some idea in me of a more perfect being, by comparison with which I might recognize my defects?"

René Descartes (1596 - 1650)

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Usayable


"...trust yourself and your instincts; even if you go wrong in your judgement, the natural growth of your inner life will gradually, over time, lead you to other insights. Allow your verdicts their own quiet untroubled development which like all progress must come from deep within and cannot be forced or accelerated. Everything must be carried to term before it is born. To let every impression and the germ of every feeling come to completion inside, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, in what is unattainable to one’s own intellect, and to wait with deep humility and patience for the hour when a new clarity is delivered: that alone is to live as an artist, in the understanding and in one’s creative work."

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Our Quixotic Purpose


"We all behave like Maxwell’s demon. Organisms organize. In everyday experience lies the reason sober physicists across two centuries kept this cartoon fantasy alive. We sort the mail, build sand castles, solve jigsaw puzzles, separate wheat from chaff, rearrange chess pieces, collect stamps, alphabetize books, create symmetry, compose sonnets and sonatas, and put our rooms in order, and all this we do requires no great energy, as long as we can apply intelligence. We propagate structure (not just we humans but we who are alive). We disturb the tendency toward equilibrium. It would be absurd to attempt a thermodynamic accounting for such processes, but it is not absurd to say we are reducing entropy, piece by piece. Bit by bit. The original demon, discerning one molecules at a time, distinguishing fast from slow, and operating his little gateway, is sometimes described as “superintelligent,” but compared to a real organism it is an idiot savant. Not only do living things lessen the disorder in their environments; they are in themselves, their skeletons and their flesh, vesicles and membranes, shells and carapaces, leaves and blossoms, circulatory systems and metabolic pathways - miracles of pattern and structure. It sometimes seems as if curbing entropy is our quixotic purpose in the universe."

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Flow of the Process


"A ruler must learn to persuade and not to compel... he must lay the best coffee hearth to attract the finest men... a good ruler has to learn his world's language... it's different for every world... the language of the rocks and growing things... the language you don't hear just with your ears... the Mystery of Life... not a problem to solve, but a reality to experience... 

Understanding must move with the flow of the process." 

- Frank Herbert, Dune (1920 - 1986)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Become a River


"Become a river and then nothing is needed.
That’s what The Secret of the Golden Flower says:
Achieve inaction through action,
achieve effortlessness through effort.
But first comes the effort, 
the action—it will melt you—and then
the river starts flowing.
In that very flow it has
reached the ocean."

- Osho (1931 - 1990)

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Outside World


"As far as I know,
there is no proof whatever
of the existence of an
objective reality apart 
from our senses,
and I do not see why
we should accept the
 outside world as such
solely by virtue
of our senses."

- M. C. Escher (1898 - 1972)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Monday, February 26, 2018

Perpetual Stream of Energy


"Living forms are not in being,
they are happening,
they are the expression of
a perpetual stream of
matter and energy which
passes through the organism
and at the same time
constitutes it."

- Ludwig Von Bertalanffy (1901 - 1972)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Magical Illusion


"You have seen that the universe is at root a magical illusion and a fabulous game, and that there is no separate "you" to get something out of it, as if life were a bank to be robbed. The only real "you" is the one that comes and goes, manifests and withdraws itself eternally in and as every conscious being. For "you" is the universe looking at itself from billions of points of view, points that come and go so that the vision is forever new."

- Alan Watts (1915 - 1973)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Mysterious Universe


"I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of uncertainty about different things, but I am not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don't know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we're here. I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell."

- Richard Feynman (1918 - 1988)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Merely Vibration


"Music, this complex and mysterious act, precise as algebra and vague as a dream, this art made out of mathematics and air, is simply the result of the strange properties of a little membrane. If that membrane did not exist, sound would not exist either, since in itself it is merely vibration. Would we be able to detect music without the ear? Of course not. Well, we are surrounded by things whose existence we never suspect, because we lack the organs that would reveal them to us."

- Guy de Maupassant (1850 - 1893)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Leaps of Imagination


"The brain does not own any direct copies of stuff in the world. There is no library of forms and ideas against which to compare the images of perception. Information is stored in a plastic way, allowing fantastic juxtapositions and leaps of imagination. Some chaos exists out there, and the brain seems to have more flexibility than classical physics in finding the order in it. 

In a way, art is a theory about the way the world looks to human beings. It’s abundantly obvious that one doesn’t know the world around us in detail."

- James Gleick (1954 - )

Monday, February 19, 2018

Conceptual Boundaries


"It is extremely interesting, then, to think about the meaning of the word ‘form’ as it applies to constructions of arbitrarily complex shapes. For instance, what is it that we respond to when we look at a painting and feel its beauty? Is if the ‘form’ of the lines and dots on our retina? Evidently it must be, for that is how it gets passed along to the analyzing mechanisms in our heads–but the complexity of the processing makes us feel that we are not merely looking at a two-dimensional surface; we are responding to some sort of inner meaning inside the picture, a multidimensional aspect trapped somehow inside those two dimensions. It is the word ‘meaning’ which is important here. Our minds contain interpreters which accept two-dimensional patterns and then ‘pull’ from them high-dimensional notions which are so complex that we cannot consciously describe them. The same can be said about how we respond to music, incidentally.

We human beings are macroscopic structures in a universe whose laws reside at a microscopic level. As survival-seeking beings, we are driven to seek efficient explanations that make reference only to entities at our own level. We therefore draw conceptual boundaries around entities that we easily perceive, and in so doing we carve out what seems to us to be reality."

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Beyond our Ken


"One night after dinner a group of us were talking about the supernatural, and one of our dinner guests said that when the electric light was invented, people began to lose the dimension of the supernatural. In the days before we could touch a switch and flood every section of the room with light, there were always shadows in the corner, shadows which moved with candlelight, with firelight; and these shadows were an outward and visible sign that things are not always what they seem; there are things which are not visible to the mortal human being; there are things beyond our ken."

-  Madeleine L'Engle (1918 - 2007)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Web of Time


"This web of time,
the strands of which approach one another,
bifurcate, intersect or ignore each other
through the centuries,
embraces every possibility. 
We do not exist in most of them.
In some you exist and not I,
while in others I do,
and you do not."

- Jorge Luis Borges (1899 - 1986)