Monday, November 28, 2022

Skeleton of Truth

"So there it is in words
And if you read between the lines
You will find nothing there
For that is the discipline I ask
Not more, not less
Not the world as it is
Not ought to be –
Only the precision
The skeleton of truth
I do not dabble in emotions
Hint at implications
Evoke the ghosts of old forgotten creeds.
All that is for the preacher
The hypnotist, therapist and missionary
They will come after me
And use the little that I said
To bait more traps
For those who cannot bear
The lonely
of Truth"

Gregory Bateson (1904 - 1980) and Mary Catherine Bateson (1939 - 2021)

Friday, November 25, 2022

Abstract ETCs

"Irrespective of the possibility that the Galileo Project may discover additional, or even extraordinary evidence for ETCs [Extraterrestrial Technological Civilizations], at a minimum the Galileo Project will gather rich data sets that may foster the discovery of — or better scientific explanations for — novel interstellar objects with anomalous properties, and for potential new natural atmospheric phenomena, or in some instances terrestrial technology explanations for many of the presently inexplicable UAP."

- Galileo Project, Harvard University

Friday, November 18, 2022

The Simplest Thing

 "Even the simplest thing
is as important as the
things we consider important.
I consider a fallen leaf as
important as the Grand Canyon.
It's all important;
it's all connected.
One couldn't be
without the other."

- Ruth Bernhard (1905 - 2006)

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Unclouded by Preconceived Ideas

"Watching as things arrange
themselves in the changing light,
the photographer with unobstructed
vision sees them as they are.
Appropriate images appear without
struggle, moving with the flow of light
like leaves in a stream,
to be immediately reflected in
a mind unclouded by
preconceived ideas."

- Benjamin Hoff (1946 - )

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Chain of Connection

"In considering the study of physical phenomena, not merely in its bearings on the material wants of life, but in its general influence on the intellectual advancement of mankind, we find its noblest and most important result to be a knowledge of the chain of connection, by which all natural forces are linked together, and made mutually dependent upon each other; and it is the perception of these relations that exalts our views and ennobles our enjoyments."

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Admiring Light's Beauty

"Look at light and admire its beauty.
Close your eyes, and then look again:
what you saw is no longer there;
and what you will see later is not yet. "

Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519)

Friday, November 11, 2022

Improvisational Nature

"Perhaps the answers to these questions require fundamental advances at the interface of physics, the arts, and neuroscience. The deep links between musical form and physical form may be unveiled by understanding how both kinds of knowledge-music and physics-arise together in human brains and nowhere else. After all, brains, regardless of how mysterious they are, are the most complex structures in the universe.
It is amusing to speculate that the reason why music has the ability to move us so deeply is that it is an auditory allusion to our basic connection to the universe. If our cosmic origins are seated in sound patterns, is it too far-fetched to think that music viscerally enables us to tap into those origins?
What if there were a vibrational pattern
in the early universe capable of
generating the current complex
structure that we live in,
the complex structures that we are?
And what if these structures
had an improvisational nature."

- Stephon Alexander (1971 - )
The Jazz of Physics

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Vibration of Spirit

"The vibration of Spirit is at such an infinite rate of intensity and rapidity that it is practically at rest — just as a rapidly moving wheel seems to be motionless. And at the other end of the scale, there are gross forms of matter whose vibrations are so low as to seem at rest. Between these poles, there are millions upon millions of varying degrees of vibration. From corpuscle and electron, atom and molecule, to worlds and universes, everything is in vibratory motion. This is also true on the planes of energy and force (which are but varying degrees of vibration); and also on the mental planes (whose states depend upon vibrations); and even on to the spiritual planes. An understanding of this Principle, with the appropriate formulas, enables Hermetic students to control their own mental vibrations as well as those of others. The Masters also apply this Principle to the conquering of Natural phenomena, in various ways. 'He who understands the Principle of Vibration, has grasped the sceptre of Power,' says one of the old writers.
...the differences between different
manifestations of Matter, Energy,
Mind, and even Spirit, result
largely from varying rates of Vibrations...
...the higher the vibration,
the higher the position in the scale."

Postscript. In February of this year, I wrote about how the morning walks my wife and I took together during the pandemic (which we could do since I did not have to commute to my regular office; something which, sadly, I've had to resume doing recently) gave me an opportunity to see and appreciate how much beauty our local neighborhood offers. Back then, I was mesmerized with the "hosta-leaf corpses" that littered the sidewalks near our house, and which appeared to glow with a preternatural inner light. To communicate a sense of what first drew me to them (i.e., their radiance), I rendered them using reversed black and white tones (a small portfolio is here). Almost a year later, as we approach late autumn, I find my eye/I drawn to the radiance - or, better, to the colorful afterglow - of decaying maple leaves. Just as the all-but-decayed hosta leaves stubbornly clung to life with a mysterious and inexhaustible energy, the just-starting-to-decay maple leaves are now doing the same, but are suffused in an ineffably iridescent brilliance! There is a palpable fire burning inside that refuses to let go! I've tried to capture this ethereal energy by placing the leaves on a light table (using one that is sufficiently bright to illuminate the veins of the leaves), and rendering the final image on a dark backdrop in Photoshop. Although, as with the hostas, my maple macros only partly convey the excitement I felt as I encountered individual leaves, much of my raw emotion remains (albeit only in "Stieglitzian Equivalent" form). The image above is an amalgam of the photographs in a new "maple autumn macros" portfolio. Enjoy 😊

Sunday, November 06, 2022

Signatura Regrum

"All perceiving is also thinking,
all reasoning is also intuition,
all observation is also invention.
Man’s striving for order, of which art is but one manifestation, derives from a similar universal tendency throughout the organic world; it is also paralleled by, and perhaps derived from, the striving towards the state of simplest structure in physical systems.
Both art and science are bent on the understanding of the forces that shape existence, and both call for a dedication to what is. Neither of them can tolerate capricious subjectivity because both are subject to their criteria of truth. Both require precision, order, and discipline because no comprehensible statement can be made without these. Both accept the sensory world as what the Middle Ages called signatura regrum, the signature of things, but in quite different ways."

Rudolf Arnheim (1904 - 2007)

Saturday, November 05, 2022

Theory of Emptiness

"The theory of emptiness… is the deep recognition that there is a fundamental disparity between the way we perceive the world, including our own existence in it, and the way things actually are.
According to the theory of emptiness, any belief in an objective reality grounded in the assumption of intrinsic, independent existence is untenable. All things and events, whether material, mental, or even abstract concepts like time, are devoid of objective independent existence. To possess such independent, intrinsic existence would imply that things and events are somehow complete unto themselves and are therefore entirely contained.
If on the quantum level, matter is revealed to be less solid and definable than it appears, then it seems to me that science is coming closer to the Buddhist contemplative insights of emptiness and interdependence.

Dalai Lama XIV, (1935 - )

Friday, November 04, 2022

A Tiny Piece of the Whole

"In our constant search for meaning in this baffling and temporary existence, trapped as we are within our three pounds of neurons, it is sometimes hard to tell what is real. We often invent what isn’t there. Or ignore what is. We try to impose order, both in our minds and in our conceptions of external reality. We try to connect. We try to find truth. We dream and we hope. And underneath all of these strivings, we are haunted by the suspicion that what we see and understand of the world is only a tiny piece of the whole."

Alan Lightman (1948 - )

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Raw Essence

"Photography, used as a fine art, is what any artist makes of it. For the analytical artist, photography is a tool to record his visual curiosity, his visual understanding, and his visual contemplation of the world. For the objective artist, photography can reveal the meanings of things and render surfaces with love and beauty. The subjective artist can use photography as a means of self-expression – simply by dissociating the subject from its connotations. When photography is used in this manner, the unconscious mind can be reached through the reading of the photograph’s design. Discarding the connotations of subjects leaves them symbols that can be read like dreams. The world of the unconscious mind is turned into the raw material of art.
To reach essence, the photographer cannot work as the painter does. The photographer cannot pile up characteristics until an essence is synthesized. He must wait until a face, gesture, or place goes ‘transparent’ and thereby reveals the essence underneath. This exact instant, when the subject bares its inner core is a transitory and fleeting moment. It is never repeated exactly. The expressive function of the camera is to make photographs that reveal the essence of the subject along with the facts."

Minor White (1908 - 1976)
Quoted in The Aesthetic Theories Of Minor White,
by Stuart Oring

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Going with the Flow

"A Taoist story tells of an old man who accidentally fell into the river rapids leading to a high and dangerous waterfall. Onlookers feared for his life. Miraculously, he came out alive and unharmed downstream at the bottom of the falls. People asked him how he managed to survive. 'I accommodated myself to the water, not the water to me. Without thinking, I allowed myself to be shaped by it. Plunging into the swirl, I came out with the swirl. This is how I survived.'"

- The Daily Zen Journal:
A Creative Companion for a Beginner's Mind 

Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Passing Through the Present

"We pass through the present
with our eyes blindfolded.
We are permitted merely to
sense and guess at what we
 are actually experiencing.
Only later when the cloth is untied
can we glance at the past and find
out what we have experienced
and what meaning it has."

- Milan Kundera (1929 - )