TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE ENCHANTMENT
SUBLIMITY AND THE HUMAN ANIMAL PART I 1
LANTERN JOURNAL 1
2014 RE-ISSUE 1
TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE ENCHANTMENT
M DA NE Z A HOR S K Y EMI L Y L ODIGE NS K Y J ANE T S IM P S O N
* S UB LI MI TY A ND THE H UM AN A NIM A L PART I
"Once in this way and never again." -Herman Hesse
Table of Con te n ts Preface 12 To Speak in Tongues Unknown Summer [Nigredo]: 18 Panatomic Harmony as Foundation Autumn [Albedo]: 26 The Rivers Kin Notes/Bibliography: 48 That Which is Sought External Image Index: 57 From Whose Hands Have [ ]
[T o S pea k in T o ng u e s U nk no w n] This jouney began with a fort; the childhood need to seek, build, and make secure. The trench to protect the action figures against their incoming attackers, the twigs and branches fastened with vines and rope, definitive lines drawn. I recognize that doing this was an acknowledgement of a world understood to be perilous. What lurks just beyond the meadow's edge, at the other side of the storm tunnel, beyond the falling dusk? I believed it to be just as I saw it on television. To be caught alone and unawares was paramount to inviting those remorseless beasts to your door and inevitable, greusome death. So, on those long youthful days I would go about my work, collecting suitable materials, sharpening sticks, learning how to affix them, to create a space in which I and my allies [mostly imaginary] could be safe. Safe from the unnamed things that I was sure were watching and waiting just past the periphery. I was master of all I saw. What I always found though, was that by evening, no matter how stable my construction, no matter what preperations I had made, a hot nervous would slowly begin to creep in. My palms would dampen, my gut would tighten. As I sat there in the dirt, with a flashlight and piles of books, I could hear the sound of another dimension. The shadows that contained those beasts throughout the day had spread across the forest and I, well I was no longer master of anything. I'd try to hold out longer each night, to dig in and let the feeling of fear and vastness wash over me, to open up my senses to the excitement of feeling dwarfed by something greater than myself. Those sounds were like a language, one without need of my translation or comprehension. As I've aged I've only become more transfixed by the wonder and awe all around me. I came to learn that in all moments [night or day] there is a language; the rays of afternoon light made tangible through floating pollen or the fast current of streams rushing around my ankles, cool, crisp, and enlivening. Each speaks in a tongue unknown, one found specific to the moment we're in, resounding with wonder and light. I've found that with time and attention we can learn to answer back. This project to begin articulating that language began years ago and has changed much over time. This specific work has taken me across the world, to see things I've only read about and to find among seeming emptiness the whispering voice of an animate world.
This endeavor has seen its fair share of contexts, but one of the most exciting facets of this process has been the addition of two others who have quite the penchant for seeking out and learning how to answer that whisper in their own way. The first, Emily Lodigensky who made much more than took the cover photographs [like ceremonial masks] was the person who first introduced me to David Abrams. She currently co-owns a photography business in the arts district of Kansas City and has recently finished a series of images from Costa Rica titled "ENCOUNTER". You can see them and more here: [www.emsky.me] or [www.mephotostudio.com] The other young woman; Janet Simpson, whose photographs inhabit the body of this work is a recent graduate of the Art Institute of Kansas City. She seems to have been born fluent in the language without words that Paul Coello references in his novel, "the Alchemist." She creates moments of stillness and wonder through photography among other mediums. You can find her work at: [www.cargocollective.com/janetsimpson.com] The pages that follow are our attempt to add our voices to the many others working to decipher that language in the hopes of bringing us a bit closer to the world and each other. For if anything is true, it's that we each have our forts, our moats and buttressed walls. Yet those monsters from whom we'd hide have turned out to be less mysterious than tragic. I do not fear boogiemen, vampires or werewolves as much as self-doubt, codependency, and blind rage. The things that scare me have changed drastically over time, for to embrace the unknown is to meet it on terms outside our control. It's to surrender a fictitious upper hand over that which is external while accepting that it might not be external at all. It is to dive deep within the self, to purify that which is actually worth being afraid of with honesty and agency. I have spent many years studying various systems for doing this accepting there are no "right" ones. However, the two that have spoken the most to me are the Native American Medicine Wheel and the Alchemical process of Transmutation. What I've found over time, taking the cues of Jung, Campbell, Gennep and others was a path of convergence along central themes, including stages of human development and fulfillment both internally and externally alike. I associate the Medicine Wheel to the macro level, the natural procession of seasons as well as the stages of a full life. Whereas Transmutation tends to act like an overlay atop the wheel, going into more detail at the micro level about not only each of the processes each direction describes but ones that fit in between and inside them such as the cyclical development of identity and the tendency to mark milestones between each season of our lives. I have researched, organized, and finally written this text based on the patterns inherent within them. This work has thus been broken up into four parts, each mirroring both a stage of the alchemical process and simultaneously one of the wheel. In this part I of the work, I will focus on the macro and in part II the micro.
The Medicine Wheel as mentioned above exists at the macro level of development. This system is based on four basic directions and the negative space between them. Each cardinal direction stands for a different season or stage of development e.g Childhood, Adolescence, Adulthood and Elderhood. However as new research comes into the spectrum these stages have been likened more often to seasons that bleed into each other, unlike the traditionally black and white transition often described. Medicine Wheels were used to remind those in the community of their interconnection to the natural cycles going on all around them. As they've been traditionally used they weren't simply symbolic objects but a participatory tool used consistently in worship and ceremony. There are many interpretations of the many components built as markers along the path to the "Great Mystery," the descriptions below are simply the ones I've learned. When seeking clarity you hold up a mirror to yourself, asking both your animus/ anima to speak to you through your subconscious and conscious self, thus each season reflects a stage of the process and as you age, of your life. We can move through these stages over the course of a lifetime, yet just as easily in mere moments. The lasting appeal of this model isn't simply to honor the past but to better understand ourselves in relation to it. To know who we are we must know where we come from, it is this alone that will help teach us where we're going.
[ A D U LT HO O D ]
HO O D ]
[ C H I L D HO O D ] 15
Summer [Childhood]: Summer is childhood, the wonder and curiosity coming specifically out of a lack of experience. It is the small field mouse that moves about the tall grass, searching out morsels, ever moving. It is the trusting daughter or student who seeks out knowledge from the people and things around them. By being OPEN we learn to be emotional beings, but this is not enough. Summer is the inevitable realization that more lies â€œout thereâ€? than what sits right in front of us and an acnkowledgement of our inherent need to seek it out. It is also the thick heat of summer, the deep red of passion; sexuality. It's the resonating thrum of drums heard while dancing, heard with the body as much as the ears. Reason has not yet taken over our senses, summer then, is still a place where good and evil may take the form of parable or fantasy, where dragons still breathe fire and every manner of adventure lies just round the next bend. This will lead up to the first stage of the alchemical process; [Nigredo or blackening]. Autumn [Adolescence]: Autumn is a place of deep introspection. It's most easily referenced as the actual process or the quest itself. Some of the hardest work is done here; to openly acknowledge you are alone; no one is there to help you but yourself. Autumn can be the darkest of all the stages of development, endless and impenetrable obsidian. It's often associated with those moments when you are lost and confused, angry and angst full. It's the need to shed responsibility move forward with blinders on, embracing any new experience that might bring more definition to the ambiguous. You are the coiled rattlesnake, the hibernating bear, the tiger locked in a cage of your own choosing with the key around its neck. Yet it's important to remember that though the storm clouds can look ominous, they bring the rain, the rain that nourishes the soil, the soil that fosters roots, the roots that bring the food, that in turn nourish us. Autumn is the time of the harvest, Persephone has not yet been summoned to Hades, there's bounty in the air if we choose to see it. To be stuck in adolescence is to do so of our own accord, for if it may teach us anything it's that we learn the most when times are the hardest, when we are open and honest with ourselves about the things we would rather not be. This will lead up to the second stage of the alchemical process; [Albedo or whitening]. Winter [Adulthood]: Winter is adulthood, the tedium, resourcefulness, and ingenuity that is called for to survive the harsh winter. No one has many good things to say about adulthood, at least not at first. It's usually portrayed as the 9 to 5, collar and tie, sitting in a cubicle, counting the minutes until the end of the day. No one really wants to gather or chop the kindling, to collect and cure the meat so that there's enough to last. Our ideas of achievement aren't exactly paying bills or doing taxes. Winter is the buffalo with its head down piling through the snow; in short, you do what needs to be done. Yet the winter is white for a reason, that purity of intent is kept to remind us that solace is indeed the motivation to continue. We learn how to find the value in competence, in providing not just for ourselves but those we love.
This is where you develop the healthy pride engendered by humility and grace not the arrogant pride of youth that is never backed with the products of experience or the where with all of sacrifice. We must inevitably come down off the mountain; our new life awaits us as do those we've kept in our thoughts. This will lead up to the third stage of the alchemical process; [Citrinitas or yellowing]. Spring [Elderhood]: As we begin to come full circle, we realize that a circle is simply an evolution of the line. Just as we begun, we must end. Yet as each end and beginning interlace, they become over time one story. The vantage point of the hawk or eagle can shed light on things invisible from the ground. The things that once caused you struggle now offer you aid, the concepts you simply could not grasp, you now teach with the most vigor. Just like the first buds of spring, or the first rays of the golden sunrise remind us that the line is only a starting point, and end is folly. We allow the change to come fully into our person. As we come into a place of elderhood, it is our imperative to help those who seek the breadth, width, and edges of fear, struggle, and failure so they might learn the necessary secrets of and for themselves. This will lead up to the final stage of the alchemical process; [Rubedo or reddening]. As you move through this work, I hope that the path it offers may be both challenging and inviting, I am honored to offer alongside two other talented and passionate makers our pursuit to get to know that unknown tongue a little better. M Dane Zahorsky, Spring 2013
Summer [Nigredo] [ P a n a tom ic H a r mo ny a s F o u nd a t i o n ]
"The world is not to be put in order; the world is order, incarnate. It is for us to harmonize with this order." -Henry Miller
Q uantum Mechanics and the
Music of the Spheres:
Hum in place for just a moment, if you're around others have them join in. In the following pages I intend to make a double movement: first to establish a more holistic and restorative view of American history from its western and native roots while tracing the modern disconnect from sublimity and the human need for diverse experience; and second, to reopen a dialog with art as place-oriented experience. My examples will be those specifically demonstrated by contemporary efforts to foster ways of rethinking and feeling ourselves in relation to life and landbase. We have much distance to travel, and much to unpack along the way; however, we must begin by constructing a foundation on which to build. All things are ultimately contextual, the places we inhabit indeed inhabit us, both as aids and hindrances within the imperceptible razor's edge between past and future we call the present . So in opening, let us emplace ourselves in that subtle yet insistent current of passing time, but let it be site specific. Let us paint a picture of where we are, that we may appreciate the effect it has on how we intake, process, and feel about the information acquired while in it. Take a moment to look around. Take stock of where you are, of who's around you. Really concentrate on what you see and how your mind differentiates between formal qualities and the transition of space through materials. Begin to focus your attention on specific objects or people around you, what they look like, how they stand in relation to other people and things. Feel your own skin, the air surrounding it, the clothes covering it, the seat you rest upon, the door handle you used to enter the room. Remember its solidity and and be assured by its permanence. Now let's move a bit deeper into our description of what's happening around us. We begin at the level of chemical reaction. It's easy enough to take the neurologists' perspective of bundles of synaptic pathways connecting and informing neurons. One can even follow the trends of gene-centric evolution and conclude that on the whole we are nothing more than carriers for those genes while they vie for evolutionary dominance . Free will, individual personality, and even imagination are reducible under this theory to genetically predetermined reactions to environmental variables. In simple terms, we become little more than genetic litmus tests and the chemical reactions we call identity become inevitable no matter how much spontaneity we try affixing to them. Yet just a moment ago when your mind was taking in information you weren't thinking of yourself as a "genetic survival machines," you were thinking of yourself as an "I," because, the beauty and brevity of life cannot be experienced as true motivators if we rely only on the language of secular science to narrate our world.
As I's and We's, we long for meaning, purpose, and enchantment. So with this same language, let's proceed deeper, past our genes and into their atomic constituents. Here we find no difference between organic and inorganic matter, or hard-lined division between subject and object at all , in fact that doorknob that assured you of its solidity is really anything but. We find a world of relativity that operates on principles of uncertainty and is as chaotic as it is ordered; where all things are held together and governed by four forces and the conditions by which we have arrived to this moment are as razor thin as our concept of the present.  This is a world in which 65 million or so neutrinos pass through the earth in any given second, and every atom whether a plasma, gas, liquid or solid is in constant motion as both waves and particles simultaneously. Imagine a plane in which we could see all the forces, pressures, reactions, and properties of the universe and not do so in a state of utter and complete awe. Around 500BC, Pythagoras, after witnessing the tonal rings of different sized anvils, worked out the harmony of numbers and applied it to mathematics, not just in the formal and ordered sense but in a deeply spiritual one. He, like his predecessors, set out not only to depict the vibrational continuity among objects but to compel us towards a harmony of ratio and direction. He described the planets moving through the cosmos as subjects of that harmony, creating the music of the spheres. This was carried on by the Roman scholar Boethius, a "musica universalis" where he compared the proportions and patterns of the heavens with those of all things . These concepts carried into the early Renaissance where the platonic notion flourished that a planet contained a pitch produced by a siren's song much like that of a Greek lyre's chords. Though not recognized as literal sound, the spheres acted as symbols reminding us of our own bodies and their inner workings as reflections of the greater whole. From antiquity on there have been minds attuned to these subtle yet axiomatic truths, and only in the last century has our secular understanding of the universe come to offer validation for them. For instance, the way we define and represent sound in modernity is as a wave. Much like the ripples made by casting a stone into the still face of a pond. Sound happens when a force is applied to a molecule, causing it to vibrate faster and spread that force through chain reaction to other molecules outward in all directions in push-and-pull oscillations until it reaches a human-audible frequency and is finally dampered by friction and converted back into potential energy. All molecules consist of atoms and all atoms are in motion at all times. Sound quite literally IS motion. Though considered a macro effect, if an atom has mass and moves, can we say it has no sound even if we don't hear it? I would argue not. It follows, that we could apply this thought to our atomic description of the place we're in so as to better illustrate the connection. For instance, every human body that weighs an average of 70 kilograms [about 155 pounds] has 7x10 to the 27th [or 7 billion billion billion] atoms in it, and one human brain alone houses more synaptic pathways than there are stars in the galaxy.
In turn, each neuron contains hundreds of thousands of atoms. It would be foolish to think they're not constantly interacting with each other and the environment around them, colliding, separating, vibrating....singing. We are collectively moving through vibration and its resulting consonance and dissonance. Just as each element has a frequency by which its structure resonates, so too does each in its interactions and combinations with others. Most of us, at some point during our days gather in any number of given rooms, surrounded by matter of fact, fixed boundaries like table tops and walls. Yet as we've seen, if we view them using the lens of physics, we would see a world with no discernible differences between organic and inorganic, no true boundaries other than governing universal forces between our bodies, each other, and the context we find ourselves in. Thus, when we applied force through vibration to create sound with our voices when humming earlier not only did we tune this sound into harmony but the force moving in all directions mirrored the alchemy of our vascular membrane turning vibration into an electric and biochemical symphony of firing synapses enacting a seemingly chaotic dance of molecular and synaptic symmetry . In doing so we created something: a memory. Our minds took in the sound waves, codified and processed them as information that we as individuals stored for later use. But what else is transpiring here? Our technologies have advanced to the point of pinpointing areas of the brain that become active when memories are formed but can these descriptions ever really completely describe the totality of what it is to create them? Is it so strange to imagine that memory leaves residue in the places in which itâ€™s forged? Or that a person and place do not reciprocate? We are leveled by a panatomic commonality. My arm, that tree, the road, her breath, are all interconnected and sing through vibration in much the same way the planets dance in the cosmos above. And by this I don't mean to simply pay homage to the atomists; it isn't enough to recognize them as materially symmetric for they are convivial not simply in kind but purpose. What if the idea of the cosmos as living and organismic would have been maintained ? Where would we be today? It becomes a question of observer and the observed. If we were to look at a cube from across a great distance it would appear two dimensional and yet if we get closer we see it has depth and internality. The truth of a thing can often change over time, in fact we judge it by recording the failure of attempts to falsify it "up til now," and so we take those attempts and accept them as truth. What's to say that a place we are observing isn't full of the resonance and residue of all the memories and interactions had within it? Or that in our observing it, we too are not observed, I would argue it mostly depends on our vantage point or the truth "up til now."
G luck and the Importance of
What happens when we stop judging what is unknown only by what is? With an open mind the panatomic harmony between our I's,our We's, and the world in which they exist can be reified. Not only do we begin communicating consciously with the places we inhabit but in doing so find real and lasting enchantment with them. We must realize in our binary fixation as rational and irrational creatures we have the ability and need to access that sublimity anywhere and anytime by doing nothing more than retooling our perspectives. In this work I hope to convey like others before me and those that will come after a sense of the sublime not as fear, but humility, and to make clear the difference. To claim man as animal, not as denigration but homecoming, and an open ended interplay between a sensuous science and a logical enchantment. I hope to begin knitting Frazer's metaphor of a three-tiered fabric not as chronological but comprehensive . Where magic, religion, and science interweave and are the stronger for it. To explore the dual nature of culture and art as both information and experience. Art has the power to use our own conventions to critique themselves, to recall those memories described prior. Just as a single ray of light can excite atoms from the only state at which they are motionless in absolute zero, so too can art pull us up and out of our slumps and apathies. It does this by reminding us of the constructed limitations and illusory confines of our own cultures. Thus, I offer the last stanzas of a poem entitled "Landscape" by the poet Louise Gluck that does just that:
Then the snow was thick, the path vanished. The horse was tired and hungry; he could no longer find sure footing anywhere. I told myself:
I have been lost before, I have been cold before. The night has come to me exactly this way, as a premonition-
And I thought: If I am asked to return here, I would like to come back as a human being, and my horse
to remain himself. Otherwise I would not know how to begin again.
Autumn [Albedo] [ Th e R i v e rs K i n]
"The business of art is to reveal the relation between man and his environment." -David Herbert Lawrence
C ulture as Non-Arbitrary Form:
The Alberta tar sands, the BP oil spill, the Pacific garbage patch, none of these could be possible or at least probable in a world that is revealed not only as indistinct from us but holding a reverential value through equilibrium with us. Though we seem to have confused how to understand or acknowledge the experiences engendered by sublimity and sustain them in our everyday lives. We tend towards escape instead of engagement, Umberto Eco calls this "hyperreality" . With the rise of technology we find ourselves interacting with the representation and in many cases idealization of reality over actual encounters with it. For instance, social networking can engender acts of freedom like the Arab Spring but it can also replace the crucial infrastructure of physical connectivity while simultaneously enacting isolation and convincing us of the opposite. Some television or internet based programs might portray beautiful images of natural places and have invaluable educational merit, but they also allow for thoughts like: Why go see the Malaspina Glacier in person when you have a 64 inch HD flat screen in your living room with surround sound, I mean it's melting anyway right? We lose both the natural beauty but more importantly the real state of place itself, what would it do for our environmental ethic if people were actually witnessing the raw majestic power of the Appalachians crisscrossing the horizon, juxtaposed with the degradation of mountaintop removal? I speak of sublimity in this sense as coined by the author who may or may not have been Longinus, from late Roman antiquity . He used it to describe "great or lofty poetry" dealing with veneration and awe. Sublimity, much like the concept of the sacred from it's Grecian-Roman roots was transfomred over time from awe to fear. Sublimity for us however will be a feeling of knowing the infinite and thus our place in it, inspiring not fear through insignificance but solidarity through interconnectedness. We can experience this in the natural world but also through culture and its tributary art. In thinking about art in relation to culture we must define both so as to know the context and inclination of each. In 1969, Ralph Holloway published a paper in Current Anthropology entitled "Culture, a Human Domain" wherein he sought to prove that culture was a strictly human phenomenon. He took culture to be the imposition of arbitrary form upon the environment, which then created feedback loops oscillating between man's conception of himself [the projected] and his altered environment [the built] as well as how they informed and affected each other. Holloway even goes on to say that man makes delusional systems work, yet does so in the affirmative, to congratulate man for his ability to learn and create symbolic vs iconic structure and to reinforce the superiority of emulative vs imitative learning , positing that culture as the title pronounces is man's and man's alone. The reason I chose to cite this particular reading of culture is because I believe it to be the common conception underlying our interaction with the world. 1 28
We are informed by what we have built and yet lack both a substantive and relational understanding of it. There is a defining characteristic exhibited by homo-sapiens that sets us apart from natural systems: we can choose to act against our nature, ignoring the lessons of constancy and illusion. We can empirically, rationally and instinctively know the truth and through denial or denigration of it choose to act in conflict with it. Thus if I put my hand over a flame even though I know it will cause me injury I can choose to leave it there, just like I can enter into destructive relationships that affect both myself and others. The choice is informed equally by our perception [the way we view the world] and esteem [the way we view ourselves in relation to it] both being products of our culture. Yet there is a crucial aspect of this dynamic missing: reality [the way the world actually is]. So let us qualify that culture can only be arbitrary when it has no bearing or affect upon a finite system or in other words before it becomes built through action. Thus culture cannot be defined solely as arbitrary form but as inexorably bound causally to both its human and non human contexts. We need only examine our modern conception of material wealth or subsequent currency to illustrate this. David Korten, in referencing the exchange of tangible assets IE fisheries or ecosystems for money [an abstract figure that has no real value at all] describes this concept quite well. The world economy itself is based solely on the promise of value and thus the lunatic trading of those promises. We have taken culture and its resulting conventions as autonomous or worse sovereign, when in fact they are anything but. For better or worse we have the ability to choose whether our perception, esteem, and reality are in congruence or not and the world itself absorbs the out cost. We can see art unfolding out of culture, as the arranging and re-imagining of our constructed form. Art acts as a mirror on which we view the reflection of our ideals and the critique of them. We make maps to orient our path through the physical landscape, and in this way art orients us through the cultural landscape placed atop it. Yet we often divide art based on contextual origin, whether it has been made while laboring, paid for as entertainment or in homage to an ideology. It's the difference between a folk song, a stage opera, and a hymn yet all find common ground in their general aims. All art affects some kind of emotional response in the viewer; let us make the jump then to define art as emotionally investing oneself in a cultural action. This is then extrapolated through the possibility of acknowledging it as investment, whether consciously or otherwise . Only in modernity have we undertaken the project of division, not simply in art but all things. We specialize to the point of creating vastly complex barriers in syntax and semantics so that one needs a whole language with which to speak about any given subject. It's almost as if our fields become nation states and our languages the tariffs with which to tax the inflow and outflow of information. The late Howard Zinn, in looking to the role of the artist tasked them with the responsibility of breaking through these conventional and tacit barriers, for if we rely on experts it takes the accountability off of ourselves and thus our tendency and openness to change in the face of imbalance. 30 1
Art and adjacently creativity, like science and religion have driven cultural norms throughout history, they create the feedback that informs us about who we are and where we're going. They do so by entertaining, inspiring, informing, recording, compelling and even repelling us. But what qualifies as art? Art as emotional investment of skill and intention can be anything from the labor of a devoted craftsman to the elegant proof of a mathematician, the chaotic forms of the sculptor to the ordered blueprints of the architect. Let us dispense of our modernly contrived hierarchy and not be confined to place art on a mantel as sole property of yet another field, but as a common tongue with which to manifest cultural direction. It is with this that we begin our double movement into the context and practice of our cultural inheritance, paying close attention to those rituals and concepts that might serve us today. By looking at art, sacred space and those Frazierian threads I hope we too will begin to knit a fabric much like the Haudenosaunee wampum belt that portrays five arrows, referencing the white pine who's needles grow in clusters of five, which when bundled gain strength just like those of its confederacy. My hope is that this inquiry will begin a dialectic informed equally by antiquity and indigenous knowledge while also being brought to bear on the real and tangible concerns of our everyday lives. We need this dialectic to resolve our most central issues. For the state in which we find ourselves is one of discordance and disconnect, in which those divisions have taken root among us. For just as art can inform us, so too can it engender deception. For example, the Ballet began as officers of the court appeased the King with depictions of drama much like Homeric epics in the form of intricate dances often including the king himself. At first by only men and then after time, women as well. One such woman, Marie Taglionie, adapted a technique practived by some of the jests in which they would skirt across the stage on just their toes, she refined this process into what we now call pointe-work. This is where the toes support the entire weight of the body and the dancer skirts across the stage as if floating on air or skimming across the surface of water. In the audience on a crowded night at the ballet when we see this done all that comes across to us is the sheer grace and lightness of a beautiful form lost in the rhythm of orchestration and choreography. Yet if we were to look closer we would see a body in which every muscle, every nerve, every joint and ligament were stressed to the absolute breaking point, requiring untold amounts of focus and concentration. Eventually as the dancer ages the body is left unable to perform, usually at a moderately young age. This is the price paid for the illusion of grace. We find ourselves presently, in a system based on the preconception that growth = prosperity and that prosperity is defined by an exponential increase in material gain. We have quite literally confused a borrowed and ephermeral wealth with grace . As such, we have inherited a world not yet destroyed by a vile disdain but being destroyed by consensual confusion and miss-communication, one of form and vantage-point. 311
To rethink this form is to undertake the study of history, and not just to undertake but to examine, learn from and act on what we find. It must inevitably be a history of the west, just as Theseus, upon emerging from the Minotaur's labyrinth, retraced his steps through the crane's dance. So too, must we navigate the maze of convention that has led us here through a remembering not necessarily of events but cultural models. A history of the west must also be more specifically its ideological pinnacle: America. I don't label it so to specify quality or affinity but excess, for no country in the history of the world has had such a directly physical affect both through intended alteration for its own sake or through the subsequent chain reactions of economic externality. America has twisted and bounded its way through modernity like the perfect synthesis of the Hegelian ideal . Taking cues from past empires, and axiomatic at its very core is the delusional victory of mind over matter, soul over body, civilization over the primitive. We are a kaleidoscope of factional immigrant histories who have tried and often failed to reconcile our origins in the face of that which drives us: affluence. I note these views to lay a context, for I believe just as Nietzsche did that no philosophy or history is objective. To understand anything we must know the motives and conditions that necessitated it. To understand American history is to understand such context among permeable membranes. We usually cite two pillars of western culture: the double narrative of Grecian-Roman and Judea-Christian history. Yet one cannot look with open eyes and elude the indigenous histories of which the west subsumed, who's influence is so needed now. We have disavowed and forgotten the necessity of emplaced myth, and the language of the storied, animate landscape that surrounds us. Thus in looking at culture as seemingly arbitrary form and art as investment in it, we can keep this in mind as we look to where some of those notions both came from and were thus framed. So I'd like you to imagine you're standing on the delta of sister rivers, thrusting towards you the two great rivers branch out and unfold into tributaries like a thousand strands of shimmering hair blowing softly in the summer wind. They begin melting into interspersed marshland and just ahead turn sparse, then brackish and finally open up into the vast blue sea to the south. To your east is the river that tells the story of native North America to be swallowed by western expansion. To the west, the river embodying the Grecian-Roman history that will break upon the embattled shores of Christianity and make its way through Europe towards America. Both are integral parts of our lives, the land, and the constructs placed upon it. We must remember the strengths and bounty of each to think about how they made art, dealt with sacred space and interacted with form, not to illustrate either as good or bad but to find a way to unite them as kin. We must synchronistically merge the best of each just as both rivers flow into the ocean and become one body and mind taken up into cloud formations and rained down upon the land. We too must move past our mistakes and thus openly into the integrated and fertile ground of possibility. Let us look first to the east, and then towards the river of the setting sun. 1 32
N ative North America: A
Collaboration of Becoming
Trying to illustrate or convey general cultural modes of native North America is a nearly impossible endeavor, the cultural variation was nearly as ubiquitous as its biodiversity and spread like a brilliant patchwork upon whose design both were intertwined. However of the few generalizations that can be made one is the function of imagination. Dan longboat, a Haudenosaunee scholar describes the foundational worldview as characterized by an animate realism expansive enough to include imagination itself . In other words the imagination, be it waking or dreaming was another tool in addition to sensory perception with which to process and convey the life journey. It wasn't simply an action but a place, acting as a context which allowed the sentient landscape to open a dialog between indigenous man and the cosmos. Keith Basso, in his work with the Apache of Arizona published a book called "Wisdom Sits in Places" that conveys this understanding vividly. In it he describes the way they dealt with place, by naming it in complete descriptive sentences. For instance one might be named "Five small bushes next to sharp rocks and rolling waters," so that anytime throughout the day a local might say or hear the place name and his imagination would not simply manifest some version of it, but he would travel there in his mind. There would be hundreds of such places among the day to day landscape of the Apache and each would contain the stories and memories developed in them. In this way anytime a man or woman neared such a place those stories would well up in them. David Abrams, describes this interaction as the "storied landscape" invoking mind and using the storyteller to continue its adaptive legacy through time. All things being in flux the indigenous self conception changed and evolved with the land through both oral and non verbal traditions instead of being limited by more rigid modes of communication. The prominent Acoma Pueblo, poet Simon Ortiz, describes this process as a "collaboration of becoming." Every native had a vested interest in equilibrium with the natural world, this was established from the time they could walk. Children were awash in an appreciation for the gifts and glory of life. The wonder and revery we often find in childhood was not dismissed but encouraged. In juxtaposition, it is a great dysfunction to let our young grow up in a world where both animals and objects are portrayed as having personality and motivation yet suddenly when a certain age is reached the proverbial rug is swept out from beneath their feet. We then force them to think and act anti-intuitively, holding the position that anything not human lacks our consciousness. It is a fallacy to assert that the native driven anthropomorphism is reducible to a subject giving an object human qualities. I believe this confuses it with our own anthropocentrism, instead of a native tool reminding man that his consciousness is not unique to species or even form. It not only taught one to think in non human frames of mind but that recognition is the prerequisite for compassion. 1 34
Indigenous cultures understood that a childhood wonder matures into an environmental ethic, just as imagination matures into a developed mythos incorporating all things through connection. The most famous phrase illustrating this connection is "Aho Mitakuye Oyasin" or [all are related] which aligns with Ortiz's claim that not only are all things related but that they're in constant and evolving collaboration. For where would the corn be without the insect, or humanity without the corn? The sole purpose and simultaneously the result of indigenous life is a sustained enchantment with the animate landscape. For instance the word in Lakota for sublimity is: Woimnayankel, which acts as both a verb and descriptive adjective. Most indigenous languages were verb based, this means that instead of describing a place by the things in it they would describe what was happening . In this way nothing was ever scriptural but constantly in flux and to know a place was to know it in all tenses. Woimnayankel means awe, humility and interconnectedness all at once and is often used to describe the Aurora Borealis or any number of natural experiences. For this reason the Kantian purposeless purpose or "art for art's sake" was nowhere to be found in indigenous culture. Art was instead functional to its core and was used to illustrate and remind generation after generation the majesty of Wahan Tanka [the Great Spirit]. Neither was there division between art, religion, work, community or day to day life. All were subject to that process of a collaboration of becoming. The Ojibwe call it the art of useful living, life itself was lived as an art form, culminating in moral and spiritual symbiosis. This can be conveyed in more examples than there are ways to illustrate them but here we will examine just a few. Consider the "Ghost beads" of the Ute. A dusty, light blue berry falls from the gnarling bush like branches of a Juniper tree. This berry would dry and shrivel if left out in the deep sun of the desert, yet a bird carries it off devouring the juicy flesh. This leaves a seed, and locked away inside is a meaty, nutty morsel. This seed is sometimes found by a Kangaroo mouse or pack rat who will patiently and precisely chew a perfect circle in the seed to release the highly sought after prize. And when all is said and done, what remains is taken by the Ute, who clip the other end and turn the seed into a bead. It is said that one must wear a necklace of 101 ghost beads, for in the afterlife each of the 100 gatekeepers require one bead for safe passage and Coyote is sure to trick you out of at least one. The Ute see themselves as part of a larger collaboration between earth, tree, animal and human. Navajo jewelry and pottery convey this as well, usually including symbolism depicting the four sacred mountains: Blanca, Taylor, the San Francisco and Hespern peaks. These align with the correlating stones: white shell, turquoise, abalone and obsidian. The stones did more than simply act as adornment in reference they connected the people to their beliefs, not just to spiritually orient but to culturally remind. Often times there would be a symbol for Dine [the people] or simply the color red, because the earth was red and so too the people.
To use the pot or to wear the bracelet is to wear the earth because we are the earth; the place all material comes from and must return. Another example is the Navajo's sand painting, much like the Buddhist mandalas familiar today. These works were created as part of healing ceremonies by crushing different rocks, minerals, and flower petals with corn pollen as a sacred offering creating a myriad of colors. They would spend hours creating through ritual, prayer and meditation, vastly intricate designs that would be destroyed upon completion, for nothing after all is permanent. These were works made by one who had devoted themself to the arts of healing, to help restore Hozho or balance to the physically and spiritually ill. Though terms like medicine man or shaman are often gross generalities we can imagine the shaman as artist, for if imagination is at base the extension of reality then art is the natural borderland between sensation, perception, and articulation . In this way every action whether out of necessity or comfort was to be taken with seriousness and joy simultaneously, or in short: reverence, one regularly renewed through sublimity. It is this state of collaboration between man and environment that we have seen but often do not see. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the most basic and common of all art forms of the indigenous peoples: the dance. Nearly always to the drum, that which echoes the heart, recalls the thunderbolt, resounds the rhythm in all things. There is a dance for every occasion in indigenous life, of celebration and mourning, thanksgiving and forewarning. But all are tied to the body as a mirror for that rhythm. Just as the tobacco becomes smoke which is spirit materialized  so too does the dance give physical form to intention through action. It is a vibrant cacophony of color, sound and motion that conveys an inward silence, a spirit that speaks without words and dissolves the merely physical into story just as the skilled wondersmith  dissolves the story into its component truths. It's an act of thanks or sacrifice. For example in the Lakota Sun Dance, the body is made [nearly uniformly cared for as a temple in native tradition] into offering [through physical violence] for the Great Spirit, to remind us of that time honored truth we so often forget; that struggle is the teacher and solace the motivation to continue. The indigenous peoples took this to heart, one of the most time honored and well known traditions exemplifying this is the "hanblecheyapi" or crying for a vision. In this a youth would first undergo the process of the "inipi" or sweat bath, where he would purify his spirit through the guidance of an elder. This was done in a wigwam made from bent saplings that were grounded in the earth, covered in hides and sealed so no light could penetrate. Seven stones were heated in an eastern facing fire and then placed in the center. The pipe was used, the prayers said and cool water poured atop the hot stones so that the steam and smoke could merge allowing spirit to travel between them .
This was the act of creating a womb, both as representation of child rearing as well as of the birth of the people. To enter the lodge was to enter creation as it was when all things spoke one language, to emerge was to emerge ready to converse as such. The youth then found a place usually up high to fast and seek a vision. Sticks or poles were placed in each of the four directions signifying holy ground and the seeker in the center became not only the midpoint between earth and sky but the Axis Mundi . Having stripped away not only all the comforts of daily life but the necessities as well one got as close as is humanly possible to the Great Mystery. Up to two weeks of constant focus without food or drink the seeker was given a vision and an elder usually at a removed but watchful distance helped the seeker home. The process ended where it began, in the inipi, where the elder helped interpret the vision. The youth returned from liminality as an adult, given a spirit name to walk among their people. This was done to remind the seeker of who he/she was among them, for though there was great homogeneity among tribal life there was also a great value placed on the individual. It is the individual who is responsible for his or her spiritual well being, not a savior or intercessor between them and the divine. The hanbelecheyapi would be repeated throughout life, to routinely re-clarify one's place in the world. And still a vision did not simply belong to the individual but to their people as a whole for to have a vision was to see the world from a new angle and thus to bring it back was both honorable and obligatory. The vision that was given through the land would be given to the people through the seeker and in this way the people would change with the land. It was never a describing of, but a dialog with one's surroundings. Just as pointe-work doesn't stand for the whole of ballet or wealth the entire pursuit of modernity we can find the nuances of each and sumize how they operate. Likewise we can take cues from indigenous culture in its choreography of living. Their dance was one to take example of, in which we can find new footing and a congruence between affluence and grace. Finally in looking at sacred space, we must realize that though all people of all times changed the land to delineate it as sacred, communal, etc. Native North American sacred structure was always built to as fluid, to be made upon but also reclaimed by its locality. To return HERE to THIS place. It is identity as arising from a place oriented cosmogony; we return here because this is the land from which our people were born, this is true of the Sioux's black hills or the Haudenosaunee's Onodogna Lake. Because a place retains its stories and contains the beliefs of a people it must be stewarded and protected. Yet at the same time no space was necessarily more important than any other, because all points in creation were eternally pregnant with the possibility to incite and reveal vision. All of nature was as open to vision as the seeker was able to engage in it, and the elder to properly interpret. Now this might seem like a paradox, for how can import be given to the land based on cosmogony and yet leveled by vision?
I think a possible answer could be found in a quote from Black Elk:
"Birds build their nests in circles, because theirs is the same religion as ours." A nest is built as a direct extension of the body through repeated pressure of the breast, through tedium and often pain. It is built with the heart, the body itself the heat source from which to incubate its young. And with each migration a new nest is built, the home is made anew always the same and never the same. For a bird there is no difference between religion and science or magic and technology, in this way Black Elk didn't anthropomorphize the bird, he realized instead, it was he the human animal who could learn from it . Indigenous peoples understood that no matter what might happen in life as much as they were from a place, they also carried their homes with them. Home was connection, collaboration, it took work but that work was most vividly Gibran's "love made visible." I have purposely used the past tense to describe these conditions, for the legacy of the indigenous peoples though alive has been and continues to fight extinction. And thus, before we move to the Greeks I think it bears repeating once again, that recognition is the prerequisite for compassion and compassion not wealth, begets actual and lasting progress.
G recian-Roman Antiquity:
The Interconnection of Form and Function
And now what of the river of the setting sun? That metaphor made visible upon completion of the Aris Pacis by Augustus, the physical incarnation of Pax Romana  which faces down the encroaching darkness, what of the west? I will confine my scope to the Greek legacy, a narrative that can often be used much like a Rorschach card on which to project both accomplishment and catastrophe. Nearly all we immediately associate with Greece comes from the classical period, more specifically the "age of Pericles," for from his death in 429BC it was less than 100 years before Philip would defeat the last free army of Greeks at Chaironeia and usher in the Hellenistic age. And yet so much leading up to and coming after it defined the Greek or better stated Athenian world view. From Alexander's diffusion, Roman acquisition and medieval scholasticism we have come to be enormously influenced in both blatant and subtle ways through various modes of thought and interaction that are still prevalent today. There are many readings of the texts and artifacts we have uncovered and among them I find many opportunities for continuity with indigenous culture. I have chosen to focus on Greece for this reason, not to discount Judea-Christian thought but to pay notice to the cultural modes that existed previous to and alongside it, specifically those that were never as prevalent thereafter. To understand Greek art or ritual is also to study Greek religion. Similar in some ways to Native North American culture, there was no separation between religious, civic or philosophical life in the way we know them today. Neither was there a scriptural or revelatory text from which the capital TRUTH was referenced or an intercessor to decipher it. The Greek citizen was likewise responsible for his or her own spirituality. It would be wonderfully convenient to adopt the Great Goddess hypothesis purported by Sir Arthur Evans, Robert Graves and many others of matriarchal societies that flourished on pre-indo-European Crete and elsewhere. To posit that like many indigenous tribal formations, Greeks lived in harmony with the natural world and in prosperous equality. Unfortunately the evidence simply isn't there, though many sculptural depictions of goddesses were found this simply doesn't translate into a provable claim that they all reference one, nor that if they were it would be a "benevolent mother." However, evidence does support that pre-archaic religion was chthonic or earth centered, and all though sky based Olympianism subsumed it the interplay between the two was present throughout Greek art and culture. This was made famous when Nietzsche dubbed it the struggle between the Dionysian and the Apollonian or passion and reason. This can be seen in the eternal struggles and tension between Zeus and Hera, or Hermes and Hestia.
Yet even more interestingly is the paradoxically subtle worship of the local hero cults. These were heroes that had fought on either side of the Trojan war yet operated much differently in cult than myth. Though later establishing dominance they were first associated with strong feminine, chthonic deities and were said to appear intermittently as "snakes." These cults provided rights of passage that symbolically represented the penitent labors, or reenactments of the epic quests and accomplishments of myth. Yet these were not just heroes, they were men with deep flaws. Hercules, before setting out upon his quest was driven mad and killed his wife and children in cold blood, Theseus , abandoned his savior Ariadne on the island of Naxos to die after she single handedly saved his life. Each shows inclination to the "wolf's rage" or gluttonous hunger and insatiable thirst connected to the the Dionysian, to the animal in man. Their function wasn't simply to buttress moderation but to remind a growing Olympianism of its Chthonic roots. No art form better depicts this than the Greek theater and in particular, the tragedies held at the annual festival for Dionysus. This wasn't simply an act of entertainment; a citizen's seat was paid for by the Polis. It was obligatory, as much a part of being a Greek as being politically engaged in participatory democracy. Each festival began with rituals and sacrifice to supplicate Dionysus. Citizens who had done courageous or altruistic acts were recognized, as well as those that had died in battle. They came to find out who they were, what they were capable of, and most of all the cost of acting with an unbridled ego. They sat through three consecutive tragedies for hours without breaks lasting literally all day. The only respite was a short burlesque at the end to lighten the mood. These were works in which masked and robed performers enacted every licentious act imaginable, from matricide to incest and cannibalism, why? Because Eros wasn't simply a creative force but a destructive one as well. Passion can drive one to madness. The tragedy was not simply to be watched but engaged in. To move through what Aristotle coined catharsis. By vicariously acting those deeds out one is purged of the need to commit them in their daily lives. This wasn't simply to take in and thus shed what was bad, but to be reminded of the shared values Greek culture held in place as opposition to them. They were inspired by Dionysus, the god of excess itself. Who both binds and releases, creates the taboos around which Greek society was organized but also the ways in which to supersede them, through exstasis, [ecstasy] or enthusiasmos [enthusiasm]. For example one Athenian mystery cult's rite of passage would have young girls invoke the god and run out into the countryside in nothing but bear skins tearing the heads off small animals in a divine frenzy. Yet they came back from liminality as women with wholly new societal roles. Even amidst the carnage of it all, this was a crucially necessary part of the coming age for these women, fulfilling vital stopgaps from the oppressive seclusion of their daily lives. Each excess was not and end into itself but a direct path back to normative moderation. These acts were done to bring up images of chthonic heritage, to pay homage to an earth in which life itself was contained. 1 42
It also does violence to Greek antiquity to view its humanism as counter to the natural world, the Gods themselves were little more than personified natural forces. To partake in the Eleusinian mysteries was again more than simply an anthropmorphization of the changing of seasons; it was to attempt real connection with nature as a process itself. The Greeks didn't think they were Gods, nor did they think the Gods omnipotent, they were subject to fate just like humans were . The Gods weren't all that concerned with man other than by accident or folly. One only need look to the "Theogony" or the Homeric epics to see the Gods and man as simultaneously trying to operate outside of fate and constantly failing. These are narratives that bespeak a knowledge outside both the Gods and man's understanding, fate as leveler. By looking inward one can attempt to make sense of one's place in a world that is subject to it, while also reminded of how precious and sublime it is to exist in the cosmos at all. This can be found in the ways the Greeks and many other ancient cultures practiced cultic sacrifice. Sacrifice can be read as many things but it was nothing if not an acknowledgment of nature as sacred. Each encounter taking the form of an offering much like the Native North American "thanksgiving" to the hunted animal for giving the party permission to take its life. Aristotle himself, the hero of the natural sciences said, "to contemplate only things that pertain to us is to presuppose that man is the best thing, but man is not the best thing." So what is the best thing? The living organic cosmos is the best thing ; it is prevalent throughout his treatises, from his physics to his ethics. He went so far as to describe sacrifice as necessary to the Polis, why? Because a societies rituals are the greatest examples of its axioms, because you know who you are based on what you value as greater than yourself. The family first gathered round the hestia, it was where marriage took place as well as the deposition of the infant. Built as a circular hearth at the center of the open space, it was what grounded the house to the earth. Where the sacrifice was cooked and carried the offering into the sky, again man as midpoint. Though with the growth of the Polis the hestia grafually became the hestia koine or "hearth of the polis" and was used much more politically, yet its origins and symbolism cannot be denied. Throughout Greek art and architecture we can find a passion that was forged into proportion, a subtle restraint. Neither here will we find art for art's sake, it had a specific function: to remind the citizen both of what it meant to be a Greek and the duty necessary to maintain that identity. This was much like Native North American culture culture upholding the individual through the use of spirit names without allowing for an extreme individualism inevitably leading to tyranny. The Greek mantra was "nothing to excess." Who exemplifies this more than Achilles, whose anger opens the pages of the Iliad? So angry that he allows his fellow Achaeans to die until his closest friend is slain mistakenly for himself. What happens when the pursuit of glory puts not just oneself but those closest in danger, well what happens is the "wolf's rage," that age old dynamic again of a passion that rules both reason and action. Achilles isn't simply a hero, he is a lesson of what not to do. 431
And what of swift witted Odysseus who leaves with a crew, and gets them all killed because of his vanity and guile. Why does he finally return? Because to be Odysseus is to be the husband of Penelope. It is the concept of nostoi [return], to be reminded of what one is and how one should act. However in Greek painting and sculpture in general it is rare to find portraits or renditions of specific figures, instead you find types, ideal forms. It was a pervasive awareness that one must idealize without propagandizing, beauty and truth were indistinct. Because it's not the way the way you see something changes it, but how what you look at changes you. To make what is valued morally, because seeing it and living with it will affect you emotionally. Remember we defined art as the possibility to acknowledge emotional investment, In understanding the interplay between the rational and the emotional, the Greeks knew how to use emotion to invoke reason itself. It was an arts practice based on harmony endeavoring towards a civic life that is a reflection of the living cosmos. To create a symmetry between what is thought, felt, seen and known. This is how we come to the most heralded achievement of Greek civilization and by far the one that has had the most lasting of impacts: philosophy. This wasn't just a labor of freeloaders who had nothing better to do than sit around the agora wasting time debating life. This was a highly regimented program dedicated to understanding what it meant to be human, and what could be learned both internally and externally to us. Let it be stated dually that Socrates developed the Socratic method in the aftermath of the Peloponnesian war in which Athens lost to Sparta quite badly. This is philosophy as a rite of passage, in which all had been inverted and now the job was to pick up the pieces and to learn from the past. When we hear the phrase "the unexamined life is not worth living" we should take it deadly serious because he meant it that way . The most famous inscription scrawled across Apollo's temple at Delphi is "Gnothi Seauton" [know thyself] this was the foundational lynchpin behind Greek life. So how do we know ourselves? by knowing what kind of beings we are, what we're made of, and how we stand in relation to other things. by knowing our place in the cosmos, and our purpose therein. Though it can and is debated to no end, I would take Aristotle's cue and say that the Greek's purpose was Eudaimonia. This word is translated many different ways and usually comes out to something like happiness. But this isn't quite right, it isn't simply happiness but flourishing. To Aristotle all things were constantly in oscillation between potentiality and actuality much like Ortiz's "becoming." He asserted that all persons, animals and objects were aimed at some good equated to their telos [purpose], they were flourishing to the extent at which they were achieving their arete [function]. For Aristotle, the proper function of humanity is flourishing, through stewarding oneself and one's environment. This could be likened to living well, much like the Ojibwe's art of useful living. Were there intense flaws in his thinking, was he attuned to the overall mindset that was pro-slave and held that women should be servile because they were dangerous and not to be trusted? Absolutely, and I still hold to my position that it is vastly important to take the context of a philosophy into account. 1 44
Yet it is hard to find another mind, that has had such a profoundly beneficial impact on such a vast area of subjects and one must be able to as we have seen to keep the baby, and not the bathwater. What Aristotle gave us more importantly was the dialectic, he begins physics by taking survey of all previous inquiries, in fact the majority of the pre-socratics would be lost had it not been for this. What makes this survey so important isn't just the ideas developed out of it, but the fact that they are provably wrong. In this way there is no truth that stagnates or becomes beyond question. In this same manner after the fall of Rome and the rise of the church the west had in all semblance forgotten about antiquity and had it not been for the scholars of Islam we would not have many of the works which have long since been canonized. One of the problems of modernity is that this dialectic went from a tool for the evolution of a conversation to notches in a professional stick, just as each field has its own lexicon so too does it have its achievements. In this case we've created an unconscious prerequisite that one must debunk their predecessors to validate their own work. Success becomes motivated not by the search for truth [science] and the application of its knowledge [technology] but a pursuit of accomplishment through recognition and profitability. Compound that by the loss of the final cause [telos] and the rise of the enlightenment and you have a recipe for the creation of methodology and innovation that needn't be qualified by knowing what a things is for and thus if it should be made at all. One only need look at the cold war to see the inherent danger of this practice. In Greece the home, the Polis, and indeed the individual all had a purpose and though we might not agree with what they were, we would most definitely be better off keeping present, what exactly we in modernity think they are for and the ends they strive to achieve.
F lourishing as Axis Point:
Come back now, to our metaphor; those two rivers flowing like veins from land to sea. We live in that brackish water between beach and bay, yet our lives have been prone to privileging mind over body, of seeing knowledge of the senses as in the past corrupt and in the present illegitimate.  We must remember that one cannot act in place of the other, that they are indeed the rivers kin. We too must recall the proper function of the sea as the great diffuser. Wherein all knowledge intermingles but retains its shape and integrity. There is an alchemical phrase prevalent in many ancient texts that reads: "Solve Et Coagula," it means to dissolve through the crucible and then reassemble into something purified through the process of transmutation. This was most often associated with turning lead into gold and yet for the true alchemist pursuing the "great work" one could only achieve this if they had come to a point where they no longer had desire for gold or better stated the wealth of gold at all. This comes a littler closer to what I mean by a sensuous science, a science moving towards transcendence. To be dedicated to a methodology not for gain but cohesion . Just as the Native Amerian youth would anchor themselves as axis points between heaven and earth through the axis mundi, or the Greco-Roman family through the hestia, we must find our own. As Aristotle sugguested, it is not enough to survive, we must flourish. David Bohm, in discussing communication and the dialectic illustrates how when two or more people communicate they usually have a different idea of the concept around which they are speaking and often only reinforce their own perceptions instead of realizing and acknowledging the difference. this acknowledgement is the key to contributing towards a mutually beneficial end. He urges us to move from this dialectic into a dialog in which all parties have an equal fervor for the truth. Where no one is trying to one up another but all are trying to forge something in common. Like the artist who has an idea of what they will create knows that it's never quite what is actually made in the end. Our ideas as arbitrary form must be shaped not just by our conception but by how they will live and interact once they are gone from us. Just as the rivers kin must empty into the delta, must diffuse, interact and become the stronger for it. This allows us to invest in the land while not convincing ourselves we own it. We must find a center within, to do is to establish the fulfilled life as a blanced life, as a life dedicated towards sustained enchantment with the world around us and just as importantly each other. To accept the humility fostered by sublime experience as a necessary and natural part of growth.
[That Wh ic h is So u g h t E x t e rna l] Summer [Nigredo]: 1.
The "present" in modern physics is labeled a hyperplane in space time which cannot be defined in fixed terms for we must take into account that all observers are in a state of constant relative motion. Thus the present is most often what is accepted as the past, much like trying to document emergent phenomenon.
Richard Dawkins, in his book "The Selfish Gene" paved the way for a gene-centric view of evolution where all intelligent bodies are reduced down to simple vessels for their genes who use them as generational tools for evolution labeling most living things "Gene-carriers."
After the foundation of the Bohr model of the electrons orbiting the nucleus much like the planets orbiting the sun it was discovered that 99.9% of an atom's structure is empty space. When looking at objects we assume to be solid we often presume what actually constitutes them.
All matter in the universe is governed by four forces: The strong and weak force, electromagnetism and gravity. Much of science from Einstein on have sought a unified theory whose latest manifestation: string theory attempts to unite them. However it is certain if any of the forces were even a fraction different the universe as we know it would not exist.
In his book "De Musica," Boethius took cue from Greek antiquity describing musica in three distinct categories; universalis: or the mathematical harmony of the heavenly bodies, humana: or the internal music of the human body, and instrumentalis: or the sounds made by instruments or voices. Each of these in turn was in part a reflection and in some ways dependent upon the others.
As the Vascular membrane converts vibration into electricity to carry sensory data it relies on neurons to create new synaptic pathways in the brain, just as the sound molecules pass on the vibrations to one another so too do the neural connections play a complex game of jumping frog. This happens in such a short amount of time they could nearly be seen as simultaneous, much like a choreographed dance.
Democratis who coined the term "atom" from atmos - that which cannot be split, used it to define the matter out of which all things were made. He believed that each object contained its own set of specific atoms in relation to the void. Aristotle's version classified things in relation to type as opposed to matter yet he saw the universe as held together by fundamental laws based on nature. When Aristotelians took up his work, like Augustine they used it as under-girding for divine law, yet losing the organic quality for a rigidly defined set of rules putting Aristotle and and the pre-socratics even more at odds.
In the Golden Bough, Frazer describes magic, science, and religion as never quite distinct through time. He likens them to being 3 colors of fabric that are woven into each other from magic, to religion, to science though each containing the remnants of the other two.
Autumn [Albedo]: 9.
Eco describes our fabricated experiences like that of the Amazon in Disney land as being so real they become hyper-real. Something that can act as a substitute for the real experience without any of the cost or danger. The issue raised takes the form of a question: What happens when the hyper-real replaces the real, when plastic trees are deemed more suitable than real ones?
10. Much like the debates over whether Homer was in fact a combined effort by multiple authors to record oral tradition, there is debate about whether or not Longinus actually authored this work on the sublime. 11. In looking at evolutionary aspects of learning methods, Holloway posits that emulative learning or sincerity based cognitive models slowly replaced imitative or mirror/action based models because as humanity increased in technology and complexity it became important not simply to know how someone did something but why they did it, and if it was right or wrong. The easiest reference is someone robs a banks instead of earning the money, both have the same end result however the former has much different consequences than the latter.
12. To create anything requires investment of some kind, however in modernity it has become "fashionable" to rebuke that investment, hence Kant's description of art for art's sake. Though an artist may do all in their power to remove themselves from their work, at some point all art is self portraiture not only of the individual but of the cultural conditions that surrounded them. 13. By borrowed wealth I mean to say that we create capital based on no underlying assets yet use that capital to acquire them. These systems IE Holloway's "delusional systems" pay off in the short term. We acknowledge their success and praise them much like we would praise the ballerina for success in a intricately choreographed performance. Yet to do this we deny the reality of what's actually being used to create this illusion and at some point that reality will collect on our debts. 14. In his famous work: "the Phenomenology of Spirit," Hegel laid out his theory of the historical dialectic, positing that history was determined by repeated conflict. This is not to be confused with philosophical dialectic where the truth is the end result, in this case Hegel's geist or spirit would bound through the ages determined by fate. Thus the strong were not simply strong but predetermined by God to be that way, the winner of a battle was destined to be the victor. A very few spirits through time would take control of this, Hegel viewed Napoleon as one such soul. 15. "Iroquoian belief can be understood as a spiritual connection to a bountiful reality known also as an ecosystem or a traditional territory. This traditional territory is so vast that Haudenosaunee tradition speaks about the sky as the roof, the Mother Earth as the floor and the setting sun and the rising moon as the doorways of the Longhouse. Consequently, there is no need to account for the imaginary since the encounter with Creation's authentic qualities embodies what is and was and what can be in a cycle that is always returning to sacred time's forever." Sheridan Longboat: Imagination and Ecology of the Sacred. York University, 2006 16. The common lynchpin behind native American belief is that reality is in a constant state of flux. Leroy Little Bear, a Blackfoot scholar in his preface to David Bohm's: "On Creativity" describes how the native mind looks at itself as a surfer of reality thus language to him is a describing of the changes around him that make up the space instead of trying to pin down the space itself.
17. Cognitive shorthand for the native is expressed through a rich pool of myth. This is expressed through storytelling and which relies and gains reinforcement from the art which is made as an extension of the myth or story. Each piece of art for the native carries a specific and inherent function: The drum is played, the pipe is smoked, the wampum tells stories thus art is simply an extension of the imagination as imagination is to reality. 18. One of the most sacred traditions to Amerindians is the use of the pipe, when tobacco is turned to smoke it is literally materializing the spirit as an offering that Eagle takes up to The Great Spirit. It is an essential part of thanksgiving and communication in nearly every native culture. 19. The wondersmith is a term used by Robert Bringhurst to describe the storyteller whose specialty is the wondertale. 20. Just as the smoke materialized spirit so too was it believed that the steam coming up off of the stones during the inip did the same and thus the offering to Wahan Tanka and the inner dialogue with self could merge and clarify each other. 21. When the "seeker" found his place to lament, he would erect four poles in each of the four cardinal directions, to mirror the lodge of the inipi, and the cosmos itself. He in the middle would become the axis point in which the "soul of the world" would bestow a vision. 22. Black Elk wanted to relate the way a bird was completely immersed in its function, or arete just as Aristotle believed that Eudaimonia was how humanity could Flourish, Elk wanted to see each of us to re-center ourselves towards our own functions, so like the bird or the earlier reference to Frazer our lives would move seamlessly and holistically between magic, religion, and science. This is the essence of nest-building, to live with the world not on it. 23. Pax Romana or Roman Peace was the long period of relative peace and minimal expansion by military force experienced by the Roman Empire during the 1st and 2nd centuries. 24. The Oracle at Delphi is famous for saying: "no one, not even a god, can escape his appointed fate," just like Persephone and the pomegranate, or her and Aphrodite's relationship with Adonis. The best one could do was to be mindful of moirai.
25. Daniel Robinson explores Aristotle's views on nature reflected across his work, in his book "Aristotle's Psychology" positing that his search to quantify the world around him was rooted in a deep reverence for it. 26. It is often forgotten that Socrates himself had been a soldier in the Peloponnesian war and was deeply troubled after Athenian Defeat. Much of his format of the Academy when examined with any fervor shares a striking resemblance to the Spartan Agoge. 27. Christianity who held the reins on science for many years believed that the body was a corrupt vessel and thus the senses themselves only led to temptation. After the Enlightenment we came to another quandary, the birth of normative and then quantum physics opened up a world that could not be "seen" with the senses and thus often discounted them, it is up to us to understand that our methodology must be posited AND inferred, but also FELT. 28. John Dewey said: "Science states meanings; Art expresses them."Yet throughout Dewey's work, most especially in his book "Art as Experience" he suggests a less hard-lined division around where they intersect. To do sensuous science is not simply to codify, or categorize, or even hypothesize but to both think and feel one's way to the answer, an answer that has a telos, and whose merit is judged by its ultimate good.
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Image Index From Who se H a nd s H a v e [ *Cover photograph “Bird,” as well as the following illustration “Out of the Woods,” co-design of the Medicine Wheel diagram in the preface and closing image “Forest Female” by Emily Lodigensky. All other imagry courtesy of Janet Simpson In order of apperance by section:
Bird Out of the Woods Morning Burried Sentiments: Janet
I [Am Not Alone] Medicine Wheel
Containment: Phases of Strawberry Transitional Space Untitled
19 21 25
Dragonfly Containment: Above and Below Stillness in Silent Rooms: XIII Spring II Spring Buried Sentiments: Mintra
2/3 4/5 8/9 11
Spring V Buried Sentiments: Brittany Forest Female
27 29 33 35 41 47 53 58 59/60