Art, even more so than craft, cannot be contained by technique.
If you think, “I know what I’m doing!” You’re either mistaken or you are killing whatever art you might have been capable of creating. Hampered your capacity to enter an involvement in an act of creation.
An artist’s materials can be a useful medium in so far as they allow flexibility while retaining a history of our manipulations.
Art & Faith
Faith is the wellspring of meaning.
Art is the crucible in which questions of meaning are held.
All art is religious. This is not a reductivist statement.
Public life in America is wrapped in the Sanctity of Ignorance.
A belief in data and process. Data and process reduced to disembodied talismans in displaced rituals. We make the signs of reason. This is taken as sufficient.
Interaction exists only to defend or promote a favored agenda. One accepted as true. Never questioned. Challenges suppressed. Discomfort at any cognitive dissonance quashed. We are never allowed to dwell in a space of open questioning outside of any agenda.
Truth is only that which does not challenge orthodoxy. An orthodoxy perceived as constantly under threat, beleaguered, and in need of desperate defense.
An orthodoxy that sees itself attacked from all sides. A fragmented orthodoxy broken into a myriad of disparate sects. Each caught in a breathless, righteous defensiveness. Believers trapped in Balkanized enclaves willing to die rather than accept any challenge to the tottering edifice of their patchwork of mutated inherited beliefs.
Technologies work when we have surrendered to those forces insisting we trade a chance to live for an ability to chase after ends. Someone else’s ends. Imposed or internalized.
All reductive strategies – all strategies – veer into unintended consequences as a result. The connection is direct and basic. Fundamental to this attitude and world view.
These schemes do not work.
Failures hide behind the drama of striving.
Another hope always glitters on the horizon….
These fragmentary notes track a transition of how and what I do. These observations arose on either side of a dialogue with Jeppe Graugaard. The outline of this breakthrough began to take shape as we talked.
This may appear mysterious, or intentionally melodramatic. Either might be employed if there were a grand audience here to confound or entertain.
There is not. For the tens of thousands of “hits” over the years, this site’s regular readership would not crowd a small kitchen. Dreams of viral break-out are overblown – even for a dedicated virus. It is important to recognize the limits of this blog’s reach and act accordingly. One advantage – a reality, advantageous or not! – is the recognition that it is possible here to write without a concern for how “the critics” might take it. No need to wrestle with defenders of the status quo… in any of its various guises.
Not much changes as a result of this. It’s not as though I have striven to make things easy and accessible, thrilling or addictive. I will continue to turn my back on such methods.
What does community mean? We are physically isolated. The much touted networking age and its tools have not panned out, except to produce a new generation of billionaires on the backs of our free “content.”
This, our “virtual space” is as deeply compromised as our physical spaces. Contaminated and controlled by those chasing after power, leaving violence and destruction in their wakes. Violence expressed in part by the tenuous quality of the connections this medium makes possible. I have watched a wave of disappointment ripple across the internet. Many have discovered just how thin a community tracked as a statistic of so-many-followers can be.
Carving out virtual communities is as chimerical as any attempt to find “Virgin Territory” in our physical world, searching for a place to act with an unfettered agency.
Neither space exists. An insistence on chasing these fantasies, whether of a virtual network or a physical haven, is well within the approved cannon of acceptable renegade behavior. A way to entertain the masses and provide “moral lessons” in our eventual co-option or defeat. Our dear Mr. Brand, our latest example of this breed. A rebel trapped within the space of empire he seeks to overthrow.
What else is there?
What else is possible?
The last few posts have touched on a path. A broad avenue of potential discovery.
It’s all religion. Behavior rests on belief. All belief resides within a realm approached through a religious impulse, the arena of our hunger for meaning. No matter how it is expressed.
This recognition liberates us. I grew up with a deep reluctance, a shyness, about religion. Many share this in one form or another.
Accepting this is liberating. It provides a place.
If art is a crucible for meaning. And, craft is how we integrate meaning into our lives. It helps to understand where meaning comes from. Why we have it. Why we need it.
Religion is the “place” where meaning resides.
Where we hold meaning.
Threes are big! There is stability in triads and trinities. Either virulent or virtuous. A virulent stability, as in the resilience of a tumor, or of civilization metastasizing, gaining in vigor, even as either destroys its host.
What might a virtuous stability look like?
The virulent sort comes about from a confusion of what it means to be religious. Civilization has been based on “gaming” reality to achieve certain ends via an accumulation of power. The religious impulse was its first conquest.
Our history is the history of this conquest. Of the near annihilation of any other view.
This is where eternity lives. These twin misunderstandings have fueled the spiritual and physical conquest and destruction closing in on us.
It’s only natural to be averse to religion in these circumstances. It has been used to subjugate and destroy our agency for so long. This effort has been tremendously successful. We teeter on the brink of its perpetrators’ victory.
A victory celebrated by the annihilation of everything that opposes this form of belief.
A victory celebrated in the annihilation of all life.
This isn’t the only possible form the religious impulse can take.
Christ on the cross was, and continues to be, a potent symbol for something I only realized after reading Jung. Christ was a man nailed to binary polarity. Fixed to the point of an agonizing death. Trapped between Good and Evil.
The message in his deliverance held an answer. It provided a third. A trinity breaks the binds of duality. Three holds the multitude. Three is complexity overwhelming our frustration. Frustration leading us so often to see in complexity only chaos and complication.
This message was crushed in civilization’s maw. His example was used. Institutions of power took over his legacy. Instead of a living sign of eternity in the here and now, he was folded into a story of salvation. His could have been a potent story celebrating life.
The space within which the religious impulse lives… Let’s call it the Theosphere – credit freely and thankfully given to JMG.
A field is a particular form of place. Fields exist in an interpenetrating reality. They share location and transcend it. They are particular and hold all possibility. Everything implicated within an implicate order. In this cosmography there is no chaos, only forms of order we have insufficient perspectives to understand. We are incapable of perceiving their coherence.
Unlike beliefs placed in a Heaven, within this field of belief there is no need for salvation. There is nothing to be saved from or saved to. From within this broad view, complexity does not appear as a source of fear but of wonder and joy.
What if we did what humans have always done?
What if we recognize that the space we crave is a space we can only find in community?
That the only clear space for community lies within the Theosphere.
A community lives as an expression of belief.
Community can only exist within a space that acknowledges this. Where we do not flinch in fear, but face complexity, and all it implies, as the wellspring of life.
Acting, living within this awareness, places us in relationship with eternity. An eternity we recognize within each moment as it arises.
Such a space does not require “if-only-s.” No ideal between us and what-is. This is a vital place. No matter how much time and space in it we may get to enjoy.
Eternity is already here. All space is interpenetrated.