Category: Uncategorized

Art Attack # 1

 

 

Inspired by the free-flowing piece on writing that I linked in my previous post, here are some foot-loose and fancy-free reflections prompted by the above graphic.

I’m a sucker for clever graphics. This one pretty well sums up my philosophy of life. If you define science as the exploration of nature, you have the classic art-nature opposition which dissolves because art seeks to celebrate and even emulate nature by mimicking it. As we learn ever more about our world, art evolves to reflect scientific understanding. And like natural evolution, a more willed process than used to be thought, art involves performance-feedback-revision.

I’m also a sucker for equations. An equation to represent the graphic might be:

Knowledge + Creativity = Reverence

By coincidence, I’ve just read this in ‘V’ by Howard Jacobson:

There was rapture and there was responsibility. Each imposed an obligation of seriousness but together they made the serious sacred.

Dionysus and Apollo together make up the ancient Greek ideal – two sides of the same coin, no one without the other. The poet William Blake understood that ‘without Contraries is no progression’. But what strikes me about the equation is how it echoes the Buddhist concept of Higher Worlds: Learning, Realisation and Compassion.

A swift digression – I’m no student of religion and happy to be put right but my understanding is that there are 10 Worlds:

Hell, Hunger, Anger, Animality, Tranquillity, Heaven, Learning, Realisation, Compassion, Nirvana.

Hunger is absolute want. Anger is the root of conflict and war. Animality is obsession with status, pecking-order, dog-eats-dog. Tranquillity, sometimes known as Humanity, is inertia – passive acceptance of the status quo. Suffering two or more of these Worlds becomes a Hell on earth. Heaven is a temporary respite from the other Lower Worlds.

Now the good news. As we all know, there are positives in adversity which enable us to climb out. Learning is our evolutionary lifeline. Realisation I take to mean mastery, the attainment of skills which help us transcend ego. Compassion is simply fellow-feeling. Blend these Higher Worlds to attain Nirvana – escape from the cycle of Birth and Death, with all its inevitable suffering.

Now – cards on the table – I don’t happen to believe in Reincarnation, any more than I believe in Transubstantiation. Infected by the scientific method, I require hard evidence of life after death – evidence which is so far not forthcoming. But the 10 Worlds work for me as a theory of human life, with the potential to alleviate my natural and universal fear of death. And if I can use the certainty of my own demise as a means of enhancing my appreciation of life, so much the better – one in the eye for the Grim Reaper, you might say …

Enough for now. More to come next post, though, as I’ve only just scratched the surface of what I want to say. It gets more cheerful, promise!

Here’s a taste of what’s to come …

 

Image result for the grim reaper

 

Image: Twitter

Home by Warsan Shire

Now this is worth sharing … a trumpet blast in the face of the wall mentality!

Love in the Time of Colorado

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Try reading this poem out loud without your voice breaking.

Home

by Warsan Shire

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well–

your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be…

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New Year Resolution (Late Entrant)

After a spell away from home with limited internet access, I’ve been catching up on other WordPress posts like crazy.

I follow more sites than follow me – a legacy of my early and perhaps cheeky efforts to gain readers by sending people links to my posts – although the gap has narrowed with time. But keeping up with them all means less time spent on my own posts, not to mention my own family! (They’d rather I didn’t, anyway … mention them, I mean!)

Visiting a large number of sites in a short time is like keeping a whole bunch of plates spinning on poles. It’s very easy to lapse into skim-reading, looking for hooks on which to hang witty, wise and pertinent replies … although if I have ever sent you a witty, wise and pertinent reply – or even an impertinent one – you have my solemn word that I read every single one of yours!

This time, with jet-lag threatening my concentration, I decided only to view posts from bloggers who have replied to my posts in the recent past. And I’m very glad I did. They were without exception witty, wise and pertinent to my current concerns. On my wavelength, you might say, tuned into the way I was feeling. My only question is, why the hell haven’t I done this before?

My days of chasing new readers are done. And anyway, too many of my more recent followers are concerned with self-promotion rather than self-examination. Ha, you may say, he can talk after confessing to shameless marketing of himself as a new blogger! But from now on I intend to develop more two-way correspondences with fellow seekers after the truth. In a fun way. Blogging is fun, right?

 

Image result for Too Many Spinning Plates

 

Image: http://iquitagain.com/a-year-on-purpose/283-too-many-spinning-plates

Monday Motivation (on Tuesday)

Handy advice for one like me who can’t leave well enough alone … and a fine New Year Resolution!  To show willing, my next few posts will be 100 word stories based on the WordPress Daily Prompt … (36 words)

Arrowhead Freelance and Publishing


‘A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it.’ -Mark Twain

Imagine you’re sitting there working on your current work in progress. Beside the keyboard your coffee is resting on a napkin whose white edges are curled and brown from drops of the steaming liquid. You can see the individual beads of moisture as they rise through the diffused light streaming through your window. The smell of the coffee hits your nose, warm and earthy, as if filled with the very energy of the ground from whence it came. Your mind wanders as you watch the steam float, caught on a phantom breeze that cannot be felt but clearly exists. You are one with your current project, and the words flow forth from your mind, exactly as they happen. You are painting a picture with nouns and verbs and adjectives, adjectives…

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Thursday Thoughts (on Friday)

Still struggling to put together my thoughts on freedom and creativity, so here is a neat encapsulation of the subject starting with Picasso’s perceptive insight …

Arrowhead Freelance and Publishing


‘Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.’ – Pablo Picasso

Look back to your childhood. Did you doodle? Did you jot down story ideas, eager to share them with the world? The world of childhood is one of uncomprehending hope and whimsy. It is a world where imagination is just as important as reality.

But somewhere along the way, reality becomes more important. Reality pays the bills, gets the promotions, and provides a career. Too often we hear the term ‘starving artist.’ Seen as almost second class citizens, except in the confines of their own social clusters they are derided for carrying on the traditions of their childhood. Painting? Writing? Dancing? What kind of career is that? What kind of ‘job security’ is there? Why don’t they find a ‘real’ job? They are all dreamers, dreamers who need to get their heads…

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Communication Breakdown, Part 2

As 2016 finally implodes in a shitstorm of fake news and false facts, I find myself in need of consolation. If I was a hedgehog, I’d hibernate. My previous post ended in a soothing flurry of proverbs but their analgesic effect has now worn off, so here’s another one:

‘When the heart weeps at what it has lost, the spirit laughs at what it has found.’

Arab proverb

Gulp, think I’m going to have to wait a while before that one works!

In the meantime, here is some music:

Hmm, that’s blown away a few cobwebs, if only because it was 1970 and not 2016! My life was ahead of me then, all speculation and no nostalgia. Who was it said, I wonder, that nostalgia is not what it was? I reckon we were the first mass-media generation and the fusty old past was a backward-looking book we were only too keen to close. Like Bob Dylan, we went along with Rimbaud’s injunction that it was necessary to be absolutely modern. Adults in the 1950s, wearied by the war, usually seemed happy enough to let us get on with it. After all, our freedom was what they had been fighting for.

And by comparison with children today, we were allowed to run pretty wild. But don’t run away with the thought that it was a golden age. My cousin Helen makes this thoughtful observation:

As children spawned just after WW2, we remember what it was like before the screws tightened on British society: schools were often appalling, there was little Health and Safety, and we had rights now gone for ever thanks to Thatcher and Blair. While this meant industrial accidents, child deprivation and unfairness, it also meant freedom to protest. Freedom of action. When in Marrakesh for my 60th, I was overjoyed at the lethal collapsed pavements which we had to navigate to avoid breaking our ankles. I felt once again the thrill of being in control of my own path – literally! I suppose what I’m saying is that you need some danger, mayhem and confusion as the crucible for inspiration and change. What have we lost in our present over-protected first world?

We learn best through trial and error: without mistakes, no achievements. How else can we grow up and not just older? Here is Helen again:

Young adults today don’t know anything different from the over-scrutinised, coddled society we have today. They don’t suffer from the feeling of loss of rights. How much more obedient will future generations be? They will accept without question their body-chipped, iris-recognition life. We also have to be vigilant for signs of the return of repression under the excuse of protection and safety.

We have always been contaminated, heavily, with the infantile responses programmed into us by all the “Sit still, be quiet, do as you’re told” directives of childhood: but looking over the parapet today it seems (Warning, generalisation alert!)  that younger generations are lacking in the cussedness, determination and daring that makes my generation such an inconvenience to the Establishment when we cross swords with it.

1984 has been and gone, with no obvious sign of Orwell’s Big Brother, but soon enough our every move will be followed by the often shadowy forces of control and commercial exploitation. Can you have a true democracy where adults are, in effect, infantilised? Helen traces the problem to our shallow ‘soundbite’ culture:

I blame the internet in part – the tsunami of information which helps to desensitise compassion and stifle curiosity. But why be curious anyway? The apathy of today is a realistic assessment of our political system. When you’ve grown up with celebrity culture, naturally you’ll be more interested in the Kardashians than the fact that there’s been a 6.5 earthquake in the third world.
Helen and I used to exchange long illustrated letters in our early teens and we’ve just resumed our correspondence on, ah yes, the internet! Perhaps we can prove Marshall McLuhan wrong when he said The medium is the message … in our case, I very much hope and believe, it’s not the how but the what!
Anyhow, no more talk of hibernation, I’m inspired to write and post an epic poem in defence of freedom before the weather closes in completely …
Image result for sun and storm