Friday, February 29, 2008

Exploring Chaos/Order

Please visit Yasu's Blog. It's full of amazing photos and tiny one-line poems which, like Engrish, are both profound and humorous. for example:

"controlled by kaffein, which is not real life...who am i?"

Early this morning I placed another layer into this painting.

"Someday after mastering winds, waves, tides and gravity, we shall harness the energies of love. And then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will discover fire." -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
"Out of chaos comes order." -Saul Williams
I'd say out of chaos SPINS order.
Part 3 of Michael's interview with Ken Wilber is now up on his blog! Here is an excerpt:

MG: So, as a musician who wants to communicate a message of love to the world, basically, I have to get two things straight. Which would be that I have to be a skilled communicator, and I need to develop myself in whatever ways are relevant to the medium in which I'm attempting to express that message. But the other is that I actually have to be in love. For it to be a totally authentic message, I actually have to be in a loving state of mind when I'm engaging my work.

I was thinking of calling this new painting "Chaos and Order." That is one of it's themes. But so are the colors red, yellow, black, and green.

In Japanese they say "Chaos and Cosmos." A little different image, yes? "Order" can imply and organizing. "Put the books in order." I like seeing the Cosmos (Kosmos) as the Order. The Cosmos do appear like a chaos continually spinning and spiraling into existence and into order. Chaos, or evolution, drifts into more and more complex order. But it all comes out of or from within an emptiness or space or void. Let me ask you a question: Is the vast, one, silent, empty Space of the universe chaos or order? Is the number one chaos or order? Chaos implies spontaneity, and the one suddenlty popping into existence seems very chaotic to me. Also, to experience order maybe we must perceive a beat, or a repeating or predictability. Order can imply growth, wheres chaos is unchanging unpredictability, unmoving in its inability to be anything ordered or evolving. So the unmoving/unchanging is pure chaos. However, the concept "one" only has meaning when compared to two, and thus, they arise as a pair, which demonstrates order. But that one pair, as a unit, is a singular.brining back the infinitum. Perhapses empty space is both, or neither, and chaos and order only apply to forms existing within it (or because of it). I like thinking about how the pair "chaos and order" themselves make up a symmetrical order of lawfully opposing opposites. It's also interesting how "out of order" in English can mean 'created from order' or also 'out of use' as in out of function or broken. Or in a courtroom: "Out of order!" or "The books are out of order." At a restaurant "can I take your order?" all the meanings have a similar nuance of certainty or predictability or value.
Listen to this dialog with a doctor:
"Is everything in order, Sir?"
"No, it is out of order."
"Well, maybe in order for it to become in order, we will need to run out of Chaos. You have too much chaos in your life."
"Run out of Chaos?"
"There is an infinite amount of Chaos. I will never run out. Besides, Chaos is spontaneity, and without that, Jazz looses almost everything."
"You are right. In order to have good Jazz, some chaos is in order. Well then, I order you to go home tonight, order some Chaos, and relax."
"You order me?"
"Yes. That's an order."
"And do you mean 'order chaos' or 'order chaos'?"
"Order some chaos. And tip the delivery boy."
"Any delivery boy that brings me chaos gets no tip from me! Hah!"
"When your chaos is finally in order, and your order is in chaos, in that order, give me a call and I`ll order you some more."
"Thank you Doctor. Thank you for my order."
Riddle: What did God say to religion?
"You order me."
What did the religions say to God?
"You order me."

What did the zen master say to the Tao?
"you order/chaos me."
What did the nondualist say to the Tao?
"You are(der) me."
Ha ha ha. That`s enough for now. I hope you enjoy your chaos/spontaneity/asymmetry today!
and in that order!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Part 2!

Part 2 of Michael's interview with Ken Wilber is now up on his blog!

You might also like the outpourings about Realism found on my Mysticism and Art blog.

And here is a new painting I'm working on. What should I call it?

Friday, February 22, 2008

remember shoulder-tapping?

Some of my 15-year-old students asked me today if I’d buy them cigarettes this spring. Starting in May, all cigarette and alcohol vending machines will have ID checkers installed. Poor kids. In my day, we went through a similar problem. I was smoking when cigarette vending machines become outlawed. We all relied on clerks that didn't card, cool moms, and shoulder-tapping. At school there was an underground business where someone would buy cartons and then sell packs to their friends.

When I was younger I told myself that I would definitely buy cigarettes for any kid who asked. I would be “the cool adult.” Boy have I changed.

I told the kids I wouldn't help them, and that they should quit sooner than later, because smoking is stupid and turns you into a slave. But it made me feel good that they asked. They trust me not to tell the teachers that they smoke.

After school they took me to their secret smoking spot by the school. It's a great little alley between a building and a wall, completely hidden, and I felt honored to get to see it.
“It’s a great spot, right?” said one of the boys.
“Yeah, it’s great!” I replied.

Remember all the secret spots and meeting places we had when we were kids? Under bridges, inside tunnels, behind sheds, under shrubbery... When we snuck out at night, these were the places we would meet. God I loved sneaking out; hiding whenever there was a car, for fear that it was a cop, or a bully. Dressing dark, smoking with my friends in the middle of the night in secret places…Good times and great oldies.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Public Bathing, Meers's "Trinity", and Art Beyond Irony

Barack Obama helped you move a sofa. Barack Obama emailed your dad and told him how great you are. Barack Obama thinks you are cute.

Some of my students were surprised to find me naked at the neighborhood bath house. One boy brought in his water-proof cell phone (amazing!) and took our picture.

Here is a new image I just found called "Trinity" by Charlie Meers. Striking, yes? But not in a loud way. It is more sophisticated than a typical collage; more simple and well composed. Formally, I love how Meers connects the foreground TV to the background Baby through the partially transparent Burning Monk. It is an extremely simple pyramidal composition, with a minimal use of icons, and yet it invokes themes of history, spirituality, religion, birth, death, war, media, politics,....this image unpacks and engages a cornucopia of ideas, old and new, and then invites the viewer to draw from their own experience to create meaning. It answers nothing, but tickles questions and perspectives out of our sleep. To me, this art, including its title, suggests that all these ideas should be re-membered now, and they do not need to be scattered, incoherent heaps of perspectives floating wasted in the space of mind. No...they can drift into three categories: a trinity of self, nature, and culture; birth/death, sacrifice, and story telling. This collage gestures to an understanding that there is a meaningful pattern or story that can connect these images together, and all we have to do is gently remember it.

Upon first seeing this collage Michael Garfield said, "I've had similar imagery hit me like a bomb before: the whole world floating as a dream in the mind of a sleeping fetus. History, death, declaration..all in the context of something slumbering, umbilical, undifferentiated (? !)...Washington's image, famous indicator of rational agency, appears as an apparition on the television - that instrument of centralized transmission, the ringing bell of the death knell of his own ardent popular government; the burning monk, one of the most powerful pictures of protest, but doing the work of his oppressive government for them; the unborn infant, at once smaller than either of them and large beyond size-the backdrop of all human drama, the hidden signifcance of every statement of purpose, and these things all lie in superposition, pulling at each other with multivalent half-conscious meaning. Most collages are overwhelming murals of human experience - and this is no exception, but it manages to evoke all of the regular themes with the sparity and grace of an enso [zen circle painting]. Meers says more with less."
"Meers says more with less." That is so true, and points directly to the artist's high level of skill and maturity.
You can see more of Charlie's work here.

Also, "part one" of Michael's interview with Ken Wilber entitled "Art beyond Irony" is up on his blog. Please read this. It is so very good, and explores art in a light that is new and refreshing. Also, mom, if you need a good excuse to read it, Michael mentions your son at the beginning. From the kick ass introduction:

"I recently had the immense honor of interviewing author and philosopher Ken Wilber, known worldwide as the premier living philosopher of integral theory and the pioneer of the AQAL Model. For over thirty-five years (his first book, the Freud-and-Buddha-reconciling Spectrum of Consciousness, was published when he was 23), Ken has been cultivating a reconstructive model of human experience and inquiry that cuts through the haze of postmodern confusion and relates art to science, psychology to spirituality, systems theory to cultural anthropology, politics to ecology, and business to medicine. He is also a seasoned meditator, and draws his descriptions of the transpersonal realms of consciousness from personal experience - making him a rare resource, someone whose scholarly musings are informed by his vivid, living experience of enlightened awareness.

Dragging a train of both ardent supporters and vicious critics, Ken's writings have been translated into more languages than any other English-speaking author. He is the founder of the Integral Institute, an international think tank where the extension and application of integral theory to every domain of knowledge and practice is being explored by thousands of people worldwide.

Most of Ken's writings focus on psychology, philosophy, and spirituality - all topics that inform a deeper understanding of art and music. But Ken has written precious little about art, so I jumped on the chance to ask him my most pressing questions about how "integral consciousness" - this next great leap in human evolution - will inform both the artist and the artistic process."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


These are pictures from my trip to Osaka and birthday party. Also, here is the description to the video "Bodhisattvas in Hell" i posted to the right. "According to all the world's great wisdom traditions, the secret to happiness is said to be remarkably simple: all we need to do is cherish others, to learn to love as deeply as we possibly can, to the bottomless depths of our souls. These words, however, are as easy to read as they are to write—truly opening ourselves to another human being, seeing through another's eyes and feeling another's heartbeat as our very own, is to embrace the impossible pain of existence. After all, beneath the veneer of day to day life, we all know the same hidden dread, the desperation and loneliness we were all born into. And through the sacred channel of human empathy, the veils of comfort, desire, and separation begin to fall away, slowly revealing the true face of the manifest world: suffering.

Where then, in the sulphur and shadow of this uniquely human hell, is our "happiness" to be found? Effortlessly we watch as the question unasks itself, and the flames of our suffering become just another texture of our salvation—the cool waters of liberation caresses our calloused skin, and together we can finally awaken from this nightmare."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Happy birthday to me

Kieran catching a frisbe in front of Himeji Castle. I visited him and Julie last weekend.


Morning pancake picnic at Patricia's.

Nice old tea lady at one of my schools. The bluest I have ever seen.
Also, i found this old blog entry called Thoughts about art written back in '05. You might like it.
Tuesday the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi died. That man was a huge influence on my life. So were you. The word of the day is "Thankyou." Every time you hear it, yell like Peewee.
"Don't fight darkness - bring the light, and darkness will disappear."

Friday, February 01, 2008

自由の女神 The Freedom Goddess

First of all, Michael just wrote a killer introduction to integral art called What is Integral art (or, How to spot and Integral Artist). Check it.

I recently discovered that the Japanese call The Stature of Liberty “Jiyu no Megami” which means Freedom Goddess (literally, "Freedom’s Goddess"). What a great title for that beautiful sculpture. Ours is so cold and meaningless. We don't even use the term “liberty” anymore. And she isn’t just a statue. She is a Goddess for christ’s sake. A Freedom Goddess, representing the liberated body and mind, (the original name in French actually means “Liberty Enlightening the World”) She holds a torch, representing enlightenment, and a book, representing wisdom, and has light radiating out of her head, representing divinity. She is also a form of Libertas, ancient Rome's goddess of freedom. Interestingly, the Buddhists have an androgynous deity named Manjusri, who holds a flaming sword in one hand and a book in the other, with light emanating out of her head. Very similar, don't you think? Oh, the benefits of living abroad: new definitions of well-known icons. I have a new appreciation for the previously cold and meaningless American icon. Now I see her meaning. She is the Freedom Goddess, the very first form seen upon entering the new world!

Slightly related, Blaine Snow writes beautifully about the psychological benefits of living abroad. He calls them "Out-of-Culture experiences", like out-of-body experiences, and explains that these OCEs set the conditions for psychological and spiritual development which involves a process of subject de-embedding. “Since OCEs involve de-embedding the subject from its native intersubjective and interobjective backgrounds and immersion within a new cultural background, they in effect create a developmental demand on the consciousness of the subject, a demand to transcend exclusive identification with the old background, differentiate, identify, and learn new cultural constructions, and include them into a larger, more complex identification of the old plus the new background. With daily reference to the new cultural context, a foreign student studying abroad can gain both psychological distance and freedom from old cultural habits and expectations and begin to make objects out of what were once unconscious subjective experiences embedded in native cultural backgrounds.”
Isn't that wonderful!? If you want the entire paper on OCE's, let me know.

And hey, check out these images my cousin Mark just sent me. He used some of my paintings in a virtual coffee shop project for one of his animation classes. Cool huh?

May all beings be Free and in Love.

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