The Cave of the Prophet

Throughout most of our waking moments we perceive the world through the lens of conceptual ideals, where classes of phenomenon are carved out of observation, and defined by the oppositional dualities we perceive in them. Through mutual opposition, atavistic unity is shattered into categorical separations of light and darkness, above and below, mater and spirit, and self and not-self. While such proud towers of our own invention remain inviolate, so too must coexistence and the unity of the transcendent be hidden behind layers of conceptualization and expectation.

The Cave of Hira
The Cave of Hira, 2018

During our moments of revelation however the clarity of direct perception easily proves the fragility of separation. Free from the tangles of our own nets, a unity of opposites becomes a direct experience as the basis of division is released. Like sand, divisions that were perceived as immutable seemingly fall away in the face of a greater truth. We may instead find our self confronted by a darkness that coexists with the light, with a fire that burns but does not consume, and with a unity of the divine with the material.

That such a coexistance is possible however does not reveal itself through an overcoming of the natural law we had perceived as absolute, but rather through a realization of the subjective nature of its delineation. The basis of their truth was built upon an alter of straw, but the overcoming of it is not accomplished by either burning or further building, but rather by seeing something else altogether: that the idol was built from our own hands, and that the manifest truth require neither alters, nor scaffolding. Dionysus, Apollo, Ecstasy, Sublimation, 2018 That such a coexistance is possible however does not reveal itself through an overcoming of the natural law we had perceived as absolute, but rather through a realization of the subjective nature of its delineation. The basis of their truth was built upon an alter of straw, but the overcoming of it is not accomplished by either burning or further building, but rather by seeing something else altogether: that the idol was built from our own hands, and that the manifest truth require neither alters, nor scaffolding.

For the immediacy of revelation comes from its wordless clarity, not the spiderwebs of explanatory discourse, nor the labyrinthine charting of a cave which does not exist. And then what can be said of the ineffable, except that before its witnessing we will abandon the pursuit of shadows for the wellspring of generative light.

New written piece

After a long break, I happy to post the short piece The Cave of the Prophet. Here is a preview:

The Cave of Hira

“That such a coexistance is possible however does not reveal itself through an overcoming of the natural law we had perceived as absolute, but rather through a realization of the subjective nature of its delineation. The basis of their truth was built upon an alter of straw, but the overcoming of it is not accomplished by either burning or further building, but rather by seeing something else altogether: that the idol was built from our own hands, and that the manifest truth require neither alters, nor scaffolding.”

You can read the full piece here.

Division and the Constructed Nature of the World

The light above and the depths below are two primal archetypes which alter and diffuse our consciousness in ways which are often as mysterious to us as they are potent. Sea and sky, the corresponding symbolic representations in their turn dominate the inner latitudes of the mind more than almost any other symbols.

A Pyramid Rising Out of the Sea
A Pyramid Rising Out of the Sea, 2015

In Jungian theory, the watery deep is considered a psychological symbol of the unconscious; or the depths of the unknown that paradoxically exist both within us and beyond us. It is a threatening concept, and one that calls into question the very fundamental idea of self-hood as envisioned by the conscious mind. For the existence of an internal other is fundamentally inconsistent with a unified and stable entity, and indeed there is a primordial, irrational terror of being swallowed by this self-within-a-self; the great serpent of the unknown that wants and thinks of its own accord.

The burning sky above is likewise a near universal embodiment of divinity, and represents an outside that comes to dwell within, rather than an inside that seeks to escape. The powers of heaven, which even as they exist beyond us are felt with immediacy, and through their embrace allow a transcendence of that same self that fears the below. This division may even be conceptualized as negative or positive relations of the consciousness to the essential experience of other.

Self and other, and their connectedness are the keys to understanding these symbols which so permeate our psychological lives. The reality of our consciousness is that it exists in a constant state of flux. The boundaries of our awareness and very self-hood are consistently both waxing and waning. As we integrate, subsume, repress, and sublimate we are internally clarifying and classifying ourselves as a conceptual object. We are defying the boundaries of our consciousness, and by doing so ourselves.

A Storm and the Serpent at the End of the World

On one side of the perceived duality between upper and lower is the internal that threatens to shrink the consciousness, on the other the external that promises to expand it. Such duality itself is ultimately misplaced however, as both the sea and sky are components of the same otherness, and illustrate the futility of all such limited conceptualizations of self.

While the self-concept may be expanded to an extent that is inclusive of both heavens and chthonic hells, in doing so it remains weighted by the oppositional dualities themselves. The illusion is broken when it is understood that the essence of duality is conceptual, and there are no mental construct whatsoever for experiences which are existential ineffable. Confronting such radical expansions necessitates a letting go of the calcified and static echoes of the past, and demands existence instead as a momentary and timeless experience of now.

The world as it appears to us is constructed of thought, an edifice of understanding against the tumultuous waves of pure, unfettered reality, unsculpted, and lacking inherent meaning. An empty and pure thing, unfathomable in unalterable clarity and depth, that is carved like canyons that run without thought. Words are the chisel out of which towers are built to keep the deluge at bay, but they are a prison for beings of capable of transformation, and of light that may learn to swim. There is no ark for the whales and the fishes.

Consciousness | Unconscious Aproaching Unity
Consciousness and Unconscious Approaching Unity, 2018

Nor is one needed. To embrace direct experience of the external is to discard the perception of differentiation. To embrace the other is to embrace both internal and external aspects of otherness, to see self equally in the darkness of the night sky as in the face of another. The totality that emerges out of this is one of unity of opposites, that discards self-identity into a light that coexists without diminishing the darkness.

– Originally published in Wake Up Screaming  #17!: The Mind

Sin

I’m excited to be showing at four openings this month. Especially fun, I’ll be part of two different group shows focusing on different aspects of the concept of sin. Here is the summery:

-A solo show at Float On as part of their visual arts program
Sin? at Art at the Cave
The Seven Deadly Sins and the Lovers Eye at Splendorporium
First Friday Open Studios at East Creative Collective

Its going to be a busy month next month as well as I work on an new environmental piece to be part of the For the Seventh Generation. A collaborative eco-mural for the Elizabeth Jones Art Center.

500 Seasons

Pieces from my “Seasons” series shown and sold at the Big 500 show

“Spring”
This piece is the first of a four part series on growth and collapse. It covers the emergence of civilization and equilibrium in the natural world.

“Summer”
This piece is the second of a four part series on growth and collapse. It covers the growth of civilization and the withering of the natural world.

“Fall”
This piece is the third of a four part series on growth and collapse. It covers the collapse of civilization and disappearance of the natural world.

“Winter”
This piece is the fourth of a four part series on growth and collapse. It covers the disappearance of civilization and reemergence of the natural world.