This particular unfinished (and since trashed) picture pretty much sums up where my creative process spent December. Stuck in limbo between one project and another I'd decided to relax by redrawing and painting an image I'd done many years ago. The only record I have of the long gone original is a small and faded photograph. This time I thought I might replace the main figures in a magical wintry landscape as the whole idea of polar bears in spring seems anathema to me now. What could I have been thinking? Quite obviously, from all we've learned about the problems of human assisted global climate change, I knew nothing back then. Anyway, there were several versions of this that I tried - each one worse than the last - and none worth keeping.
|Polar Bear Spring - original|
Still in the midst of being deeply sad about things I can't change I visited the blog of one of my favorite modern scientific philosophers, Bernardo Kastrup. His most recent book called 'Why Materialism is Baloney' will be on it's way here soon. Here is the poem he posted a few days ago that I hope you will like too:
The Legacy of a Truth-Seeker
Having trodden the path for cycles uncountable,
Having crossed the ocean of mind from end to end,
Through all veils, its fountainhead have I finally seen.
To you, honest truth-seeker treading the path behind me,
I grant the gift of my legacy.
I have learned thus:
Only untruths can be experienced.
Hence, only untruths can exist.
Truth is fundamentally incompatible with existence
For it is that which gives rise to existence,
Like a loudspeaker gives rise to sound.
Experiences are self-referential tricks:
They arise from nothing and are made of nothing.
If you dig deep enough within yourself,
You shall always find the layer of self-deception
Upon which any one of your convictions ultimately rests.
One's reality sprouts from the first layer of self-deception
That escapes one's field of critical awareness.
The deeper this field, the more subtle the self-deception.
Those with little critical awareness thus live more colorful lives:
Their fiction is fancier.
The honest search for truth annihilates its own subject
Slowly, recursively, from within.
Having peeled away every layer of self-deception within me,
I have found myself to be like an onion:
Nothing is left.
Only nothing is true.
No external references exist, no outside arbiters.
We are self-created fictions and so is the cosmos.
Truth-seeking is the path to self-annihilation
And thus to liberation.
Rejoice, for your pains, fears, frustrations and regrets
Are all untrue.
There is nothing to fear, nothing to strive for, nothing to regret.
You have no soul; that's just self-deception.
And you won't die; that's just self-deception.
As a dream allegorically portrays the inner state of the dreamer,
As a novel insinuates the aspirations of the writer,
As a lie betrays the insecurities of the liar,
So the fiction you call reality reveals something about truth.
Thus pay attention to life,
For truth expresses itself only through its own fictions.
To discern truth in fiction: here is the cosmic conundrum!
To engage wholeheartedly without being taken in: here is the ultimate challenge!
To find meaning in nothingness: here is the epic demand of nature!
Watch reality as you watch a theatrical play:
With inquisitiveness and curiosity.
But watch it as audience, never as character.
Characters spend their lives chasing their own shadows,
Whereas audiences attain subtle insight.
May my legacy serve you as a warning, but also as encouragement.
The prize at the end of the path is handsome:
The freedom to make the deliberate, guiltless choice
Of which untruth to live.
Exercising this choice wisely is the art of life.
This is a message I need to remember. Happily, in the past few days my creative abilities (such as they are) seem to have returned, making it likely the next picture installment of the girl, her dog, and the two weird dragons will appear next time.
Best wishes for the New Year.