Showing posts from 2020

The Other Expanding Universe.

  If the meaning of my existence is scaled to the creations of my ego, then the size of the universe renders my existence meaningless. My ego can never manufacture anything to matter on that scale. If I think only of myself, there is no difference in the meaning of my life than if the universe was 92 billion light years across, or the size of a shopping mall. In either case I would be inwardly focused, isolated and irrelevant.  But what is the true universe of our existence? It is our living consciousness, vast in potential of awareness, yet limited in duration and perception. Born into an experience of being that can flow from curiosity to boredom to hopelessness to joy and swirl back to touch on all of these throughout our lives, until we die. The only universe we will every truly experience is the awareness of our own being and how it touches upon other living things during our lives. The vast scope of the cosmos, both the great beauty of the micro and macro world inspire wonder, th

Questions on the Language of Thought.

When I think to myself, what is happening? For me, it is an internal monologue. A voice speaking in my head, but in a simulacrum of an auditory experience—since it is not spoken out loud by my vocal chords. I think in the words of the English language. There is no vibration of sound waves, yet that internal monologue mimics those peaks and valleys. It is odd to me that consciousness should express itself this way. That my thinking mind should express itself in words and phrases whose depth and eloquence have grown over time as the consequence of discussion with others and reading. What limiting factor is built into this? Does a limited vocabulary mute or distort the expression of emotions, the outputs of creativity, the resolution of conflict or the capacity for intimacy with others? Would fluency in a different language enhance or retard any of those in a different way? Is there in the back of my consciousness a symphony that is degraded in its expression because my internal language

That Word.

So why the word “Palimpsest”? To be honest, I don’t exactly recall the first time I read it. I have been referencing the word in my work for some time now and I’m not sure when and for what it first came in. It’s a great word. Obscure. Mysterious. Associations with ancient history. Probably Secret Societies too. But mostly it just captures very well much of what is going on in my work. The element of time and lost memory. A sense of hiddenness and camouflage. The accretion of conceptual layers. Originally the word “palimpsest” was just a good way to talk about my sculpture. But as I, and my work, have evolved over time the palimpsest kept revealing new layers. For example, during a visit with a friend in Seattle in late 2012 we started talking about consciousness and how it manifests itself in the brain. He recommend I read some works by Roger Penrose, the Oxford cosmologist, who has been exploring the theory that the physical basis for consciousness arises from quantum scale structu

Toward a Reappraisal of Beauty.

An exploration of the concept of Beauty can be challenging. Anyone who has gone to an art school will be familiar with the attitude there that Beauty is associated with being intellectually shallow, passé—or even worse—reveals a dependence on craftsmanship at the expense of concept. Instructors and fellow students often roll their eyes when a discussion of the concept of Beauty is proposed.   I feel the main source for this reaction comes from a history in art where Beauty is often associated with a hierarchy of critical judgement that rejected innovation and spontaneity because it was not fashionable – the proverbial “rejection from the Salon” of misunderstood geniuses. This was the world of connoisseurs and aristocratic patrons who wanted art to validate and uphold the privileges of class, wealth and power – as expressed in the shifting and exclusionary dictates of fashion. Enforcement of a contrived standard of Beauty characterized by varnishes, brushwork and classical composition c

A Question to the Abyss

... The Pequod's whale being decapitated and the body stripped, the head was hoisted against the ship's side—about half way out of the sea, so that it might yet in great part be buoyed up by its native element. And there with the strained craft steeply leaning over to it, by reason of the enormous downward drag from the lower mast-head, and every yard-arm on that side projecting like a crane over the waves; there, that blood-dripping head hung to the Pequod's waist like the giant Holofernes's from the girdle of Judith. When this last task was accomplished it was noon, and the seamen went below to their dinner. Silence reigned over the before tumultuous but now deserted deck. An intense copper calm, like a universal yellow lotus, was more and more unfolding its noiseless measureless leaves upon the sea. A short space elapsed, and up into this noiselessness came Ahab alone from his cabin. Taking a few turns on the quarter-deck, he paused to gaze over the side, then slowly


I am haunted by consciousness. Mine, yours, everyone’s. That flickering little candle flame in my head. Sustained by blood born nutrients and oxygen. No different in living as long as there is fuel to be burned as that candle flame feeding off wax and oxygen. And when what sustains it is withheld or exhausted, it just goes out. Consciousness and candle flame alike. A curl of smoke rising from the fading glow of the wick, or the last breath and a body slowly cooling. No more fire. No more light. But I've thought of a way to make that candle burn forever. I lift it from the table, shield it with my hand, and take it outdoors. There, I hold it up to the night sky, knowing that the light from that candle in those moments will keep going. Up and out and farther and farther and on and on. Never ending, a few photons traveling across the universe, and me standing with that candle, knowing within the scope of rare improbabilities that somewhere, far away in the future, some consciousness