A PLACE FOR ME TO FIGURE IT OUT.
Existence is the relationship between the subject and the object. This is my artistic practice. For months I have been attempting to explain why i am so drawn to eastern philosophies and the concept of existence. above all I have wondered what this means for my artistic practice.
If art is my exploration of existence, and existence is the relationship between the subject and the object, then my artistic practice is an exploration of the relationship between the subject and the object, for therein lies existence (i.e. the meaning of life).
The subject="I"=individual self= thoughts=experiences
The object="this"=material world=actions=awareness
Existence = subject + object
= individual self + material world
= thoughts + actions
=experience + awareness
In exploring life through my practice, I have found it very difficult to distinguish my "Self" from thoughts, but the Self is where our thoughts meet our actions. This is where reality lies. Reality is not the material world and it is not solely our individual self, although we can find truths amongst these things. Instead reality, the reality of existence, is how we relate to the material world through our Self. Realizing this is a new step forward for me.
In modern society there is a great disconnect between the world as a place to conquer and the world as a place of which we exist. Conquering the world requires productivity, motivation, modernity, success, the separation of good/bad, win/lose, etcetera, and ultimately being completely unaware of everything in the process. Existence requires a simple cooperation between the geological and the biological elements of nature, and being present with your self.
It has become so easy to fall into the flow of the conquering world because it is a world of autopilot and being how you are told to be, instead of being who you were meant to be/who you truly are. Being who you truly are requires awareness and the conscious noticing of what is occurring in each and every moment, which unfortunately our society is as such that it breeds beings who are incapable of being present and aware. Instead we are taught to be constantly moving towards some goal or another way of in the future, and then once we have reached that goal we set another, thus continuing a vicious cycle of discontentment all the while never enjoying anything we have already accomplished or experienced because it wasn’t “good enough” or it wasn't "it." The big secret society doesn’t tell us: YOU HAVE ALREADY ARRIVED AT YOUR FUTURE. If the future only exists in our imaginations and plans in the present, then in truth how you are living right now is your future. If right now all you can do is scheme for the future and try to get somewhere else, then your future will consist of that same pattern and discontentment because in the future you will still only be in the present.
It is time to pause, and to notice the world you are of and the future you are experiencing in this moment.
Our perception of the world is crucial to existence.
Perception is intuitive understanding; it is how we regard, understand, and interpret life; it is the lens through which we experience the world. Perception is also our greatest inhibition. Existence is the relationship of something to nothing and without either of these there is not experience, no existence. Perception is limited because our minds are only able to perceive something and therefore the absence of this goes unnoticed although it is absolutely essential.
With music, for example, there are the notes and the absence of notes, the pause in between, which creates the melody of a song. Without those pauses there is only noise. Our brains perceive the procession of these notes as a continuous stream when in reality there are beaks in between. Even light is a pulse, a relationship between light and absence of light, though we only perceive the light but cannot see the absence of the light because our brains stream the images together like one everlasting motion picture.
All of existence is based on this relationship. The pulse, the vibration, the something and the nothing: Solid vs. space, on vs. off, sound vs. no sound, etc. Our perception of these relationships can furthermore be described through notation. Notation is how we select elements of reality: a system of symbols that enables the classification of perception. Our attention is the narrowed perception by which we see notation piece by piece rendering us unable to see the whole picture. These are laws of our existence that we have no way of ridding from our beings. There are several ways in which we can alter our perception by exercising the mind to broaden our experience, but existing without perception is impossible. This is also a good basis for explaining the individual for no one person can perceive the world as another, as we each have our own notations and attentions, thus making it impossible to be anyone but oneself no matter how hard one might try.
Give me land that has not been conquered. Show me a place that does not contain a trail of pain. Take me to a place that has not seen torture and suffering, and I will see the benefits of our progressive societies. Let me live in a land that exists with freedom without having to steal the freedom of others.
Someone once told me that we live in a complex world and to find a simple life amongst it is to find beauty. In this I believe. I believe in the simplification of life. Perhaps my mind is too full of novels and romantic thoughts, but we have reached the society we live in now by way of greed and fear. Our ancestors came to this land because they were so overwrought in their own land that they looked to take a new home, a new beginning, but the home they found was not theirs to take. This land, deemed ‘unconquered,’ was already home to its own natives and economies. The Europeans called them ‘barbaric’ and ‘uncivilized’, but they were the ones doing the taking. Those who had called this land home for many lifetimes lived in harmony with the land instead of trampling over it and destroying what the land had to offer. They took the homes of people who understood, people who were not blinded by fear or greed. People who took what they needed and in return gave the land a promise to nurture the land and keep it safe, a promise to not take so much that the land was destroyed. ‘Civilized’ society swept through and not only murdered the lands inhabitants, but the land itself. If that is civilization, then I want no part. Somehow, greed and fear prevailed to such an extent that there is seemingly no remembrance of the cost paid for this society to flourish.
We call ourselves a free country, yet we took the land’s freedom in order to get here. Even greater, we believe we are free when at every turn there is yet another power trying to imprison us through their surveillance and analyzation, all the while we sit here and watch them steal our freedom without a thought or acknowledgment.
Alas, I write only of the past, and as the past no longer exists there is no word or opinion in the world to change what has been done. So the question remains, what is there to do next to make the best of this existence?
Perhaps keeping my soul open will allow the answers to be known. Right now I find myself dissatisfied with what I see, and this troubles me deeply. Not knowing what to do about this dissatisfaction troubles me even more. This world is strange and I don’t comprehend or see my place in it. So where will my drive take me? Where is my soul taking me? What do I hope for? What do I trust? There is a sense of purpose and change welling up inside of me, but I don’t know where or how to apply it. I do know that I need to start with myself, because only with the self can one truly enact change. Even as I want to be seen in this society I see how it lacks in meaning and in purpose. The truth is that society has been spread thin. So thin that all allegiances to community waiver and come up short. If we cannot sense community, how will we connect to and sense the land?
We are so detached from the land that we have fenced it in a place for us to go and indulge in our greed, to stroke our pride and lie to ourselves by saying we find pleasure in the land. But the paths we walk on have been laid before us in the forest; they have claimed the forest floor just as we voice our appreciation for and our preservation of land, which we do not allow to be its own. Even nature is not allowed to be natural.
This I am also guilty of. As humans we cannot stop ourselves from conquering, because we do not see ourselves as the conquerors we truly are.
To conquer: to overcome and take control of a place or peoples by force.
Here is the big overwhelming question that has been asked, pondered, and answered for centuries upon centuries:
"What is the meaning of life?"
What does is mean? It means everything, all of existence. Why life? to exist and existence just is.
The very fact of our race spending our time and our ability to question life is part of the meaning of life itself. Perhaps the only way to answer the question is to open your mind and experience existence. It we spend all of our lives on the questions, then how will we ever receive the answers? Questioning life is a good thing because questioning means noticing and noticing is the first step to an open mind. An open mind will allow you to experience existence and therefore life.
We spend our lives in opposition to life and that renders us blind to life. Why is the human race so different from any other species? We become stuck on the questions and then the world around us becomes obstructed and hazy. Opposition to life comes in so many beautiful and skillful forms: defying gravity, planes, cars, spacecraft, anti-gravity machines, wrinkle cream; measuring time and space of which there are no measurable limits; trying to escape death although death is a vital part of the reproduction of life; placing boundaries and walls in impermanent space with impermanent materials, and then becoming furious when they collapse and deteriorate, asking, "why?"; holding on to everything so tightly when all we need is to let go and allow the past be the past and the moment to evolve into the future as is will whether or not we accept that truth. We oppose change and movement, which are in the very essence of existence and of life. We even get mad when the weather changes from one season to the next, but without the changing seasons it would not be life.