• The Secret Books
    The Secret Books
    by Jorge Luis Borges, Sean Kernan
  • Among Trees
    Among Trees
Teaching and Lecturing
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Drop it!

Transforming your view/your art

Imagine that there is an entire space beyond what you know, full of things that you can’t imagine but that would become clearly visible…if you could get to that space somehow.

Of course there is such a space—or state, or whatever you want to call it. Our usual way of working with it is to select small bits and fragments from it and then try to fit them into the jigsaw puzzle of what we already know, jamming them if we have to. And if a piece doesn’t fit we toss it aside as meaningless or irrelevant, even if we suspect otherwise.

It's called thinking, and it is mainly how we accumulate and integrate knowledge, liking one thing and disliking another and denying still another, and fitting it all into a matrix.

But imagine that instead of pulling disconnected pieces out of this space, we could enter into the space itself, doing so by setting aside our opinions, our constructs, the things that we have made coherent, all of our stuff. Every bit of it.

We’d then have a chance to see all the unknown stuff that is there, floating around. We wouldn’t cut anything to fit or throw out any pieces.

Of course, it could be very disorienting and perhaps even terrifying. But consider that we’ve all already done this, back when we were born and continuing on for years. And look at all that we achieved at that age. Quite astounding!

No reason not to do it again, is there?

In Borges' The Aleph, the narrator finds that if he lies at the foot of some basement stairs in a house in Buenos Aires with his feet extrending upward and cocks his head just so, he can see everything that has happened in the universe and that will ever happen.

There it all is, and he knows it.

Think about how such a view, unimpeded by what you already know, might change your seeing and your art. 

And if jumping into the unknown like that without the support of your accumulated self seems alarming, don’t worry. All of your ideas and concepts, they will be sitting there waiting for you, right where you left them.

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