I want to make people wonder why they feel the way they do about whatever it is they feel about. We are disconnected from ourselves and each other. A lot of times we don’t even know how we feel. Or, maybe, we know how we feel but we don’t really understand why. Not well enough to critique ourselves on it. Not well enough to give ourselves a good answer. Not well enough to know how to feel differently if we want to. Or well enough to know why we want to keep feeling the way we do. Well enough to connect with ourselves. We’re expressing all kinds of things but seem to be collectively missing the point. What is the point? What is it we are feeling so strongly but failing to see?
The repression of ourselves has become tumultuous. The feelings have overwhelmed. In defense of ourselves, we fortify our resolve to hold on to the strongest feelings we have and go about expressing them in unproductive, and sometimes dangerous ways. We fear the vulnerability of change. Inward, outward, we direct our energy in ways that relieve what we perceive as discomfort. We identify ourselves as these feelings. We make ourselves them. To not accept them as true is to not accept ourselves. If we don’t like our feelings, we must not like ourselves. It might be healthy to let go of the personal rigidities that keep us guarded and mean. We can be so guarded and mean. It might help us be more fluid to bend and flow with the current of change that is inevitable. Help us grow and evolve. Help us change our perceptions of ourselves. If that’s what is wanted.
Too much force breaks things. It strips threads and loses its grip. I’m not for war or aggression, but I am getting fed up with diplomacy. There has to be another option. To an extent. Diplomacy has done its fair share of damage and is just as dirty as any type of politics. Diplomacy can be a mending of bridges or it can be a kind and compassionate assault. It can be a healing balm or it can be the sugary, candy coating over bullshit that would do better to sparkle sweetly than decay. Where is the suitable balance between honesty and fairness? For they are not the same. Which virtue holds a greater precedence? Which value holds more valor? How proud of ourselves are we? We hold these truths to be self-evident that all people are created flawed and that the only peaceful balm to resolution comes with the pangs of an honest and searching fearless moral inventory of ourselves. A step 8. More feared than the step 9 when we apologize. More feared than the second step where we relinquish control. But not nearly as feared as the first step in admitting to ourselves that we powerless over so much. The denial of which is our own greatest problem. These colossal steps are for individuals to take. One giant leap for a man is many smaller steps to some other guys. Our strides are not the same. To ask such a large movement of feet on the grander scale is asking for too much. But asking individuals to take small steps within their person, allows each to go in the direction each is guided to go and then the movement of the collective is inevitable. It just shifts.
I do not ask you to move me. Still, you do. Mostly when humbled and human. Mostly when there is no intended push. I pull myself along, dragging myself behind me. Not sure if I can carry my own weight. Certain I cannot carry yours. Is this my strength or is it my perception? How can I know the difference? Is there a difference? Is this how I see it or is the weight truly too much to bear?
How do we see ourselves fearlessly? Is an inventory of morality necessary to apologize? In what ways can we shift our powerlessness to have more control over ourselves? What is our grand expression of this? Where are the truths of our perceptions flawed? What is binding our footing? What is weighing our steps? I look at the differences between art and science and wonder how the techniques of each might help us understand ourselves. How they carry the weight of the collective. How they describe the perceptions of our culture. I feel art has a gift to offer to science. A way of seeing the present. How are these two leaders of the collective culture describing the common vision of today? Or better yet, what the view of today will be at a distance. How will they move us through? How do we see ourselves in it?
Artists embrace their own perception. They own it. This is what is theirs. The expression of this individual perception is the core of the artist. Duchamp said there are two kinds of artists; those who work for society and those who don’t. Which are we? The more pertinent question might be, the internal, “Who am I?” and then allowing that answer to exploit itself through us. Let it use itself, in a way, to be the thing that it is. And ask it what it feels, how it perceives, what happened to make it feel that way, what that perception required of the senses, what is the rationale? What is the acumen? Then own that perception so that the internal you/I/us/we can get comfortable with the idea that everybody has one, a perception. And allow that.
In art, the more one can identify with their own perception, the better they can convey that perception to an audience. The audience greets this representation as such, a representation of a perception even if the subject or medium has a real-world tangibility or purpose, and do not demand from it practical utility. We do not ask anything of the artist except their purest expression of their own personal perception. We find this honest and we value it.
The scientist seeks the truth through disapproval of the false. We enjoy this logic. It gives us a comfort in the concrete solidity of knowing. It is fueled by wonder even though its ultimate purpose is to quell that wonder. It is driven by questions. It balks at its own answers. They only produce more questions. Bricks building institutions of uncured concrete. We have built so much on our faith in these tools. A kingdom palaced in the grandeur of reason. It is spectacular. It is fortified. It is starting to crumble in the seams. It is running its answers into its own walls.
Science finds itself in a never-ending banter of conflicting perceptions. Individualism is often met with a defense from the collective. Genius is often met with distain. The notion that most closely resembles the collective thought is deemed greatest. Not for its quality of authenticity but for its support of the foundation. It’s ok if it looks like the next step. It is not ok if it is a different ladder. Ideas are not shared freely but shadowed by the umbrella of consequence that looms over the pier to review. Waves must match the rhythm of the sea to be shored. Much brilliance is dissolved in the tides. Until big storms come. Collections of evaporated thoughts merge in a different sphere and rain down with force to meet the populations inland. Wars begin. We see this as valor and we deem it fair. Is this science or is this politics? Whose censure drives the reigns? Where is the end of the scope of this perception? How many mirrors does it take to see the light?
Can the artist sitting calmly in their view translate the power of owning their own scope? Would you argue about a shade of blue? Should you tell them that you didn’t get their joke?
Of course, you should. You should question their every stroke. Not out of malice to prove them wrong. Out of sentimental curiosity. Out of wanting to know why. Out of personalizing the piece which has been translated before you by listening to the interpretation of the translator.
Science draws graphs, makes models, 3D imaging of space dust, high definition videos of single celled organisms, panoramas of atoms, all in wavelengths of light. What you and I cannot see, those things to which we are not naturally privy, are all collected as data and translated to us via a graph, a chart, a satellite image broken down into two-digit codes and rebuilt using processing software; this color for gamma scale, that saturation for solar wind, a hint of electron flux on this line, like music drawn in the atmosphere. You can watch it write its song in real time.
How is this not an expression of humanity’s perception? How is this not art? Everything visible, translated through perceivable light. Metered like the footsteps of poetry. Of course, we would all still see it differently. Of course, we should ask for the scientific interpretation and take that insight just as we might that of the artist. But, that we cannot. Science has a funny hierarchy of ownership. It demands a collective view. It demands every viewer stand in the same spot. However will we fit? Why does science feel the way it does about the way it feels? Should it “feel” anything at all? Is there an art to it? Does it have any sense? Can science be divided into the perceptions of individuals and remain effective? How much would be gained or lost through this translation? Is there a shifting of weight that can strengthen our own resolve without the dissolving of solutions? Is a diploma necessary for diplomacy? Does lack of one warrant war? On an idea? On a perception? On an interpretation? On an expression? Is that effort valiant?
Perception doesn’t change the notes of the music. It changes the way those notes make us feel. Art and science are both equally true versions of reality. They are representations of how we perceive ourselves and the world at a point in time. They are malleable, transient, and evolving. They are how we know ourselves. They are how we tell the story about it. They are visual accounts of our change. I am wondering why we’re seeing it this way. I’m wondering what how we are seeing it has to do with how well we are seeing ourselves. Would changing our rigid perceptions on what we value within ourselves bring clarity to understanding what lies ahead? Would it reconnect us to ourselves? Would it give us different answers so we can wonder better why’s? How would we feel about that?
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