Forum for Cultural Memory

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PRESENCE OF MIND/鎮定

Posted August 19, 2017

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Pensive Bodhisattva

BODHISATTVA IN PENSIVE POSE --probably MAITREYA (Buddha of a Future Age), Korea, Silla Kingdom, late 6th-early 7th century. Gilt Bronze. H: 36 7/8 in. (93.5 cm). National Museum of Korea, Seoul. [National Treasure 83.]

Commentary by Denise Leidy and Soyoung Lee, Department of Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York:

Unlike Buddhas, the ultimate enlightened beings who have transcended mortal concerns, bodhisattvas have chosen to remain accessible to help guide others in the phenomenal world. Particularly in Korea and Japan, bodhisattvas in the "pensive pose" are usually identified as Maitreya, a bodhisattva in the cosmic era who will become the teaching Buddha of the next great period of time.

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Military trucks

MILITARY VEHICLES CROSSING THE 38th PARALLEL DURING KOREAN WAR --unidentified photographer/undated image (1950-53).

Allen R. Millet (2017):

KOREAN WAR: conflict between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea), in which at least 2.5 million persons lost their lives. The war reached international proportions in June 1950 when North Korea, supplied and advised by the Soviet Union, invaded the South. The United Nations, with the United States as the princial participants, joined the war on the side of the Souh Koreans, and the People's Republic of China came to North Korea's aid. After more than a mllion combat casualties had been suffered on both sides, the fighting ended in July 1953, with Korea still divided into two halves. Negotiations in 1954 produced no further agreement and the front line has been accepted as the de facto boundary between North and South Korea.

Wada Haruki (2013):

China's entry into the war [October 1950] triggered a full-scale review of the use of atomic weapons. At a Pentagon conference on December 1, Army Chief of Staff Lawton Collins said that attacks on bases in China might bring Chinese and Soviet airpower into the war: "The only chance then left to us is the use or threat of the use of the A-bomb."

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 Concrete Wall photo

" ... 'Fire & Fury'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

Kori Schake, Hoover Institution, Stanford University:

In 1949, the United States withdrew its military forces from the Korean Penninsula. Secretary of State Dean Acheson then gave an important speech, defining American national-security interests --which notably excluded Korea. Few people recall the military retrenchment by the Truman administration, which sent a powerful signal that America was narrowing its scope of action. It's not the drawing down of U.S. forces but rather Acheson's speech that is commonly sighted as the signal of American abandonment of South Korea. Words matter: Acheson didn't cause the Korean war, but his words are remembered as the provocation. 

Words especially matter between societies that poorly understand each other's motivations and intentions, as do North Korea and the U.S. We can afford to be sloppy in our formulations among friends, where cultural similarity or exposure give context, but neither of those circimstances pertain with North Korea. So whether or not President Trump intended an ultimatum with his statement [7 August 2017] that North Korea "best not make any more threats to the United States" lest it face "fire and fury like the world has never seen," it may have serious consequences.

"The greatest eloquence seems to stutter."

-- Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE)

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IAIN BAXTER&:

T & T (Teleportation & Teaching)

...

LIGHT, BEDMINSTER, NEW JERSEY, 6:00 AM EASTERN DAYLIGHT TIME [EDT]  AND SAME TIME 6:30 PM PYONGYANG TIME (PYT), PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA, LIGHT 

"To reprogramme the cultures of the globe becomes as natural an undertaking as curriculum revision at a university."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1964)

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Wonhyo (617-686):

Because of the arising of thought, various phenomena arise; since thought ceases, a cave and a grave are not two.

Ven. Haeju and A. Charles Muller, COLLECTED WORKS OF KOREAN BUDDHISM (2012):

He chose the name Wonhyo himself, indicating his desire to be the light of Buddhism, as the term was used in his locality to mean "daybreak."

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Buddha facing TV

Nam June Paik, TV BUDDHA, 1976. Television, video camera, painted wooden Buddha, tripod, plinth. Installation dimensions variable. Buddha: 75 x 36 x 36 cm. TV monitor: 32 x 32 x 32 cm.  Collection: Art Gallery of New South Wales. 

Curatorial Record:

TV BUDDHA was made in Sydney in 1976 --using an "old" wooden Maitreya (Buddha of the future). The work employs a "conceptual" use of video --first developed by Paik-- in which a camera and monitor loop in real time,  BLURRING THE OBJECT-SUBJECT DISTINCTION. 

Marshall McLuhan (1970):

Poets and artists live on frontiers. They have no feedback, only feed-forward. They have no identities. They are probes.

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Pensive Wooden Buddha

BODHISATTVA [MAITREYA] IN PENSIVE POSE, korea or Japan. Wood (red pine). H: 48 1/2 in. (163.2 cm). Koryu-ji Temple, Japan.

Denise Patry Leidy and Soyoung Lee, Department of Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum, New York (2013):

Debate continues regarding the origin of this statue: Was it made in one of the Korean kingdoms, possibly Silla, and gifted to its eastern neighbor? Or made by Korean immigrant artisans living in Japan? It is worth noting that the Koryu-ji piece is carved from red pine, a wood commonly found on the Korean peninsula. 

"A general definition of civilization: a civilized society is exhibiting the five qualities of truth, beauty, adventure, art, peace."

-- Alfred North Whitehead (1933)

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ANY TIME 

W.S. Merwin 
(1959)

How long ago the day is 
when at last I look at it 
with the time it has taken
to be there still in it
now in the transparent light
with the flight in the voices 
the beginning in the leaves
everything I remember 
and before it before me
present at the speed of light 
in the distance that I am 
who keep reaching out to it 
seeing all the time faster 
where it has never stirred from
before there is anything 
the darkness thinking the light

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"The deliberate aim at Peace very easily passes into its bastard substitute, Anesthesia."

-- Alfred North Whitehead (1933)

"Today, as causes and effects merge instantaneously, the new common ground is neither container nor category, but the vastness of space via media."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1992)

"How much difference is there between 'Yes, sir,' and 'Of course not'?"

-- Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE)

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Moon shaped vase

MOON JAR, Korea, second half of the 18th century. Porcelain. H. 15 1/4 in. (38.7 cm); Diam. 13 in. (33 cm); Diam. of rim 5 1/2 in. (14 cm); Diam. of foot 4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Collection Record:

A distinctive type of porcelain from the late Joseon period, the moon jar (Korean: dalhangari) --so called because of its evocative form-- was usually made by joining two hemispherical halves.

"Not mind, not a thing, not Buddha, what is this?"

-- Seon master Seongcheol (1912-1993)

[ Note:

SEON is the Korean variant of Ch'an/Zen Buddhism.

-- CAUSA Research Curators. ] 

Ch'an master Yung Chia Hsuan Chueh (665-713):

The ignorant and foolish think 
That the fist exists separately from the pointing finger.
Mistaking the finger for the moon ...  They only fabricate strange illusions in the realms of sense and object.

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Bertrand Russell (18 August 1945):

The prospect for the human race is sombre beyond all precedent. Mankind are faced with a clear-cut alternative: either we shall all perish, or we shall have to acquire some slight degree of common sense. A great deal of new political thinking will be necessary if utter disaster is to be averted.

Zen master Chuzan (935-976):

There is only one who cannot accomplish Buddhahood.

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PRESENCE OF MIND/鎮定

Posted July 20, 2017

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Benn text

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Mao Tse-Tung (1964):

Growing flowers is a hangover from the old feudal society, a pastime for the feudal scholar class, bourgeois class and other layabouts. 

[...]

We must change it now. Get rid of gardens.

Ch'an master T'ung Shan Liang Chieh (807-869):

"P'o-p'o H'o-h'o" --
A phrase but without meaning--

You can never get the substance of it 
Because it is not correct language.

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Beuys Graphic images

Joseph Beuys, HOW THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PARTIES CAN BE OVERCOME! -- polythene bag, containing 16 printed sheets and a felt object, 1971. Issued by Art Edition, Köln, for the Organisation for Direct Democracy [founded by Beuys]. 

"We must probe (theory of knowledge) the moment of origin of free individual productive potency (creativity)."

-- Joseph Beuys (1973)

Adam Taylor, THE WASHINGTON POST (July 14, 2017):

Chinese writer Liu Xiabo died Thursday [July 13] at age 61. He was one of his country's best-known individuals and became the only Chinese national to win the Nobel Prize. But his activism against one-party rule came at  huge personal cost: when he won the Nobel, he was in the middle of a lengthy prison sentence for his promotion of democracy.

Liu was granted medical parole in late June as the Chinese government revealed that he had late-stage liver cancer, but he died under the close guard of authorities. He is the first Nobel Peace winner to die in state custody since 1938, when German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky died after years in Germany's concentration camps.

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Ch'eng I-ch'uan (1033-1107):

If one extends knowledge to the utmost, one will have wisdom. Having wisdom, one can make choices.

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Heartfield scupture

John Heartfield and George Grosz, THE PETTY BOURGEOIS PHILISTINE JOHN HEARTFIELD GONE WILD. Assemblage --doorbell, knife, letter "C" and number "27" signs, plaster dentures, Osram light bulb and other objects-- exhibited at the 'Dada-Messe' exhibition, Berlin, 1920. (Reconstruction by Michael Sellmann, Berlin, 1988.) Berlinische Galerie, Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Fotographie und Architektur, Berlin. Mannequin: 130 cm / 51 in. (height). Pedestal: 90 x 45 x 45 cm / 35 x 18 x 18 in. Berlinische Galerie, Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Fotographie und Architektur, Berlin. 

Brigid Doherty, Princeton University  (2010):

As Grosz and Heartfield make clear, the Dadaists dissatisfaction with works of "so-called art"  --with sculptures, for example, that "preach the flight of feelings and thoughts, away from the unbearable circumstances of life on earth, to the moon, and the stars, to the sky" --was ethical in origin. It represented their abhorrence, first, of human beings in the surrounding social world, and, second, of the hypocrisy of those artists who depicted aspects of that social world with a pathos that could not fail to be empty. Indeed, this pathos was ethically fraudulent, despite, or rather as a consequence of, its potential aesthetic effects, which for Dadaists were predicated on, and served further to reproduce, an abdication of shared social responsibility. 

"Principle is one but manifestations are many."

-- Ch'eng I-ch'uan (1033-1107)

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Maitreya image

BUDDHA MAITREYA --China, Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534). Gilt bronze,  dated 524. H. 30 1/4 in. (76.8 cm); W. 16 in. (40.6 cm); D. 9 3/4 in. (24.8 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Museum Record:

Maitreya is the only divinity in Buddhism revered as both a bodhisattva and a Buddha. Devotion to Maitreya and the desire for rebirth in his Pure Land, known as the Tushita (Contented) Heaven, were widespread in the late fifth and sixth centuries. Rebirth in a Pure Land offered an escape from the harsh realities of daily life while one awaited another, presumably easier,  reincarnation. This complex assembly, complete with encircling musicians and a flaming halo, depicts Buddha Maitreya as he descends to earth to rescue the devout.

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Marshall McLuhan (1971):

The user of the electric light --or a hammer, or a language, or a book-- is the content. As such, there is a total metamorphosis of the user by the interface. It is the metamorphosis that I consider the message.

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Wyndham Lewis text

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Ch'an master Yung Chia Hsuan Chueh (665-713):

When both existence and non-existence are swept away, not empty is empty. 

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Beuys workshop

Joseph Beuys, WORKSHOP SPACE OF THE FREE INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY FOR CREATIVITY AND INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH,  Documenta 6, Kasel, Germany, 1977. (Photo: Joachim Scherzer.)

Joseph Beuys (1974):

Art is the only possibility for evolution, the only possible way to change the situation in the world. But then you have to enlarge the idea to include the whole creativity. And if you do that, it follows logically that every living being is an artist --an artist in the sense that he can develop his own capacity. And therefore it is necessary at first that society cares about the educational system, that equality of self-realization is guaranteed.

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"Only after one forgets seriousness can one be serious all the time."

-- Ch'eng I-ch'uan (1033-1107)

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Ptolemy text

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Tom Phillips, THE TELEGRAPH (2014):

China's Protestant community, which had just one million members in 1949, has already overtaken those of  countries more commonly associated with an evangelical boom. In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre's Forum on Religion and Public Life [Washingtin, D. C.].

A recent study found that online searches for the words "Christian Congregation" and "Jesus" far outnumbered those for "The Communist Party" and "Xi Jinping", China's president.

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THE FORGIVING EX-FUNDAMENTALISTS PRAYER

M.K. Morton

Belief in God isn't common to all religions:
What is common to all religions is orthodoxy.
And maybe a belief that one can get away with reciting a proxy.

Prompt to brandish 
A scriptural verbal fetish,
Your local congregation control-freak magnifies molehill smidgens

Into chains of frozen fountains. Dismisses the informed as foxy.
Disciple of double-think 
Around a Dead Sea scroll

With scrawny Bronze age soul
He'll slink before he'll blink.
Excuse him, touchy, shouldering suspicious,

Insisting (unless a mortal's sin danger of sounding than he even glibber),
A mouth can't too often the same few old hidebound verses squeak
While the soundness of their pre-eminence the lips avouch.

When he starts his dash for heaven from a low static crouch,
Highly qualified stickler,
None nimbler as quibbler,

Never happier then when coming up with new restrictions.
If a hopeless parishioner, taking a misstep, backslides weak,
To stick a leg out and trip the offender this stalking type ever agile.

Indeed, speedier than the papparazzis  can swiftly catafalque a celebrity,
He'll sketch the scarriest Old Testament profile.
Before they go the way of the passenger pigeons,

That every so practised doctrine dribbler,
Consigning heretics to outer exile,
May from theological shock be free,

Grant them continue --while a shiver 
Of a schism
Makes them thunderbolts deliver--

Trust, complete with stopwatch of a catechism
Their Babel-Tower-tilted sundial 
Can clock eternity.

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Ch'an master Niu T'ou Fa Jung (594-657):

Knowing arising is non-arising,
Eternity appears now. 

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Yellow flower photo

" ... 'Operative Essence'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

Ch'an master Seng Ts'an (? - 505 CE):

Object is object because of the subject;
subject is subject because of the object.
Know that the two are originally emptiness.

Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964):

Truth has no meaning outside the relation of transcendence .. .the "subjectivity" and the "object" are one sole whole.

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Arp star scupture

Jean (Hans) Arp, ÉTOILE (STAR), plaster, 1939. Height: 34.1 cm (13.5 in.).

"To be full of Joy when looking at an oeuvre is not a little thing."

Artist's statement (1966)

"The images which we may form of things are not determined without ambiguity by the requirement that the consequences of the images must be the images of the consequences."

-- Heinrich Hertz (1899)

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JUDGEMENTS OF PERCEPTION/感知的判斷

Posted June 28, 2017

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McLuhan zombies text

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Ch'an master Tung Shan Liang Chieh (807-869):

When a wooden man breaks into song,
A stone woman gets up to dance.
Since this cannot be understood by reasoning
How can it be analyzed?

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Edward Sapir (1932):

The true locus of culture is in the interactions of specific individuals and, on the subjective side, in the world of meanings which each one of these individuals may unconsciously abstract for himself from his participation in these interactions. Every individual is, then, in a very real sense, a representative of at least one sub-culture which may be abstracted from the generalized culture of the group of which he is a member.

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Ch'an master Seng Ts'an (?-606 CE):

No need to seek the real;
Just extinguish your views.
Do not abide in dualistic views;
Take care not to seek them.

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Today it is impossible to predict at what moment one may make a large break-through into new dimensions of awareness. 

[...]

The radio tube principle pushed far enough, led to to television. 

-- Marshall McLuhan (1960)

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Lichenstein Masterpiece

Roy Lichtenstein, MASTERPIECE, 1962. Oil on canvas. 54 in. x 54 in. (137.2 x  137.2 cm). Private Collection.

Robin Pogrebin, THE NEW YORK TIMES (June 11, 2017):

In January, rumors swirled that the art collector and patron Agnes Gund had sold her prized 1962 Roy Lichtenstein "Masterpiece" for a whopping $150 million, placing it among the 15 highest known prices ever paid for an artwork.

Ms. Gund is confirming that sale now, revealing that she parted with the painting (for what was actually $165 million including fees) for a specific purpose: to create a fund that supports criminal justice reform and seeks to reduce mass incarceration in the United States. This new ART FOR JUSTICE FUND --announced at the Museum.of Modern Art, where Ms. Gund is president emerita-- will start with $100 million of the proceeds from the Lichtenstein.

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PAINTING TO EXIST ONLY WHEN
IT IS COPIED OR PHOTOGRAPHED 

Let People copy or photograph your
paintings.
Destroy the originals. 

-- Yoko Ono 
1964 Spring

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Ch'an master Niu T'ou Fu Jung (594-657):

As to gain and loss,
Why call either good or bad?
Everything that is active 
Originally was uncreated.

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Marshall McLuhan (1969):

The change in all organization today is the result of putting fast electric services around slow ones. 

[...] 

Paradoxically, the slow system is "open" and the fast one is "closed". 

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Gestalt photo

" ... 'Gestalt'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

Jacques Ellul (1948):

Despite the conviction that our era is revolutionary, we must also recognize that under the appearance of movement and development we are in fact living in complete stasis. There is undoubtedly much chaos and violence, there is technical progress, there are social and political experiments. But in reality our world is static because its structures remain absolutely fixed and its development unfolds along a completely expected rather than revolutionary path.

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Ch'an master Shih T'ou Hsi Ch'ien (700-790):

In the midst of brightness there is darkness;
Don't take darkness as darkness.
In the midst of darkness there is brightness;
Don't take brightness as brightness.
Brightness and darkness correspond.
Like one step following another.
All things have their own function,
Depending on their use and location. 
Phenomena store, seal, cover, combine.

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"All utopias are rear-view mirrors."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1977)

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Ch'an master Hung Chih Cheng Chueh (1091-1157):

There is neither mind nor world to rely on,
Yet do the two interact, mutually. 
Drink the medicine of correct views.
Beat the poison-smeared drum.

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Marshall McLuhan (1974):

Electric speeds of information literally create the mass man and obliterate the private man. If this can be called a trend, it is a trend to the loss of all life values whatever. At the old speeds of  information, before the telegraph, there were habits of detachment and objectivity which don't hold up against the total involvement and immersion in the World Tank. 

[...] 

Is it too late to point to our universal victimization by media in which private identity has been abolished?

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Ch'an master Yung Chia Hsuan Chueh (665-713):

To see the image in a mirror is not difficult. 
How can one grasp the moon in the water?

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JUDGEMENTS OF PERCEPTION/感知的判斷

Posted June 8, 2017

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When one is united with the sound and breath of things, one is then united with the universe. 

-- Chuang Tzu (fourth century BCE)

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Anselmo installation photo

Giovanni Anselmo, RESPIRO (BREATHING), 1969. Sea sponge and iron bars. Installation view: Catello di Rivoli, Museo di Arte Contemporanea, 1969.

"The ultimate metaphysical principle is the advance from disjunction to conjunction, creating a novel entity other than the entities given in disjunction."

-- Alfred North Whitehead (1929)

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Jing Hao painting

Attributed to Jing Hao (870-930), MOUNT KUANGLU. Hanging scroll, light colour on silk. National Palace Museum, Taipei. 

Artist's statement: 

■  One sizes up the image (XIANG) of a thing and from that seizes upon what is authentic (ZHEN) in it. If it is the visible pattern (HUA) of a thing --seize its visible pattern; if it is the essential substance (SHI) of a thing --seize its essential substance. One cannot seize a visible pattern and make it essential substance. If one does not know this technique, one can perhaps squeeze out a likeness, but the representation of authenticity can never be atfained.

Likeness gets the shape, but drops out the vital energy (QI). Authenticity is when vital energy and essence (ZHI) are both abundant. As a general rule, if vital energy is passed only through external pattern and is dropped out of the image (XIANG) then image dies.

David Hinton (2012):

Now preserved as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Thatch-Hut Mountain [Mount Kuanlu] is a remarkably beautiful complex of ninety peaks graced with names like Incense-Burner and Yellow-Dragon, Crane Song and Twin-Sword, Five Elders and Spirit-Vulture. Recluses wrote and painted among Thatch-Hut's peaks, and they meditated in its many monasteries ... [including] Cloud Gaze (founded by the patriarch of Chinese calligraphy, Wang Hsi-chih).

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David Hume (1748):

Without the influence of custom, we shall be entirely ignorant of every matter of fact beyond what is immediately present to the memory and senses. We should never know how to adjust means to ends, or to employ our natural powers in the production of any effect. There would be an end at once of all action, as well as of the chief part of speculation.

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Ch'an master Huangbo Xiyun (d. 850 CE):

On seeing one thing, you see all things. On perceiving an individual's mind, you perceive all mind. Glimpse the truth, and all truth is present in your vision, for there is nowhere at all that is devoid of the Truth.

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"At the beginning of the twentieth century, two great new inventions took form before our eyes: the aeroplane and the Garden City, both harbingers of a new age: the first gave man wings and the second promised him a better dwelling-place when he came down to earth."

-- Lewis Mumford (1945)

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Karl Krause Text

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"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."

-- Donald J. Trump (2012)

"I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be space and that it represents an important life insurance for our future survival, as it could prevent the disappearance of humanity by colonising other planets."

-- Stephen Hawking (2015)

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"People defeated [in argument] utter words as if to vomit, and those who indulge in many desires have very little of the secret of Nature."

-- Chuang Tzu (fourth century BCE)

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Ernst Bloch text

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Ch'an master Chou Tun-i (1017-1073):

When activity is directed along its correct course, we have the Way. When its operations are harmonized, we have virtue. The violation of humanity, of righteousness, of propriety, of wisdom, and of faithfulness is depravity. Any act of depravity is disgraceful. When pushed to a high degree it is even dangerous.

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Marshall McLuhan (1966):

The artist provides us with anti-environments that enable us to see the environment. Such anti-environmental means of perception must be continually renewed.

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"As the art of life is learned, it will be found at last that all lovely things are also necessary."

-- John Ruskin (1860)

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Azalea photo

" ... 'Where'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964):

The question whether the world be unique for all the subjects loses all meaning once one has admitted the ideality of the world; it no longer makes any sense to ask if my world and that of the other are numerically or specifically the same, since, as an intelligible structure, the world always lies beyond my thoughts as events, but also beyond those of the others, so that it is not divided by the knowledge we acquire of it, nor unique in the sense that each of us is unique.

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UNTRANSCENDENTAL ETUDE

M.K. Morton 

Before global warming ripened,
When oil companies had no spunk,
In those days while stretching to transcend,
Competing how quickly fine thoughts they could serenely process,
New Englanders had a lot less matter to possess.

Who wudda thunk
With rising sea levels having so much sunk,
The Pillars of Hercules would be crumbling funk
Because in danger of giving away to Land's End.
Bond issues pirate-class jetsam floated to find quality junk,

Elephants going the way of the passenger pigeon and trunk,
Prime-time exposure for those who formerly slunk.
Long-term associates going off the depend,
Nofhing matters unless it can be produced by a lab.
Not just Henry Ford's history has maxed out doing a World Bunk

Borrowing spree. ("Over budget? Put it on the tab.") 
By the universal hype, reactions guaranteed to resound pre-"Fab!".
While we await what forces no longer unawakened impend. 
Belatedly, we'll be scrambling to find a name, 
Let a bridging-loan initials,

For the agencies (to walk the walk not game
Since, as responsibility they disclaim,
They rush to trash the vocab?
Releasing the immaterial bafflegab
Carolled by impact-assessment officials.

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"As I see it, there isn't much to do. Just be ordinary --put on your clothes, eat your food, and pass the time doing nothing."

-- Ch'an master Linji Huizhao (d. 866 CE)

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Wang Xizhi painting


Qian Xuan, WANG XIZHI WATCHING GEESE, c. 1295. Handscroll (detail) --ink, colour and gold on paper. The Metropolitan Museum, New York.

Museum Record:

After the fall of Hangzhou, the Southern Song capital, in 1276, the artist Qian Xuan chose to live as an yimin, a "leftover subject" of the Song dynasty. This handscroll illustrates the story of Wang Xizhi (303-361) ... the calligraphy master who was said to derive inspiration from natural forms such as the graceful neck movements of geese.

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Paul Valery text

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"I believe that the poet is necessarily an anarchist, and that he must oppose all organized conceptions of the state, not only those which we inherit from the past, but equally those which are imposed on people in the name of the future."

-- Herbert Read (1938)

SOUTH LODGE

by Wang Wei (701-761)

I leave South Lodge, boat light, water
so vast you never reach North Lodge.

Far shores: I see villages there beyond 
knowing in all this distance, distance.

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JUDGEMENTS OF PERCEPTION/感知的判斷

Posted May 8, 2017

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Ch'an master Huangbo Xiyun (d. ca. 850 CE):

People are scared to empty their minds, fearing that they will be engulfed by the void. What they don't realize is that their own mind is the void.


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Malevich half figure

Kazimir Malevich, COMPLEX PRESENTIMENT: HALF-FIGURE IN A YELLOW SHIRT, 1928-1932. Oil on canvas. State Russian Museum of Art, St. Petersburg.



"Man's skull ... is equal to the universe, for in it is contained all that sees in it."

-- Kazimir Malevich (1922)

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"There is no longer a problem of the concept, generality, the idea, when one has understood that the sensible itself is INVISIBLE, that the YELLOW is capable of setting itself up as a level or horizon."

-- Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964)

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Huangbo Xiyun portrait

Kita Genki, PORTRAIT OF JIFEI RUYI, 1666. Hanging scroll --ink and colour on silk. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Museum Record:

Genki, a Nagasaki artist, painted this portrait of the Zen master Jifei Ruyi, which was inscribed in Chinese by the subject himself while he was resident at Fukujuji, a temple patronized by the daimyo of Kokura (present-day Kita Kyushu). The port of Nagasaki was one of the few places under the tightly regulated Tokugawa government where contemporary Chinese culture and learning could be openly discussed and studied. In the mid-seventeenth century, new ideas on Confucianism and Zen  (Chinese: Ch'an) Buddhism were brought to Japan by Chinese monks travelling through Nagasaki (including Jifei Ruyi) and by envoys from Korea. These monks formed what was known in Japan as the OBAKU SCHOOL, after the Japanese rendering of the name of the Tang Dynasty monk HUANGBO XIYUN (d. ca. 850 CE).

There are several versions of this portrait, each with a different inscription. In Zen, the teachings of the Buddha Shakyamuni are transmitted directly from teacher to pupil; in seventeenth-century practice, as in earlier ages, the Buddha's word lived in receiving instruction, rather than in reading texts. A portrait of one's teacher, suitably inscribed, was a venerated symbol of accomplishment and a tangible reminder of the special relationship around which knowledge was structured.

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"The foolish reject what they see, not what they think; the wise reject what they think, not what they see."

-- Ch'an master Huangbo Xiyun (d. ca. 850 CE)

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WISH

W.H. Merwin (2015)

The star in my
Hand is falling

All the uniforms know what's no use

May I bow to necessity not
To her hirelings

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Cherry blossoms photo

" ... 'Bounding Line'...". (Photo: M  Cynog Evans.)

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Manchurian candidate photo

John Frankenheimer, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (film still), 1962.

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Francis Bacon (1620):

It is a false assertion that the sense of man is the measure of things. On the contrary, all perceptions as well as of the sense as of the mind are according to the measure of the individual and not according to the measure of the universe. And the human understanding is like a false mirror, which, receiving rays regularly, distorts and discolours the nature of things by mingling its own nature with it.

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Freeman Dyson text

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Marshall McLuhan (1974):

In the new age of the instant replay, news takes on a totally new dimension that is almost metaphysical. ... The "meaning" or the relation to ourselves of a particular event, may not come home to us until much later. However, with the instant replay of our own or others' experiences, it is now possible to have the meaning without the experience.

[...]

The quality of the instantaneous in the replay of experience is somewhat like the difference between cognition and recognition. ... Recognition is an altogether higher order of awareness than cognition, and yet it is now taken for granted as a normal feature of daily life in the electric age. ... The mysterious thing about this kind of speed-up of information, whereby the gap is closed between the experience and the meaning, is that the public begins to participate directly in actions which it had previously heard about at a distance in place and time. At instant speed the audience becomes actor, and the spectators become participants. ... At instant speeds the cause and effect are at least simultaneous, and it is this dimension which naturally suggests, to all those who are accustomed to it, the need to anticipate events hopefully rather than to participate in them fatalistically.

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PERPETUAL MOTION?

M.K. Morton

Probably the last basement dwellers on the block
To replace their sundial with a clock.
Now trying to think outside the box,
are hoping to find a few new crocks

And some genetically modified hollyhocks
Crossbred with a few pretty phlox
They can, alongside the stocks
And bonds, drag inside, safety deposit

Without interruption when money talks
Quid pro status quo, if not you, who's left to kid:
How are you foxed for socks
And underwaterwear? Rumoured, but not masthead writ:

Deviously modelled on the Chicago Commodities Pit,
Out for meaty tender the latest bid
On estimates to push back the walls, skylight the lid.
Change the box? Not in the least, especially the locks. 

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Ch'an master Huangbo Xiyun (d. ca 850 CE):

A perception, sudden as blinking, that subject and object are one, will lead to a deeply mysterious understanding; and by this understanding you will awaken to the truth.

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JUDGEMENTS OF PERCEPTION/感知的判斷

Posted April 6, 2017

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Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE):

Become one with the dusty world.
This is called profound identification.
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Acacia flower photo

" ... (Merely) Known'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

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Oswald Spengler (1917):

Every impulse proper to oneself has an expression and every impulse alien to oneself makes an impression. And thus everything of which we are conscious, whatever the form in which it is apprehended ... has for us a deeper meaning still, a final meaning. And the one and only means of rendering this incomprehensible comprehensible must be a kind of metaphysics which regards EVERYTHING WHATSOEVER as having significance as a SYMBOL.
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A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF KILLED TIME

M.K. Morton

It isn't that we've never heard music at its most creative;
Or that we don't appreciate a fine rhapsodic concerto.
And I don't mean just the scherzo.

But with our customary cavorts sonic
Flat-out pumping raucous, so
In line it's not. Hence we revert positively synchronic,

To our habitual tastes more primitive.
The day we embrace the symphonic would for us the converse be of to go native.



"By the time I was eleven years old, I had been taught that nature, far from abhorring a vacuum, positively adores it."

Edith Sitwell (1964)

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"To follow the principles of the world without altering them and to attain one's end is virtue."

-- Yang Hsiung (53 BCE - 18 CE)

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Ernst Bloch (1954):

The emotion of hope goes out of itself, makes people broad instead of confining them, cannot know nearly enough of what it is that makes them inwardly aimed, of what may be allied to them outwardly. The work of this emotion requires people who throw themselves into what is becoming, to which they themselves belong. It will not tolerate a dog's life which feels itself only passively thrown into What Is, which is not seen through, even wretchedly recognized.

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Warhol Mao portrait

Andy Warhol, MAO, 1973. Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas.



BBC News, 2 April 2017:

An Andy Warhol portrait of Chairman Mao has been sold at a historic auction in Hong Kong --but fell short of its top estimate of $15m (£12m; HK$116m).

The iconic silkscreen portrait fetched $11m in the sale. It was bought by an anonymous Asian collector.

In the past, Chinese officials had stopped versions of the painting being exhibited on the mainland, where censors closely guard Mao's depiction.

Just four years ago, during the first comprehensive survey of Warhol's art in China, the portraits were nowhere to be seen.

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Statues incinerating

Buddhist statues --incinerated during China's Cultural Revolution,  (1966-1976).



The feedback loop plays all sorts of tricks to confound the single plane and one-way direction of thought and action as they had been constituted in the pre-electric age of the machine.

-- Marshall McLuhan (1960)

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"Don't nail a stick into empty space."

--Ch'an / Zen master I-Hsüan (d. 866 CE)

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"Strange that I feel no pity for the moon travelers, as though they were really robots."

-- Elias Canetti (1969)



"Our overall goal is that, by around 2030, China will be among the major space powers of the world."

-- Wu Yanhua, deputy chief of The China National Space Administration (2017)

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DEONTIC MODALITY/義務形態

Posted March 16, 2017

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"Direction is the living, aim the dead."

-- Oswald Spengler (1926)



Marshall McLuhan (1953):

The irrational has become the major dimension of experience in our world. And yet this is a mere by-product of the instantaneous character in communication. It can be brought under rational control. It is the perfection of the means which have so far defeated the end, and removed the time necessary for assimilation and reflection. We are now compelled to develop new techniques of perception and judgment, new ways of the languages of our environment with its multiplicity of cultures and disciplines. And these needs are not just desperate remedies but roads to unimagined cultural enrichment.


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Glass piano

" ... 'Image of a Counterworld'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans )



EVERY PSYCHOLOGY IS A COUNTER-PHYSICS.

-- Oswald Spengler (1926)

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Marshall McLuhan (1968):

An environment is naturally of low intensity or low definition. That is why it escapes observation. Anything that raises the environment to high intensity, whether it be a storm in nature or violent change resulting from a new technology, turns the environment into an object of attention. When it becomes an object of attention, it assumes the character of an anti-environment or an art object.

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Landscape painting

Kerstiaen de Keuninck, A MOUNTAINOUS LANDSCAPE WITH A WATERFALL, c. 1600. Oil on wood. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.



Museum Record:

Kerstiaen de Keuninck continued the Flemish tradition of imaginary mountain scenery that descended from [Joachim] Patinir. This large panoramic landscape ... illustrates his concern with contrasting pictorial effects --such as heavy passages of opaque paint set off against areas sketched in a very thin medium-- and with bold marks like the water spray formed by flicking the brush.

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Window painting

Marcel Duchamp, FRESH WIDOW, 1920. Miniature window, painted wood frame, and panes of glass covered with black leather. Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Museum.Record:

Constructed by a carpenter in accordance with Marcel Duchamp's instructions, FRESH WIDOW is a small version of the double doors commonly called a French window.  Duchamp was fascinated by themes of sight and perception; here, the expectation of a view through window panes is thwarted by opaque black leather, which Duchamp insisted "be shined every day like shoes."

With the change of three letters, Duchamp transforms 'French Window' into the title 'Fresh Widow,' a pun that points to the recent war and the bawdy tradition of amorous (or 'fresh') widows of soldiers.



"Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfilment to our dreams
And our desires."

-- Wallace Stevens (1915)

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While living
Be a dead man,
Be thoroughly dead --
And behave as you like,
And all's well

-- Shido Bunan Zenji  (1603-1676)

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Snowy field

" ... 'Propositional Form...'. (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)



"Our minds are finite, and yet even in these circumstances of finitude we are surrounded by possibilities that are infinite, and the purpose of human life is to grasp as much as we can out of the infinitude."

-- Alfred North Whitehead (1941)

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IN MEMORIAM
Michael Ovenden
1926-1987


Allan H. Batten (Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, Victoria, British Columbia), JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF CANADA (August 1987):

The death of Michael Ovenden on March 15th of this year deprived the Canadian astronomical community of one of its most original thinkers.

He made his choice of career shortly after explosions of the two nuclear bombs that ended WWII, events that turned him to astronomy rather than physics, in the hope that his work and knowledge would not be used for destructive purposes.

Later, he ruefully acknowledged that methods of integration he used in celestial mechanics were also employed in the computation of the trajectories of intercontinental ballistic missiles.



Michael Ovenden (1962):

As we look at the history of evolution on Earth, it would seem that time and again some slight variation or peculiarity of the Earth has started evolution off in a particular direction. The diversity of which the molecular architecture that is life is capable no doubt dwarfs into insignificance the diversity of our imagination.

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Ch'an master Hung-chih (1091-1157):

The round pearl has no hollows. The great raw gem isn't polished. What is esteemed by the people of the Way is having no edges. RemovIng the road of agreement, senses and matter are empty. The free body, resting on nothing, stands out unique and alive.

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Watercolour landscape

Wang Yuanqi, FREE SPIRITS AMONG STREAMS AND MOUNTAINS (detail), handscroll, ink on paper, 1684. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.



John Blofeld (1965):

Taoism, perpetuating ways of thought and action that antecede Laotzû, its founder (500 BCE approx.), teaches us to live close to nature, to observe natural processes and to model our activities upon them. The virtues of water are especially extolled. Water does not attack impregnable obstacles, but peacefully finds its way around them. Rivers, though they seek the lowest level and the easiest course, do not fail to reach the sea. The art of life requires knowledge not only of where and how to act but also of when not to act; wise action confines itself to dealing with whatever positively insists on being dealt with; were it to go further than that, it might stir up the need for more action and lead to involvement in things left better alone. If all the world were Taoist, sleeping dogs could sleep long.

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M.K. Morton

               AHEAD OF WHOSE TIME?
 
                             Creativity is seeing the next move when
                             there is no next move--Niall Williams


Poach an idea flaking the loosely-lintelled edge of thought--
Slippery ledge yet spirit's abundant and future tenement
Where dizzy goes the gavotte
Once fresh art invokes the right to squat:
Convenience address for the (easy but not inexpensive)

Muses. Rainbow-salmon their raiment, spoiling to be comprehensive
Hence even willing the occasional off-key element
Ensconce. Prompts you--heeding pecking from the upcoming--latch
Onto an unpredictably hesitating hatch:
An aspiring sprig of form distinguishable from a blot

Barely. Till you have, emancipating your range of variables,
Loosed most apropos features, fixtures and factors among a
No fixed quota of quadrilles and quandries--that flirts hilariables
Encouraged by the mix daisying a ripe sweep of phenomena.
Then, leaving neither i's to dot

Nor t's to cross, into eloquent theme, design or plot
Up it worked. Privileged  moment when Eureka! clasps palms with Aha!
Still ever the crowd not
(Its back to the band, engaged in lazy foxtrot
With the rear-view-mirrored Lady of Shallot)

Able to signify import let alone upshot
Imbuing the high-tariff marvel you've, tradition scoff-lawing,
Been able spot
Sprouting duty-free, before articulating as much as the future forgot.
For follow-up? Somehow that time-slipping, very knowing gnawing

Now of this aborning stranger
(To our idea of up-to-date a game-changer)
You've, fisher-instinctive reeling, drawing
In, dashed whirlpudlian, tellingly supple-taut.
Rinsing us with the about-to-be. So, lightly vu dejaing,

Your flair continues try ambigufy oompahpahing,
Playfully untangling conundraing, faithfully Cynaraing,
In celestial nocturne hummingbird hints of dappled summer   
Unpredictably chiaroscuring. You'll sooner or later summon
Further arrivals the farther side creativity's chasm thawing:

Rare quest narrative; mellifluent philharmonia aria uncommon
Honeyed,
Transcribed dulcimer;
Sonnet pulsing a last eternal rambler sub rosa simmer;
Comedy infinitely funnied

Or landscape balanced, seesawing centred on a sudden.
Then the forward-facing present (its flimsy vest not store-bought)
Again's disclosed as an, if less than sullen,
Undulant chart-free, crafted close-wrought
Net in which a shred of the churn-teased future is caught.

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"A world of pre-fabricated houses is NOT where the rainbow ends."

-- Wyndham Lewis (1950)

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In this world we walk
on the roof of hell
gazing at flowers

-- Issa (1763-1828)

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Ovenden text

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"If you want to learn through experience the words 'the whole earth' and 'the whole cosmos' mull them over three times and five times."

-- Zen master Dogen (1200-1253)

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DEONTIC MODALITY/義務形態

Posted February 2, 2017

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Wyndham Lewis (1927):

What we generally name "the new" is the very old, or the fairly old. It is as well to point this out, and even stress it, since it is an impressive fact not sufficiently recognized.


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Durga Image

MAHAKALA PANJARANATHA (PROTECTOR OF THE TENT). Tibet, late 14th/early 15th century. Steatite with colour and gilding. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Collection Record:

Mahakala is the principle destroyer of the bonds that tie us to spiritual ignorance. Here he plunges his flaying knife into the skull cup that simmers with a flaming sea of sense organs, and in in the crook of his arms he holds a baton for summoning monks to assembly.



Waka Takahashi Brown, Stanford University Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education:

Buddhism ... began in India around the sixth century B.C.E.

[ ... ]

The goal of Buddhism is to become enlightened and reach NIRVANA. NIRVANA is believed to be attainable only with the elimination of all greed, hatred, and ignorance within a person. [ ... ] According to Buddhist belief, a final NIRVANA is attained at the time of an enlightened being's death, and is no longer part of the cycle of reincarnation and death.

[ ... ]

Buddhism in Tibet is quite different from traditional Chinese Buddhism. Tibet adopted Buddhism centuries after China and did not model itself on Chinese Buddhism. Rather, in the seventh century, Tibet actively studied and imported aspects of Indian, rather than Chinese, civilization.

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Repentant Magdalen Painting

Georges de la Tour, THE REPENTENT MAGDALEN, c. 1635-1640. Oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.



"The FEEL of the dark against the SIGHT of the skull."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1968)

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Wyndham Lewis (1927):

You can no longer nourish yourself upon the Past; its stock is exhausted, the Past is nowhere a reality. The only place where it is a reality is in TIME, not certainly in space.

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Temperance adjusting clock

TEMPERANCE ADJUSTING A MECHANICAL CLOCK. Manuscript illustration for a text by Christine de Pizan ("L'Epitre d'Ortea"), 1405.



Susan Croag Bell (2008):

As she [Christine] wrote in Le Livre
du Corps de polisie [written between 1404 and 1407], knowledge is not valuable unless it can be passed on to others.

[ ... ]

She was not only a creator of extraordinarily interesting and original books; she was a scribe and is carefully represented as such in many of her manuscripts.

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Marshall McLuhan (1968):

When we live in a museum without walls ... new strategies of attention and perception have to be created. When the highest scientific knowledge creates the environment of the atomic bomb, new controls for the scientific environment have to be discovered, if only in the interest of survival.

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Recesses Photo

" ... 'Recesses'...". (Photo: M..Cynog Evans.)



Shao Yung (1011-1077):

By viewing things is not meant viewing them with one's physical eyes but with one's mind. Nay, not with one's mind, but with the principle inherent in things.

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"I come to realize that mind is no other than mountains and rivers and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and stars."

-- Ch'an / Zen master Dogen (1200-1253)

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Daruma boating print

Suzuki Harunobu, DARUMA IN A BOAT WITH AN ATTENDANT, c. 1767. Polychrome woodblock print; ink and colour on paper. The Metropolitan Museum, New York.

Museum Collection Record:

In an unusual display of vanity, Daruma, the founder of Zen Buddhism, extracts hairs from his chin with a tweezer as he leans over the edge of a boat, using the river as a mirror.

[ ... ]

Ukiyo-e artists parodied revered figures, particularly Daruma, as a means of exposing the hypocrisy of society. During the Edo period [1615-1888] the word daruma became a slang expression for a courtesan, and a darumaya meant a brothel.
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Ellis Quotation

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Beuys Shaman Houses

Joseph Beuys, HOUSES OF THE SHAMAN, 1965. 2 works on paper: brown oil paint [Braunkreuz/Browncross] and graphite. Tate Gallery, London / National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh.



"It is the transformation of substance that is my concern in art, rather than the traditional aesthetic understanding of beautiful appearances."

-- Joseph Beuys (1979)

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Seated Jijang

SEATED JIJANG BOSAL [Bodhisattva Kshitigarbha] FLANKED BY MONK DOMYEONG AND DEMON KING MUDOK GUIWANG --AND SURROUNDED BY THE TEN KINGS OF HELL AND THEIR RETINUES. Hanging scroll: ink, colours and gold pigment on silk. Artist unknown. Korea, 18th century.



Se-Wong Koo, Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education:

The arrival of Buddhism in Korea led to the fundamental transformation of local society and a blossoming of Korean civilization. Situated at the end of a long trade route spanning the Eurasian continent, the three Korean Kingdoms of Koguryo (375 BCE - 668), Paekche (57 BCE - 663), and Silla (57 BCE - 935) ... absorbed the numerous continental cultural products and ideas carried by Buddhist monks. It was the beginning of a golden age on the peninsula.

[ ... ]

But Buddhism never completely eradicated the local religion. Instead, it incorporated local cults into its system, and gave them legitimacy as protectors and devotees of the Buddha.... The local religion, too, did not denigrate Buddhism for long, inviting the Buddha into its rituals and treating him as just another transcendental entity with tremendous power to benefit humans. The harmonious co-existence of Buddhism and the local religion --which some scholars have taken to calling "shamanism"-- can still be observed today in Korea, when one visits a Buddhist temple, where a shrine may be set aside for a god of mountains and stars, or a shaman's house, inside which are paintings and statues of multiple deities including Buddha and Bodhisattvas (all-powerful Buddhist practitioners with superhuman attributes).
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Marshall McLuhan (1968):

Conventionally, society is always one phase back, is never environmental. Paradoxically, it is the antecedent environment that is always being upgraded for attention. The new environment always uses the old environment as its material.
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Wang Yang-ming (1472-1529):

Question: Is that which emanates from the mind material force?

Answer; No, that is simply consciousness.

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TRANSPOSABILITY/轉置性

Posted December 13, 2016

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Head of Lohan

HEAD OF A LOHAN (ARHAT), Liao-Chin Dynasties, China, 10th - 13th century. Dry lacquer. H. 26.7cm. (10 1/2 inches). Seattle Art Museum.



Henry Trubner, et al (1973):

Figures of Lohans (Sk. : Arhats), or followers of the Buddha who had attained enlightenment and were leading an ascetic mountain-dwelling existence, were in vogue in China from the tenth century on.

[...]

In the sensitive facial modeling of this head not only is the ineffable spiritual state of a Lohan conveyed, but also the sense of its being the likeness to a particular individual in time is imparted.

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Though no believer in Buddhism, I am not against forming an association of Buddhism to get them united and enable them to distinguish between the people and the enemy.

-- Mao Zedong (1952)

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"There is nothing so impressive as the number TWO."

-- Wyndham Lewis (1914)

______________________________________

DON'T STICK A NAIL INTO EMPTY SPACE

-- Ch'an Master Lin-chi I-hsüan (d. 867 CE)

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"Everything has two handles, the one by which it can be carried, the other by which it cannot."

-- Epictetus (c. 55 - c. 135 CE)

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SEPARATION IS THE SAME AS CONSTRUCTION; CONSTRUCTION IS THE SAME AS DESTRUCTION.

-- Chuang Tzu (d. 287 BCE)

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Karl Marx ( 1852):

How far bourgeois society in the United States still is from being mature enough to make the class struggle obvious and comprehensible is most strikingly proved by C.H. CAREY (of Philadelphia), the only American economist of importance. [...] He reproaches ... the leading economists of Europe.... He tried to refute them ... by attempting to make out that ECONOMIC conditions --rent (landed property), PROFIT (capital), and wages (wage labour) --instead of being conditions of struggle and antagonism are rather conditions of association and harmony. All he proves, of course, is that he is taking the "underdeveloped" conditions of the United States for "normal conditions."

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Donald Trump (2016):

The truth, my friends, is that the concept of the environment is a socialist plot to destroy capitalism. ...The whole thing is a hoax.

______________________________________

"The source of learning is thought."

-- Ch'eng I (1033-1107)

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"The statement that reality is thought includes itself because it is a thought."

-- Ortega y Gasset (1932)

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Yamantaka Tanka

YAMANTAKA, DESTROYER OF THE GOD OF DEATH, distemper on cloth,  early 18th century, Tibet. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.



Museum Collection Record:

Yamantaka is a violent aspect of the Boddhisatva Manjushri, who assumes this form to vanquish Yama, the god of death. By defeating Yama, the cycle of rebirths (samsara) that prevents enlightenment is broken.

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TRANSPOSABILITY/轉置性

Posted November 22, 2016

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Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE):

If you block the senses
and close the gate,
you never struggle.
If you open the senses
and expand your endeavors,
nothing can save you.

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"When young, one is confident to be able to build palaces for mankind, but when the time comes one has one's hands full just to be able to remove their trash."

-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1780)

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SAGE COLD MOUNTAIN
IS FOREVER LIKE THIS:

DWELLS ALONE AND FREE,
NOT ALIVE, NOT DEAD

Han Shan / Cold Mountain
(c. 7th - 9th centuries)

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Wyndham Lewis (1934):

PERFECT LAUGHTER, if there could be such a thing, would be inhuman. And it would select as the objects of its mirth as much the antics dependent upon pathologic maladjustments, injury, or disease, as the antics of clumsy and imperfectly functioning healthy people.

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Barnett Fire

Barnett Newman, VOICE OF FIRE, 1967. Acrylic on canvas, 546.6 x 243.8 cm. National Gallery of Canada.


"What is particular about [philosophical] anarchism is not its criticism of society, but the creative way of life it offers that makes all programmatic doctrine impossible."

-- Barnett Newman (1968)

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FOR THE GRAVE OF POSTERITY

W.S. Merwin (1963)

                This stone that is
not here and bears no writing commemorates
        the emptiness at the end of
history listen you without vision you can still
                hear it there is
     nothing it is the voice with the praises
that never changed that called to the unsatisfied
         as long as there was
                        time
whatever it could have said of you is already forgotten

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UNTITLED [n.d.]

A.E. Housman
(1859-1936)

I wake from dreams and turning
My vision on the height
I scan the beacons burning
About the fields of night.

Each in its steadfast station
Inflamming heaven they flare;
They sign with conflagration
The empty moors of air.

The signal-fires of warning
--they blaze, but none regard;
And on through night to morning
The world runs ruinward.

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LANDSCAPE IN STEEL

Kitahara Hakushū (1929)

A god exists in the insulators of steel towers.
A god exists in the oblique lines of a crane.

A god exists in the tops of steel poles.
A god exists in the arch ot a steel bridge.

A god exists together with the clear sky.
A god exists in the glitter of steel.

A god exists in modern landscapes.
A god exists in the clangor of iron plate.

A god exits in mysterious steam boilers.
A god exists, turning with the motors.

A god exists, running with armored tanks.
A god exists, exploding with shells.

A god exists in sharp circular blades
Whose sawing sounds rend the sky.

A god exists in the holy noises of a dynamo.
A god exists, momentarily, emitting electric sparks.

A god exists in the iron structure of theatres.
A god exists in the May Day celebrations of steel workers.

A god exists in endless railroad tracks.
A god exists, reverberating in the thunderclouds.

A god exists in the solid forms of cubism.
The expressionists forge and bend the city.

A god exists, hauling with dignity.
A god exists, vigorously producing magnetism.

A god exists. His heavenly form is iron ore.
A god exists, burning hotly in flames.

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LAMENTS OF THE GORGES [10]

Meng Chiao
(751-814)


Death-owls call in human voices. Dragons
wolf down heaving mountain waters. Here

in broad daylight, with all the enticing serenity of a clear and breezy sky,

they beggar wisdom, snarling everything alive
in fetid gatherings of vine-covered depths.

Want filling fanged cascades bottomless,
sawtooth froth swells everywhere. Nesting

birds can't settle in trees tilted so askew,
trees gibbons leaping and swinging fill.

Who can welcome laments of the gorges,
gorges saying WHAT WILL COME WILL COME.

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ADRIFT ON THE LAKE

Wang Wei (703-761)

Autumn sky illuminates itself all empty
distances away toward far human realms,

cranes off horizons of sand tracing its
clarity into mountains beyond clouds.

Crystalline waters quiet settling night.
Moonlight leaving idleness everywhere

ablaze, I trust myself to this lone paddle,
this calm on and on, no return in sight.

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Die

Tony Smith, DIE (cardboard model --painted black--1962), fabricated 1968. Quarter-inch hot-rolled steel (oiled finish) with diagonal internal bracing. Overall: 6 x 6 ft./182.9 x 182.9 x 182.9 cm. Gross weight: 500 lb. National Gallery of Art, Washington.



"I think the volume of my work has much to do with a response to contemporary life generally."

-- Tony Smith (1971)

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Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari (1991):

We are not in the world, we become with the world; we become by contemplating it. Everything is vision, becoming. We become universes.

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TRANSPOSABILITY/轉置性

Posted November 11, 2016

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Warhol Mao

Andy Warhol, MAO, 1973. Synthetic polymer painting on canvas. 448 x 346 x 7 cm. Art Institiute of Chicago.

Permanent collection label, Art Institute of Chicago:

Images of mass-produced consumer products and Hollywood film stars are among his most recognizable subjects. In this example ...Warhol melded his signature style with the scale of totalitarian propaganda to address the cult of personality surrounding Chinese ruler Mao Zedong (1893-1976).



"Haven't we too exploded an atom bomb?"

-- Mao Zedong (1964)

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Onement

Barnett Newman, ONEMENT, 1948. Oil on canvas and oil on masking tape on canvas. 69.2 x 41.2 cm. Museum of Modern Art, New York.



"My struggle against bourgeois society has involved total rejection of it."

-- Barnett Newman (1955)

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Komoji

SENJU KANNON, Nara Period, second half of 8th century. 161.8 cm. Komo-ji, Kyoto. Important Cultural Property --Kyoto National Museum.

[ Note:

The head and body of Thousand-Armed Avalokiteśvara --including the folded hands in front of the chest-- have been carved from a single block of Japanese nutmeg.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]

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TRANSPOSABILITY/轉置性

Posted November 7, 2016

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"If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things."

Kung Fu-tzu/Confucius (551-479 BCE)

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Ezra Pound (1962):

Bad language is BOUND to make in addition bad government, whereas good language is NOT bound to make bad government. That ... is clear in Confucius: if the orders aren't clear they can't be carried out. [...] We suffer from the use of language to conceal thought and to withold all vital and direct answers.

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"The highest virtue is not virtuous; therefore it has virtue."

-- Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE)

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Block

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Ch'an/Zen master Dogen (1200-1253):

Looking inward or outward, see there is no fixed self.
Break in the front door, if you want to enter your home.

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Claude

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ANALECTS OF CONFUCIUS (circa 500 BCE):

Tze-kung asked, "Is there one word with which to act in accordance throughout a lifetime? The Master said, "Is not reciprocity such a word?"

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"The present cannot be revealed until it has become yesterday."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1968)

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Suzanne Langer (1982):

The future is built up of cumulative conceptions containing many of the same elements as the Past, but these play a different role: they constitute the situation of emergent acts which are all, as yet, at least partly potential, though many (for some people, most) are rooted in the near past and are, in fact, in process of realization. So-called "projects" may be entirely unrealized, their only connection with the Past being the continuity of their motivating mental acts of imagination, perhaps felt as desire, possibly even as intention; if they have reached the stage of impulse and orientation toward a goal, they also involve expectancy. But if they are purely acts of imagination, they have a present rather than future character.

[...]

The Past, being in the mode of memory, is closed, inalienable, and inseprable: if its "data" undergo any change, that is a change in our knowledge, and the present subjective act of correction adds itself to the judging individual's history as a complication of his Past from that moment onwards. The Future, on the other hand, is an open-ended progression, and our most amazing, precise predictions are a play of emergent realizations with intellectually engendered expectancies. The whole structure of time apprehended in motivational terms is an immensely complex web, with a large "specious present" dividing two very different extensions of that central "Now," which changes as they change in a direction marked by progressive realization ever making the Past, and newly emerging situations creating the vista of potentialies, the Future.

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LITERALITY/文本化

Posted September 15, 2016

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Instantaneous

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Debauched nature is at root the basis of pure nature. Eliminate debauchery and this is the body of pure nature.

-- Sixth and Last Patriarch of Ch'an/Zen Buddhism, Hui-neng (d. 713 CE)
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Ruskin

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The reason people misunderstand the difference between thoughts and delusions is that everyone imagines thoughts all exist at the bottom and arise from there, but originally, there's no actual substance at the 'bottom' from which thoughts arise.

-- Zen master Bankei (1622-1693)

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Stillwell

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Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE):

When the great Tao was lost,
there came (ideas of) humanity and justice.
When knowledge and cleverness arrived,
there came great deception.

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Optimism

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LITERALITY/文本化

Posted August 12, 2016

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Swiftly

" ... 'Swiftly Moving'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)



WHEN WILL CHINA'S 'HEAVENLY PALACE' SPACE LAB FALL BACK TO EARTH?

Leonard David, Space.com, New York (June 10, 2016):

A Chinese space lab is bound to come back to earth relatively soon, but when and where this happens is a matter of debate and speculation.

For example, some satellite trackers think China may have lost control of the uncrewed 8-ton (7.3 metric tons) vehicle, which is called Tiangon-1.

Tiangon-1 --whose name means "Heavenly Palace"-- served as a stepping-stone toward a larger space complex that China wants to be operational in Earth orbit around 2020.

[ ... ]

Earlier this year ... state-run news agencies in China reported that the CMSE [China Manned Space Engineering office] had terminated Tiangon 1's data-gathering activities. Furthermore, officials explained that the telemetry link to the space lab had failed, seemingly dooming the vehicle to an uncontrolled fiery fall in the future.



Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE):

Those who would take over the world
and manage it,
I see they cannot grasp it;
for the world is a spiritual vessel
and cannot be forced.
Whoever forces it spoils it.
Whoever grasps it loses it.



NEWS FROM.MOON EXPRESS, INC. (August 3, 2016):

The U.S. government has made a historic ruling to allow the first private enterprise, Moon Express, Inc., permission to travel beyond the Earth's orbit and land on the Moon in 2017.

[ ... ]

"The Moon Express 2017 mission approval is a landmark decision ... a pathfinder for private sector commercial missions beyond Earth's orbit," remarks co-founder CEO, Bob Richards. "We are now free to set sail as explorers to Earth's eighth continent, the moon, seeking new knowledge and resources to expand Earth's economic sphere for the benefit of all humanity."



Chuang Tzu (399-295 BCE):

The True men of old knew nothing of the love or the hatred of death. Entrance into life occasioned them no joy; the exit from it awakened no resistance. Composedly they went and came. They did not forget what their beginning had been, and they did not enquire into what their end would be. They accepted (their life) and rejoiced in it; they forgot (all fear of death), and returned (to their state before life). Thus there was in them the want of any mind to resist the Tao, and of all attempts by the Human to resist the Heavenly.

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CBC News, August 7, 2016:

Lanterns were lit and sailed into water at Memorial Park in Winnipeg on Saturday evening [August 6] to remember the 1945 nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The annual event, called Lanterns for Peace, is part of a world-wide observance to promote nuclear disarmanent and world peace.

On August 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped "White Boy" on Hiroshima, the first nuclear weapon used in war.

A second bomb, "Fat Man," was dropped over Nagasaki three days later ... prompting Japan's surrender in World War II.

"It's time to remember the victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ... many innocent lives were lost in this horrific act of war," said Terumi Kawada, a former president of the National Association of Japanese Canadians.

The lanterns symbolize what happens when people are killed and devestated in war," she said, adding that the lanterns are part of the Buddhist Obon ceremony.

Kuwada says in the faith it is believed that one time each year loved ones come back to celebrate the lives that are lost and the lanterns help guide them.

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MEMO from David Silcox, Senior Fellow, Massey College, University of Toronto.


Dear CAUSA Research Curators:

It may be of interest to you that 900 members of the Order of Canada of all ranks have, as of August 6th 2016, given their support to Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, a voluntary group that urges our government to give a priority to the diplomatic negotiations required to bring such a Convention to the floor of the United Nations. A draft Convention has already been approved by three quarters of the world's countries. In 2010 both the Senate of Canada and the House of Commons unanimously passed a resolution of support, and then did nothing.

The UN has Conventions for Chemical Weapons and for Biological Weapons, but not for the most threatening Nuclear Weapons. The Doomsday Clock, which rates the technological threat to human civilization when circumstances require an assessment, is now set at three minutes to midnight, the closest it has been since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. In 1953 it was set at two minutes when the USA developed the Hydrogen Bomb.

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Marshall McLuhan (1979):

The phrase "rear-view mirror" tells you that you are looking at something
that went past, but, in fact, you never do. All you look at in the
rear-view mirror is literally the forseeable future.

Now, at the speed of light, there is no forseeable future. You are there
literally. It does not matter what situation you choose to consider. There
is literally no possible future. You are already there the moment you name
the situation.

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IN THE QUIET NIGHT

by Li BaI (701 - 762)


So bright a gleam on the foot of my bed --
Could there have been a frost already?
Lifting myself to look, I found that it was moonlight.
Sitting back again, I thought suddenly of home.

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Basho (1644 - 1694):

The moon and sun are eternal travelers. Even the years wander on. A lifetime adrift in a boat or in old age leading a tired horse into the years, every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.

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Varley

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THE CYLINDRICAL GABLE

Richard Huelsenbeck
(1916)


Up rose the dadosopher from the dada megalo toilet seat and made the following speech I am the dadosopher from the beginning to the end I hold a whisky bottle in my left hand and an eraser in my right hand Nobody's got anything on me The letters dance out of my ears and my belly makes waves to the beat of the Hohenfriedberger march I crack my whip from east to west and the young lice I wish so well shout for joy on my fingers My head's in the Nile and my legs chop open the Arctic Ocean but nobody knows what that's good for Look at the white steam spreading from my nostrils to cover the earth --see the shadow cast by my lips I am the young moon waiting in waders as the trains depart I am the calf that climbs up the rain gutters in drill step Yes yes that makes you marvel you earthly louts and blindworms that makes you rub your nose on the petroleum tank but that's not the last we've heard of that Somebody came with an accordian and played for the elephant dance I am the meteorite dropping out of the nipples of the moon I am the cylindrical gable mounted by John John Heartfield Hey you underground workers and knackers open your bellies wide and trample the hair under your feet Judgement day has begun the great day of reckoning

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Freedom and liberation are an unending task.

-- Umberto Eco (1995)

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Flash

John Heartfield, FATHERS AND SONS, silver print of photomontage, 1924. Academie der Künste, Berlin.

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Richard Huelsenbeck (1920):

You can construe the idealism that distorts things and makes them function as an absolute (the discipline of corpses) whether it be vegetarianism, the rights of man or the monarchy, as a pathological deformation, or you can call it ecstatically "the bridge to eternity," "the goal of life," or such platitudes. ... The Dadaist is instinctively opposed to all this.

[ ... ]

It is ridiculous and a sign of idiocy exceeding the legal limit to say that Dada (whose actual achievements and immense success cannot be denied) is "only of negative value." Today you can hardly fool first-graders with the old saw about positive and negative.

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Dada

" .... 'Before' ...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)



Zen master Bankei (1622-1693):

A layman said: "I sometimes feel startled when I'm surprised by some sound, such as a clap of thunder. Is this because I'm not in control all the time? How can I guard against this so that, no matter what happens, I won't feel startled?"

The Master said: "If you feel startled, it's fine just to feel that way. When you try to guard against it, you're creating duality."

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"Human perception is literally incarnation."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1954)

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Buson1

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Michael Bakunin (1882):

The liberty of man consists solely in this: that he obeys natural laws because he HIMSELF recognized them as such, and not because they have been externally imposed upon him by any extrinsic will whatever, divine or human, collective or individual.

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Nathan Ward, AMERICAN HERITAGE (July/August 1991):

FIRST PICTURES OF THE EARTH FROM THE MOON

On the night of August 25 [1966] a tracking station in Madrid received the first transmissions of pictures of the Earth as seen from the Moon, 240,000 miles away. A camera mounted on NASA's lunar orbiter, the first American spacecraft to circle the Moon, shot the photographs from 24.7 miles above its surface. The initial pictures showed the Moon in huge, curving profile in the foreground; a smaller Earth dangled behind in space, wrapped completely in clouds. The orbiter moved slightly closer to the Moon to take pictures of craters, in search of possible future landing sites....

The photographs were also important to scientists for pinpointing the Earth's terminator line, the line dividing the planet into light and dark halves. The lunar orbiter made a complete circle of the Moon every three and a half hours during its mission, sending back pictures each day; they were too clouded to reveal oceans and continents, but the space station scientists nonethelesss pronounced them "beautiful."



Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE):

Superior virtue uses no force,
but nothing is left undone.
Inferior virtue uses force,
but achieves nothing.

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MOONSET

Carl Sandburg
(1918)


Leaves of poplars pick Japanese prints against the west.
Moon sand on the canal doubles the changing pictures.
The moon's good-by ends pictures.
The west is empty. All else is empty. No moon-talk at all now.
Only dark listening to dark.

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When Eternity Moves In To Take A Closer Look

M. K. Morton

Sometimes we encounter a frontier face momentarily very old,

It’s source well beyond the demi-living memory of long forgotten cemeteries.

Hence not aged as a vintage psyche reincarnated life after life:

No simple matter of a soul popped into body after body down through the centuries.

 

Rather, stars-fixing motif emerging from a stray folding fold

In eternity. This destiny-sweep drawing up elements, transcribed piano from fife.

Departing continental-chrono-shelf for great lakes

And traversing occult millennia like a water-elevating gypsy cloud-cover.

 

 

A jut-stream that follows, occasionally pausing dipping, may hover.

Then edges in to make its current pick – from its loam-level finite trajectories –

Of an outstanding reaction to a momentary reach; claiming no special day-breaks,

Alights, hammock-ripening, floats seemingly,

 

Reconnoitres those fledgling, terrestrially primal, preferred optimal out-takes.

Briefly.

At irrepressible, freely over-achievingly, liberally aperteefly

Saturated activities embracing finance through sport and art to romance,

 

Looks, keeping its own counsel, somewhat askance.

Yare, perhaps infrequently cheekily,

Plucks, recaptures, imbibes, a trifle recklessly integrally

Absorbs from those once infused telling gestures

 

Not necessarily entirely rooted in green pastures.

Capacity for sensing the grandly

Leaching, could be – bordering duration’s distilleries,

The river of life’s hatcheries –

This private archetype truffles out the promising among our haphazard enterprises.

The least legible of our signatures,

Doled each of us exclusively 

Since time began, this personal super-soul epitomises

 

In its expression – spirals discreetly allusively --

Our unique spirit’s most striking embodied adventures.

And when the neighbour or colleague’s aspect we glimpse

(Abundantly rare these sightings, as if destiny skimps)

 

What cipher-savy can we summon decrypts?

This gaze has bouillabaissed probably only some, even hardly few

Of an individual’s various identities –

OK, including time done in the animal kingdom,

 

Maybe wholesale menageries –

Doesn’t show up on film?

Not to worry. For that grain of print, sticky enough any tape or glue?

Large enough any out-size album?

 

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FROM NOW ON/由今而後

Posted July 19, 2016

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Conspicuous

" ... 'Conspicuous Co-Existence'...'. (Image: M. Cynog Evans.)



Marshall McLuhan (1967):

We can no longer tolerate the irresponsibility of social trial and error.

[ ... ]

We have to know in advance the effect, on all the cultures of the world, of any change whatever. This necessity is not ideal. It is also a possibility. There was never a critical situation created by human ingenuity which did not contain its own solution.

[ ... ]

The same technology which has made instantaneous information-flow a chemical danger to every culture in the world has also created the power of total re-construction of models of situations.

[ ... ]

Our tendency has been to make possible the co-existence of all cultures and also of all pasts. But this means that we can also anticipate the effects of all our present actions and technology. What we must know in order to achieve this is the fact that the media of communication are not mere catalysts but have their own physics and chemistry which enter into every moment of social alchemy and change.



"In a new definition of creativity the terms professional and amateur are transcended, and the fallacy of the unworldly artist and the art-alienated non-artist is abandoned."

-- Joseph Beuys (1972)

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Chuang Tzu (sixth century BCE):

A mountain is high because of its individual particles. A river is large because of its individual drops. And he is a just man, who regards all parts from the point of view of the whole.

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Schrodinger

Diagram of SCHRODINGER'S THOUGHT EXPERIMENT.



THOUGHT EXPERIMENT

John Gribben (1984):

Erwin Schrödinger was an Austrian scientist instrumental in the development, in the mid-1920s, of the equations of a branch of science now known as quantum mechanics. Branch of science is hardly the correct expression, however, because quantum mechanics provides the fundamental underpinning of all modern science. The equations describe the behaviour of very small objects -- generally speaking, the size of atoms or smaller-- and they provide the ONLY understanding of the world of the very small. Without these equations, physicists would be unable to design working nuclear power stations (or bombs), build lasers, or explain how the sun stays hot. Without quantum mechanics, chemistry would still be in the Dark Ages, and there would be no science of molecular biology --no understanding of DNA, no genetic engineering-- at all.

[ ... ]

Schrödinger's mythical cat was invoked to make the difference between the quantum world and the everyday world clear.

In the world of quantum mechanics, the laws of physics that are familiar from the everyday world no longer work. Instead, events are governed by probabilities. A radioactive atom, for example, might decay emitting an electron, say; or it might not. It is possible to set up an experiment in such a way that there is a precise fifty-fifty chance that one of the atoms in a lump of radioactive material will decay in a certain time and that a detector will register the decay if it does happen. Schrödinger, as upset as Einstein about the implications of quantum theory, tried to show the absurdity of those implications by imagining such an experiment set up in a closed room, or box, which also contains a phial of poison, so arranged that if the radioactive decay does occur then the poison container is broken and the cat dies. In the everyday world,  there is a fifty-fifty chance that the cat will be killed, and without looking inside the box we can say, quite happily, that the cat inside is either dead or alive. But now we encounter the strangness of the quantum world. According to the theory, NEITHER of the two possibilities open to the radioactive material, and therefore to the cat, has any reality unless it is observed. The atomic decay has neither happened nor has not happened, the cat has neither been killed nor not killed, until we look inside the box to see what has happened. Theorists who accept the pure version of quantum mechanics say that the cat exists in some indeterminate state, neither dead nor alive, until an observer looks into the box to see how things are getting on. Nothing is real until it is observed.

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Søren Kierkegaard (1844):

Man is  synthesis of psyche and body, but he is also a synthesis of the temporal and the eternal. In the former, the two factors are psyche and body, and spirit is the third, yet in such a way that one can speak of a synthesis only when the spirit is posited. The latter synthesis has only the two factors, the temporal and the eternal. Where is the third factor? And if there is no third factor, there really is no synthesis, for a synthesis that is a contradiction cannot be completed as a synthesis without a third factor, because the fact that the synthesis is a contradiction asserts that it is not. What, then, is the temporal?



NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC (July 2016):

More than 40 square miles (104 square kilometers) of coral reefs --some of the most biodiverse on Earth-- have been destroyed by giant clam poaching in the South China Sea, according to a new analysis of satellite imagery.

Another 22 square miles (58 square kilometers) of reef have been destroyed by island-building activities, largely by China to solidify its presence, according to the analysis, which was presented at the South China Sea Conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

[ Note:

On the day of the Conference -- 12 July 2016-- The Permanent Tribunal of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in favor of the Phillipines' claim that China has violated its responsibilities under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Seas.

According to Oliver Tickell, contributing editor of THE ECOLOGIST, China has publicly rejected the Tribunal itself and the findings as "a farce".

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]

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Ch'an master Yung Chia Hsuan-chueh (665 - 713):

Get at the root, do not worry about the twigs:
It is like a crystal enclosing a bright moon.

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Dalai Lama XIV (2012):

When I was in China, I learnt Marxist economy theory, which has an emphasis on equal distribution rather than just profit. Since we human beings created this [economic] problem, we also have the ability to overcome it. In spite of our difficulties, we should not give up our hope --we must keep our self-confidence, that is very important.



Ch'an master Baotung Wuzhu (714 - 774):

The perfect mind makes the mandala. The fire of no features burns the incense of liberation. Then we practice morality beyond thought, contemplation without any achievements, wisdom without duality. We do not ornament the mandala with worldly causality.



[ Note:

Ch'an / Zen Buddhism was introduced to Tibet in the eighth century --with the arrival of invited Chinese teachers (at the height of the Tibetan empire).

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]

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Vajra mandala

VAJARABHAIRAVA MANDALA, silk tapestry, ca. 1330-32. The Metropolitan Museum, New York City.



Museum Collection Record:

This tapestry ... was produced for the court in China during the Yuan dynasty, established by Kublai Khan (1215 - 1294), grandson of the fabled Genghis Khan (1162 - 1227).

Production of the extraordinary mandala illustrates the practice of Tibetan Buddhism at the Mongol Court. Devotion to Vajrabhairava [wrathful manifestation of Manjushri, buddha of wisdom], the deity at the center, was introduced to China by Jining Shaluobaguanzhao, a disciple of the Tibetan master Phakpa, the most powerful monk in China during the late thirteenth century. This disciple was sent to Tibet to study with a teacher famed for his knowledge of the texts and practices related to Vajrabhairava.

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Walter Benjamin (1892 - 1940):

It is not that what is past casts its light on what is present, or what is present its light on what is past; rather, an image is that wherein what has been comes together in a flash with the now to form a constellation. In other words: image is dialectics at a standstill. For while the relation of the present to the past is purely temporal, the relation of what-has-been to the now is dialectical: not temporal in nature but figural. Only dialectical images are genuinely historical.... The image that is real --which is to say, the image in the now of its recognizability-- bears to the highest degree the imprint of the perilous critical moment on which all reading is founded.

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Oldways

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"One must be deeply aware of the impermanence of the world."

-- Ch'an / Zen master Dogen (1200 - 1253)



"When the image is new, the world is new."

-- Gaston Bachelard (1958)

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"We live increasingly in a system in which little direct attention is paid to the object, the function, the program, the task, the need, but immense attention to the role, the procedure, prestige and profit."

-- Paul Goodman (1956)



Ch'an master Deu Shenshi (eighth century CE):

Cleaning the mind does not require water. Practicing generosity does not require wealth.



HAIKU

by Paul Goodman

(1963)

Sowing, ignorant
of the method --it will grow
maybe anyway.



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Mostpeople

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Ortega y Gasset (1932):

LOST IN OUR OWN LIFE --life is the feeling of being lost-- we seek a basic orientation in respect to it. To orient oneself presupposes pure multiplicity, the existence before our eyes of many things of which we know only that we do not know what they are; we neither know them one by one, nor in their existence as a group. In short, the process of orientation presupposes chaos.

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Ch'an master Yung Chia Hsuan-chueh (665-713):

The universe in its diverse variety appears
Inside one brightness which is neither within nor without.



Gaston Bachelard (1958):

If we were to give the imagination its due in the philosophical systems of the universe, we should find, at their very source, an adjective. Indeed, to those who want to find the essence of a world philosophy, one could give the following advice --look for its adjective.

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Tao Yuanming

Tani Buncho, T'AO YUANMING SEATED UNDER A WILLOW. Ink on paper mounted as a hanging scroll, 1812. Philadelphia Museum of Art.



T'ao Yuanming (365-467):

You had better go where Fate leads
--Drift on the Stream of Infinite Flux.

Without joy, without fear:
When you must go --then go.

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Fear

______________________________________

Ernst Bloch (1954):

Utopian conscoiusness wants to look far into the distance, but ultimately only in order to penetrate the darkness so near it of the just lived moment, in which everything that is both drives and is hidden from itself. In other words: we need the most powerful telescope, that of polished utopian consciosness, in order to penetrate precisely the nearest nearness. Namely, the most immediate immediacy, in which the core of self-location and being-here still lies, in which at the same time the whole knot of the world-secret is to be found.


______________________________________
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FROM NOW ON/由今而後

Posted June 7, 2016

______________________________________

Ch'an master Lin-chi (d. 866 CE):

Seeing Lin-chi planting pine trees, his teacher Huang-po asked him: "Why plant all these pines deep in the mountains?" Lin-chi said: "First of all, to provide the temple with a nice setting; secondly, to provide a model for later generations."

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Marshall McLuhan (1967):

Naturally, we're looking for identity in the old rear-view mirror where it was before. [...] But even evolution itself becomes meaningless under electronic conditions because if everything happens at once, if the DNA particle is programmed from all eternity, or is totally programmed before anything happens, it's an all-at-once operation.

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Foolish Old Man

"CULTURAL REVOLUTION" POSTER, China, 1976.

[ Note:

Selected 'component statements' from the poster have been translated by Terence Russell, University of Manitoba Asian Studies Centre.

Without his careful scrutiny, the document illustrated here would have remained broadly 'inaccessible' as a genuinely 'apocalyptic' presence.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]

TRANSLATIONS

1) (Hill face top left) Transform the Heavens and the Earth/Control the Mountains and Rivers

2) (Flag) Little Red Army

3) (Billboard to Mao’s right) Long Live the Victory of Chairman Mao’s Revolutionary Battle Line!

4) (Notice board with fist) Notice Board of Great Revolutionary Critiques

5) (In front of bucket carriers) The People will Definitely Overcome the Heavens [Nature]

6) (Top, to Mao’s left) Long Live Ever Victorious Mao Zedong Thought

7) (Flag carried by group carrying Little Red Book) Agricultural Support Service Brigade

8) (Flag at centre bottom) In Agriculture Learn from Dazhai

9) (Just above previous) Company of the People’s Army

10) (Further up) Propaganda Brigade of Mao Zedong Thought

11) (Far right bottom) Great Anti-drought Army

12) (On rock face) Struggle Bitterly to Be Born Again of Your Own Strength

13) (Banner below rock) Exert Great Strength in Aid of Agricultural Reconstruction

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"Bacteria continue to rule the world today, as they have since life's beginnings (and will until the sun explodes)."

-- Stephen J. Gould (1995)

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Milkyway

" ... 'Everyday Walking'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)



Zen master Ikkyu (1394 - 1481):

A single moon
Bright and clear
In an unclouded sky:
Yet still we stumble
In the world's darkness.
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Jean Arp, DECLARATION, (1921):

I hereby declare that on February 8, 1916, Tristan Tzara discovered the word DADA. I was with my twelve children when Tzara pronounced for the first time this word which has aroused in us such legitimate enthusiam. This took place at the Café Terrasse in Zurich, and I wore a brioche in my left nostril. [...] I am convinced that this word has no importance.... What interests us is the Dada spirit and we were all Dada before the existence of Dada.

______________________________________

Ch'an master Pai-chang (720 - 814):

It is like the water of the ocean: even without wind there are waves everywhere. Suddenly knowing of the waves all around is the gross within the subtle; letting go of knowledge in the midst of knowing is like the subtle within the subtle. This is the sphere of the enlightened.

______________________________________

Colonial

" ... 'Untakeable'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)



HARPER'S WEEKLY (New York, NY, August 12, 1865):

The wires of the California Telegraph Company have during the past winter been extended through Oregon and Washington Territory, as far as New Westminster, the capitol of British Columbia.



Marshall McLuhan (1967):

What we're doing ... is Orientalizing ourselves by our own latest technology. Instead of the outer trip, the inner trip. Instead of specialization, integral, organic involvement. The TV world and the world of electronic circuitry ensures Orientalizing of the whole human population exposed to it.

______________________________________

Rocket

'SPACE RACE' POSTER. China, 1979.



CONVERSATION BETWEEN MISSION CONTROL (HOUSTON, TEXAS) AND THE APOLLO 11 CREW --PRIOR TO THE FIRST MOON LANDING (July 20, 1969):

Houston: Among the large headlines concerning Apollo this morning, is one asking that you watch for a lovely girl with a big rabbit. An ancient legend says a beautiful Chinese girl called Chang-O has been living there for 4,000 years. It seems she was banished to the Moon because she stole the pill of immortality from her husband. You might also look for her companion, a large Chinese rabbit, who is standing on his hind feet in the shade of cinnamon tree. The name of the rabbit is not reported.

Marshall Collins: Okay. We'll keep a close eye out for the bunny girl.

______________________________________

■ For Exhibition ■ ■


by Kurt Schwitters (1945/47)


It is dripping down from the culture of an industrial city, and nothing is left but bones. White bones are right, left bones are red, and in the middle are beans and scones. There is no middle, there is a muddle. The wind rolls down the terrace under the street among the apples and prizes are grown up to nothing. There are terrifying flowers with poisoned lips crying for peace. But the war is over while the peace remains a futuristic leaf among the best pictures of Picasso. Picabia and his doctor greet the time abroad. They have time because they have got double British summertime.
Aren't they lucky?
ATOMBOMB

______________________________________

Ch'an master Lin-chi (d. 866 CE):

The master said: "Look at the wooden puppets performing on the stage. Their jumps and jerks all depend on the men behind."



"All social satire is political satire."

-- Wyndham Lewis (1941)

______________________________________

Jean Arp (1938):

Dada objects are formed of elements found or manufactured, simple or heteroclite. The Chinese several thousand years ago, Duchamp, Picabia in the United States, Schwitters and myself during the war of 1914, were the first to invent and disseminate these games of wisdom and clairvoyance which were to cure human beings of their raging madness of genius and return them to their rightful place in nature.

______________________________________

Sluggo

Gary Lee-Nova, SLUGO FLEEING EGYPT. June 2016.



Ch'an master Bankai (1622 - 1693):

Once the Master was asked by a monk: "Your Reverence always teaches that the worlds of paradise, heaven and hell, hungry ghosts and fighting demons are all in the mind and don't exist outside etc..But in a Sutra [the Buddha] says that if you travel westward across a billion buddha lands, there's a region called Paradise, which is the manifestation of the [Pure Land] Buddha Amida. Does this mean the Buddha is lying?

The Master said: "Who decided on that direction?"

______________________________________

"It is the environment that changes people, not technology."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1974)

______________________________________

Zen master Ikkyu (1457 CE):

Let up
And the mind
Runs wild;
Control the world
And you can cast it aside.

______________________________________

Pyramids

Antoine-Jean Gros, BATTLE OF THE PYRAMIDS, July 21, 1798. Oil on canvas, 1810. Musée du Chateau du Trianon, Versailles.



Marshall McLuhan (1972):

To a considerable degree, Western literate man in the nineteenth century lived in visual space which he thought of as normal, rational space. With the advent of a world environment of simultaneous information, Western man shifted from visual to acoustic space, for acoustic space is a sphere whose center is everywhere and whose boundaries are nowhere. Such is the space created by electric information which arrives simultaneously from all quarters of the globe. It is a space which phases us out of the world of logical continuity and connected stability into the space-time world of the new physics, in which the mechanical bond is the resonant interval of touch where there are no connections but only intervals.

Civilized man, Euclidian man, whose visual faculties were sharpened and specialized by Greco-Roman literacy, this kind of agressive, goal-seeking, one-way entrepreneur, has simply been disloged and put out of countenance by the new man-made environment of simultaneous electric information. It is important for survival to understand that the simultaneous data of the omnipresent information environment is itself structurally acoustic. When people understand this acoustic structure as their new habitat, they will at once recognize the risks for the strange goings-on in human society in the effort to relate to this new habitat.

______________________________________

Heraclitus

______________________________________

Ch'an master Lin-chi (d. 866 CE):

If you attain real, true perception and understanding, birth and death won't affect you --you are free to go or stay. You needn't seek wonders, for wonders come of themselves.

______________________________________

DOES THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE ENTERTAIN AMENDMENTS IN MOTION?

M.K. Morton


When the Greek court was exhausted by St. Vitus
(No point Ulysses reaching for the re-set:
(Clytemnestra those days was playing hard-to-get)
It sent forth the call: "Let high-steppin' Heraclitus
Delight us."

Although there's no real evidence He-Clitey and She-Clitee ever met,
Rumours of sightings persist, but stress if they stepped
Across each other's paths it wasn't more than once.
Both Trojan digs and metaphysical
Musings heading out in reconnaisance

Suggest it's all just a big Clitease.
Even The Mount Olympus Athletic Pharmaceutical
Testing Panel
'fesses up it is growing sceptical.
At most one tortoise is already gone, set

At marathons to coach Achilles.
Ya wanna bet that more than one set without a net
Nausicaä would play? Would Agamemnon have been a better bet
With Achilles' heel?
Been just that little bit prompter?

Should Icarus have wasted some extra backup blades of a helicopter?
With the Golden Fleece aching until someone who new how to steal
Came by. Was Cleo a second Helen for Mark and Caesar to seize?
Did Phidias caution
The Cheshire cat not to say "cheese"

Without an exit option
But keep an eye on the kitten
Pussy-footin' into too many keys.
Does that dipping into with, following front, hind legs --at a prize feline
exhibition
Say sure winner --count as stepping in again?

If there is never a second approach, although incomparable, no
impersonator
Is a reliable mime.
Can we trust carbon paper?
Which two of us could ever truly chime?
Is there any sense to the question: "When?"?

Especially when you say "Say when" when set to pour
Whatever. Whenever you can quote with ease the Eumenides,
It bears repeating: "On the run from the law, once having lit
Out, no returning to pull the stunt another time." For however much of a
rotter,
No scribe's purported piety and wit

Can cancel out words having been writ after Khayyam plonked pen
Into the same papyrus. Certainly news to Euripedes.
(Nudging Athens' top thespians again and again repeal
What Zarathustra spiel?)
And hardly a comfort for the tragic ambitious plotter.

Yet since blood is thicker than water,
Clytemnestra, dysfunctionsl to her daughter,
Has shown it possible to step twice
Into the same sanguine pool conjugal. But that whole bunch got a raw
deal.
Would have done better rolling snake eyes

Against Heraclitus' single-sided dice.
He who might have resolved movement and stasis, if settled as a
squatter
Perfectly centred on a teeter-totter.
But soft: who's that trying to re-invent the wheel?
Or at least hoping the same words again in an already absorbed blotter?

______________________________________

Chinese Pythagorus

GEOMETRIC PROOF OF THE PYTHAGOREAN THEOREM FOR THE (3,4,5) TRIANGLE. Published in the CHOU PEI SUAN CHING --one of the oldest Chinese mathematical texts (500 - 200 BCE).

Translation of last sentence:

"The sum of the squares of lengths of altitude and base is the hypoteneuse's length squared."



Marshall McLuhan (1972):

The oriental socities have always been eager to know the effects of any technical innovation. Western private man prefers to say, "Let's try it and see what happens."

______________________________________

Ch'an master Huang-Po (d. 850 CE):

The substance of the Absolute is inwardly like wood or stone, in that it is motionless, and outwardly like the void, in that it is without bounds or obstructions.... Those who hasten towards it dare not enter, fearing to hurtle down through the void with nothing to cling to or stay their fall. So they look to the brink and retreat. This refers to all who seek such a goal through cognition. Thus, those who seek the goal through cognition are like the fur (many), while those who obtain to intuitive knowledge of the Way are like horns (few).

______________________________________
______________________________________

FROM NOW ON/由今而後

Posted May 20, 2016

______________________________________

Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1960):

"Not counting its neurotics, the world includes a good number of 'rationalists' who are a danger for living reason."

______________________________________

Sideshow

" ... 'Sideshow Sawdust'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

[ Note:

This document records the April 2016 felling of two mature Cedar of Lebanon trees --both planted in Vancouver in 1906 as key components of architect Francis Rattenbury's DESIGN SCHEME for a former Brirish Columbia Court House (currently tenanted by the VANCOUVER ART GALLERY, whose temporary exhibition 'publicity banners' have been (traditionally) positioned directly above the two (now vanished) cedars).

-- CAUSA Research Curators. ]



"Chaos can have a healing character, coupled with the idea of an open movement which channels the warmth of chaotic energy into order or form"

-- Joseph Beuys (1949)

______________________________________

Above

Emily Carr, ABOVE THE TREES, 1939. Oil on paper. Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery.



Marshall McLuhan (1964):

[Modern physicists] no longer try to contain events in time, but think of each thing as making its own time and its own space. Moreover, now that we live electrically in an instantaneous world, space and time interpenetrate each other totally in a space-time world. In the same way, the painter, since Cézanne, has recovered the PLASTIC IMAGE by which all of the senses coexist in a unified pattern. Each object and each set of objects engenders its own unique space by the relations it has among others visually or musically. When this awareness recurred in the Western world, it was denounced as the merging of all things in a flux. We now realize that this anxiety was a natural literary and visual response to the new nonvisual technology.

______________________________________

Monk

Fachang Muqi, PORTRAIT OF LAO TZU [LAOZI], early 13th century. Hanging scroll --Ink on paper. Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art, Japan.

[ Note:

Here, a Buddhist monk-painter has depicted the sage Lao Tzu as a 'human being' (in contrast to a late Han dynasty tradition that had transformed that Taoist philosopher by way of a 'contradictory substitute image' --presenting him as an other-worldly 'enthroned deity'.)

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]



Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE):

In Tao the only motion is returning;
The only useful quality, weakness.
For though all creatures under heaven are the products of Being,
Being itself is the product of Not-being.

______________________________________

Deadhare

Joseph Beuys, HOW TO EXPLAIN PICTURES TO A DEAD HARE: Galerie Schmela, 26 November 1965.

[ Note:

On the occasion of his first formal exhibition, Beuys devoted three continuous hours to explaining his art to the animal 'pictured' here. The gallery was closed for the duration of the artist's 'action' --thus rendering an ephemeral work visible from the architectural vantage points of either a doorway, a street window, or a television monitor.

-- CAUSA Resesearch Curators ]



Joseph Beuys (1979):

The idea of explaining to an animal conveys a sense of the secrecy of the world and of existence that appeals to the imagination. ... Even a dead animal preserves more powers of intuition than some human beings with their stubborn rationality.

______________________________________

Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1954):

Seeing is that strange way of rendering ourselves present while keeping our distance and, without participating, transforming others into visible things.

______________________________________

Incubator
Joseph Beuys, INCUBATOR (SOLAR), 1957/58. Watercolor.



Li Bai (701 - 762):

LOOKING FOR A MONK AND NOT FINDING HIM

I took a small path leading
up a hill valley, finding there
a temple, its gate covered
with moss, and in front of
the door but tracks of birds;
in the room of the old monk
no one was living, and I
staring through the window
saw but a hair duster hanging
on the wall, itself covered
with dust; emptily I sighed
thinking to go; but then
a light rain fell as if it
were flowers falling from
the sky, making a music of
its own; away in the distance
came the cry of a monkey, and
for me the cares of the world
slipped away, and I was filled
with the beauty around me.

______________________________________

Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE):


Blank as a piece of uncarved wood;
Yet receptive as a hollow in the hills.
Murky, as a troubled stream --
Which of you can assume murkiness, to become
in the end still and clear?
Which of you can make yourself inert, to become
in the end full of life and stir?

______________________________________

"If you want knowledge, you must take part in the practice of changing reality."

-- Mao Zedong (1937)



Tom Philips, THE GUARDIAN (16 February 2016):

China is to relocate more than 9,000 people before the unveiling of the world's largest radio telescope later this year --a move that Beijing hopes will boost the global hunt for extraterrestrial life.

Work on the 1.2 bn yuan Fast (Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope) project began in the south-western province of Guizhou in 2011, and is expected to be completed by September.

Before then, 9,110 residents of Guizhou's Pingtang and Loudian counties will be "evacuated" from their homes.... Li Yuecheng, a senior Communist party official in Guizhou, said the relocations from an area within a 5 km radius of the project would help "create a sound electromagnetic wave environment."

[ ... ]

Last year Shi Zhicheng, a Chinese astronomer, told the South China Morning Post that the telescope represented a giant leap in the hunt for alien life. "If intelligent aliens exist, the messages that they produced or left behind, if they are being transmitted through space, can be detected and received by Fast," Shi said.

______________________________________

"In every branch of knowledge the progress is proportional to the amount of facts on which to build, and therefore to the facility of obtaining data."

-- James Clerk Maxwell (1851)

______________________________________

Ahead

"...'Ahead'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

[ Note:

This document augments a multi-site exhibition, VAST OCEAN / VAST HEAVEN: NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN: CONCEPTS AND PROSPECTS, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, December 2015 - January 2016.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]

______________________________________

"To be eternal means to have existed."

-- Max Frisch (1957)
______________________________________

"Investigate the meaning of the word 'half' and you will find that its body encompasses the entire immensity of empty space throughout the ten directions of the universe."

-- Zen master Hakuin Enkaku Zenji (1686 - 1769)

______________________________________

"Although there is no performed logical order to becomings and multiplications, there are criteria, and the important thing is that they not be used after the fact, that they be applied in the course of events, that they be sufficient to guide us through the dangers."

-- Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari (1997)

______________________________________

Marshall McLuhan (1964):

The electric age of servomechanisms suddenly releases men from the mechanical and specialist servitude of the preceding machine age. ... We are suddenly threatened with a libertation that taxes our inner resources of self-employment and imaginative participation in society. This would seem to be a fate that calls men to the role of artist in society.

______________________________________
______________________________________

FROM NOW ON/由今而後

Posted May 2, 2016

______________________________________

Third Ch'an Patriarch, Chien-chih Seng-ts'an (d. 606 CE):

Do not pursue the (co-operating) causes of that which exists and do not abide in void-patience.

______________________________________

Configuration

" ... 'Configuration' ...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

[ Note:

This image and accompanying text augment a multi-site exhibition, VAST OCEAN / VAST HEAVEN: NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN: CONCEPTS AND PROSPECTS, University of British Columbia (December 2015 - January 2016).

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]



Virginia Woolf (1931):

"Like" and "like" and "like" --but what is the thing that lies beneath the semblance of the thing?



SCHOLAR-TREE PATH

by Wang Wei (701 - 761)

On the side path shaded by scholar-trees,
green moss fills recluse shadow. We still
keep it swept, our welcome at the gate,
knowing a mountain monk may stop by.



"To speak of knowledge is futile. All is experiment and adventure. We are forever mixing ourselves with unknown quantities."

-- Virginia Woolf (1931)

______________________________________

Marshall McLuhan (1966):

An environment is a process; it is not a wrapper. It's an action, and it goes to work on our nervous systems, and on our sensory lives, completely altering them.

______________________________________

Meditation

Ch'an master Yung Chia Hsuan-Chueh (685 - 713): excerpt from SONG OF ENLIGHTENMENT:


Mental and physical reactions come and go
Like clouds in the empty sky;
Greed, hatred and ignorance appear and disappear
Like bubbles on the surface of the sea.



Commentary by Charles Luk/Lu Kuan Yü (1898 - 1978).

______________________________________

"The only laws of matter are those which our minds must fabricate, and the only laws of mind are fabricated for us by matter."

-- James Clarke Maxwell (1856)

______________________________________

"Watch the turmoil of beings but contemplate their return."

-- Zhuangzi / Chuang-tzu (c. 369 - c. 286. BCE)



Elias Canetti (1970):

The reality of the fantastic in Chuang-tzu. It is never reduced to anything ideal. The untouchable is reality itself, and not something behind it.

______________________________________

Pine

Wu Boli, DRAGON PINE, Ming dynasty, late 14th century. Hanging scroll. Ink on paper. The Metropolitan Museum, New York.

[ Note:

A Taoist priest, this artist specialized in 'fluent' portraits of 'aged' trees.

-- CAUSA Resesrch Curators ]



"Without play, there looms the shadow of madness in private and corporarte life, whence the danger of specialism and bureacracy when the rigors of classification overlay the relaxed countenance of harmonious faculties."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1972)

______________________________________

Joseph Beuys + Heinrich Böll (1972):


In the consumer society, where creativity, imagination and intelligence are not articulated ... they become harmful ... and find outlets in criminality.... Hope is denounced as Utopian or illusory, and discarded hope brings violence.

______________________________________

CAUSA COMMEMORATION


"A giant chokes in the dwarf's all-strangling clench."

-- Karl Kraus (1919)


Following construction in Vancouver of a new British Columbia Courthouse (completed in 1906), the architect Francis Rattenbury had been 'judicious' in his decision to place two CEDAR OF LEBANON trees --transgenerational symbols of 'flowering growth'-- within his thoroughly 'viable' design scheme.

In 1981 (when substantial redevelopment plans had begun to affect a south-facing portion of Rattenbury's repurposed Courthouse precinct) landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander conceived and supervised a plan to 'respectfully' relocate Rattenbury's mature cedar specimens. Her 'transposition' initiative served to protect the two long-life trees. And these trees remained successfully sited (as 'vitalizing' aspects of the 'historical' courthouse and the 'civic' art gallery premises now sheltered there) --until 18 April 2016, when they were cut down/removed, with City of Vancouver Tree Permit authorization.




The oak tree:
not interested
in cherry blossoms.

-- Basho (1644 - 1694)

______________________________________

Oaks

Joseph Beuys, 7000 OAKS (project commencing at Documrnta 7, Kassel, Germany), 1982.

"7000 Oaks is a sculpture referring to peoples' life, to their everyday work. That is my concept of art which I call the extended concept of art or the social sculpture."

-- Joseph Beuys (1982)

______________________________________

"Tao and brama are dada."

-- Richard Hülsenbeck (1919)

[ Note:

With four faces (looking in four directions) BRAHMA functions as 'creator god' within the Hindu tradition. Known also as SVAYAMBHU (Self-Born) and VĀGTŚA (Lord of Speech), Brahma conjoins with SHIVA and VISHNU as an 'aspect' of the 'continual' cycle of birth / death / regeneration.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]

_____________________________________

Shaft

Joseph Beuys, SHAFT OF LIGHTNING IN DEAD SWISS PINE, 1954. Watercolor and ink on paper. [Photo: CAUSA Archives.]

______________________________________

Lao Tzu (active sixth century BCE):

Those who have knowledge don't predict. Those who predict don't have knowledge.

______________________________________

Huike

Attributed to Shi Ke (China, 10th century), MONK HUIKE THINKING. Hanging scroll. Ink on paper. Tokyo National Museum.



Dazu Huike, Second Ch'an / Zen Patriarch (487 - 593):

From the seed bed
Flowers rise,
Yet there is no seed,
Nor are there flowers.

______________________________________


Giles Deleuze and Félix Guattari (1980):

What distinguishes the map from the tracing is that it is entirely oriented toward an experimentation in contact with the real. The map does not reproduce an unconscious closed upon itself: it constructs the unconscious.


______________________________________
______________________________________

______________________________________

FROM NOW ON/由今而後

Posted April 11, 2016

______________________________________

Although we have not yet left birth, we already see death.
Although we have not yet left death, we already see birth.

-- Chan / Zen master Dogen (1200 -1253)

______________________________________

Into

" ... 'Through' ... 'Into'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

[ Note:

This image augments a multi-site exhibition, VAST OCEAN / VAST HEAVEN: NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN: CONCEPTS AND CONTEXTS, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, December 2015 - January 2016.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]



Okakura Kakuzo (1906):

The Philosophy of Tea is not mere aestheticism in the ordinary acceptance of the term. [...] It is economics, for it shows comfort in simplicity, rather than in the complex and costly; it is moral geometry inasmuch as it defines our sense of proportion to the universe.

______________________________________


"The truth is that the relationships between the natural and the transcendental attitudes are not simple, are not side by side or sequential, like the false or the apparent and the true."

-- Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1960)

______________________________________

All at once

" ... 'All-At-Once'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

[ Note:

This image augments a multi-site exhibition, VAST HEAVEN / VAST OCEAN: NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN: CONCEPTS AND CONTEXTS, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, December 2015 - January 2016.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]



Okakura Kakuzo (1906):

A special contribution of Zen to Eastern thought was its recognition of the mundane as of equal importance with the spiritual. It held that in the great relation of things there was no distinction of small and great, an atom possessing equal possibilities with the universe.

______________________________________

Electric

______________________________________

Maoxt

Muan Xingtao (1611-1684), BRANCH. Hanging scroll, ink on paper.

[ Note:

After arriving in Japan (from China, in 1655) Muan resided at Fukasaiji (a Nagasaki temple), where he was active in sustaining the Obaku sect of Zen Buddhism. In 1664 he became the abbot of Mankapuji temple (headquarters of the Obaku school) which had been previously established by a small group of Chinese monks dwelling in Japan.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]



Artist's Inscription:

THE GARDEN FULL OF SPRING COLOUR WILL NOT STAY CLOSED

A BUNCH OF RED APRICOTS COMES OVER THE FENCE

______________________________________

Wikkibeach

WICKANINNISH BEACH, VANCOUVER ISLAND. (Photo: Gary Lee-Nova.)



MEMO to CAUSA Reaearch Curators:

"I pursued the HDR (high dynamic range) technique in order to explore an interest in the magnificent beauty and terrible violence of nature."

-- Gary Lee-Nova (April 2016)

______________________________________


"It is not the slumber of reason that engenders monsters, but vigilant and insomniac rationality."

-- Gilles Deleuze (1972)

______________________________________

"The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long."

-- Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE)

______________________________________

Ortega

______________________________________


"That which makes monotony careless makes it likely that there is an exchange in principle and more than that, change in organisation."

-- Gertrude Stein (1914)

______________________________________

Yongjia

______________________________________

"It might be that only the unhappiest man is truly capable of some happiness, and this could almost seem like justice --but then there are the dead, but they seem to be silent about it."

-- Elias Canetti (1963)

______________________________________
______________________________________

FROM NOW ON/由今而後

Posted March 19, 2016

______________________________________

Insight

______________________________________

Hui Shi (380 -305 BCE):

The largest thing has nothing beyond it; it is called the One of largeness. The smallest thing has nothing within it; it is called the One of smallness.

______________________________________

Conquest

Marcel Broodthaers, LA CONQUÊTE DE L'ESPACE, ATLAS À L'USAGE DES ARTISTES ET DES MILITAIRES (THE CONQUEST OF SPACE, ATLAS FOR THE USE OF ARTISTS AND THE MILITARY). Artist's book (offset lithography), 1975.

[ Note:

Thirty-two countries are rendered as diagramatic (black silhouette) portraits. These 'substitute images' are presented, in alphabetical order, on consecutive (single) sheets. The featured 'profiles' have not been reduced to scale: the principality of Monaco (which occupies 2,020,000 square metres) appears to be the same size as Canada (which covers almost 10,000,000 square kilometres).

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]

______________________________________

Michael W. Ovendon (1961):

Unless the beginnings of life on Earth were just a "lucky chance" depending upon some very special combination of circumstances about which we know nothing, we can expect life to develop wherever the necessary raw materials are to be found, provided that the temperature is not too high. This means, in practice, upon a planet. Beyond this, there would seem to be no fundamental limit to the ability of life to develop in such a way as to suit its environment. How it would evolve is a much more difficult question. As we look at the history of evolution on earth, it would seem that time and again some slight variation or peculiarity of the Earth has started evolution off in a particular new direction. The diversity of which the molecular architecture that is life is capable no doubt dwarfs into insignificance the diversity of our imagination.

______________________________________

William James (1909):

Are there subtler forms of matter which upon occasion may enter into functional connection with the individuations in the psychic sea, and then, and only then, show themselves?--So that our ordinary human experience, on its material as well as on its mental side, would appear to be only an extract from the larger psychophysical world?

______________________________________

Zen master Bankei (1622-1693):

Thoughts arise temporarily in response to what you see and hear; they haven't any real existence of their own. You must have faith that the original mind that is REALIZED and that which REALIZES original mind are not different.

______________________________________

Random

" ... 'Random Noise'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

_______________________________________

Alfred North Whitehead (1935):

The use of philosophy is to maintain an active novelty of fundamental ideas illuminating the social system. It reverses the slow descent of accepted thought towards the inactive commonplace.

_______________________________________

Muan

Muan Xingtao (1611 - 1684), "IN THE POT IS A SEPARATE HEAVEN." Hanging scroll, ink on paper.

[ Note:

The phrase "heaven in a pot" makes reference to a story in the HOU HANSHU (HISTORY OF THE LATTER HAN DYNASTY, compiled ca. 432 CE). That core concept was thoroughly pondered and actively discussed by members of the Chinese literati --who in 'corrupt times' sought to abandon the mundane world by consciously connecting themselves to a 'separate realm' of immanence/immortality.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]

_______________________________________

Nostalgia

Tomioka Tessai, ABE-NO NAKAMARO WRITING NOSTALGIC POEM WHILE MOON-VIEWING, hanging scroll, color on silk, 1918. Adachi Museum, Yasugi, Japan.

Inscription:

As I look out into the vast expanse
Can this be the same moon
That I saw rise in Kasuga behind Mount Mikasa?

[ Note:

Abe-no Nakamoro's poem expresses an expatriate's longing for his native Japan --making specific reference to an 'ancient and famous' cultural site (the Kasuga-taishi Shinto Grand Shrine) and its 'sacrosanct' environs.

Nakamoro (701 - 770) had been part of an official Japanese mission to the Tang dynasty court --his specific purpose being the study of Chinese methods of measuring time.

-- CAUSA Resarch Curators ]



"Reflection reveals worldly glory
for what it is: a dream in a dream."

-- Anonymous (excerpt from THE TALE OF HEIKE, compiled in 1240 CE)

_______________________________________

Leadbeater

_______________________________________

Portrait

James Ensor, MON PORTRAIT EN 1960 / MY PORTRAIT IN 1960, 1888. Etching.

_______________________________________

"Years --little years-- what are they? As insignificant as the fact that reversing the figure nine turns it into the letter P."

-- Emily Carr (1941)

_______________________________________

"Together let us call for, devise and create the construction of the future, comprising everything in one form: architecture, sculpture and painting."

-- Walter Gropius (1919)

_______________________________________

Camel

MARCEL BROODTHAERS AND CAMEL ENTERING THE PALAIS DES BEAUX-ARTS (BRUSSELS), 1974.

[ Note:

As an invited contributor to a major civic art museum exhibition, Broodthaers had 'borrowed' a Bactrian Camel from the Antwerp Zoo (before 'placing' it on short-term loan in Brussels). Within a conventional site of curatorial practice, the artist's 'contrarian' presence functioned to disrupt a conspicuously constructed 'world of art' --by exposing the inattentive 'curiosity cabinet' mentality that diminishes a social function of visual culture to the level of mirage-making 'deserts' of shallow distraction and deep disorientation.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]



Marcel Broodthaers (1968):

At first I displayed objects of everyday life --mussels, eggs, pots, advertising imagery. This point of departure inscribed me within the context of "New" Realism and sometimes to Pop Art, when I treat my subject with the intention of reducing it to a theoretical sketch.... Today, when the image destined for current consumption has assumed the subtleties and violence of New Realism and Pop Art, I would hope that definitions of art would support a critical vision both of society and of art, as well as of art criticism itself. The language of forms must be united with that of words...."

_______________________________________

"The degeneracy of mankind is distinguished from its uprise by the dominance of chill abstractions divorced from aesthetic content."

-- Alfred North Whitehead (1937)

_______________________________________

Ch'an/Zen master Rinzai (d. 866 CE):

In and out of the world there is not a thing that has a self-nature, nor a nature that is productive of a self. All is but empty names, and the very letters of these names are also empty.

If you take these empty names for real, you make a big mistake. For though they exist, they belong in the realm of dependent change, are like robes to put on and off.

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BETWIXT / BETWEEN/不即不離 /どっちつかずの間

Posted March 2, 2016

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Whitehead

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"Heaven is as low as earth; mountains and marshes are on the same level."

-- Taoist master Hui Tzu (380 - 305 BCE)

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Mirrored

" ... 'Mirrored' ...". (Photo: M..Cynog Evans.)

[ Note:

This document augments a multi-site exhibition: VAST OCEAN/VAST HEAVEN: NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN: CONCEPTS AND PROSPECTS, University of British Columbia, December 2015 - January 2016.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]

______________________________________

A SONG OF VALEDICTION:
DREAMING I ROAMED TIANMU MOUNTAIN

by Li Bai (701 - 762)



A seafaring visitor will talk about Japan,
Which waters and mists conceal beyond approach,
But Yüeh people talk about Heavenly Mother Mountain,
Still seen through its varying deeps of cloud.
In a straight line to heaven, its summit enters heaven,
Tops the five Holy Peaks, and casts a shadow through China
With the hundred-mile length of the Heavenly Terrace Range,
Which, just at this point, begins turning southeast.
... My heart and my dreams are in Wu and Yüeh
And they cross Mirror Lake all night in the moon.
And the moon lights my shadow
And me in Yien River --
With the hermitage of Hsieh still there
And the monkeys calling clearly over ripples of green water.
In that old poet's clogs I ascend
Up a ladder of blue cloud,
Midway see sunrise on the sea,
Hear the great heaven-bird's cry.
I weave my way between trackless cliffs.
Flowers lure me, rocks ease me. Day suddenly ends.
Bears, dragons, tempestuous on mountain and river,
Startle the forest and make the heights tremble.
Clouds darken with darkness of rain,
Streams pale with pallor of mist.
The gods of Thunder and Lightning
Shatter the whole range.
Heaven's stone door swings aside.
First boundless dark --then sun and moon
Reveal the palace of the immortals.
And, clad in rainbow garments, riding on winds,
Sallies out the host of heaven.
With tigers for musicians and phoenix as charioteers --
Oh, numberless are their ranks.
I move, my soul goes flying,
I wake with a long sigh.
My pillow and my matting
Are the lost clouds I was in.
... And this is the way it always is with human joy:
Ten thousand things run for ever like water toward the east.
And so I take my leave of you, not knowing for how long.
... But let me, on my green slopes, raise a white deer
And ride to you, great mountain, when I have need of you.
Oh, how can I gravely bow and scrape to men of power,
Who will not let my spirit fly?

______________________________________

Marshall McLuhan (1968):

Perhaps the most precious possession of man is his awareness of Proper Proportionality, the key to all metaphysical insight, and perhaps the very condition of consciousness itself. This analogical awareness is constituted of a perpetual play of ratios among ratios. A is to B, what C is to D, which is to say the ratio between A and B is proportionable to the ratio between C and D, there being a ratio between these ratios, as well, this lively awareness of the most exquisite delicacy depends upon there being no connection whatever between the components. If A were linked to B, or C to D, mere logic would take the place of analogical perception, thus one of the penalties paid for literacy and a high visual culture is a strong tendency to encounter all things through a rigorous storyline, as it were. Paradoxically, connected spaces and situations exclude participation, whereas discontinuity affords room for involvement.

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SINGING IMAGE OF AN ECHO

Kukai (774 - 835)


In an empty hall of a mouth or canyon
A voice or echo arises from vibrations of the air.
Foolish and wise ones hear it in different ways
As if danger and pleasure are really different.
Seeking the origin, we find that things have no essence.
All is unborn, imperishable, and has no beginning or end.
Stay in the One Mind of no discrimination.
Voice and echo only deceive the ears.

______________________________________

40

IAIN BAXTER&, window signage [permanent installation]. North Vancouver City Library. (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

______________________________________

Floating

" ... 'Drifting Clouds ... Flowing Water'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

______________________________________

"Good order results spontaneously when things are left alone."

-- Zhuang Zi (c. 369 - c. 286 BCE)

______________________________________

Aufruf

Joseph Beuys, APPEAL FOR AN ALTERNATIVE, silkscreen on newsprint (unlimited edition), 1979. Publisher: Free International University.



Before asking the question "WHAT CAN WE DO?" we have to look into the question "HOW MUST WE THINK?"

-- Joseph Beuys

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"Non-living things seem always to change from the more highly arranged state to the less highly arranged."

-- Michael W. Ovenden (1961)

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William James (1909):

Out of my experience, such as it is (and it is limited enough) one fixed conclusion dogmatically emerges, and that is this, that our lives are like islands in the sea, or like trees in the forest. The maple and the pine may whisper to each other with their leaves. ... But the trees also commingle their roots in the darkness underground, and the islands also hang together through the ocean's bottom. Just so there is a continuum of cosmic consciousness, against which our individuality builds but accidental fences, and into which our several minds plunge as into a mother-sea or reservoir.

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"Thoughts put in line, my body is bundled."

-- Kukai (774 - 835)

[ Note:

Known posthumously as Kobo-Daishi, Kukai was the founder of the Shingon ("True Word") school of esoteric Buddhism in Japan.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]

______________________________________

"History is made only by those who oppose history (not by those who insert themselves into it, or even shape it)."

-- Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari (1980)

_____________________________________
_____________________________________

Free University

FREE INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY [Event Program Title Page], Documenta 7, kassel, Germany, 1982.


"Art is the only power to free humanity from all repression."

-- Joseph Beuys (1974)

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2 Lectures

 

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BETWIXT / BETWEEN/不即不離 /どっちつかずの間

Posted January 12, 2016

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Okakura

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"To affirm is not to bear, carry or harness oneself to that which exists, but on the contrary to unburden, unharness, and set free that which lives."

-- Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari (1980)

______________________________________

Yastsuhashi

" ... 'Equilibrium' ... Imperfect, Impermanent, and Incomplete...". [Photo: M. Cynog Evans.]

Note:

This document constitutes a single portion of a multi-site curatorial research project ... VAST OCEAN / VAST HEAVEN: NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN: CONCEPTS AND PROSPECTS ... University of British Columbia, December 2015 - January 2016.

______________________________________

"Authentic Japanese gardens are characterized by the art of maintaining curiosity. It is the Nitobe Memorial Garden's art of maintaining curiosity that makes it one of the most authentic Japanese gardens in North America."

-- Ryo Sugiyama (2015)

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Frontiers

" ... 'Frontiers'...". [M. Cynog Evans.]

Note:

This document constitutes a single portion of a multi-site curatorial project ... VAST OCEAN / VAST HEAVEN: NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN: CONCEPTS AND PROSPECTS ... Vancouver, December 2015 - January 2016.

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"Design, free-will, the absolute mind, spirit instead of matter, have for their sole meaning a better promise as to this world's outcome."

-- William James (1907)

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Ikkyu

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Garden

Nitobe Memorial Garden Site, 1959. [Photo: CAUSA Archives.]

Note:

This document comprises a single component of a multi-site curatorial research project ... VAST OCEAN / VAST HEAVEN: NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN: CONCEPTS AND PROSPECTS ... UBC, Vancouver, December 2015 - January 2016. ]

______________________________________

Joseph Beuys (1982):

The idea of creativity is for me the problem of the future. [...] It is important to work on every point of creativity and see how the human being stands in the energy that comes out from the surrounding world.

______________________________________

OPEN LETTER to the Mayor and Council of Vancouver
--from Cornelia Hahn Oberlander

[ Note:

This document was submitted to the Editor of the Vancouver Sun newspaper on 14 December 2015 --but not published.

It appears here, with permission of the author, as an augmentation to the CAUSA / NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN SYPOSIUM of 9 January 2016.

-- CAUSA Reseach Curators ]



Dear Mayor and Council,

Arthur Erickson wrote in Vancouver Forum --Old Powers, New Forces-- edited by Max Wyman in 1992:

"What thwarts our wish to make this the best of cities, and make something less than it properly should be? Why as planners, architects, developers, builders, citizens do we fall short of the challenges set for us by the majesty of the place?"

And he continues: "The citizens of Vancouver must demonstrate their concern." He challenges us with the new growth and every move, every decision we make at this moment is determining the cities that we leave for future generations.

In the last few years we have made many decisions towards densification and not necessarily well-placed high-rises in the downtown core. We are growing so fast without paying attention to beauty of architectural variety of high-rises. We have forgotten the need for green spaces which are essential to survive and flourish. We should demand that the footprint of each high-rise should be replaced with an accessible, sustainable and planted green roof, which would insulate the building from cold and heat, and diminish storm water run-off to the storm sewer.

Vancouver as a city needs to step back from its headlong rush to obliterate its past into an uncertain future. We need to look at new models of sustainability here and abroad. We need to engage our citizens once again to help us define what our city could be. Only good, thoughtful planning and design can create a city for future generations.... I urge the City which we all love to engage in a citywide process to provide this vision.

Respectfully submitted by Cornelia Hahn Oberlander O.C. FCSLA FASLA BCSLA

______________________________________

Zen master Ryokan (1758 - 1831):

THE I CHING [BOOK OF CHANGES]
STATES HAPPINESS LIES IN THE
PROPER BLEND OF:

hot - cold
good - bad
black - white
beautiful - ugly
large - small
wisdom - foolishness
long - short
brightness - darkness
high - low
partial - whole
relaxation - quickness
increase - decrease
purity - filth
slow - fast

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"Nature is at the first day; it is there today."

-- Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964)

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"Impermanence moves quickly. The meaning of life and death is the great problem."

-- Ch'an / Zen master Dogen (1200 - 1253)

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BETWIXT / BETWEEN/不即不離 /どっちつかずの間

Posted January 6, 2016

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"If each one of us abdicates his responsibilities with regard to values; if each one of us limits himself to leading a trivial existence in a technological civilization, with greater adaptation and increasing success as his sole objectives; if we do not even consider the possibility of making a stand against these determinants, then the determinants will be transformed into inevitabilities."

-- Jacques Ellul (1967)

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[UNTITLED] POEM

by Ch'an / Zen master Dogen
(1200-1253)

A silver mountain crushed and an iron wall ripped apart
In the wake of his menacing glare;
Who is it surveying the damage?
How to describe this creature:
The face of a demon,
The head of a god,
A body covered with red hair;
He looks to be growing horns.

[ Note:

Bodidharma (Daruma) --projected within this poem-- is the first patriarch of Zen. He reputedly meditated for nine years (facing the wall of a cave, until his limbs "fell off"); that practice clarified his resolve to unfold persistent, contrarian disdain towards ignorance.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]

______________________________________

Daruma

POST-WW11 JAPANESE PORTRAIT OF DARUMA -- FIRST PATRIARCH OF ZEN. [installation view: Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, University of British Columbia, December 2015 - January 2016.]

______________________________________

Zen master Bankei (1622-1693):

Your self-partiality is at the root of all your illusions. There aren't any illusions when you don't have this preference for yourself.

______________________________________

Formation

" ... 'Formation'...". [Photo: M. Cynog Evans.]

This document constitutes a single portion of a multi-site curatorial research project ... VAST OCEAN / VAST HEAVEN: NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN: CONCEPTS AND PROSPECTS ... University of British Columbia, Vancouver, December 2015 - January 2016.



"Cadences, real cadences, real cadences and quiet color."

-- Gertrude Stein (1914)

______________________________________

"In formal logic, a contradiction is the signal of defect; but in the evolution of real knowledge it marks the first step in progress towards victory."

-- Alfred North Whitehead (1925)

______________________________________

"The world of enactive intuition --the world of poiesis [creative production]-- is none other than the world of pure experience."

-- Kitaro Nishida (1990)

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That Wayness

" ... 'That-Way-Ness'...". [Photo: M. Cynog Evans.]

This document constitutes a single portion of a multi-site curatorial research project ... VAST OCEAN / VAST HEAVEN: NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN: CONCEPTS AND PROSPECTS ... University of British Columbia, Vancouver, December 2015 - January 2016.

______________________________________

Beuys

Joseph Beuys, HOLZPOSTKARTE / WOOD POST CARD, 1985. Screenprint on wood block, 10.5 x 15 x 3 cm. Unlimited, unnumbered, unsigned edition. Editions Staeck, Heidelberg.



EVERY HUMAN BEING IS AN ARTIST who --from his state of freedom-- the position of freedom that he experiences at first hand-- learns to determine the other positions of the TOTAL ART WORK OF THE FUTURE SOCIAL ORDER.

______________________________________

Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1960):

If at the centre and so to speak the kernel of Being there is an infinite infinite, every partial being directly or indirectly presuppoes it, and in return is really or eminently contained in it. All the relationships we can have to being must be simultaneously founded upon it.

-- Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1960)

______________________________________

[UNTITLED] POEM

by Basho (1644-1694)


A wild sea --
in the distance over Sado
The Milky Way


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Floating

" ... 'Floating World'...". [Photo: M. Cynog Evans.]

[ Note:

This document constitutes a single portion of a multi-site curatorial research project ... VAST OCEAN / VAST HEAVEN ... NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN: CONCEPTS AND PROSPECTS ... University of British Columbia, Vancouver, December 2015 - January 2016. ]



"Act so that there is no use in a center. A wide action is not a width."

Gertrude Stein (1914)

______________________________________

"Unlimited possibility and abstract creativity can procure nothing. The limitation, and the basis arising from what is already actual, are both of them necessary and interconnected."

-- Alfred North Whitehead (1926)

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Ch'an / Zen master Dogen (1200-1253):

Three heads and eight arms may be yesterday's time. The eight- or sixteen-foot body may be today's time. Yet yesterday and today are both in the moment when you.directly enter the mountains and see thousands and thousands of myriad peaks. Yesterday's time and today's time do not go away. Three heads and eight arms move forward as your time-being. It looks as if they are far away, but they are here and now.The eight- or sixteen-foot body moves forward as your time-being. It looks as if it is nearby, but it is exactly here. Thus a pine-tree is time, bamboo is time.

______________________________________

To the New Year

BY W.S. MERWIN

With that stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible


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BETWIXT / BETWEEN/不即不離 /どっちつかずの間

Posted December 17, 2015

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Wyndham Lewis (1950):

Identification with nature, and the use of nature, are quite distinct. The Greeks of antiquity were the pioneers in a mistake ... of confusing scientific values with aesthetic values and so giving western art its naturalist canon.

______________________________________

Extreme

" ... 'Extreme Abstraction'...". [Photo: M. Cynog Evans.]



Marshall McLuhan (1961):

Any approach to environmental problems must be sufficiently fexible and adaptable to encompass the entire environmental matrix, which is in constant flux. [...] Only by standing aside from any phenomenon and taking an overview can you discover its operative principles and lines of force.

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Flower

Flower1

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Pure Mult

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Koan2

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Issa

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"Artists in various fields are always the first to discover how to enable one medium or to to release the power of another."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1964)

______________________________________

"There can be breakages in Japanese."

-- Gertrude Stein (1914)

_______________________________________

Taiping

Kojo Sakamoto (1875-1969), PERFECT PEACE. Ink on paper, 1966.

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Ch'an / Zen master Dogen (1200-1253):

Through one word, or seven words, or three times five, even if you investigate thoroughly myriad forms, nothing can be depended upon. Night advances, the moon glows and falls into the ocean. The black dragon jewel you have been searching for, is everywhere.

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BETWIXT / BETWEEN/不即不離 /どっちつかずの間

Posted December 6, 2015

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Vast 1

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Centre

" ... 'Centre / Surround'...". [Photo: M. Cynog Evans.]

"The arousing of aspiration [in different] minds at the same time is the arousing [at different times] of the selfsame mind."

-- Ch'an / Zen master Dogen (1200 - 1253)

The Japanese garden is a unique form of art.... There is no counterpart to it in the western world.
The Nitobe Memorial Garden is really a combination of two gardens --a tea-garden surrounding the tea-house and a landscape garden of the type sometimes called a "circulating garden", meaning that it is to be viewed from any point of the circulating path and not soley from one spot.

-- OPENING OF THE NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN, MAY 3rd 1960. [Pamphlet, published by the University of British Columbia.]

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Nitobe2

______________________________________

Mansei

______________________________________

Insect

______________________________________

DNA

[ Note:

IAIN BAXTER& = the &MAN ]

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Sometimes

" ... 'Sometimes'...". [Photo: M. Cynog Evans.]

[ Note:

At the beginning of his trip to China (in 1223 CE), Dogen (future Ch'an / Zen master) had met an elderly Buddhist monk --someone who would inspire him towards new awareness regarding the spirit-substance capacities of language. Having asked about the significance of "words and ideograms," the monk had answered: "One, two, three, four, five.... Nothing is concealed throughout the whole universe."

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]

______________________________________

Inteplay

" ... 'Interplay' ...". [Photo: M. Cynog Evans.]

The trees and shrubs are partly Canadian and partly Japanese. Some Douglas firs, hemlocks, and red cedars originally on the site have been left in position, and more hemlocks have been added. Canadian bushes added include vine maples, Labrador tea, salal and red huckleberry. Japanese bushes consist chiefly of various kinds of azaleas, Pieries Japonica, Japanese cherries and Japanese maples.

-- OPENING OF THE NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN, MAY 3rd 1960.
[Pamphlet, published by the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.]

"Sociability is as much a law of nature as natural struggle."

-- Peter Kropotkin (1902)

________________________________________

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AFTERSIGHT & FORESIGHT/前望後瞻

Posted November 2, 2015

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Beyond

 

" ... 'Beyond Thought'...." (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

"Everything great must be dealt with while it is still small."

-- Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE)

______________________________________

"The proportionalities in things, and between things and our senses, and so embodied in language itself, are inexhaustible."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1959)

______________________________________

"Excluding the world, so imperfect from time to time, is permissible only if it floods back in with ever greater force."

-- Elias Canetti (1967)

______________________________________

Ai Coke

Ai Weiwei, COCA COLA VASE, acrylic on Han Dynasty vase (signed and dated on the underside), 2011.

● Sotheby's Contemporary Art Auction catalogue (London, 17 October 2014):

On the surface, COCA COLA VASE is filled with opposites: a Twentieth Century logo festooned upon a two-thousand year old vase; the emblem of American capitalism emblazoned on an ancient Chinese artefact.... Ai furthers the iconoclastic vitriol he had introduced in such early works as DROPPING A HAN DYNASTY URN (1995).

[...]

While Ai did irrevocably alter an ancient artefact in its production, it is not a patriarchal piece intended to deface and defile the remnants of his ancestors. In conflating such an emblematic object with such loaded symbolism, the artist forcibly evolves the relics of his cultural history. COCA COLA VASE heralds the dawn of a new visual language built on hereditary foundations, catalysed by the contemporary culture of a global capitalism, and born through the art of Ai Wewei.

LOT SOLD: 272,500 GBP ●


Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE):

We turn clay to make a vessel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing that the
usefulness of the vessel depends.

[...]

Therefore just as we take advantage of what is, we should
recognize the usefulness of what is not.

______________________________________

Marshall McLuhan (1964):

Electric speed mingles the cultures of prehistory with the dregs of industrial marketeers, the nonliterate with semiliterate and the postliterate. Mental breakdown of varying degrees is the very common result of uprooting and innundation with new information and endless new patterns of information.

______________________________________

Andy Warhol (1975):

Business art is the step that comes after Art. I started as a commercial artist, and I want to finish as a business artist. [...] Making money is art ... and good business is the best art.

______________________________________

"A world market extends to the ends of the earth before passing into the galaxy; even the skies become horizontal."

-- Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari (1991)

______________________________________

Meng Chiao (715 - 814):



LAMENTS OF THE GORGES [ 10 ]

Death-owls call in human voices. Dragons
wolf down heaving mountain waters. Here

in broad daylight, with all the enticing serenity
of a clear and breezy sky, they

beggar wisdom, snarling everything alive
in fetid gatherings of vine-covered depths.

Want filling fanged cascades bottomless,
sawtooth froth swells everywhere. Nesting

birds can't settle in trees tilted so askew,
trees gibbons leaping and swinging fill.

Who can welcome laments of the gorges,
gorges saying 'What will come will come'.



David Hinton (2002):

Meng Chiao developed a new poetics of startling disorientations. It was a poetry of virtuous beauty, and a poetry that anticipated landmark developments in the modern Western tradition by a millenium.

______________________________________

"Chinese names have something of the ultimate language, in which all human languages will end."

-- Elias Canetti (1971)

______________________________________

Ch'an master Yun-Mên Wên-Yen (? - 949):

"Many empty words are not as good as having a direct grasp of reality, because later on you will achieve nothing but self-deceit."

______________________________________

Splitting

Gordon Matta Clark, SPLITTING. Englewood, New Jersey, 1974.

[ Note:

Matta-Clark's 'procedure' (as documented here) contains the artist's first large-scale probe in the non-conforming practice of a newly defined field: the radical (socially engaged) 'anarchitecture' that he himself locates in fluent/purposeful connections of concept, context and contradiction.

-- CAUSA Curators ]

"By undoing a building ... [I[ open a state of enclosure which has been preconditioned not only by physical necessity, but by the industry that proliferates suburban and urban boxes as a pretext for ensuring a passive, isolated consumer."

-- Gordon Matta-Clark (1971)

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Stairs

Gordon Matta-Clark, SPLITTING, Englewood, New Jersey, 1974.



TRANSMITTED
TRANSMITTER
FIXED POINT
BEYOND WHICH SPACE IS
VARIABLE ACCORDING TO
PRESENCE OF RECEIVERS

[Gordon Matta-Clark: index card, n.d., 1970-78.]

______________________________________

"Pause until the rediscovery of eternity."

-- Elias Canetti (1971)

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COMMUNICATING MYSTERIES/傳達玄秘

Posted October 8, 2015

________________________________

Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE):

Excess of hunting and chasing
Makes minds go mad.

________________________________

Flux

" ... 'Flux' (Permanence)'...." [Photo: M. Cynog Evans.]

________________________________

"True happiness, we are told, consists in getting out of one's self; but the point is not only to get out --you must stay out; and to stay out you must have some absorbing errand."

-- Henry James (1875)

________________________________

"Error is the price we pay for progress."

-- Alfred North Whitehead (1925)

________________________________

Ch'an master Ts'ao-shan Pên-chi (840-901):

A monk addressed the Master with these words: "In the ancient teaching there is a saying: 'A corpse cannot remain in the great sea.' What is the sea?" The Master replied: "It is that which embraces all things."

Monk: "Why should the corpse not be able to remain in it? " The Master: "It is not the place where the lifeless would be able to stay."

Monk: "As it embraces all things, why should the lifeless be unable to stay?" The Master: "To embrace all things is not its merit; to exclude the lifeless is its merit."

________________________________

Flux2

" ...'Permanence' (Flux)...." [Photo: M. Cynog Evans.]

________________________________

Susanne Langer (1953):

A signal is comprehended if it serves to make us notice the object or situation it bespeaks. A symbol is understood when we conceive the idea it presents.

________________________________

Kawara

On Kawara, I GOT UP.... Postcard (with artist's stamp), delivered by mail (as postmarked).

[ Note:

The artist's I GOT UP series was initiated in 1968 -- and ended in 1979. For his project, Kawara purchased (on a daily basis) two cards (with their respective photographic images) and forwarded them so as to identify a continuous/discontinuous series of time/place coordinates.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]

________________________________

Ch'an/Zen master Dogen (1200-1253):

LIFE AND DEATH

Water isn't formed by being ladled into a bucket
Simply the water of the whole Universe has been ladled
into a bucket
The water does not disappear because it has been scattered
over the ground
It is only that the water of the whole Universe has been
emptied into the whole universe
Life is not born because a person is born
The life of the whole Universe has been ladled into the
hardened "idea" called "I"
Life does not disappear because a person dies
Simply, the life of the whole Universe has been poured out
of this hardened "idea" of "I" back into the universe
________________________________

Marshall McLuhan (1977):

Our situation is unheard of --the changes under which we have been living ... occur at a speed which no human psyche or any human community can withstand, and we have not withstood it. We have failed. Our private identity has been dissolved. There are no more private people.... There are only groups.

________________________________

Wall

Jeff Wall, MIMIC. Transparency in lightbox, 1982.

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Umberto Ecco (1962):

The crisis of contemporary bourgeois civilization is purely due to the fact that the average man has been unable to elude the systems of assumptions that are imposed on him from the outside, and to the fact that he has not formed himself through a direct exploration of reality. Well-known social illnesses such as conformism, unidirectionism, gregariousness, and mass thinking result from a passive acquisition of those standards of understanding and judgement that are often identified with the "right form" in ethics as well as in politics, in nutrition as well as in fashion, in matters of taste as in pedagogical questions.

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Marshall McLuhan (1954):

The artist's task is not to make people moved or indignant at metaphorical situations, but to make them reflect (and, if you like, to be moved and indignent, too) on what they and others are doing, on the real things, exactly as they are.

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Fading

Henry Peach Robinson, FADING AWAY. Photomontage, 1858.
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Ch'an/Zen master Dogen (1200-1253):

Life is a position in time; death is also a position in time. This is like winter and spring. We don't think that winter becomes spring, and we don't say that spring becomes summer.

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"Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe."

-- H. G. Wells (1920)

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Joseph Beuys:

ONE SECOND PLAY (1963)

Within one second there appear and act together
The Great Khan
The Appenzeller
Denise
butcher
The collector
Leda
Circe
The female listener
The seeress
The snow-covered rider
The female accomplice
The transmitter
The woman
The king's child
The wanderer
The 14-year old
The suckling
The prisoner
The handmaiden
The Hun
The receiver
The Druidesss
The Spectator
The dwarf
The typist
The man who can only grasp with difficulty why this
play is already over

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Elias Canetti (1963):

The most difficult thing: to remove oneself from a life which one has entered fully. To writhe out of the many names that do not concern one at all. To exhale stolen air, since it has gone stale. To finally open one's hands, which hold the wrong things.

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WHAT IS THE FUTURE’S SOURCE OF SUPPLY?

by M.K. Morton

 

The one thing certain to occur in history is

the one thing no ever expected to happen.

− Malcolm Muggeridge

 

One up on the sunrise,

Past-master of surprise,

The future never lies.

Although great at unravelling nostalgia,

That’s the only thing which the future doesn’t away at knaw.

 

Like a cat trying to catch its own tail, restlessly in a hurry to leave

The future springs aside shaking out what it has up its sleeve.

Broad as it is wide,

The future always knows where to hide.

‘cept occasionally a visionary artist drops a hint about what’s in store.

 

Indivinable, indefinable, the authentically innovative none of our categories ─

All; thrown ─ fits; on it no light is shed by even our least dogmatic allegories.

Our best hope of understanding novelty’s untranslatable stories

Is to watch more arrive, despite point of origin where the future quarries

Never indicated. With slippery, fake-old-slippersy now a make-believe core,

 

The past’s a hush that doesn’t explore.

As sentinel it’s at your improvising peril if you ignore

The future’s perpetually disgorging receding shore.

Unlike the past, the future manages with no out-of-town tryouts for its repertoire;

Resourceful, not reducible to semaphore,

 

Unknits. Creativity is time show-jumping

Unpredictably. Zounds! Nothing but nothing

Pre-empts the edging-to-declare’s ever-about-to-be-opened starting gate.

If alert, you won’t have long to wait:

Amazing how regularly.

 

Although premature maybe, the upcoming

Gives the classic-besotted’s game away. And fast.

The previous may be big on relay,

But it doesn’t create anything: lucky if it’s not in decay.

The past they say hasn’t a prayer.

 

Since the future’s a questionnaire bids flair,

For the ripest minds the time pushing aside ours is what’s most worth plumbing.

The future isn’t something the present pulls in trying help out the past.

With the muse biding her time up ahead somewhere,

The present is something the future adds to today.

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Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE):

He who having used the outer-light
can return to the inner-light.

[...]

This is called returning to the
always-so.

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