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Art and Beauty

All the forms that human activity takes are an act of imitation. Our work is a replica of our psychological content, and that content is a replica of time. In principle, such an act of replication is not an act of our will. Time has its hands on everything in the universe. At this point you are probably aware that there’s no use in splitting psychological time from its activity of the physical world. If we agree time is the relationship between an initial limit and a final one, with multiple progressions of sub-relationships inside it, then a limit in a thought is the same limit as the limit of a “chair” that one is seeing in reality. The limit in the thought of the chair is the initial one and the color of wood in the actual chair could be the final one. The function is everything that could or will happen in between, until the last – conceptual or physical – possibility of the chair is met.

Walter Mehrer

This perception of the property of progression is how we make sense of time. A good metaphor for it when acting in the present would be to think of time as a rock and space as the wind. Moment by moment, the wind erodes the rock, just as space, moment by moment, “erodes” the structure of time.

We replicate ourselves via birth, we plant trees and flowers, we draw, we make sculptures, we make robotic arms, we smash atoms, we make intelligent machines, and so on. It is all the work of time giving direction by attempting to multiply itself. All human activity, except for biological functions, is copied from nature. However, even biological functions are modified versions of the function of the previous part (or parts) responsible for it, which was also copied through time. Humans are perpetually in an act of imitation. We refer to this act of replication by many names, depending on how we want to be perceived by others. We are mirroring in a mechanical way what nature is already doing, and every time our craft leads to success, we keep on crafting to repeat the success over and over again. The inference is that if everything we make is artificial, then it is all art. However, art as mere imitation of the external is just a form of entertainment.

Replicating forms is not art; it is entertainment. Skill is entertainment. Skill is technique and method. From technique comes technology. The definition of the object is the definition of the technique. Art in the object makes the artifice, so art as the result of skills is that which is artificial. In the name of art, we make artificial flowers, an artificial sculpture of a person, and so on. When beholding art is entertaining, there is a superficial relationship between the observer and the past, so an ideal begins to spark. Art as entertainment is pleasure.

Pleasure is always a moment ahead. Entertainment is when the idea of the next thing is in sight, and one seeks a way of passing time while that ‘next’ exists in reality. Pleasure is the artificial form that joy takes, so we can’t possibly obtain gratitude from it. Gratitude leads to the highest forms of art. In gratitude, beauty is at work. Without gratitude there’s no passion, and without passion there’s no love. There is no difference between absolute gratitude and love. They’re both the same, and they lead to art from insight, which is the best art.

At the beginning of the book, I talked about peace. There can’t be gratitude without peace. Peace is a quality of perception. From there, one can abandon all intentions because fear and the condition disappear. Paradoxically, if we bring the condition to an end, it would mean the death of time. Death doesn’t bring death to itself, but it does bring death to time. Can time end, and death still be a thing? I don’t think death is a condition brought up by time. One is an ‘orange,’ the other is an ‘apple.’

Art from insight, which is the making of the original, is not an escape from our condition, but rather the direct work of it. We don’t make music or poetry to live longer. The music we dance to is entertainment, but the making of the music and the dancing are not. The poetry we read to a loved one is entertainment, the passion we feel when we are writing the poem is not. Still, we don’t pay attention to the dance, nor to love, because we always seem to have something (ahead) in mind.

When art has an agenda, it is not art – it is business. Business in the sense of occupation. The word “business” is composed by “busy,” which is occupied, and the suffix “-ness” signaling quality. Later on, business was split from busyness to differentiate commercial activity from occupation. In essence, business literally means the quality of an occupation. Everything we do that is not creative is business. We seek business to fill and occupy our centers. In the first chapter, I talked about what space is, and how its emptiness is where peace, gratitude, and beauty reside. The bright red of a rose is determined by the vibration level of the light in the visible spectrum, and that is determined by the spread of space in between the peaks of each wave of vibration.

Now, if space gives us beauty because of quality, it must also give us ugliness. Death is where nothing is. In a sense, what gives beauty its quality is the same thing that is the ugliest of all. The artist has to live with these two facts in order to make art. In facing the nature of the quality of beauty, there’s no need for measurement. Beauty is a symmetry in the relationship, which is a state of harmony. For example, we know light gives us colors. Earth’s favorite colors are blue and green, both of which are in the middle of the visible spectrum. Green is a very symmetrical color. Alternatively, red, which is at the very end of the spectrum, represents death for most of us. Harmony in a relationship determines which limits survive in time and which don’t.

To live an artistic life is to live a life that offers more liberty from the turmoil of this world. What this means is that we live with death, rather than running away from it. Metaphorically speaking, we let it work because it is trying to show us better ways out. We seek to hold reality all together, but reality is vulnerable to the immensity of space. Therefore, we split more and more, continuously, until we are no longer. A true artist works side by side with the ruler of the universe. Great art arises when the living is in harmony with what gave it emergence, but that never happens tomorrow or yesterday. It is clear that art from yesterday is entertainment, and the art of tomorrow has an agenda. The present is the artist, and the artist is one with the art.

When art comes from will, it’s a subtle form of violence against oneself and aggression against others. Imitation is competition. To imitate in a better fashion is to be competent, and out of competition there can’t be art. Whatever we force ourselves to do is part of an agenda, not art. When one says, “I must finish this work,” or “I will continue tomorrow,” etc., there is strictly a process of imitation. The mind sees an objective, which is other than art, and one forces the body to craft art as a medium to achieve such purpose. There’s nothing wrong with making an effort, but it is of the utmost importance to know what process is really going on. If one is after money, fame, achievement, status, etc., then the resulting work is not really a creative one. I am not saying that whoever is after such goals shouldn’t pursue them, but I’m stating that the result of that can’t possibly be great art.

Now, there’s a way to lead an artistic life independently of the activity, and it can be achieved through awareness. When the seeing of the process is the main part of the process, creativity comes to life. Art that doesn’t come out of will, out of competition, or the need for fame and money, is the result of deep conscious levels of attention. True art is the art of living a creative life.

One notices that, when the work is completely passionate, it does itself. Why? It seems someone else is making the work when one turns oneself completely to the present moment and is one with the work. In passion, the perception of time disappears.

Understanding our limits allows us to see what lies beyond, and in parallel art takes place. In the art-making process, even being aware that what lies beyond is always a new limit, consciousness allows us to look in different directions. Awareness really gives us scales of dimensions that we couldn’t possibly have gotten without art. Nevertheless, if we continue in the way we’re doing now, we’ll become biologically unable to detect that field. We’ll be too dependent on our artifices, and our lives will become too artificial and mechanical. Just as we got access to the field of consciousness, we might as well lose it.

At the precise moment of making art, consciousness can’t be twisted or perverted. Therefore, we need to incentivize true art, so our relationship with the field of consciousness is kept alive. The artist is a diligent listener. All of us are the artists of this earth. However, the less we listen to the voice of the universal law giver, the farther away we are from our greatest power, which is the power to change “what is.” Through artistic means, it is possible to meet our center, while living. We don’t know where this might lead us, but through a passionate life, we could change the conditioner’s mind.


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