Art for life’s sake

Right under our noses Homo sapiens is transitioning into Home techno. And the change is happening not over millions of years. It’s happening in single human lifetimes, by our own inventions and technology. We are modifying our evolution by our own hand. We are remaking ourselves. Nothing could challenge the permanence and constancies of the Absolutes more than our own evolution and change.*
(Alan Lightman)

What is it that is eternal: the primal phenomenon, present in the here and now, of what we call revelation? It is man’s emerging from the moment of the supreme encounter, being no longer the same as he was when entering into it. The moment of encounter is not a “living experience” that stirs in the receptive soul and blissfully rounds itself out: something happens to man.**
(Martin Buber)

While we are evolving at our own hand, we still need something from beyond us, something other than us, to move towards a more hopeful future, a more beautiful possibility.

Technology has us more and more looking at life and the world through small screens, yet we need to have the largest screen, with which we need to have different means of interacting.

One such way is art.

More than thirty years ago, I drew a simple pencil drawing of my father and my three children. It remains my favourite piece of art.

My father was never an easy person to get on with but drawing him helped me to notice more about hime, helped me to notice the frail human that could so often wrapped up in his way of always being right. Maurice Sendak wrote accurately about drawing:

It’s sublime. It’s magic time, where all your weaknesses of character, the blemishes of your personality, whatever else torments you, fades away, just doesn’t matter.^

Art provides us the possibility of exploring our humanness. I had taken a photo of my father and my children, but I was able reflect slowly as I worried the lines onto the paper, finding Henri Cartier-Bresson’s insight to be true:

Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation.^^

These last two quotes come from Austin Kleon’s Keep Going. Here are two more, well worth pondering. The first is from a curator at the British Museum where pencils and paper have been made available to visitors from 2018 after it was noticed people dwelt more on the art if they were drawing it:

I feel like you dwell on an object a lot more if you have a paper and pencil before you.*^

And this from E. O. Plauen that fills me with hope for who we will become:

If you draw, the world becomes more beautiful, far more beautiful.^*

Everyone can draw; don’t believe anyone who says you can’t, especially yourself.

(*From Alan Lightman’s Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine.)
(**From Martin Buber’s I and Thou.)
(^Maurice Sendak, quoted in Austin Kleon’s Keep Going.)
(^^Henri Cartier-Bresson, quoted in Austin Kleon’s Keep Going.)
(*^From Austin Kleon’s Keep Going.)
(^*E. O. Plauen, quoted in Austin Kleon’s Keep Going.)

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