Ideas Behind The Artwork

As the traveller who has lost his way, throws his reins on his horse's neck, and trusts to the instinct of the animal to find his road, so must we do with the divine animal who carries us through this world. For if in any manner we can stimulate this instinct, new passages are open for us into nature, the mind flows into and through things hardest and highest, and the metamorphosis is possible.

Ralph Waldo Emerson | Essays, Second Series | “ The Poet ” | 1844

Quiet fruitfulness. The born aristocrats of the spirit are not overeager; their creations blossom and fall from the trees on a quiet autumn evening, being neither rashly desired, not hastened on, nor supplanted by new things. The wish to create incessantly is vulgar, betraying jealousy, envy, and ambition. If one is something, one does not actually need to do anything - and nevertheless does a great deal. There is a type higher than the "productive" man.

Friedrich Nietzsche | Human, All Too Human | Aphorism 210 | 1879

The artist must ignore distinctions between recognized or unrecognized conventions of form.... He must watch his own inner life and hearken to the demands of internal necessity.... This is the only way to express the mystical necessity. All means are sacred which are called for by internal necessity. All means are sinful which are not drawn from inner necessity.

Wassily Kandinsky | Concerning the Spiritual in Art | 1912

'Til all success be nobleness, and every gain divine.

Katharine Lee Bates | “ America The Beautiful ” | 1913

Self-trust is the essence of heroism. It is the state of the soul at war, and its ultimate objects are the last defiance of falsehood and wrong, and the power to bear all that can be inflicted by evil agents. It persists; it is of an undaunted boldness and of a fortitude not to be wearied out.

Ralph Waldo Emerson | Essays, First Series | “ Heroism ” | 1841

The despotism of custom is everwhere the standing hindrance to human advancement, being in unceasing antagonism to that disposition to aim at something better than customary, which is called, according to circumstances, the spirit of liberty, or that of progress or improvement.

John Stuart Mill | On Liberty | “ Of Individuality, As One of the Elements of Well-Being ” | 1869

This spiritual Love acts not nor can exist
Without Imagination, which, in truth,
Is but another name for absolute power
And clearest insight, amplitude of mind,
And Reason in her most exalted mood.
This faculty hath been the feeding source
Of our long labour: we have traced the stream
From the blind cavern whence is faintly heard
Its natal murmur; followed it to light
And open day; accompanied its course
Among the ways of Nature, for a time
Lost sight of it bewildered and engulphed;
Then given it greeting as it rose once more
In strength, reflecting from its placid breast
The works of man and face of human life;
And lastly, from its progress have we drawn
Faith in life endless, the sustaining thought
Of human Being, Eternity, and God.

Imagination having been our theme,
So also hath that intellectual Love,
For they are each in each, and cannot stand
Dividually.--Here must thou be, O Man!
Power to thyself; no Helper hast thou here;
Here keepest thou in singleness thy state:
No other can divide with thee this work:
No secondary hand can intervene
To fashion this ability; 'tis thine,
The prime and vital principle is thine
In the recesses of thy nature, far
From any reach of outward fellowship,
Else is not thine at all. But joy to him,
Oh, joy to him who here hath sown, hath laid
Here, the foundation of his future years!
For all that friendship, all that love can do,
All that a darling countenance can look
Or dear voice utter, to complete the man,
Perfect him, made imperfect in himself,
All shall be his: and he whose soul hath risen
Up to the height of feeling intellect
Shall want no humbler tenderness; his heart
Be tender as a nursing mother's heart;
Of female softness shall his life be full,
Of humble cares and delicate desires,
Mild interests and gentlest sympathies.

William Wordsworth | The Prelude: Growth of a Poet's Mind | Book XIV | 1850

Our strength grows out of our weakness. The indignation which arms itself with secret forces does not awaken until we are pricked and stung and sorely assailed. A great man is always willing to be little. Whilst he sits on the cushion of advantages, he goes to sleep. When he is pushed, tormented, defeated, he has a chance to learn something; he has been put on his wits, on his manhood; he has gained facts; learns his ignorance; is cured of the insanity of conceit; has got moderation and real skill.

Ralph Waldo Emerson | Essays, First Series | “ Compensation ” | 1841

The ancient adepts of the Tao were subtle and flexible, profound and comprehensive.
Their minds were too deep to be fathomed.
Because they are unfathomable,
One can only describe them vaguely by their appearance.
Hesitant like one wading a stream in winter;
Timid like one afraid of his neighbors on all sides;
Cautious and courteous like a guest;
Yielding like ice on the point of melting;
Simple like an uncarved block;
Hollow like a cave;
Confused like a muddy pool;
And yet who else could quietly and gradually evolve from the muddy to the clear?
Who else could slowly but steadily move from the inert to the living?
He who keeps the Tao does not want to be full.
But precisely because he is never full,
He can always remain like a hidden sprout,
And does not rush to early ripening.

Lao Tzu | Tao Te Ching | #15 | circa 600 b.c.

...But it is our contention, on the contrary, that this antithesis between the subjective and the objective is especially irrelevant in aesthetics, since the subject, the desiring individual furthering his own egoistic ends, can be conceived of only as the antagonist, not as the origin of art. In so far as the subject is the artist, however, he has already been released from his individual will, and has become as it were the medium through which the one truly existent Subject celebrates his release in appearance. For, above all, to our humiliation and exaltation, one thing must be clear to us. The entire comedy of art is neither performed for our betterment or education nor are we the true authors of this art-world. On the contrary, we may assume that we are merely pictures and artistic projections for the true author, and that we have our highest dignity in our significance as works of art-- for it is only as an aesthetic phenomenon that existence and the world are eternally justified-- while of course our consciousness of our own significance hardly differs from that which the soldiers painted on canvas have of the battle represented on it. Thus all our knowledge of art is basically quite illusory, because as knowing beings we are not one and identical with that Being who, as the sole author and spectator of the comedy of art, prepares a perpetual entertainment for himself. Only in so far as the genius in the act of artistic creation coalesces with this primordial artist of the world, does he catch sight of the eternal essence of art; for in this state he is, in a marvelous manner, like the weird picture of the fairy-tale which can turn its eyes at will and behold itself; he is now at once subject and object, at once poet, actor, and spectator.

Friedrich Nietzche | The Birth of Trajedy from the Spirit of Music | aphorism 5 | 1871

Dig within. There lies the well-spring of good: ever dig, and it will ever flow.

Marcus Aurelius | Meditations | Book VII, aphorism 59 | 167 a.d.

For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day. And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time; but what cannot be seen lasts forever.

Paul | The Bible | “ Second Letter to the Corinthians ” | chapter 4, verses 16- 19 | 57 a.d.

There is a soul at the centre of nature and over the will of every man, so that none of us can wrong the universe. It has so infused its strong enchantment into nature that we prosper when we accept its advice, and when we struggle to wound its creatures our hands are glued to our sides, or they beat our own breasts. The whole course of things goes to teach us faith. We need only obey. There is a guidance for each of us, and by lowly listening we shall hear the right word

Ralph Waldo Emerson | Essays, First Series | “ Spiritual Laws ” | 1841

In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you love? How deeply did you learn to let go?

Buddha | circa 600 b.c.

Lao Tzu says, "Effecting utter emptiness, keeping complete silence, as myriad things act in concert, I thereby watch the return."

The I Ching says, "Return means seeing the heart of heaven and earth."

The I Ching hexagram RETURN (# 24) consists of one yang arising under five yins: yin is quietude, yang is movement; when quietude reaches its consummation, it gives rise to movement. It is this point of movement that is the mysterious pass.

Just apply your attention to the point where you rouse the mind and activate thought, concentrating on this constantly-- then the mysterious pass will spontaneously appear. When you see the mysterious pass, then the medicinal ingredients, the firing process, the operation, extracting and adding, all the way to release from the matrix and spiritual transformation, are all in this one opening.

Gathering medicine means gathering the true sense of the essence of consciousness within oneself. This is done by first quieting the mind, to still the impulses of arbitrary feelings; when stillness is perfected, there is a movement of unconditional energy. This is the energy of true sense, and its first movement arising from stillness is called the true yang. This is to be fostered until sense and essence, energy and spirit, are united. After that, withdraw into watchful passivity, because if you persist in intensive concentration after the point of sufficiency, your work will be wasted.

Thus the cycle of work goes from movement to stillness to movement to stillness. With long perseverence in practice, there takes place a gradual solidification, a gradual crystallization, which is the stabilization of real consciousness. This is described as nonsubstance producing substance, and it is represented as a spiritual embryo. This is called completion of the elixir.

Unknown Taoist Master of the School of Complete Reality | The Book of Balance and Harmony | chapter XII | circa 1200 a.d.

...But he was excited at his intuitive understanding of the camel driver's comment: maybe he was also learning the universal language that deals with the past and the present of all people. "Hunches", his mother used to call them. The boy was beginning to understand that intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it's all written there.

Paulo Coelho | The Alchemist | 1988

All goes to show that the soul in man is not an organ, but animates and exercises all organs; is not a function, like the power of memory, of calculation, of comparison, but uses these as hands and feet; is not a faculty, but a light; is not the intellect or the will, but the master of the intellect and the will; is the background of our being, in which they lie,-- an immensity not possessed and cannot be possessed. From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all. A man is the facade of a temple wherein all wisdom and all good abide. What we commonly call man, the eating, drinking, planting, counting man, does not, as we know him, represent himself, but misrepresents himself. Him we do not respect, but the soul, whose organ he is, would he let it appear through his action, would make our knees bend. When it breathes through his intellect, it is genius; when it breathes through his will, it is virtue; when it flows through his affection, it is love.

Ralph Waldo Emerson | Essays, First Series | “ The Over-Soul ” | 1841

Whilst we converse with what is above us, we do not grow old, but grow young. Infancy, youth, receptive, aspiring, with religious eye looking upward, counts itself nothing and abandons itself to the instruction flowing from all sides. But the man and woman of seventy assume to know all, they have outlived their hope, they renounce aspiration, accept the actual for the necessary and talk down to the young. Let them become organs of the Holy Ghost; let them be lovers; let them behold truth; and their eyes are uplifted, their wrinkles smoothed, they are perfumed again with hope and power. This old age ought not to creep on a human mind. In nature every moment is new; the past is always swallowed and forgotten; the coming only is sacred. Nothing is secure but life, transition, the energizing spirit. No love can be bound by oath of covenant to secure it against a higher love. No truth so sublime but it may be trivial to-morrow in the light of new thoughts. People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.

Ralph Waldo Emerson | Essays, First Series | “ Circles ” | 1841

The superior man is quiet and calm, waiting for the appointments of heaven, while the mean man walks in dangerous paths, looking for lucky occurrences.

Confucious | circa 600 b.c.

There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.

Richard Bach | Illusions | 1977 the solitude which every man is always returning, he has a sanity and revelations which in his passage into new worlds he wil carry with him. Never mind the defeat; up again, old heart!--it seems to say,--there is victory yet for all justice; and the true romance which the world exists to realize will be the transformation of genius into practical power.

Ralph Waldo Emerson | Essays, Second Series | “ Experience ” | 1844

Just as in a stormy sea that, unbounded in all directions, raises and drops mountainous waves, howling, a sailor sits in a boat and trusts in his frail bark: so in the midst of a world of torments the individual human being sits quietly, supported by and trusting in the principium individuationis (principle of individuation).

Arthur Schopenhauer | The World as Will and Idea | Book I | 1819

Turning back is how the way moves;
Weakness is the means the way employs.
The myriad creatures in the world are born from Something, and Something from Nothing.

Lao Tzu | Tao Te Ching | #40 | circa 600 b.c.

Touch ultimate emptiness,
Hold steady and still.
All things work together:
I have watched them reverting,
And have seen how they flourish
And return again, each to his roots.
This, I say, is the stillness:
A retreat to one's roots;
Or better yet, return
To the will of God,
Which is, I say, to constancy.
The knowledge of constancy
I call enlightenment and say
That not to know it
Is blindness that works evil.
But when you know
What eternally is so,
You have stature
And stature means righteousness
And righteousness is kingly
And kingliness divine
And divinity is the Way
Which is final.
Then, though you die,
You shall not perish.

Lao Tzu | Tao Te Ching | #16 | circa 600 b.c.

The insight then to which-- in contradistinction from those ideals-- philosophy is to lead us, is, that the real world is as it ought to be-- that the truly good-- the universal divine reason-- is not a mere abstraction, but a vital principle capable of realizing itself. This Good, this Reason, in its most concrete form, is God.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel | The Philosophy of History | 1837

...Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification"-- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley will be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to stuggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
And this will be the day-- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:
"My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!"
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Allegenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that:
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Prostestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
"Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last"

Martin Luther King | I Have a Dream | August 28, 1963

True poetry, true art, is of course, no more than a reflection of supersensible truth-- but a reflection it is. Even if poets are not themselves conscious of the supersensible happenings, if their soul is linked with the cosmos, if they have not been torn away from the cosmos by materialistic education, they give utterances to supersensible truths, in spite of having to express them in pictures drawn from the world of sense.

Rudolph Steiner | Lecture delivered in Dornach, Switzerland | November 9,1919

In sum, the aim of Complete Reality Taoism is to be a "real human being" rather than a willy-nilly product of socio-cultural accident, to be fully awake, autonomous, capable of exercising free will and of perceiving reality directly without artificial constructs.

Thomas Cleary | The Taoist Classics, Volume II | Introduction | 1996