A Message of Peace

Written Friday, December 21, 2018


A Message of Peace


By (artist) Jon Keppel



I am not here to get you to think in any certain way or feel things that you do not already feel.  I am not a change agent in this presentation.  I do not have any impact on your consciousness one way or another.  I will not set you free so to speak.  I am not the answer.  


Consider for yourself that awareness may be an art practice, a way of doing art.  Or perhaps more aptly stated, consider allowing art to emerge in your life as both deep and light epiphany.  


If it can be the case that art is awareness and awareness, art, what does that mean?  This is a question that I offer to you.  It is in this sense something that is available through love that circulates throughout our entire being, both as a self and a universal flow.  


How did this come to be?  Or rather how did we become aware of it?  See the difference there?  It becomes real for us once we are aware of it.  Without awareness that which we are of does not emerge.  It is my contention that we are of art.


The development of the art object deals plainly with illusion.  The arrival of the concept or idea over the object as with conceptualism in the 1960s was a continuation of the development that is in art.  Consider now that art is in culture throughout.  It spans the globe and rightly always has even though some instances may not have been represented in full on what could be called the world stage or collective consciousness.


To continue this development, or revealing and reconnecting, of art, I propose the notion of putting the person above the object and the concept or idea.  The person is and becomes the art.  And yet as we say this, the person is a macro and microcosm of the limitlessness of the cosmos, the furthest inner and farthest outer extents whereby a through-spirit having to do with personhood radiates meaningfully through objects, ideas, actions and times respectively.  


This is a development that really has probably been going on since before humanity as we know it existed on earth.  For centuries there were proverbial paintings and sculptures made in many lands.  The Greeks, the Romans, the Renaissance and so much out beyond that in so many regions and varying cultures helped to bring this about.  The very development of a tool or technology as with axes made of stone are found to be a reflection of a change in awareness, of consciousness and understanding within the human beings of that time.  Tools and technologies used to make paintings and sculptures of the very most rudimentary nature were still vast openings in the nature of mind as it related to the phenomenal field.  It was an understanding which was reflected in material and expounded upon in material. But the real development, the primary arising in the wielder was a profound illumination of the heart and head of the human beings at the time.  


Nothing has changed in this regards for us.  We continue to discover, uncover and reveal what is to a large extent already there within and around us.  This past century, in a kind of joking way, genius in the life of a man named Marcel Duchamp switched our understanding of what constitutes an art object.  Famously, Duchamp took a urinal, a commonplace pre-manufactured industrial product and entered it into an art exhibition to stand as art via his choice as an artist, making it into art through that choice and awareness and thus bringing it into view to us as art as well.  This, I feel, is the contribution of Duchamp.  


From it we can extrapolate that not only is such a common object art when it is in a gallery setting but that every common object in life is already art by its nature of being an object of our awareness, an awareness that is a kind of art-ing itself.  From this time, starting from around 1913, it is my contention that a grand divestment of energies back into the everyday world has come about guided by the development of art that has brought our awareness of art away from being something primarily of a static or plastic nature, an art object or even a concept or idea connected to an object but rather a way of thinking and as such awareness itself that becomes the art of our time using the time of this writing and publication in 2018/2019 as a way of commemorating, affirming and reaffirming this realization.  This I feel should lead and in fact does lead to placing the existent nature and development of people as art for the foreseeable present and future.


This I feel comes at a most necessary and pivotal time for us as a culture, a global culture of global citizens facing hardships and atrocities such as climate change, the refugee situation, human rights, hunger, poverty, education and total existential freedom around the world.  Before I say more on how I feel it has come that an understanding that awareness is art and that it is in fact the art of our times in a very powerful way I want to give further testimony to the many practitioners and practices that emerged over the last century that make clear how art is crying out to be made one with life as the world through people as a radiating facet of a living ecosystem that circulates throughout the entire Youniverse.  


In the 1950’s musician and thinker John Cage brought to our attention how every sound could be music, that even traffic in everyday life could be thought of as a kind of music or the sounds of the stirrings of an audience could also be music just as much as what was going on on stage.  Music in this way circulated throughout all sound.  But just as much it was up to the way in which you listened.  That was the genius of John Cage, to help us to understand that if we opened our heart and head to what music could be, that it was all around us, already populated in our world as a living reality far out beyond our conventions of instrumentation and theatrical presentation.  


In the 1960’s Allan Kaprow with what became known as Happenings began to coax the zeitgeist of art further out from conventions like not only brick and mortar galleries and museums but the mental models that were upheld by institutionalization of such sites.  Folks began gathering at hotel pools for activities that were performative but without a narrative structure like what many times happened on a stage and in the sense that they were happening out in public spaces or quasi-private spaces such as hotels, they were all the more a part of everyday life.  A movement of this bringing together of genius and the nature of lived reality as art was continuing to move together.  


Also, in the 1960s Andy Warhol created his well known Brillo Boxes which looked exactly like their commercial counterpart thereby reducing the differentiation of art with everyday real objects to zero.  There was no telling them visually apart.  Arthur Danto made comment on this fact and also coined the term Artworld in a philosophical writing of that decade.  Again the boundary, which was always a boundary of understanding or constitution, was merging with the real of that era.  Movements in land art and conceptualism continued to bring art out of the gallery and into the world so to speak.  The art went from art object immemorial, like a painting or sculpture to one of ideas and concepts.  


Eventually in the 1990’s relational aesthetics emerged with perhaps most notably a work like Untitled (Free) by Rirkrit Tiravanija where simply Thai food was made and offered to folks to eat.  Art had become the very eating of food as a meal.  Social practice and social movements in art that started in the prior decades and continued to develop, emerged at the turn of the century and continue to this day to be high impact aspects of art as we know it.  


Of course we know that art objects have persisted and that concepts in art are still widely held in high regard.  But what of this development truly?  What of this movement into life itself?  What of the way that lives can be taken up as the work itself as with for example Ai Wei Wei working through a movie like Human Flow that gives us insight into the refugee crisis we are facing as a global community?  Or what of a local artist that I know named Shani Richards who creates or co-creates art experiences and aspects of events that promote voting, an actually lived act, not a theatrical act but a real act with real-world meaning and positive consequences?  Do we not see that art is becoming deeds, deeds in life? Countless instances in-between these signposts signify this development and support this claim.  This is what initially brought me to proclaim that art is the craft of life.  I saw so much potential and had found so much impartial and objective evidence for such an approach given the development of art in the Western cannon.  And in fact this development had the Western cannon being reintroduced into the flow of all arts everywhere thereby doing away with the power structures and bureaucracy that are sometimes emergent in the world of art.  


Art had become something literally of the people in body, mind, soul, and spirit.  Artists like Marina Abramovic had helped this along with works like The Artist Is Present at MoMA where she sat opposite an empty chair that was occupied by countless visitors to simply look them in the eye and be there with them.  What could be a more honest and open testimony and sure sign of art as life itself?  Art had, in that instance as well, become simply the living presence within us all, brought to our awareness.  


We see then in light of this understanding that has developed over the past century that art is with us all and is available to us everywhere and at all times, as our very lives themselves.  Of course traditions like paintings and sculpting will persist as they should.  We should never forget our ancestors and generations of skilled practitioners that helped to pave the way for our understanding.  Even to do it today can, I am sure, be an enlightening enterprise and one of value and merit.  However, let us begin to really get in touch with what the spirit so to speak of the art development is crying out for us to understand and take into practice: that we the people are art.  That our lives are art.  That our world (the earth for instance and all the human beings residing here) is art, all of it, the entire thing.


In this sense it is my proposition that awareness as art is the significant art of and in our times that can bring us to a deeper understanding of ourselves and help us to affect positive change in the world we live in and are a part of.  Instead of the social, cultural or political being only addressed or primarily addressed in what we know as exhibitions, what if we learn to incorporate actions in our lives as they stand beyond the gallery and museum as a way of bringing in positive change and right conduct into the way we live our lives?  I see this as being the logical next step in the developing artistic puzzle where art places the person now beyond the object or idea.  In that sense then we have an entirely new expanse unfold, one that is already happening but it is now simply that our awareness of it is brought into play and thus makes these realizations more and more real for us and in that sense positively impactful and helpful.  I see folks like yogini and psychotherapist Ashley Turner and Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe as exemplary artists of our time for their pursuit of what might be called right action and personal appreciation and development in tandem with the reality we live in and are a part of.  But just as much we are each artists in that we each connect with awareness every day of our lives.  Art as wellness is also significant in this regard as well.  Art in this way is also a kind of relationship, a relationship with ourselves, others and the world at large.  There is no person alive today that does not get effected directly or indirectly by awareness.  


It is my proposition that we can learn to craft and co-craft our lives through practices like meditation and mindfulness that help us to be more aware of ourselves, our lives and the world within and around us.  I say this is not only good for us as individuals but that it also will help us answer world problems as well.  In conjunction with awareness, meditation and mindfulness,  I see practices like conversation, writing and reading to be profound instances of actually doing the work of awareness when it becomes a matter of doing rather than being though both are infinitely important.  Awareness is the spark that makes understanding possible and understanding is the foundation for action to be taken in support of communing with a deeper sense of value and meaning in our own lives and life itself.  And out beyond these aforementioned practices there are of course just simply deeds in life.  We must learn to accept ourselves and to love ourselves truly.  The work we do to inform, educate and inspire ourselves on an ongoing basis nourishes these deeds we help to enact, supplementing, supporting and illuminating these deeds with meaning and value that I feel are essential to fully realizing human life.  Once we become more accustomed to being more aware at a fundamental level we can begin to become more and more aware of the world around us and begin to affect positive change as we change ourselves.  The way we think is a way of understanding ourselves.  Learning to listen is a key element as curator, Hans Ulrich Obrist has intimated.  


It could be that awareness is a kind of creation.  It reveals what is already there within us but also brings it to light so to speak and makes it more and more real and able to affect positive change.  I hope very much to be able to continue to unpack these ideas and promote living actions that themselves promote this epiphany and just as important its lived experience.  I find that loving kindness, compassion and non-judgment are very important factors for this.  And I believe that we can all be artists if we choose to be.  There is innate goodness in us, we have only to reveal it as such to let it shine.  Sometimes that happens naturally and sometimes we have to help intentionally to bring it out.  Either way, it shines and is made real in our conducting of it.  That is important.  We can be the masterpiece.  In the end we the people are great art on par excellence with all creation, with all the cosmos, in our own special and humble way.  We matter.  


Note: This text and its sentiment has been the culmination of a lifelong endeavor to contribute meaningfully to the nature of art in the collective conscious.  I hope it serves you well.  Take care.  Thank you to RCP for being there/here.  


Copyright © Jon Keppel 2018 All Rights Reserved



The Exhibition is Dead

The Exhibition is Dead

By Jon Keppel

Many times we may think of an exhibition as a presentation of physical objects or phenomena placed in a brick and mortar space, a room of some kind, usually either at a museum or gallery. However as art history has taught us, art, especially over the last hundred years, has become increasingly untethered to a premeditated location for its dispersal, or perhaps more rightly stated, its emergence. It is no longer a static, plastic presentation of things in a sort of ordained and curated shell but rather a cueing-in to information, an encounter with the ephemerality of lived events and simply ways of thinking. So why do we still generate exhibitions or at least the exhibition of the white cube or a cube of any sort for that matter?

The loosening of the art object away from being a plastic experience began at least as early as 1917 when Marcel Duchamp forged, through the act of conception, rather than the laborious and somewhat clunky act of physical construction, the nature of the readymade. Duchamp’s genius emerged not only in his conferring of art status on everyday objects but also in the way he treated and invited us to engage mentally and philosophically with everyday objects. Since Duchamp it is not just that a urinal in a museum or gallery is art but that as a trace of his mental massaging of such phenomenon, we can start to understand such objects in life to be art as well.

Starting in the 1950’s, John Cage similarly teased our consciousness out of a rather dated and stogy matrix that placed art as that which emerged in an institution. Cage, like Duchamp, brought our understanding of art out into the world of everyday life and the ceaseless flow of physical, psychological and spiritual experiences to be had there. Music was no longer strictly or simply instruments being played on a stage in a concert hall, music came from the sound of the audience as well and also from everyday occurrences such as traffic. Music had become a way of listening rather than that which is listened to, arranged or not. This shift in understanding is key to the evolution of art so much so that we can say that the way we understand something is in fact a prominent if not key component of its production. Understanding, in essence, produces.

The Happenings of the 1960’s followed this trend of bringing art and our understanding of it outside of the gallery and into everyday spaces. Land art too, with a sweeping gesture, drew our consciousness out of so many rooms, both figuratively and literally and into the growing expanse of nature, the great outdoors and beyond. Perhaps what we call outer space will be the next site so to speak for our consciousness. In many ways it already is. The point however is that it is the liberating quality of thought itself that is truly the delimiting factor and the seed bed by which all that is around us begins to fully emerge. Producing, in art and in life, has become less about constructing physical arrangements of plastic parts, as with paintings and sculptures of time immemorial, and instead a process of revealing key attributes that are already present in the world that are reflected both within and around us (consider the shift that has taken place from a dynamic of industrialization to that of information) .

The limitlessness of what we call outer space is mirrored in the boundless nature of the internet which has become another prominent quasi-place to reveal art as such. Net art and sound are two major iterations of this evolution of art as an experience that erupts rather spontaneously, sometimes in many places at once and without the bureaucratic web that comes with much of the conventional art world’s pillars and platforms. Perhaps the matrix of the art world itself, its parameters and constructs are being transcended. The role of the artist in this rather limitless expanse is rapidly changing. Trends that have artists moving towards political office is one such example of this. Roles of what it means to be a curator and a director are also being brought into question as we consider more and more that the locus of art is a spontaneous, ephemeral experience that is had in everyday life. The rooms, so to speak, that the art of 2017 and beyond will take place in will be that of the heart and the head rather than any museum or gallery. We will look now within to see where we and art are going. For the exhibition as such is dead. We and art are alive!

All Rights Reserved © Jon Keppel 2017

To Live a True Life By Jon Keppel circa 1999

To Live A True Life.

 

By Jon Keppel

 

 

I am laying in a bed of tall, tall grass and letting my life pass by

when I allow myself to waver from the thoughts and feelings 

that I know to be true.  A bed of grass so thick with delusion

and self-deceit that no man’s eye could be asked to penetrate it.

 

It is my own will and perception, however, that place me in such 

a weary condition.  It is I, and I alone, who allows for the 

weeds of the world to pull me down into the blinding dirt of

confusion’s disease and suffocate the good parts 

that try so hard to dream inside of me.

 

I need only to stand up…

To rise above this mammoth green sea of doubt and strive

beyond the presumptions of my fevered mind

To search beyond the thickets of fear

that I have planted inside my head

and discover the unfaltering truths

that lay patiently waiting 

in the deepest cores of my being.

 

The grass is tall, but my home is in the sky.

 

I have only to reach for it

to call out its name

to call out my name

to accept its truth and deliver my beauty.

 

With a confidence so pure that no doubt can touch it

I will stretch my hearing legs and dance atop

the feeble grass that has bound me for so long.

If only I believe in who I truly am

and harness the powers

that grow warm and bright inside of me.

My heart will weep no more.

I will float above the venomous vines of worldly pleasure

and cross the threshold of art

that denies me the intimate knowledge of myself

that I rightly deserve.

 

I will no longer disconnect myself

from the spirit that gives me strength.

I will live a true life.

I will stand up proud and strong

even if it is by myself

and allow my deepest thoughts

to imagine, to sing,

to wonder, and to smile.

I will ascend into my highest self.

I will live a true life.

Taking Place

Taking Place by Jon Keppel  

 

The idea of the world as an extended domain in which a variety of actors and entities intermingle is a worldview that has emerged over the course of centuries and from many different sources.  The acquisition or reckoning of self-consciousness is something that has developed simultaneously with the idea of boundless objectivity.  That is to say, as self-awareness and self-concern have grown more prominent so too has the consideration for that which is not the self, that by which the self is born and distinguishes itself.  Along with this sense of existential autonomy, the idea of the individual mind has also gained a great amount of influence.  It is generally thought that human beings have a kind of personal cache of intelligence that is conceived as being, before all else, housed in and around one’s head.  To a lesser degree the mind is thought to branch out from this locus by means of one’s bodily senses, along with various fabricated instruments of detection and any of a number of technologies that let one perceive from a distance.  

This definition of the individual as a part of the world that interacts with other parts of that same world in dynamic but irresolvable ways is tantamount to the principles that are at the core of the subject to object dichotomy.  The idea of the world as a place brings about these roles: the here and the there, the now and the then, the self and the Other, the viewer and the viewed.  At the same time, viewing the world in this way brings about a number of important considerations in regards to the nature and authenticity of what it means to inhabit an experiential world.  It is fair to ponder whether this distinction is the result of an observation or a choice.   

    Essential to the subject to object dichotomy is the concept and perceived reality of space.  Space both separates and connects the subject to the object and vice versa, similar to a how a referee operates in a sporting match.  In this way of thinking, two distinct entities co-habiting a common objective realm are engaged by their disparity.  This disparity is constantly being renegotiated, which in turn reconstitutes the appearance of the object and the perspectives available to the viewer.  This act of resituating, no matter how subtle, exacerbates the available appearances to the extent that an object is never viewed in its entirety.  In a sense, the concept and adjoining experience of an entire object becomes problematic, arguably approaching something unfathomable.  

The depth and diversity of appearances radiating from any given object that lay at the subject’s disposal provide such a dense and contingent welter of information that one must not only cordon off other objects and phenomena that surround an intended object of focus, but one must also cordon off certain aspects of that object’s own appearances in order to establish a meaningful relationship with it.  What is more, one must behold those chosen attributes in a certain way in order to facilitate correspondence.  So it is not just the fact that the subject is limited to only certain faces of an object that inhibits the ability to perceive directly the totality of an object but also the incomprehensibly diverse and conditional nature of the face that the subject does see.  

In the Phenomenology of Perception, Maurice Merleau-Ponty makes clear the problematic nature of deciphering the normal state of any given thing.  Trying to imagine an object in total isolation, such that its appearances are not affected by surrounding forces becomes inconceivable.  Factors like humidity, quality of light (both natural and artificial) and shear spatial distance, to name a few, come to play pivotal roles in establishing the appearance of any given object.  For example, an apple found on a tree in an orchard beneath the light of the sun would appear much differently if taken indoors and lit by a tungsten bulb.  The nature of the light helps to establish the nature of the perceived object. 

It is not however simply the object that one perceives.  As Merleau-Ponty states, drawn from his mentor Franz Brentano, consciousness is an intentional act.  Perception, therefore, is not only consciousness of something but it is a certain kind of consciousness directed at a particular aspect of that something.  This observation extends to the related statement that the mind can take on only one thing at a time and in a sequential order.  Likewise, it can take on only one aspect of that something and in a sequential order.  Thinking about the apple again, consider walking into a dimly lit room.  One must first bracket out all of the other objects contained in that room in order to peer directly at that which is perceived to be an apple sitting on a table.  In looking at this placed object it may appear dull, smooth and crimson.  Upon turning on the light, we may notice that there is in fact a good amount of green scattered throughout the skin.  What is more, if we approach the apple and sit down at the table to inspect it further, placing our nose very close to the surface, we may notice a great many other shades of milky browns, burnt oranges and so on.  Upon picking the apple up and turning it in our hand we may notice that the other side is almost entirely green and that the side that we had been peering at which seemed to be spherical is in fact more like an ellipse.    

These are the types of experiences that one has when interacting with the apparent face of an object.  What once appeared simple suddenly becomes complex, dynamic, articulate and sometimes strange.  What was once wide becomes narrow; what staggered, pales.  When we look into the face of another, we cannot see the back of their head, nor can we see our own.  As we circumnavigate such things in the world as an apple, a table or a person we come to know them in the round.  That is to say, as we survey such objects and move about we gather information from bifurcated moments in time that when recalled can be collected and dynamically displayed in the mind as mental impressions.  We bare witness to that which, moments ago and from a certain perspective, was concealed.  So too do we, through observation of the world, incrementally reveal parts of our own person, our own hidden totality, our own nature, that, only moments ago, were concealed.  

The act of circumnavigation is an important aspect of our perceptual life, in that it unfolds that which is bound or obscured by space and time.  This however is ancillary in regards to that which is chosen in the face that one does see; the one that we are given moment by moment.  For this relationship is that which establishes the teeming sea of flickering memories and reflections, subtle and instantaneous determinations that pair, un-pair and pair again in the night of one’s mind.  Before these constellations can take flight though, each unique cell of illumination must be birthed by the interplay between the mind and that which it takes as its object.  If we imagine once again to be seated in front of the apple on the table, we stare for a moment taking in the fact that there is perhaps much more green than red.  As we become more familiar and accepting of this, our past determinations and impressions begin to recede and fade until we acknowledge that we are in fact looking at a green apple not a red one and in so doing are now able to project, or extract as the case may be, any number of appropriate associations to that which we know to be a green apple in the world. 

We may think of the paintings of Rene Magritte.  We may think of that well-known Beatles’ album.  We may consider whether the apple is a Granny Smith, a Golden Delicious or a yet-to-be-ripened Fuji.  We might think about its taste, whether it is tart, sweet or sour.  We might think about the word apple, its letters, its pronunciation or its etymology.  We may think about the word apple written out in different fonts, with different kerning and in different languages.  All the while, that which stands before us has not changed its physical makeup and yet it has changed its status as we project our own stocks of knowledge onto its face and mine, bit by bit, from its symbolic history and our own.  Its presence informs our thoughts and our thoughts inform its presence producing new potential usages, messages, meanings, utilities and values.  It transforms for us and in so doing, transforms its very appearance.

    In order for this type of exchange to be possible though, the object of focus must, before all else, either naturally rise or intentionally be drawn to the surface of all other available phenomena, both externally and internally.  In sitting down to peer at the apple, one has in a sense shooed away all other surrounding objects, phenomena and events in order to have the opportunity to consider it as a particular of the world, as an object.  At the same time, one has also shooed away all other forms of extraneous inner considerations such as superfluous thoughts, unrelated memories, and imaginary fantasies in order to focus the mind directly at the object, like a gun to a target.  The outer and inner horizons find a common vanishing point, aligning at a single physical location (in perceptual studies this is often referred to as the zero-point).  Consciousness finds a way to anchor itself in the material world and to distinguish a coordinate by choosing a point of contact.  The spectacle of the world is momentarily subordinated.  One gives oneself to the object and in-so-doing, the object becomes a screen by which one’s own personal biography can join with one’s general knowledge of the world to produce an experience.  The two can join in ways unique to the relationship formed between that particular subject and object, and yet, through language, signs and other social means of engagement, remain communicable to the world. 

    A physicist for example may envision the molecular makeup of the apple, the various sugars and pectin lying beneath its fiber-rich skin.  A baker may devise the ways in which the apple can be prepared as a part of various dishes and desserts.  An entrepreneur, on the other hand, may consider the apple in light of its market value thinking about the labor it takes to pick, package and ship the apple to have it sitting there on the table.  Each person forges a unique relationship to the intended object of focus.  Still, the apple, whatever an apple is, sits there before one in the world as a matter of fact.  It can, at anytime, regardless of its perceived ontological character, be picked up and eaten.  Our thoughts and interpretations, desires and intentions do not on their own change the materiality of an object.  However, when paired correctly with appropriately calibrated acts, certain thoughts can be transferred into the substantive world and analogously transform what they find there.     

    For example, the physicist could have a theory about the subatomic makeup of an apple and decide to place the apple in an atom smasher in order to study its molecular structure.  Its protons and electrons would literally be resituated in hopes of mirroring the hypothesis.  The baker could set out to achieve a similar effect, though on a more macroscopic level.  Perhaps a certain consistency in the apple’s flesh is desired for a particular type of dumpling, whereby it is placed into a heated oven and made to soften.  Similarly, the entrepreneur could foresee a type of apple staying fresher, and therefore more likely to yield a return, when placed in a certain type of environment.  The apple could be placed in a climate-controlled warehouse, whereby its physical qualities would be preserved and its shelf-life extended. In each case, the individual’s conceived interests transform the materiality of the apple in a way that reflects an intentional thought.  The apple is transformed, yet not so much that it is no longer an apple.   

    In other words, it is not that one can in a sense think an apple into another piece of fruit such as an orange.  However, if one can find a correct relationship between one’s intentions and the physical attributes of objects available, one can transform a chosen object towards a certain end by transferring a thought from the mind into the material, and thus perceivable, world.  This applies not only to how individual objects are constituted and conferred with meaning (i.e. how different types of apples get their name and culinary reputation) but also to how objects gather meaning, both rhetorical and intentional, when juxtaposed alongside other objects in space and time (an apple set next to the bible could conjure up a very specific type of association).  Fully developed thought then becomes in a sense the way in which the physical world is arranged by intentional acts.  These acts find their impetus in those articulate images, mentioned earlier, that are strewn from dynamic, though ambiguous, impressions in the mind.  This is how the inner life of the mind finds a way to take place in the world as we generally use the term.  

    We see however that this process remains a subtly two-way street.  One’s perception of an object can be guided by one’s intentions, which are influenced by one’s interpretation of an object.  These interpretations can be colored by one’s unique stock of knowledge, which has been gained from previous experiences with the perceivable world.  The physicist may not notice that the apple is not spherical because he is not concerned with the dimensions of the apple.  The baker however will notice this in deciding whether or not a certain apple will make a nice presentation for a dumpling.  Likewise, the baker may not notice that a particular type of apple may yield certain striking images when placed under a microscope regardless of its outer shape.  Depending on the circumstances, neither person may actually pick the apple up and do anything at all with it based on their own personal assessment of what an apple is, what it should be, what about it is important and what it should be use for. 

    An object’s potential to facilitate these meanings and achieve these usages however does not necessarily stem exclusively from its own material substance and structure but also its ability to connect with and separate from other material objects in both simple and complex ways.  Objects, whether they emerge organically into the world or are manufactured there, are aggregates.  That is to say, they are made up of parts.  They each have constituents of their own and many times stand as constituents of greater unities and systems of which those unities are a part.  An apple, for example, is that which is consistently made up of varying determinable parts.  It has a skin, a stem, flesh, seeds and so on.  These characteristics are after all how we know that it is an apple in the first place and recognize it as such.  Conversely, an apple comes from a tree: a whole of which it formerly was a part.  That which we know to be a tree in the world has its own set of varying determinable parts such as a root, a trunk, a branch, a leaf and in some cases a fruit.  This observation offers an entry into how the mind discerns one attribute from another when scanning, or considering, the apparent face of an object, person or place.  It also hints at how the mind creates schemas in order to relate wholes to parts and vice versa.

    If we place the physicist, baker and entrepreneur all in the same exact spot, one after another, each will be faced with the same view of the apple.  Each will have the same line of sight and surface to take in and yet each one’s mind will be prompted to search for and react to different characteristics of that face.  Light reflected from the apple will enter the pupil of each at the exact same angle and intensity, stimulating and patterning the rods and cones that it finds there in similar fashion.  Each one however will edit, pair and relate this raw sensory information in their own way.  Their intentions and biases will tend to make their minds gravitate towards certain bits of incoming data and discard others.  The baker may pick up on the smoothness of the apple’s skin, or the lack thereof, and make a judgment about its ripeness and therefore its taste.  The entrepreneur may focus instead on a tiny localized sore spot that is superficial, not effecting the taste of the apple ultimately, yet lessening its visual appeal, and thus its potential to attract a buyer.  

    In the dichotomy of the subject to object worldview, consciousness erupts into the world as the mind and the body attain various positions in space and orient themselves in relationship to other people, objects and places.  This process of orientation continues though even after a physical perspective has been determined.  The body momentarily calms its endless locomotion and commits itself to a particular perspective of a given thing.  The mind however continues surveying the object by assessing the face that that perspective yields.  The mind, guided by the will, subdivides the various attributes of that thing’s apparent face to determine where certain elements begin and where they end.  Also, it decides which ones are currently important and which ones are not.

    This is how the mind can behold a tree (e.g. an apple tree) as an object and then for whatever reason, decide to focus on one of its attributes and consider that attribute as an object in its own right (e.g. an apple).  The mind can toggle back and forth between seeing an apple tree at one moment and simply an apple the next.  Likewise, it can resolve to behold an apple tree or it can from the same physical perspective choose to take in all of the other surrounding apple trees and consider the phenomenon of an orchard as the object of its thought, subjugating the tree as part of a yet greater determinable whole. 

It is this critical and creative skill that enables the mind to draw meaning from an object and ultimately the world at large.  One guides one’s thoughts towards certain attributes of that object’s available appearance and by relating those attributes to each other, makes the spectacle of the world articulate.  The same way that we gather meaning by studying the relationship of objects to other objects, their unity and division, so too do we determine the meaning of a single object by studying the relationship between its various self-contained attributes.  Consciousness is seemingly attracted and gathered by the gravity of one’s will into that which we understand to be the mind.  It then coalesces and is directed towards a particular of the world in order to understand that particular object and by contrast itself.  It is at this moment that the subject and object are produced.  This is how the world occurs, for us and for our witnesses. It is the way in which we come to know the nature of experience.                   

It must be remembered though that central to the idea of occurrence is the idea and presence of motion.  Nothing can occur without arriving in some way and departing in another.  Motion, as has been noted by many others, is essential to perception itself.  The conundrum though is that as subjects approach and engage with objects in the world the appearance of those objects are equally dependent on the mind of the individual which by definition does not move in that it is immaterial.  The world may be made up of subjects and objects, parts that perceive and parts that are perceived, but the experience that one has as a result does not happen in the world at all.       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1)    Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. 1945. Phenomenology of Perception. Paris: Gallimard.

 

2)    Schutz, Alfred. 1973. The Structures of the Life-World. London: Northwestern University Press.

 

3)    Husserl, Edmund. 1954. The Crisis in European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.

 

Copyright © 2007, 2018 Jon Keppel All Rights Reserved

Kind by Jon Keppel

Being of one another, whether in the flesh, remotely or by proxy shares corporeality, body-being).  Corporeality is the given force of human life articulated, that is of a person as any and all space(s) and time(s): the manifestation of presence in kind.

 

Consider that the world is experienced as perpetual motion and that the body itself is included.  As such, there is no now by the nature of experience (i.e. there is no phenomenon of mind). The totality of the body is consciousness whereby it takes conscious place, consciousness being a uniquely human trait. 

 

The body takes while acquiring points of view by assuming moments in time of consciousness and thus sustaining belief.  The world therefore is synonymous with consciousness and has nothing to do with concepts of space and time but corporeality instead (i.e. being in the stead of space and time, being in the place of). The body is the place of the world.

 

What comes to be known then as the phenomenal world of being is an amalgam of retrograde expressions of presence in kind, that is to say the world as such is an illusion only in so much as it is always out of synch with a single human being.

 

Motion makes us human.

 

There is no beginning or end, by definition, to perpetual motion only the presence of consciousness in kind. Conception nor mortal death are experienced because there is nothing to remember, for the body is of consciousness. 

 

Apprehension is all that remains, by way of motion, instead.  Similar to how a simple magic trick is enacted which may exceed comprehension, the speed of apprehension decifers experience.  And since motion is imperative to experience, speed becomes the nature of experience.

 

The body, being of consciousness, exudes the world by being in motion.  Corporeality galvanizes experience by orienting motion.  The body grasps the world by apprehending (i.e. it comprehends via its totality, the incorporation of phenomena). 

 

Grasping requires displacement, which is an indirect articulation of motion in the absence of a preordained now.  As an anaology the hand demonstrates this while grasping at any thing.  It displaces while apprehending, it takes conscious place by moving something into its displaced being (i.e. re-places consciousness). 

 

Copyright © 2018 Jon Keppel All Rights Reserved