Wednesday, October 31, 2007

We no longer "see" what is right in front of us


















"No art form stirs or moves me more deeply, perhaps, than Paleolithic cave paintings... The cave painters were concerned not with composition, not with "beauty," but with the peculiar immediacy of the most direct vision...pure seeing, nothing else...

"At the same time, in the cave art the drawing is "writing" too. The picture is also an ideogram. I think one of the peculiar sources of power and life in Asian art and philosophy is in its greater fidelity to immemorial modes of vision going back into the prehistoric past... an essentially Stone Age view of the world and of society, in which all that man now needs from his inventions was once attained and realized in himself.

"For example--today with a myriad of instruments we can explore things we never imagined. But we no longer "see" directly what is right in front of us."


The above quotes from Thomas Merton, "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander", pp 280-281.
Photograph: Bird Feet Calligraphy shot at Ogunquit Maine Beach 9/8/07.
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