Seeing Things Clearly
“Everything you can imagine is real.” Pablo Picasso
We can never fully trust the validity of our own awareness. It is always shifting and morphing to meet the outside world.
Whatever we look at, and how we interpret the material object, or a constellation of human activity, is always tainted by our own pre-knowledge.
Even seeing something for the first time can be confusing enough, but our minds will draw on the many memories and reaction of fittingly similar experiences, and project rough ideas onto what we see — so we feel as if we already know, more or less, what it is we are seeing.
It’s good enough to live this way, it’s how it is supposed to be, nothing is fixed, life is a flux of events continuously crashing into each other. Our awareness perceives the broad ideas of life, and we teach it to focus on the smaller events. We find balance.
We can never be full sure about what we have seen because our memories will take the vision, log it, categories it, and distribute it through various nodes, lobes, cortex’ and channels until it has been established as a memory. In other words, it went through the mill before your brain decided what to call it.
You might disagree and say that your memory is rock solid. It’s not all about visual memory. Try wine tasting without knowledge or eat three types of apples while listening to Mozart, then blindfold yourself, switch off Mozart, and eat the same fruits and identify them. You’ll probably get it all wrong.
Taste the Strawberries
Watch the 2005 film, “Sideways”, all about wine tasters — really it’s all about love, but the characters are testing and tasting wine throughout, they keep mentioning that the wine, above all, leaves a touch of strawberries on the palate. After watching the film you’ll swear you taste strawberries in all your wine for months after.
We are heavily influenced through all the senses, a complex array of feelings and tastes, noises, and smells bombard us 24/7 — there’s no end to it.
It’s because of this that we are not free of error in our judgements, we are always learning, experiencing, making things new, adjusting our points of view.
When we do business, truth should be at the forefront of our dealings, unfortunately, many business people approach negotiations from a selfish perspective, which leads to slipshod dealings. Somebody gets ripped-off, everybody blames everybody else for their failings, somebody forgot to mention something important, somebody walks away richer.
When we create art — or are simply being creative, we are being more honest about the human condition than we realize.
Creativity is looking at things and interpreting their nature, and in so doing we attempt to make sense of them so that others can share our vision of the object seen, or heard.
In creativity, we are always driven to see more deeply and to be honest about what we see. We can’t cheat, or approach the object in a slipshod way and believe that we are creating something of value.
The magic of art is in the eye of the beholder. There are so many forms of interpretation that there are enough styles, and schools of thought to serve most people. Naturalism, Realism, Contemporary Realism, Modern-Art, abstract art, Magic Realism, Surrealism, and a blank canvas, all fit to somebody’s view of the world around them.
When we write a story about a real event, but block our fantasy in fear that fantasy will destroy the truth, then we are on the road to failure — and strangely, the audience will notice. There will be something important missing from the work.
Text without fantasy belongs in a boardroom filing cabinet. Stories only take off and fly when the winds of fantasy can gush through the room. The atelier of the mind must be open to all the possibilities the story offers.
Memory is not the only source of the story. Fantasy is a basic tool of the artist, the human being, we use it to survive, and to love. At night the unconscious mind allows our brain to sleep while it takes flight into the most unbelievable worlds. We awake in the morning and want to tell anybody close by about the astonishing dream we had. It felt real, or almost real.
If we drink wine and believe it will ignite our fantasy we will be disappointed, if we go for a stroll and hope to come up with a wonderful story, we will be distracted by something in the street. When we sit at our desk and open to a blank page, then begin to write from the heart, then fantasy and all its mysterious siblings will come out to play.
Creativity is playtime for serious players. It’s the endeavour of life that feeds the soul, grows the mind, and opens the heart to a magical world that many can’t see — that magical world is always there, it exists behind the shimmering veil that nature created. Only those with fantasy can see the magic.