You cannot always stay on the summits. You have to come down again… So what’s the point? Only this: what is above knows what is below, what is below does not know what is above. While climbing, take note of all the difficulties along your path. During the descent, you will no longer see them, but you will know that they are there if you have observed carefully. There is an art to finding your way in the lower regions by the memory of what you have seen when you were higher up. When you can no longer see, you can at least still know…
—René Daumal, “The Art of Climbing Mountains,” Mount Analogue: A Tale of Non-Euclidian and Symbolically Authentic Mountaineering Adventures, Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 2004, pp. 105–108.
Imants Tillers, Mount Analogue, 1985, Oil, oil stick and synthetic polymer paint overall 279.0 h x 571.0 w cm
William A. Garnett (American, 1916 – 2006)
Sandbars, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
34.4 x 51 cm
© Estate of William A. Garnett
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
via Art Blart
William Gordon Shields, Heart of the Woods, 1919. Multiple gum photograph. From Pictorial Incidents: The Photography of William Gordon Shields. Thank you, liquidnight.
The Zen disciple sits for long hours silent and motionless. Presently he enters a state of impassivity, free from all ideas and all thoughts. He departs from the self and enters the realm of nothingness. This is not the nothingness or the emptiness of the West. It is rather the reverse, a universe of the spirit in which everything communicates freely with everything, transcending bounds, limitless. There are of course masters of Zen, and the disciple is brought toward enlightenment by exchanging questions and answers with his master, and he studies the scriptures. The disciple must, however, always be lord of his own thoughts, and must attain enlightenment through his own efforts. And the emphasis is less upon reason and argument than upon intuition, immediate feeling. Enlightenment comes not from teaching but through the eye awakened inwardly. Truth is in the discarding of words, it lies outside words.
We are here to witness the creation and abet it. We are here to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed. Together we notice not only each mountain shadow and each stone on the beach but, especially, we notice the beautiful faces and complex natures of each other. We are here to bring to consciousness the beauty and power that are around us and to praise the people who are here with us. We witness our generation and our times. We watch the weather. Otherwise, creation would be playing to an empty house.
According to the second law of thermodynamics, things fall apart. Structures disintegrate. Buckminster Fuller hinted at a reason we are here: By creating things, by thinking up new combinations, we counteract this flow of entropy. We make new structures, new wholeness, so the universe comes out even. A shepherd on a hilltop who looks at a mess of stars and thinks, ‘There’s a hunter, a plow, a fish,’ is making mental connections that have as much real force in the universe as the very fires in those stars themselves.
born Australia 1960
Cloth (red velvet)
127.0 x 105.0 cm
Collection of the artist
© courtesy of the artist and Bett Gallery, Hobart