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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Part 8: Artful Thinking

When I watch the Alvin Ailey Dancers, I am totally in the dance. I feel myself encircling the earth, carving out space, defying gravity, entwined with other bodies, flying the notes of the music. Sometimes I realize my muscles are twitching in union with the dancers.

I recently attended the Wyatt exhibition at the National Art Museum. Viewing his paintings, I found myself withdraw to oversee the total composition, then moving in closely to examine each brush stroke, and backing up again with a feeling of aloneness, loneliness, and mystery.

Jazz and blues are my favorite music types. We loved going to the Monterey Jazz Festival; now and then we attend a session on U Street. But even when I am just listening to my digitalized music at home, I feel the guitarist fingers, I exhaust the trumpeters breath, I tap with the drummer. I am part of the tempo.

I read a lot and when I am fully engrossed, I know I have stepped on the roller coaster climbing and falling on tracks that the author has laid. I am no longer myself. I have taken on the author's style and intention and perspective. I am inventing with her and I am crying with him. I am in touch with her being--not as an object expressed, but as a person expressing.

Art shapes space, travels time, and acts with others. It plunges us into the world as it is and stretches us towards the new world becoming. The notion of "art" is connected to "artifice," "artifact," "artificial." In Greek, poetry (poesis) is making. The artist is a technician. And in the making of artifacts, the artist knows and presents a world.

All art is thinking. All thinking is art. Religion, science, technology, building construction, urban planning are conscious of the design and form and style of its presentation and product; they link themselves to or consider themselves as works of art. Some we judge better or worse for our time and taste. Some popular, some elitist, some vulgar. Some art portrays the ugly, the horrific, the evil; but all intends the beautiful.

It became a joke when I would ponder out loud in hiking Yosemite or driving a hilly Maryland countryside or viewing the Chicago skyline from Adler Planetarium "what makes all that so beautiful."

They say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and define it as "that which experienced pleases" (quod videm placet). But why does it please? We are meaning seekers and pattern makers which evolved with our capacity to think. When we place and find a pattern in the disorder and confusion of our experience of our environment, we also experience our selves with meaning and beauty. Beauty is the fractal in chaos theory.

The self-patterning of the universe in our dance with it.

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