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Understanding how the world works, politics, economics, basic human psychology, are all relatively easy to grasp. But you don’t grasp reality and you don’t grasp art that’s attuned to it. Art is not a homily, not ideology or tribal marker. Art restores the world to its irreducible wholeness from the parcelling and privations of the mind. Art is a love letter to the world, address unknown. — Anonymous

“I love you because I love you, because it would be impossible not to love you. I love you without question, without calculation, without reason good or bad, faithfully, with all my heart and soul, and every faculty.”

— Juliette Drouet

“Love is the crowning grace of humanity, the holiest right of the soul, the golden link which binds us to duty and truth, the redeeming principle that chiefly reconciles the heart to life, and is prophetic of eternal good.”

— Petrarch

Enlightenment is intimacy with all things — Dogen Zenji

We are wandering in an earthly paradise, if we could only know it. It’s here, it’s now, and we are off in some fantasy world in our heads and hearts. Art is one of the remedies to this, our mental fogginess. It is one of the ways humans have invented to remove the camouflage we have dressed the world in.

It’s an exercise in seeing, in becoming “intimate with all things.”

Human creativity is a school of perception, whether it’s craft or art. Tying philosophic questioning and psychology to this craft deepens it, I believe. As you learn to see and question how you see, you gradually remove the blinders your culture has fitted you with.

We are naturally born within a universal mind but we are conditioned to a parochial earthly society and have to find our way to a broader vision. Art, meditation, love in any form, even gardening or care of children — whatever your talent is — leads you to discover currents of reality beneath the quotidian. We discover to our astonishment that the world is made out of love, and that it partakes of a divine beauty.

Art teaches us how to drop our received ideas about what we see, how to reserve judgement, how to just pay attention. It’s not so far from meditation, really. If we are to be of any help in the advances in consciousness necessary to save the natural world from destruction or human society from suicide, art will need to play a larger role in human affairs. I’m more of a painter than a writer, but it seems to me, writing has an asset painting, at least the way I practice it, doesn’t have.

Writing deals in ideas, or can deal in ideas, and at this point in human affairs, it looks like we need to consider a new way forward. I’m not sure painting can offer that. Writing can offer insights and vision.

We need that now.

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