Follow this by Email if'n you like

Jul 26, 2016

The Balanced Universe.

It's understandable that humans reject out of hand the concept of the goodness in darkness. But it's also immature. This was Carl Jung's Point in criticizing Christianity for revering a mere Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Ghost). Like labeling a map with East South and West as the three cardinal directions, he said there was one component missing and glaringly so. Spoiler alert: I'm grossly generalizing, but that missing element is a dark one. This has huge implications for Christianity but that's not my focus here, which is that virtually all our thinking ignores that element! Jung "illuminated" the importance of darkness to the human concept of a full reality.

The human psyche is constructed with the dark and light hemispheres of conscious and unconscious awareness. The human brain is constructed of two hemispheres, separated, but communicating through the corpus callosum. Each hemisphere is master of a different kind of thinking and intelligence; you could call it a "light" side (finding solutions to problems) and a "dark" side (wondering at how we fit into the universe). Simply deducing from 4 million years of successful evolution, the human animal cannot survive without an awareness that encompasses both, and both in equal measure; a truth revealed in the very structure of the brain; the most complex item ever seen! Science is finally becoming aware, after centuries of a reasonable bumbling, that the reason alone cannot achieve actual reasonableness, that missing from this equation–and very starkly so–is an element of humility, an awareness that good intention alone is never enough to achieve our ends. We also have to survive in the world.

The Enlightenment is rife with half-baked solutions to problems, engineered by well-meaning but myopic minds focused narrowly on a single benefit. But the universe is not constructed of isolated the elements. Everything is interconnected, everything is in relationship. Take the extermination of wolves from the American west in the 1800's. Very smart people who imagined the benefits of fewer encounters with them thought of the clever idea of erasing wolves from the landscape. But, as so often has been the case, the solution was arrived at in isolation, blind to relationships. The result was a cascade of unintended consequences in the form of other (very confusing, unattributable problems that grew out of that one premature decision). It wasn't until our own time that ecologists–diagnosing the failing health of the entire system–could see that the predators performed a critical role in balance of the entire ecological system; and so wolves were reintroduced in the 90s–to this day a very controversial decision– and ecological balance was finally bent again toward healthiness. 

Metaphysical Map: "Searching for the Foundations of the Universe"
That same clumsy thinking has been the cause of so many contemporary problems including those of global scale, like climate change, which was largely produced by our narrow focus on the immediate benefits of machine energy, the light half of the equation, at the expense of an awareness of relationship, the dark half. Had they not only pursued their own narrow goals but remained aware of the importance of balance, they'd have saved us all a great deal of trouble, including our current sobering problem of facing actual human extinction. (Yikes, that would've been worth a little forethought!) But it's never too late to learn a good lesson!

The light aspect of our intention (solving a problem) is always twined with the dark aspect of relationship (full awareness of relationships and consequences). Of course we can never know what we don't know. But what would really help, and what humanity must learn if we are to survive, is that we can know that we don't know. By adapting a light/dark view of the reality of the Universe, we might just save ourselves some serious troubles. If every time we thought of a solution (Iraq comes to mind!), we could say "there's a good solution, now I wonder what dark mysteries will appear?" Could be that, after all, it's the meek that will inherit the earth!

Post a Comment

Blog Archive

Tim Holmes Studio

My photo

I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.