The most exalted region is the Law.
This is the element which respects ink.
The Lion's role in this paper is to defend the Muse from a theoretical perspective.
There is nothing that is not washed clean
By the Rule.
Let me use this space to analyze the possible short-comings of this paper, how I will eventually overcome them, and/or explain why I have chosen to live with them.
A silken thread, drawn, drawn out.
1. The overall structure does not move clearly from one idea to the next in a linear fashion but sometimes seems to ramble. The verses of the T'ai Hsuan Ching tend to break up the linearity of the flow of ideas rather than providing a useful and meaningful structure.
Reply - I believe that the need for linearity is purely a Western European male phenomenon. Native American literature tends to be cyclic and the structure of the material better reflects how I perceive the world. Not everything has a beginning middle and end but moves in a more cyclic way. Greater understanding on more levels accumulates on each idea as it is repeated in the cycle. The verses of the T'ai Hsuan Ching help break up my own cultural tendency to be linear and, in spite of the verses, I believe that the work is linear enough due to my own cultural influences.
The sacrificial vessels neglect the belly.
2. As Jung says in his Memories, Dreams, Reflections, when one becomes religious or mystical s/he immediately ceases having anything to say in academia.1 I may have crossed that line.
Reply - I suppose that we in academia are exposed to too many belief systems to take any one too seriously. One's own beliefs are seen as too personal to be shared overtly in the academic community. However, personal beliefs are often transmitted by professors to their students in more indirect and seemingly objective ways. I have become more cynical now than I was in my youth, but I thank God that I have journals which contain records of my more idealistic periods. These ideals have been shared with you. I am now so cynical to believe that no one can be entirely "objective" and it is better to come on out with whatever belief systems that may be influencing one's writing. Mine are rather complex and sometimes conflicting. I am too inconsistent about my beliefs to expound on one complete and coherent philosophy, but I am trying to be as clear about my influences as I can.
The well is vast and deep,
There is death through not getting food.
3. This work is too personal and does not relate to people enough "universally" and therefore cannot be published, read, or of any use to anyone but myself.
Reply - I have always had a problem with this kind of criticism. I have seen too often people reaching out to others in their creative work to the extent that they have lost the sense of who they are in the work. I do not believe that I am so different from others that others may not be able to identify with what I am saying. I am used to having powerful effects on small audiences that have been starving for work as intricately personal as mine. I have always put my own need to create works which show what is deep within my soul above the need to sell the work. Because of the direction I have chosen, my skills have become too specialized to allow me to compete with what is generally more accepted and, therefore, commercial.
The sacrificial vessels neglect the belly;
They are not learning the direction.
4. The work is too "preachy" and I seem to be exhibiting a "Messianic Complex."
Reply - I am "preaching" though I do not want to come off as being "preachy." I find works as being too "preachy" when they seem to contain too much material that is included specifically in order to change my behavior. This work is more of an explanation of my own behavior and is preaching tolerance, open-mindedness, and encouraging others to be more daring when exploring their own unconscious. I am consciously trying to get across the idea that artistic talent and creativity is not a gift but more of an attitude which anyone can acquire. My justifications for my own explorations and sacrifices may come off as "messianic," but I feel that what I am describing is not so uncommon. I have no special privilege from God. My writing is more of a "narcissistic" attempt to see and understand what I find beautiful in myself. I am attempting to write a work that I would thoroughly enjoy reading.
A finely-meshed net is dredging the abyss;
There is no advantage in overlapping.
5. The work is too long and is redundant.
Reply - I am trying to break up the monotony of hearing one voice in the work by interjecting dreams, stories, poems, texts by other writers, and many other of my favorite things. As I said before, ideas return but, when they do, they become part of another context. This seems to resemble the cycle of life as I see it and hopefully helps demonstrate the interconnectedness of all things.
A finely-meshed net dredges the abyss; Vexations laws are laid out.
6. The ideas presented are too diverse and have too little relationship to each other. Reply - I see a relationship to the various ideas presented and I will attempt to clarify those relationships in the closing of this chapter.
The well lacks the trunk.
The tree is upright.
Krishna's role in this work is too love, defend and protect the absurdities, playfulness, and even cruelty of the Muse through a reasonable discussion. It is not always easy discussing something which is intrinsically unreasonable in a reasonable way. Many topics were explored in order to attempt to give more credibility to my Muse for the academic community. Krishna discussed ideas concerning being in the moment and the creative process, the individual's and society's need to participate in the creative process, how randomness seems to enhance the creative process, how chance seems to be an intrinsic part of how the universe works even on the subatomic level, how unpredictability is related to the perception of consciousness, the importance of feeling that one has free will in order to be more conscious and, therefore, human, the importance and meaning of dreams, all of which imply meaning in art.
Gone is the rivulet,
Gone is the valley.
At this time I do not feel that I can directly address the idea of meaning in art without degenerating into meaningless platitudes and cliches. The chapters entitled Lizard and Lion are coming from the perspective of the soul and, therefore, art, as the expression of the soul, needs no defense. It is the language of the world in during this part of the discussion. Perhaps more can be said about art's value to society in general in the following chapters.
The end is in error.
Whenever I try to explain an idea that was not arrived at through language with language I feel a certain sense of failure. 361
The first half of the calendar has been displayed;
The second half is regulated in harmony with it;
One line proceeds vertically, one line proceeds horizontally;
Heaven's laws are woven together, enmeshed, enmeshed.
The most difficult part of this work has been written. This part has been the most difficult because I have sought to describe as honestly as I can my own feelings and motivations behind my art. The next two chapters are more grounded in the needs of the material world, which in the context of this piece will tie in with and even be regulated by what has come before it. As events move linearly through time the world of the spirit (or what I have called the soul) moves with it, but not linearly with it. Time has little or no relevance to the soul. The movements of the soul vary to the extent that an infinity can fit within a moment and/or a small soul event may last beyond a lifetime. The soul and the body seem to relate to each other as the x and y axes relate to each other. They are each independent yet create new points through their interactions with each other.
The Dragon flies up to Heaven;
The Divination strides over the overlaps.
Even the image of an x and y axis is too simple to describe the relationship of the unconscious to the conscious. The unconscious is difficult to map in and of itself. It seems to occupy a much greater amount of our brain activity. Dreams and art only seem to show what occurs when the two minds come in contact. The dreams seem to be the most influenced by the unconscious but even they are composed of images that were acquired through the conscious mind. Conscious awareness is a window and we explorers can consciously move that window in ways that can explore more and more of the frontiers of the unconscious. That is what shamans have done and what artists do now. It is what we all should do on order to experience deeper lives.
Blazing fire reaches down from Heaven;
Icicles sprout from the Earth.
Our conscious perception is like a blazing light which often destroys (melts) what it sees before actually perceiving the object for what it is. The shadows of the unconscious often disappear through the light of the conscious.
The Chief Brightness reaches its limits;
The knight, by what is befitting, becomes great.
Perception will always have its limits, but the frontier of the unconscious is so vast that the conscious mind can and will have many fruitful adventures in this "world of shades." Exploring chance operations and randomness is a good way for the waking mind to explore the unconscious. Perhaps the unconscious mind is only the random firings of the brains synapses from which the conscious mind tries to perceive some kind of order. If this is true then random patterns would be the perfect map of the unconscious. New meaning then would be found in this randomness which relates to the conscious mind in always new and different ways.
The completed form of the first half of the elements is united, flows against the current, and meets with this element in greeting.
The next two chapters will be a discussion about applying the concepts and ideas learned through art and the world of dreams and the conscious dayworld concerns. This is where conflicting thoughts are most likely to occur, when moral and societal concerns conflict with artistic and psychological needs. In some ways they will be studies on how they remain ''present'' while taking on the trials and tribulations of the world. The next chapter, entitled Dog, will be concerned mostly with morality especially as it is concerned with my children and the environment. The chapter, entitled Mockingbird, is more concerned with making a living and the many other concerns that go along with that.
The Scaly Dragon lies beneath the water
In the abyss.
Dream - I have a vague memory of solving a major crisis at UTD by catching a flying fish that would leave bite marks that turned into itching welts. I caught it by covering myself with a white sheet and, when the fish came after me, I bagged it. Later, at a committee meeting where we were deciding on ideas for performances, Michael Oppitz (an anthropologist who had lived with shamans of Nepal for twelve years) was complaining about UTD and Dallas in general. I threw him a fish which he was able to catch with his bare hands. It was then decided that the fish would be the focus of a new piece.
1 Jung, C.G. Memories, Dreams, Reflections; Vintage Books; 1961.