Focus on something too seriously, too intently, and everything vanishes in a haze of light. Or it evanesces slowly, gradually, like an old relic fading into the background with every passing day.
Gobbledygook metaphor? Not at all. This is how physical reality works. Our bodies and minds process the world in terms of letting go of what’s there to make sense of it, destroying the firmly established to give it form and meaning. Not for the sake of something else — though that’s often the case — but for the sake of the object itself — object, subject, whatever. One must let go of whatever is there to be able to appreciate it.
Now you’re truly convinced this is New Age bullshit, gobbledygook mixed with dollar-store philosophy and a dash of self-important crapiola, shaken, not spurned. But let me prove you wrong by using a physical organ’s basic functions to describe how it uses a combination of construction and demolition to negotiate its surrounding environment. No, I’m not referring to the muscles, which, as everyone knows, grow and reinforce themselves by first breaking down. Too cliché. Let’s focus on vision instead.
The human eye. Fascinating organ, isn’t it? Sensitive, complex, weird, captivating under the right light or circumstance, evil at times, other times soothing, reassuring, but most of all, illuminating. It reveals the world we live in. We rely on it everyday to do what we do.
A couple of words about vision, the primary sense the eye is responsible for. Vision is the primary platform of humanity. Our entire organization hinges on it. Vision provides the continuum on which we operate, the endless stream of animation that flows unbrokenly before us, affording us with the ability to navigate this world.
Only it’s neither unbroken nor continuous. Our vision is in fact pixelated, fractured and ceaselessly churning, always jumping between fixed construct and visual debris.
The principle is simple. The eye, fascinating organ that it is, can’t register anything without contrast. What is contrast? The disruption of the visual plane, an insert along the visual field that demarcates two separate hues, tints or shades — a line that cuts across the field, providing contour and boundary. Call it a border, a divide that destroys the unity of what is out there, giving everything form, shape, dimension.
Through this disruptive arrangement the physical world comes to life. Hues and nuances make their appearance, coloring the field in ways that make things salient, contoured, interesting. Without it, all we would see would be a bland, flat stretch of everything and nothing at all.
The eye is trained to pick up on these conflicts, bringing the world to life on the screen of our minds.
It would be wise to heed this principle. Disruption, division and discrimination may be unnerving notions in real life, but they delineate the world in ways that give it meaning, helping everyone make sense of the stream of information surrounding them. To be alive is to struggle against conflicting points of view on all platforms — political, social, economic, scientific, artistic, perceptual, personal — shaping the world with the energy the friction creates.
Those who know anything about anything embrace this arrangement. The rest make up fables to avoid the responsibility of being alive, pretending it’s all for a good cause.
There are no good causes, only enduring ones. In the grand scheme of things the only thing that matters is whatever withstands the tests of time. That’s the great litmus test of our age, our understanding of time itself and how we fit in. Utopian ideas that try to do away with all boundaries — not some, but ALL boundaries — don’t make the grade. They can’t, because they don’t acknowledge the truisms of life.
Vision, on the other hand, does. It’s a time-rooted, hence, timeless function.
It’s no surprise the great men and women of history are referred to as visionaries. Not inclusivists, not unionists or abolitionists, saints or dreamers. They may have been all those things and more, but above all, they were visionaries. Their ideas endured the tests of time, inspiring others down the paths of achievement and ingenuity, because they found a way to negotiate the divisions and disruptions on which a meaningful world relies. They didn’t deny the contoured nature of reality or oppose its function. They simply modified it in ways that made the picture a little more interesting.
To do that, they added a hell of a lot of new shades and contours to the field, a hell of a lot of contrast to the bland visions of their day.
Intrigued? Watch this space for more.
From the collection of writings EON: THE ANGRY COMING OF AGE