And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

TS Eliot, Four Quartets

Imagination is the real and eternal world, of which this vegetable world is but a faint shadow.

William Blake

MAY 15, 2011. You could say the universe was built with an option switch.

Option One: It can be approached as a series of layers, pattern hidden beneath pattern, shape within shape, message under message, code inside code. Starting from any point of reference, you can work your way in, until you reach the core.

At the center is a shape or energy or mystery that generates the whole.

At every step of the exploration, every piece of code suggests the whole.

Many harmonious, mathematically pure patterns emerged on the way to the core, intimating an intrinsic order.

Option One is the PR the universe broadcasts about itself. It is a story of sacred symmetry.

Many proofs are offered in the form of examples. The intricate designs of leaves, of shells, of natural sounds, of galaxies…

Proponents of Option One claim that, despite the dynamism of energy in the universe, the underlying structure is about perfection.

Option Two: This is far more esoteric. Universe is confessing, “I’m a work of art. Everything you can find through Option One confirms that. As such, I’m only one in an infinity of potential creations. Admire me, adore me, shrug your shoulders at me, I’m one ‘picture in the museum’. I was invented according to the aesthetic inclinations of the artist(s), but nothing about me is end-all or be-all. True, the artist(s) who made me poured a great deal of effort and planning into his work, with the intent of producing a masterpiece, but his design choices and his ‘painterly preferences’ and his determination for underlying Order are his and his alone. I could have been built in an entirely different way. It may seem that space and time demand order, balance, harmony, so that the creation, the painting holds together and doesn’t spin off in chaotic directions, but that space and that time are actually part of the work of art.

You have come to accept this pattern, this harmony in the work of art, in me, as inevitable—and therefore, you believe I am more than just another painting—but the sense of inevitability is present in many different kinds of paintings designed in radicallydifferent ways. What has happened is this: you have filled your minds with THE REFLECTION OF THE STANDARDS BY WHICH I WAS CREATED.

This is very important to understand. You’ve embedded in your minds the aesthetic according to which I was created—and then, playing a shell game with yourself, you’ve convinced yourselves that I am somehow sacred and perfect, because I MATCH WHAT IS IN YOUR MIND, WHAT YOU BELIEVE TO BE ULTIMATE BEAUTY.

You’ve hypnotized yourselves into all this. You’re like an art critic who has convinced himself that there is only one pattern, one kind of beauty, and then forever pursues only that which reflects the pattern, the beauty.

You have become, by secret choice, the ideal audience to appreciate and venerate me. You have tuned yourselves to me, to me alone.

You’ve invested a great deal of energy in this enterprise of yours, and you’re not about to throw it all away. But you haven’t noticed the sacrifice you’ve made.

You’ve buried, downplayed, avoided, postponed YOUR OWN IMAGINATION AND CREATIVE POWER AS AN ARTIST, which power happens to have no limit. Which happens to have an infinite freedom to invent any reality/universe based on any standard or no standard at all.

It may seem you’ve made a small sacrifice, but that is because you are so dedicated to me. Your dedication is misplaced.”

Option One and Two are, in this metaphor, both present in any work of art, any creation. The painting pulls you in, on the one hand, to see and feel fully the universe of itself—and on the other hand, it makes clear that it is only one of an infinity of possible creations.

Following Option One, you feel magic.

Following Option Two, you make magic.

Option One results in eventual boredom, which seems to be mysterious.

Option Two results in making magic after magic after magic, without end. This path, as a side effect, answers all questions and delivers all of what is called, in modern terms, paranormal abilities.

…This is all found and implied in the astonishing 1600-year-old tradition of Tibet—squashed by its leaders, who loaded on their rocket ship the humorless heavy baggage of rituals, ceremonies, cosmological bric-a-brac, theocratic absolutism, and arbitrary contradictions so familiar in other religions.

Bad art to conceal great art.


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