An introduction to my new forum.
I’m making one more…, one last?, effort to connect and share my work online. I’ve seen a number of people have migrated to Substack, and watching an interview with Ted Gioia recently and then talking about coherence with Christian Ford during a studio visit have brought me to this point.
As I approach my seventieth birthday I find that I’ve never been so connected with what I’m doing, nor have I ever been as surprised by the way I now fill my days! I’ve designed boats, painted, and written essays and fiction for most of my life. I continue to paint and may return to writing, we’ll see how this goes! But for the last year and a half I’ve found myself turning, returning, to music. Something that filled my life when I was young even as I had no idea how I could ever make music myself. It’s only now that I feel that I have enough understanding of what’s involved and have learned something about how someone who can’t memorize and has always felt rather uncoordinated can actually learn to play instruments and make music.
I’m afraid this “introduction” to this new platform is going to twist and turn and that I have no idea where it all might go…. While I would have been defensive about this years ago I now embrace that what I have to offer cannot be presented any other way. To touch on the subtitle of this…, newsletter? To develop a relationship with coherence one needs to be patient with the indirect ways in which it appears and how we lose track of it entirely as soon as we begin to “extract” generalities and attempt to create a “system….”
Over the course of my life everything that has dissolved the binds and blockages I’ve inherited has been connected to what I now refer to as coherence. As with anything anyone has ever realized this is built upon what others have discovered. I’m not going to get bogged down now with a history of the concept of coherence. For me it came to light primarily as I listened to and read the works of Krishnamurti and David Bohm and through prolonged dialogue with Jeppe Dyrendom Graugaard and Jeffrey Shampnois. The entire chronicle of how my thinking has evolved is laid out in Horizon’s of Significance and a constellation of essay/blogs that can be found via my home-site: Antonio Dias.
Coherence is a specific way of grappling with perception and finding ways to make sense of what appears to us. I find that people tend to see it as synonymous with clarity or perhaps just another way of saying certainty…. And it’s this misunderstanding, along with my own experiences with incoherence and coherence as a spectrum of sense-making that brings me to want to give this a try.
There is no way to come to relate to coherence without an awareness of incoherence and how it fills our lives. These two terms find a root in cohere, the verb describing the action of coming together and sticking together. If we imagine a cloud of dust floating weightlessly in the vacuum of deep space, coherence would best describe the way their micro-masses would slowly attract each other and as they came into contact and the energies of dis-attraction bled away they would begin to form a planetesimal. Even then their cohesion would be ephemeral and easily disturbed. If the process went on long enough and enough mass was joined a larger and more stable “body” would take shape. At that point coherence would no longer best describe what was going on. We might say gravity has taken over and from there, forces of mineralization would create molecular and crystalline structures, etc., each adding their strength and stability to the originally flimsy connections. At this point, if we continue to look at what’s happening as a metaphor for sense-making and perceptive thinking, we’d have to say that this mineralization, the inertia, and sheer weight of ideation would condemn our thinking to a process of fossilization. And this is exactly what has happened over the course of millennia to our thinking and capacity to make sense.
Let’s draw this introduction to a close by saying that Art, Art-making, and the sense-making Art allows us to discover are all deeply connected with the matter of coherence. At the same time we lose it all as soon as we fail to see that Art, to be able to provide us with what it has to offer is degraded and eroded as soon as we shackle Art to an agenda.
My old professor, the sculptor Jake Grossberg, used to say that he made art because doing that, as opposed to fighting in the Korean War and just about everything else in his life in Twentieth Century America, it was the only thing he could do that “didn’t kill anybody.” Art is where we can grapple with consequential questions in an arena without fatal consequences. This is unlike the attitude that one may “make an Art of ones’ life.” Where we use the excuse of Art-making to avoid responsibility for the destruction we sow in “real life.”
This realm is only available to us when we approach it and enter into inquiry without agendas. Since our world is mired in conflicting agendas this is still immensely difficult. It is also the only way, as I’ve seen it, to be able to begin to look at how we may proceed in ways that do not add to the misery and suffering that consumes the world.
Caught in the traps of necessity and the urgency this foists upon us we cannot break free into another way of being without being able to “practice and experiment” in a realm where we at once can most easily see through the pitfalls of agenda and also make enough obvious and deep failures in our attempts without killing anybody. Only after immersion in this realm and its circumstances and conditions can we begin to find clear air.
So, if any of this makes any sense to you or at least piques your curiosity, let this be our introduction!
I don’t know what I’m doing!
That used to be my greatest fear. That someone would recognize that this was the case. Now I proclaim it as the starting point for what I have to offer. I don’t know where this is going, but I do feel it could take us somewhere new.
After millennia of traps and double-binds chaining us to a collapsing, bankrupt system; I can’t think of anything more promising! I invite you to join me.
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