April finishes with our fifth full moon of 2018. Five full moons equals five more chances to see our world in a light other than an artificially created one. Our computers, our televisions, and even our cellular phones are artificially created by human beings. When a bird creates a nest for its eggs it uses elements from nature. Twigs, leaves, stems and even mud are all incorporated into the architecture of their home. If we look at the label of a garment natural fibers are always more desirous than artificial or fake. Humans it seems want the real until the artificial seems better.
Letters were how we use to communicate with our friends and family before email and social media. Letters written on paper extracted from wood pulp with ink derived from plants and carbon or lampblack. If we look at the civilizations of the ancient world that recorded their business and social correspondence via plant fibers and we can see them clearly through the span of the centuries. Their words are not lost and their emotions carry them forth to a new population of people.
We read the sonnets of William Shakespeare and his words are conveyed to our heart and minds as if they were spoken to us alone. We can imagine the bard at his desk quill pen in hand a sheath of handmade papers to record his theatrical plays, sonnets and even letters to friends. Now try to see him with an electronic tablet doing the same type of work.
I firmly believe in the little bits of magic in the world and I do not think the eternal muses that have guided artists and writers throughout human history will be revealed via a box of light and a pad of letter keys… it just doesn’t seem possible. Art and writing are an organic activity and it may be conveyed to the world through the internet but it is fundamentally grounded in an organic creation; us.
We forget that through all of our grooming and polishing we are an organic creature, a real live breathing entity that relies on a mini computer in our palm to be our calendar, and our town crier. We may install apps to keep us on schedule, properly fed and even to screen our activity on the said device.
I love watching films set in time periods before the creation of the telephone because it is interesting to me to see how humans’ problem solved before they had that technology. As helpful as all the modern gear is it does present a lot of noise, a lot of chatter and that is extremely distracting. I think of Boris Karloff’s voice in Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Noise was his enemy only once he understood the noise he joined right in. Who would we be if we were transported back to a Roman Coliseum to watch humans pitted against each other? Would we become part of that crowd and join in the cheering? Or would we try to slink away into the shadows and hope not to be noticed?
Humans for all our advancements are an organic creature and we look to others similar to us to find unity and purpose in our world. We don’t want to be alone and yet we want to be special so we join clubs and organizations to feel we have power. Our phones make us feel connected and involved with our community. The blind of our contemporary world is that we go with the flow. We don’t want to be a stick in the mud, but technology is a slippery slope and we must be careful how enthusiastic we are to the new, new, new.
I doubt the lions in the Roman Coliseum were any happier with their accommodations than the humans forced to participate in life or death combat just so the crowds would be entertained and pacified. A quote from Alcaeus from ancient times reveals, “Wine is a peephole on a man.” What does our choice of entertainment and activities expose about us. Is that how we wish to be seen and to be remembered? Can we choose to peel back the artificial to become more organic, more natural? Are we our own masters or is society secretly guiding our path? And is that the path we would choose to be on?
These are question I ask, but perhaps you have your own questions. I find getting away from the keypad and picking up a pencil and a blank sheet of paper is sometimes the clearest choice. Every site on the web is fraught with advertisements from the ridiculous to the obscene and a blank sheet of paper is like freshly fallen snow, only you will know where the path will lead.
Part VI The Guild: Cygnus looks into a secret cavern that was painted by her father to reveal the world above to his children and to the other prisoners of the Guild.
Images were created with Caran D’Ache Pablo Pencils and Sennelier watercolors to produce a batik effect.