Category Archives: philosophy

Can we love excrement?

Oh dear!   Started the year with a well-intentioned little ebook close to my heart called ‘How to Love everyone and Everything – starting with a stone’,  (uploaded here as a free ebook: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/604151 ) and the first Facebook comment I got was, ‘It looks like a turd…’ Back to earth with a thud! But the friend goes on to say ‘…Not a bad place to start though.’ And yes, I think it is… if we can reflect on what excrement is so good for – apart from keeping us alive by departing from our intestines! It turns to compost and fertilizes new life in abundance…

Here is the good author of Humanure, a book that should enthuse anyone about excrement – and horrify them about our present wasteful sewerage practices!

 

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http://humanurehandbook.com/index.html

Ah, the circle of life! Some beauty to be found at every point, however humble… it all depends on our perspective. Thank you, life!

And now I have to quote Nietzsche on the matter:

“To the clean are all things clean”- thus say the people. I, however, say to you: To the swine all things become swinish!

Therefore preach the visionaries and bowed-heads (whose hearts are also bowed down): “The world itself is a filthy monster.”

For these are all unclean spirits; especially those, however, who have no peace or rest, unless they see the world from the backside – the afterworldly!

To those do I say it to the face, although it sound unpleasantly: the world resembles humanity, in that it has a backside – so much is true!

There is in the world much filth: so much is true! But the world itself is not therefore a filthy monster!

There is wisdom in the fact that much in the world smells badly: loathing itself creates wings, and fountain-divining powers!

In the best there is still something to loathe; and the best is still something that must be overcome!-

O my brothers, there is much wisdom in the fact that much filth is in the world!

– from Thus Spake Zarathustra,  Of Old and New Lawtables.

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Why do Christmas?

Ask this boy! 🙂

bruno with plane at airport

 

 

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Grandson Bruno (here wearing my sparkly hat and glasses) is waiting patiently for his third Christmas  and the pine smell of the tree is already bringing magic into his house.  This is a year I decided to once again try hard to DO Christmas. Why? Because for once I wasn’t trying to cram an impossible eleventh-hour achievement of this year’s goals into the last two weeks of the year – I’d given that up early, for once 🙂 Grandchildren help you to do that…something has to give!  So, I was free to look at what we HAD done – and had – this year, and celebrate it, however wistfully and frugally.

Yes, there were hopes and goals that didn’t materialise; but by Jove! (as my father was wont to exclaim), though ‘much is taken, much abides’, as Ulysses says in Tennyson’s inspiring “Idylls of the King.” I remember the best Christmas and holiday we ever had as a family was one year when we decided to have a ‘poor man’s Christmas’. We bought a leaky clinker dinghy and went North to stay with my parents and go boating on the Whangaroa harbour and swimming in the local creek, and other things that cost nothing but a little planning. After the holiday we sold the boat again and so it was virtually free. And we still have the photographs…

As I said in my last post here, the making of a photographic record of 2015 for a christmas card was a great thing for the igniting of gratitude in the midst of the ever-present struggles of life. Since then I have redone it to put in a few more images for something like balance, though still very far from completeness. Here are jpegs of the card, and if you didn’t receive a printed one, accept this as our offering to you this Christmas. Oh, and let’s all reread the wonderful “A Christmas Carol”, by Dickens! (another exclamation of my late father’s, God rest his soul).  (Did you know that Dickens was in dire financial straits when he had the Scrooge inspiration and this one little book, self-published, brought him back from the brink!)

The first page of the card now includes a little stone from the beach below our land in Kaiwaka that I carved. Picking it up made me realize what a gift the natural physical things around us are. One little brown stone accretion, probably deposited millions of years ago… mine for the picking up and taking home. A precious epiphany.

Christmas card A4 07 12 2015-1

Christmas card A4 07 12 2015-2

Page two – now with Crocodile and Caesar’s penny from our Siblings Great Australian trip after our mother’s departure. And a Hyde Park squirrel, jumping for my potato chip 🙂

HAPPY CHRISTMAS, rich or poor!

Love from Peter Harris

AKA the ‘Wizard’ of Eutopia

AKA grandpa.

 

 

 

 

 

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Announcing 4phase – a new blog long overdue!

Yes, sorry a new blog has manifested itself – www.4phase.org
R
ead the (short) story of its genesis there. Suffice to say I’m quietly excited. Finally a focus for ‘coming out’ to teach some of the wisdom I have gathered over the years on process and how things evolve, and how using that knowledge we can evolve things in our own lives more consciously, effectively, creatively.

Thanks (once again) to all my teachers in this regard, living and dead : especially M. Munro, C.S. Peirce, Robert Pirsig. I hope this time I have a formula (or the prototype of one) to interpret the understandings vividly and practically to the non-philosopher and the non-process-thinker, the proverbial Man on the Street …or Woman on the Web….the pressurised worker who is increasingly being told, ‘Now get back in your cubicle and start thinking outside the box!’ (a great cartoon I saw online somewhere… must find it and post here…got it!)

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/30/74/c4/3074c41e5c538a315ce25e72eba50c1e.jpg

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Homemaking, the Last Homely House, and the meaning of Life

Raewyn had a home day yesterday – we both had colds. It was sunny so we went outside and pruned the big appletree. It was good… Raewyn looked so nice up in the appletree I wanted to share this photo…

raewyn pruning the Appletree apple tree 26 8 15

I have been thinking about modern art, the agreement (seemingly) reflected in it that beauty is ‘only skin-deep’; and how much I hate this view, which is so unthankful and based on some kind of dumb reductionist demand that anything that is good or beautiful must be good in essence, the same through and through, instead of the process kaleidoscope that all physical things are. And I started to think a Homely House is a good and beautiful place where the vision of ideal Beauty and Truth and Goodness is forever being aimed at, never fully achieved, but it’s all right, there is enough there to keep us happy – if we don’t dwell on the gaps but on what is actually there – including the good intentions of the home-makers who are holding that kaleidescope of meaning for themselves and others to enjoy. I thought how all those alienated souls in our culture who lack a sense of home (and we all have a home of some sort) therefore lack the experience of it, and hence lack a sense of meaning in life. The meaning comes in the practice of good things. The practice of the Homely… But I am of course just a ‘romantic’ and don’t speak the ‘language of Art’ as one smug Ponsonby art dealer once informed me. As they informed Tolkien… Well I am with Tolkien, Middle Earth, and the Last Homely House.

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Artistic nihilism: The Matrix, a miasma in the air, or addicts and drug pushers?

I am keen to begin this new phase, here at Studio 14 in the Quarry, where I will do art instead of multiple crafts and services. In spite of money worries, which most of the crafts have not helped anyway.
In between petty concerns (such as attending to three boomerang pets) I’m having all sorts of ideas.
I hope to keep a blog as I go, on the ideas as they unfold. And a blackboard which I photograph as I sketch and jot thoughts down in chalk – real (black) blackboards and real chalk are good! (The solvents in whiteboard markers put me off, even though the whiteboard is seductively smooth.)
Media: probably acrylics on:
– ply/hardboard, possibly cut out and multi-layered for 3d effect?
– conventional canvas stretched on conventional frames? (how strange!:)

– reinforced plaster sheets, carved and painted

— illuminated book-like sheets. – writing surrounded by images and decoration; or an image surrounded by textual marginalia.

– ferrocement garden walls, carved in relief.
As usual with me, the medium complexifies and threatens to engulf the message – but i wont let it this time! A nice balance and dialectic instead…
The art will be non-ironic, romantic, in opposition to the Zeitgeist, naturally. Done outside the walls of the establishment’s opium dens of narcissistic nihilism.
How will the art world react to what I do? It probably won’t. But whatever I do I must keep myself ‘clean’ – the opiates are poison to everything I want to do with art. The decadence and philosophical bankruptcy of the art establishment has (mostly) put me off doing art for 42 or so years; but now at last I think I can do positive art and not be contaminated or tarred with the nihilistic brush, nor be discouraged and give up before I start…
I nearly did give up before I started, yet again, on Saturday, after almost no response to my post on art and then I looked at one or two Youtube clips on the subject ‘What is art’, which REALLY depressed me – I felt that anything and everything I might try to say with art will be viewed through the lense of subjectivism ; nothing will be see as more than self-expression, nothing will be taken to seriously REFER to something the artist believes to be objectively real and worthy of thinking about. All a person sees from within the mental bubble of subjectivism is the finger, whether it is being pointed at the moon above or the mud below.
Then later in the day I saw a new metaphor which is i think truer. I had been seeing the Zeitgeist or spirit of the age, the prevailing paradigm, as a sort of miasma we all have to breathe, and which I would somehow have to fight everywhere at once. But I think it is much more like a drug (the ‘blue pill’) which is pushed in the schools, the playgrounds, in books and plays and films, a drug individuals may or may not swallow (often too young to know its nature of course – hooked before they know any better. We have all been  more or less affected by it, so we are all either users or ex-addicts trying to stay clean.
But there is no irresistible miasma, thank God.
So, if I am careful, I can keep myself  ‘clean’ wherever I am, and then instead of fighting the whole drug empire, the whole self-perpetuating interlocking system of errors, I can just keep an eye out for addicts who have bottomed out and want a healthier life, and offer them the Antidote, the Red Pill, which dispels the personal miasma,  which allows them to be well and see clearly again. Or speak to young people who have not yet been hooked. Or just keep ‘singing outside the city walls’, and let those with ears hear.
The Zeitgeist drug is of course a complex cocktail of philosophy and art, and it is supported by social-financial structures which finance an army of pushers. Fortunately it isn’t the ONLY game in town, not yet! It’s not like the Matrix, where we are all literally jacked into the Machine. There are other drugs, and there is still good food and water (ok, and coffee) to be had.

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Filed under musings by the wizard, philosophy, the Quarry Arts Centre, the Zeitgeist, theory of art

What is Art and why do it?

For about fifty years I’ve asked this question, off and on. Maybe I’d have done better off just to DO it, but… ‘the philosopher is strong in this one’.

moe 4295 CROPPED

So, ‘Art’ was one thing I found very slippery to define, so I kept worrying away at it, even while I avoided doing it. (Acknowledgements required: When I was a Christian I found Hans Rookmaaker’s ‘Modern Art and the Death of a Culture’ helpful in allowing me to do at least a bit of art while still shackled to the evangelical imperative; and more recently (though I am not an Ayn Rand disciple) the ‘Romantic Manifesto’ by Ayn Rand. Her argument that art is the expression of a sense of life obtained through a philosophy of life is very clear.  Also (though I find Schopenhauer’s general attitude and pessimism hateful) ‘The World as Will and Representation’ has some good things to say about art as a means to ascend through the vivid perception of the particular to be the ‘pure, will-less, painless, timeless’ perception of the transcendent and general. And Robert Pirsig’s life-changing ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’, really all about art, really did change my whole life; as did Nietzsche, despite his proto-nihilism.)

Now I feel I am brimming with answers, but mostly hungering to just do it and let the answers inform the art. Happy state, to be guarded against all that would divert this conative  energy into lesser tasks and diversions of all kinds! Narrow is the Way that leads to the enchanted land of Art… ‘O afternoon of my life! What have I not given away that I might have one thing: this living plantation of my thoughts, and this dawn of my highest hope!’ (Nietzsche’s Zarathustra)

So, while the ebook soundtracks upload for about my last ebook upload customer (touch wood), I’ll say what Art is. IMHO.

Art is being vividly conscious in the World, not on autopilot, sleepwalking, but intentional, conscious and self-conscious, and communicating something of what you sense  (see, feel, hear, taste, imagine, conceptualise, understand, intuit) when in that heightened – enchanted – state.

Or, as Robert Pirsig says, ‘Art is high-quality endeavor’.

But a precondition for high-quality endeavour of any kind is a high-quality structure of knowledge and belief, within which to frame that lucid awareness and that endeavour. This is where art can be ‘high’ or ‘low’, depending on the quality, breadth and depth of the structure of ideas in which it is set.

What has happened to ‘fine’ Art, when so much of the production of modern artists in galleries seems so ugly, silly or pointless to people who take pride in doing high quality work but would never call themselves ‘artists’?

Well, first, there is good art and bad art. Bad art is mixed, conscious with unconscious/derivative/insincere/crude/hateful even; framed within a narrow, faulty philosophy of life.

Secondly, some good art is about something bad the artist feels the need to protest/point out/ridicule/expose. So it will (partly) not feel good – there will be some discord. But good art still enchants and ennobles even while it saddens or angers. It doesn’t demean our existence, but gives us a sense explicitly or implicitly of an alternative, something good, something which is not that bad thing.

Bad art about bad things is merely rubbing our noses in badness (or meaninglessness). It’s loveless and joyless, disenchanted. There’s a lot of it about. It’s a cheap shot at life. It’s had a very, very long run, this kind of art, a century or more. Modern art of this ignoble, shameful kind should be refuted and banished from our galleries by total lack of sales (and replaced with good art sold with a good conscience), but modern philosophy (I mean the philosophy which is approved by the zeitgeist and therefore the universities) has no means to refute bad art or anything else bad, since it has itself become corrupted, by materialism, nihilism and relativism. Bad art is the offspring and creative expression of bad philosophy, and both together have presided over the gradual disintegration of the foundations of our civilisation. The Emperor of our culture is clothed in the filthy rags of its bankrupt father, the philosophy of materialism, relativism and nihilism.

The reason I love Art is because I know there is such a thing as Quality, such a thing as Good, such a thing as Truth, and I love to see those things shining through the particulars of things as portrayed in art.

Love, Beauty, Truth and Freedom, honoured in a coherent philosophy, and in word and deed, will at least set the stage for good art. Then we have to Just Do It. Whatever form it takes, in galleries or architecture or writing or everyday life. The final aim of Art is the  ‘re-enchantment of everyday life’. All of it.

Now that would be a Renaissance worth painting for! That’s the kind of art I will do while the sun still rises and I am still here to greet it. Here at the Quarry Arts Centre, probably, I hope. It’s a Good Place to be at, this afternoon of my life! Once I was a young man, and I worried about what to do when I grew up; now I am grown up, and I realize with Zarathustra that the final ‘metamorphosis of the spirit’ is to become the Child again, but with full powers of understanding and experience.

A final point, about Freedom, that controversial precondition for the truly creative artist to do his or her best art. Nietzsche’s Zarathustra says the the ‘reverential, weight-bearing camel’ of the spirit must become a lion:

‘My brothers, why is the lion needed in the spirit? Why does the beast of burden, that renounces and is reverent, not suffice? To create new values – even the lion is incapable of that: but to create itself freedom for new creation – that the might of the lion can do. To create freedom for itself and a sacred No even to duty: the lion is needed for that, my brothers.

…’But tell me, my brothers, what can the child do that even the lion cannot? Why must the preying lion still become a child? The child is innocence and forgetfulness, a new beginning, a sport, a self-propelling wheel, a first motion, a sacred Yes.’

(Of the Three Metamorphoses of the Spirit, from ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’, translation by Walter Kaufmann)

So, a last unscientific postscript on art: it is the way we must go to become truly free, and ‘become what we truly are’ (Nietzsche again) – creative, playful, childlike, transcendent, godlike. Of such is the republic of Art and Eutopia.

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Filed under Love, Love Beauty Truth and Freedom, musings by the wizard, philosophy, the Quarry Arts Centre, theory of art

A new religion? declared at LoveQor

Thank you for following this blog, and bear with me: I’ve gone and refocused over at loveqor.com, where I’m imagining and hopefully pioneering, a new way of understanding the Logic of Love and its application to solve, well, all the main problems of the human world.

 So, my latest vision and focus is now www.loveqor.com  

loveqor header with apple

This is a whole new way of seeing life and exploring how we can thrive together in creative harmony. It is linked to the qorflow.com vision of a new kind of enterprise culture, currency and stock exchange. Come on over! It’s all happening now…

You don’t need to unfollow this blog, as I won’t probably be overloading you with posts from it; but pleeese do click follow on loveqor.com: it is going to be interesting to you at least, and inspirational probably. And even profitable to you, hopefully.

 

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