Unknown States

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I've been reading A Canticle for Liebowitz, by Walter M. Miller, and happened upon this section.

"For him, there was no neat line separating the natural from the supernatural. There were things that were clearly natural and there were Things that were clearly supernatural, but between these extremes was a region of confusion (his own)- The Preternatural- where things made of mere earth, air, fire, or water, tended to behave disturbingly like Things. This region included whatever he could see but not understand."


Most of life is seeing without understanding (one may argue all). What I like about the quote is that there is still a sense of awe, of belonging, of interest, or connection to things one doesn’t understand. Does something have to be known or defined to be experienced in a profound way?

Years ago, I was walking on the sidewalk and saw a blue shaft of smoke dart out of a manhole. Within a fraction of a second I realized it wasn't smoke but light from the sun, reflected off the window of a passing school bus. From that moment, it was no longer blue but yellow. I try to return to the moment of experiencing whatever it was my eye saw before I named it.

My draw or continual return to perceptual painting has a lot to do with trying to go back to that moment.To face light as an entity. To experience what something really is or really looks like. Rather than trying to create a surprising moment before the recognition from the brain kicks in, the idea is the opposite: to prolong the experience to the point of recognition being exhausted....  one achieves unknowing by traveling beyond the limits of what one knows.

 Image is a Lennart Anderson painting.

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