Had a fantastically good day yesterday, and still processing, energised to write at more length somewhere, maybe… we will see. First idea was to go to Modern Art Gallery as the last time I was there the Dean Gallery was closed, preparing a Joseph Beuys exhibition – whoever he was.
It was getting really warm so I decided to bus rather than go through Edin crowding on the bike, big mistake, as by the time I got there [41 took ages and was hot, crowded and yukky] I was really tired and couldn’t be bothered. So had a coffee instead – cafe is beside the shop at the Dean – then happened to see that Beuys – an artist/sculptor/socialist sort of person has a wee book called “What is Money?”. Coincidence. One of my interests. Who was this person? What? [Quote from Amazon blurb below*]
Stood reading it, then bought it, then gave up on the exhibition and went back out to Queensferry Road and the 41 – but took it to Cramond away from town. Walked and read all the way out and back and the day was glorious – so was the causeway and the river Almond and the swans and all that. The book quotes Goethe’s Theory of Colours, see underneath the photos that just demonstrate how many greys greens and browns there can be and make me think of the serendipity that life offers as well as the physics I used to teach. I found Beuy’s theory real and want to share. As he says, we are the artists of our own experience.
From Goethe, Theory of Colours, Scientific Studies, 1988:
“In reality, any attempt to express the inner nature of a thing is fruitless. What we perceive are effects, and a complete record of these effects ought to encompass this inner nature. We labour in vain to describe a person’s character, but when we compile his actions, his deeds, a picture of his character will emerge. – Colours are the deeds of light, what it does and what it endures. In this sense we can expect them to tell us something about light.”
Oh yes, says the ex-physics teacher while the contributor to the Beuys book goes on to say:
“in this way, Goethe demonstrates that we should not focus directly on the concept of light, but instead regard it as the living entity manifesting in colors. Thus he sets the scientist the task of perceiving phenomena in such a way that the idea, the concept immanent in them, can be brought into existence in thinking.”
also – …”concepts acquired by this means are not rigid, but instead continually undergo transformation and metamorphosis.” All this is in tune with understandings I had met elsewhere, e.g. Wilfred Bion, “Thought without a Thinker”, see a paper here, and work on Faraday discovery etc etc. I am getting really excited again and hopeful that I might even do some more serious work.
Eventually got home but feeling really good still. Start small. Write a post here.
*The quote from Beuys, and the Amazon blurb:
‘If we want to achieve a different society where the principle of money operates equitably, if we want to abolish the power money has developed over people historically, and position money in relationship to freedom, equality and fraternity …then we must elaborate a concept of culture and a concept of art where every person must be an artist…’.
The world of finance exerts a huge influence over our lives, being responsible for economic turmoil and seemingly interminable peaks and crashes. Whereas money was once a simple means of exchange, today it is a commodity in itself and as ‘capital’ exerts power over individuals, degrading work to tradable labour. Can we find a new way of understanding money today, so that we can begin to overcome its destructive aspects?
In November 1984, a remarkable discussion took place at the Meeting House in Ulm, Germany. It featured the radical artist Joseph Beuys, two professors (of Financial Sciences and Political Economics) and a banker. Beuys would appear to be out of place among these heavyweight academics, professionals and authors. But rather than being intimidated by his fellow panellists, Beuys – also a social and political activist – demonstrates his groundbreaking thinking on the subject, and his ability to bring fresh perspectives. Here for the first time is a transcript of this debate, together with analysis by Ulrich Rosch, which will be of equal interest to artists, economists and spiritual seekers.
It is about many ways to see, many kinds of eyes.