Illusion, Reality, Dis-illusion, Illusion, Reality, [simile]

nous causåmes longtemps; elle était simple et bonne
ne sachant pas le mal elle faisait le bien;
de richesses du coeur elle me fit l’aumône
et tout en écoutant comme le coeur se donne
sans oser y penser, je lui donnai le mien;
elle emporta ma view, et n’en sui jamais rien

Alfred de Musset

[We talked for a long time; she was simple and kind.
Knowing no evil, she did only good; she gave me alms from the riches of her heart,
listening intently as she poured out her heart,
Scarcely daring to think, I gave her mine;
Thus she carried off my life and never even knew it.]

For antecedents, read Marcel Proust (gender free), George Elliot (feminine sensibility), James Joyce (mainstream), Charles Bukowski (lion rampant)…

National flag of Scotland

Feeling with the mind of a child with the soul of an old man, emergent and subsiding recollections of similar things
in deja vu of moments, as if knowing then, what couldn’t be imagined.

Celebrating souls from worlds past; evaporated selves, possibilities left unfolded in their time, fleeting dreams of a person, caricatured in photographic transcriptions of a person I’d thought was me. If I could heal the past and see through the sensibility of another kind of me, would I relieve myself from unbidden upheavals of thought? (These judgments and counter-judgments, denials and defense?) Will there be a part that wouldn’t cease to be as I am now?

This human child, with whose body I feel the world, in addition to past experience, views the world through the experience of genetic forbearers, parents, grand and great grand parents, a brass band of expectations, great and small. 長老祖先 zhǎnglǎo zǔxiān

To know the person that I sometimes try to explain by imagining who I am, I inquire into this genetic inheritance; and observe its workings in others; and read in every discipline of ancient and modern art and science and philosophy and narratives of every form and culture; trying to understand the principles underlying my own subjectivity. And what shows up is simply that my dominant cognition is an emotional response to things felt by my ancestors for whom I’m expected by my peers to take unearned acclaim and blame.

Thus the Chinese expression: 長老祖先 zhǎnglǎo zǔxiān
Life is a bridge between two worlds.

So here am I, the visible moment of an unseen complex historical pattern, a beacon at the apex of an infinitely expanding ripple in spacetime, somewhat jaded from years of taking credit for things and unfamiliar with their exact origin; just a feeling about it, grateful and sometimes less than thrilled with observations of past times.

(Successive iterations of Pandephonium are posted with the latest version, first:)

Pandephonium – Dance #3, entitled, “Prayer”, a meditation for Choir, Flute, Brass and Orchestral Quartet: light emerging as the horizon falls below a rising sun.

Pandephonium Oriental – 2nd Dance (Chi)

Pandephonium – 1st Dance (Batucada)

Kitsch, Art and Freedom of Political Expression

Kitsch is often wonderful to behold: Gaudi’s Parc Güell, the Paris Métropole are beautiful but his Iglesia de La Sagrada Familia is fine art. Our downtown skyline in San Diego at night is kitsch as are a Strauss waltz or performances by Elvis Presley, Englebert Humperdinck, Michael Bublé and G.F. Handel; all lovely kitsch expressions, which, though they fascinate, like Seaworld’s fireworks, they aren’t fine art simply because they lack the compelling emotional assessment that defines the political, where something is at stake.

Iglesia de La Familia Sagrada, Barcelona

If the nature of art is compelling political assessment (a reasonable proposition), to the extent a community excludes political commentary either with direct censorship or simply lacking a press that promulgates alternate views, art is also excluded–art that is more than beautiful because it incites feelings about moral, spiritual and ethical ideas and concerns.

The very first amendment in our “Bill of Rights” guarantees freedom of expression for another reason:

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, inaugurated January 1961, assassinated November 1963

When we limit political expression in the significant media and newspapers of a community, we promote a community unable to create consensus around political issues that wouldn’t be issues, were they not controversial. And when you suppress discussion, conflicts arise in the form of destructive relationships–usually seen as people acting without consideration for their effects on others.

But also, since art is distinguished from kitsch by its political expression, when we prohibit political speech, we deny authenticity, soul, moral conscience and ethical principle and what we are left with is fluff or worse, like the advertising papers the Union Tribune sometimes throws unbidden into our driveways and the stuff that candidates for political office put into our mail boxes in October like spam.

The life of any community is mirrored in its freedom of expression. The meaning of the word, community, is political. When we constrain expression of political ideas, do we think them no longer thought and felt?

Urban Design in San Diego

Some things we build, like a cable tram that connects communities over difficult terrain, change our future’s history as we engage with the environment. In faux development, for example Disneyland, engagement is real but we are pretending the environment is real and though everything about it may even seem real, we know it’s a facade, the lack of depth is in it’s purpose–the use, much like an authentically accurate, anatomically correct doll–it looks like the real thing but doesn’t relate to us as a loving, feeling, caring person, though we may pretend that it does, we are not with another person and we are alone with our imagination.

Viewing the results of urban planning here, in the city, where I now live, without judging it good or bad, we can only say that function follows form–that what you see is what you get by building to accommodate people who aren’t here yet in contrast to building to accommodate communities.

We’re rapidly using up space and resources but we might still pull this out of the swamp we’re heading for if  we focus on human connection.