kul cha

The Soul of Fine Art: Delve into: art, passion, writing, dharma, zen, character, consciousness, culture, intuition, evolution, and the spirit we call soul.

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Friday Dec 24, 2010

Tron: Slaves in the Machine

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Tron Poster, 1982

The new Tron Legacy film has recently been released.

I wrote about the original Tron movie in An Artist Empowered. Here is the excerpt:

There was another film that explored reality and truth nearly twenty years before The Matrix (1999) delved into the same metaphysical territory. In the 1982 movie, Tron, a young computer programmer gets sucked into the virtual world of a computer where he must fight for his life playing life-or-death video games run by the evil Master Control Program (MCP).

With the aid of a good warrior program named Tron, the programmer must put a stop to the MCP and set things right in the computer world before returning to his own reality.

The programmer meets many different programs (who have human form) inside the computer; these programs are looking to live and work within a free system without the tyranny of the MCP.

The programs in the computer machine are called programs; of course, this is a metaphor for people who are programmed to behave in a certain way. Tron presents us with another intriguing concept: the different programs that inhabit this virtual reality have a mythology about the users. Do they exist? The programs believe they do. Users, like the programmer, are the gods who created them.

Of course, the MCP sees the users as a threat to its ultimate authority, so it is eager to have the programs renounce the users, which it deems a superstitious and hysterical belief.

It is easier to see the machinery and values of another culture than it is to evaluate your own society where you can’t see what is going on because of acculturation, assimilation, and an ethnocentric bias—unless, of course, you can break free from social conditioning—the MCP—and see reality from the outside in, or, in the case of Tron, from the inside out.

Saturday Oct 09, 2010

Carving Time

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Mr. Fox by Erwin A. Thompson

This darling fox (a genuine slice of Americana) whittled by ninety-something Erwin A. Thompson arrived in my mailbox the other day, a gift thoughtfully arranged by his daughter, Janet Riehl—the karma burner behind Riel Life: Village Wisdom for the 21st Century. 

I had told Janet that Erwin’s whittles of animals reminded me of native american fetishes—charms with magical powers.

Janet and her father work together on projects, including a major 4-disc boxed CD set called Sightlines: A Family Love Story in Poetry & Music.

If you’re up for a poignant trek into the heartland, then you can find out more about remarkable Erwin, how he came to whittle his little treasures, and about gratitude. Click on this link and learn.

Thursday Aug 19, 2010

Steroids of Truth

The Athlete

Seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday for allegedly lying to Congress about using steroids and growth hormone. The criminal case writes a new chapter in one of Major League Baseball’s worst scandals, the rampant use of the banned substances.

This legal matter is yet another red herring; does anyone in the room believe that if they took steroids or a human growth hormone, they would develop the pitching prowess of Clemens? Sure, these substances might harm your health, but to ban them because it might give one an advantage (level playing field notwithstanding) is ridiculous and hypocritical.

The Scientist

According to believers, ‘Francis Crick, the Nobel Prize-winning father of modern genetics, was under the influence of LSD when he first deduced the double-helix structure of DNA more than 50 years ago.’ Whether this questionable and anecdotal account took place or not is irrelevant.

Regardless of how it happened, we do know this discovery was the result of ingenuity coupled with passion: a circumstance of a prepared mind meeting intuitive information. We thank Crick and his research associate, James Watson, for being sufficiently aware in March of 1953 to ‘see’ what was in the genie’s bottle: the molecular structure of DNA. Unless you were looking for it, how many would have recognized the double helix, the genetic instructions, or blue- print of life, if they saw it standing on their kitchen table? How many in the presence of an innovation in art would recognize the breakthrough for what it was before it was sanctioned by the powers that be?

The Artist

The topic of drugs and art is a volatile one; and we know that many an artist has, with disastrous results, turned to drink or substance abuse to cope with feeling blocked, rejected, or even accepted. If you think that ingesting substances will make you a better artist or give you courage, then you don’t yet see a clear picture of what I am writing about in this book (An Artist Empowered).

An artist in dharma is already ‘perfect’ because he acknowledges the source of his gift. Nothing from the outside can improve upon the inner harmony that already exists. If you have a gift of art, you are then also charged with a duty: you must protect that gift from any vice that would destroy it.

Wednesday Nov 11, 2009

Life on the Line

Veteran’s Day, an intense moment to feel gratitude for those who fought on your behalf—an ongoing reality lost on all too many, especially on a generation bedazzled on reality programming and the cult of celebrity.

One can denounce war, turn the other cheek, or appease the aggressor. In the end, when the sword is at your neck, you must make an existential choice: live or die.

Of course, one can point to Gandhi, for example, where nonviolent civil disobedience eventually won the day over British colonial rule. But would this same strategy have worked against a totalitarian regime? 

Unless one has faced mortal combat, there is no way to fully appreciate the sacrifice of those who did. So, when your moment of right action comes, do so with honor and awareness. Ignorance in this world is now no longer an option.

Monday Nov 09, 2009

Against the Wall

Twenty years ago the Berlin wall came tumbling down, mercifully freeing people from a police state psychosis.

There are other walls, invisible structures that are no less destructive to society—and that is mass social conditioning. If you buy into the program, products, and propaganda without looking through the wonderful and unbiased lens of awareness, then you have been co-opted. Or, you many have also built your own wall with the mortar and bricks of questionable belief systems where nothing gets out, or in.

Artists, if you have been doing your work, then you have confronted many walls on your journey. The question is always the same. What did you do about it? Did you step up, or sell out?

Freedom fighters enter the fray with their lives on the line; the true artist can do no less.