Posts Tagged ‘Heidegger’

Most of the Time, Alone is Good

January 19, 2017



me 2.jpg

Now there are clouds above—

The moon conceals her light—

The lamp dies down.

It steams. Red light rays dash

About my head—a chill

Blows from the vaulting dome

And seizes me.

I feel you near me, spirit I implored.

Reveal yourself!

Oh, how my heart is gored

By never felt urges,

And my whole body surges—

My heart is yours; yours, too, am I.

You must. You must. Though I should have to die.


Goethe, Faust

With a comforting fire in the fireplace, and my homework completed early this cold night, I am finding solace in a new watercolor that is taking me far outside my comfort zone. I have never painted myself in watercolor or oil. Ever. (Disclaimer: OK, my friends point out my fly fishing paintings of myself.  However, those are 3-inch tall figures in hats with the face turned away–hardly portraits, more like toy action figures). But the selfie I took with my phone a couple of months ago in one of my favorite spaces far from home kept drawing me to attempt this. So here goes. (And thank you, Wade and Gail, for letting me know such sublimity in that “sacred space”!).

My reading over this past week has grazed from several pastures: Steinbeck’s East of Eden, Goethe’s Faust and Heidegger’s Being and Time. I don’t know why I did this, but all day long this song has been stuck in my head, R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts.” On impulse awhile ago, I pulled up the YouTube video and watched it, and the music and visual really knocked me down. I’m not calling these feelings despair or depression. But something heavy weighs on me tonight, and I just want to find a way to get it out.

Today in philosophy we wrapped up a three-day unit on the Pre-Socratics. An early fragment from Anaximander states that anything that comes into being by necessity will pass away. Students seemed to grab that message, and one by one, I heard voices expressing how difficult it is to cope with the feeling that something has been lost. I recall Thoreau in Walden expressing the following:

I long ago lost a hound, a bay horse, and a turtle-dove, and am still on their trail. Many are the travelers I have spoken concerning them, describing their tracks and what calls they answered to. I have met one or two who have heard the hound, and the tramp of the horse, and even seen the dove disappear behind a cloud, and they seemed as anxious to recover them as if they had lost them themselves.

Quiet evenings like tonight are good for my soul, especially when I need to flush out the debris of bad sentiments. Working in my art studio often cleanses me, and I’m just glad that I had the space for such activities tonight.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to cope.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog when I need assurance that I am not alone.



September 6, 2013
Late Afternoon Studio Work

Late Afternoon Studio Work

Forfeiture, the third fundamental attribute of human being, means “ontologically” that we forget “Being” for particular beings.  In a human sense, it means the scattering of the essential forward drive through attention to the distracting and disturbing cares of everyday and of the things and people that surround us everyday.  Thus, inevitably and continuously, the forward driving “I” is sacrificed to the persistent and pressing “they.”  To the question “who is human being?” we must answer, “the indifferent and anonymous crowd–das Man.” Human being in its everyday mode is promiscuously public; it is life with others and for others in alienation from the central task of becoming itself.

Marjorie Grene, “Martin Heidegger,” The Encyclopedia of Philosophy

A second week of classes is now in the books, and what a storm this one was!  I’m not sure how long it is going to take before I feel that I am in the flow of it all.  I posted the Heidegger meditation because I have been conscious all week of chasing details totally unrelated to my painting, and regretting every frenetic moment.  Teaching is what I do, and it has always involved the chasing down of a myriad of details, and I do enjoy that kind of pursuit, but I do question daily whether or not I’m finding my core.  When painting, I feel that I am at my core, doing what I was created to do.  But, I have to do my job daily, and at the moment, the job is keeping me away from the drafting table.

I don’t know what I may seem to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing in the seashore and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

Isaac Newton

When I finally did sit down to the drafting table, late this Friday afternoon, the Isaac Newton quote continued to rattle around in my head.  In my most sober moments, when focused on some detail such as this watercolor that I am now rendering, I think of the ocean of truth at my elbow that is getting no attention from me.  I have a stack of books next to me, a bundle of journals behind me, and dozens of scattered thoughts clattering around inside my head while I try to paint.  School does that to me.  In the past several days, students have dropped incredible thoughts on me, and I’ve been writing frantically in my journal, trying to chase down these ideas to see what new things I can learn from the experience.  When the painting begins, the musing just won’t stop.  And I like that.

Close-up of the Truck in Progress

Close-up of the Truck in Progress

Before the afternoon light faded from my studio windows, I managed just a little more detail work on this pickup truck.  The reflections in the windows I found a bit tricky, and I had trouble keeping my hand steady for the body molding and the door sign.  So far, I’m generally pleased with what’s emerging.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am never alone.