09 April 2010


My brother Mark gave me a copy of this article. Micheal Leunig is a wonderfully dark artist whose cartoons appear in The Sydney Morning Herald. Apparently he paints too.
"Knowledge brings power and light but does not necessarily bring wisdom or happiness. It can be a blessing but can also be hoarded  and used to cause harm. Much of what we know is hearsay and mass-minded falsehood. Even accurate information can be like barnacles  and cholesterol --- it can harden, build up and block the flow. It can cramp our lives and become a cause of ignorance and illness. The search for knowledge has a great and noble history and a dark destructive one. Knowledge requires care.

Surely we need times of relief from what we know. We need the pleasure and freedom of negative capability: the capacity to live well with uncertainty and the willingness to say gladly, "I don't know." We might also wonder: does the soul need to know a single thing? Does love know, or is there another form of aliveness available to the inner self?

In my life's work as an artist the creations that I have loved the most -- the pieces of work that have ultimately brought me the greatest happiness and value -- were those usually produced in a strange, uncomfortable state that could be called the "unknown".

Experience has taught me that "not knowing" does wonders for the creative juices. This, of course, implies that I have discovered a reliable means of producing art and that all I have to do is to slip into the unknown and work away at it until the new creation is in the bag. Alas, it is never so easy or pleasant. The truth is that this  fertile state is usually a horrible and painful place to be in. So nasty is that after visiting there you never want to return -- but return you do; again and again; many , many times You can't really get there by intention, you end up there, usually through failure and calamity."

part 1

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