Daily Archives: December 8, 2016

Working Away From the Center


Family Synergy Mandala(Stephen Calhoun)

Virgins with T-squares
and compasses, guarding
the heavenly blackboards.

And the angel of numbers
reflective, flying
from the 1 to the 2, from the 2
to the 3, from 3 to the 4.

Dead chalk and sponges
rule and erase
the light of the heavens.

Not the sun, moon or stars,
not the sudden green flash
of the lines and the lightning,
nor the air. Only haze.

Virgins without T-squares,
without compasses, weeping.

And on the dead blackboards,
the angel of numbers,
lifeless, laid out
on the 1 and the 2
on the 3, and the 4…

(The Angel of Numbers, Rafael Alberti, translated by Jerome Rothenberg)

The First Snow, Ever(Stephen Calhoun)

Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is: Formation, Transformation, Eternal Mind’s eternal recreation. And that is the self, the wholeness of the personality, which if all goes well is harmonious, but which cannot tolerate self-deceptions. (Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections)

FB-Quiet-Window-Mandala-Film

So you see, in a moment during a patient’s treatment when there is a great disorder and chaos in a man’s mind, the symbol can appear, as in the form of a mandala in a dream, or when he makes imaginary and fantastical drawings, or something of the sort. (Carl Jung)

TW-Loosening-Mandla-I-Stephen-Calhoun

A mandala spontaneously appears as a compensatory archetype during times of disorder. (Carl Jung) [h/t carljungdepthpsychology.wordpress.com]

There are four notes, (suppose these to be notes-to-self,) that come all the way up and to the center when I reflect on why it is that the mandala has taken over my creative practice.

These are simple notes too, and these represent the starkest capture.

(1) Depressed at the rise of Trump and nihilist Trumpism.

(2) Demoralized at the failure to satisfactorily meet my worldly obligations.

(3) Understand the inner order reflected in the enthusiasm for manifesting mandalas is only a potential reordering, and the proof of this is in the outer disorder.

(4) Unhappy and tired in the wake of the sharp arrivals due to the constant processes of death and loss that have struck over the past years.

I wear my depression very lightly. Optimistic. Youthful outlook.

My contemplative practice is the first balancing act. I note my creative agency is powerful too, yet, I haven’t a clue as to what is going on, except to distrust to a niggling degree that I am on the right track. I have to suppose this distrust of my own creativity is something to work through at this rather early yet auspicious juncture. This has nothing to do with my personal qualification of my creative product, it has to do with what this feels like in the context of outer disorder. It comes as no surprise that powerful inner motives are working me over a bit at the expense of outer order.

There is in this a fraught paradox: betwixt the rush and rushing forward of inspiration and ideas, and, the yet to be shaped command to, in actuality, set this aside for the purpose of getting the house in order.

FB-Mandala-Five-One-Fifty---ExLg-Urban-install-(Stephen-Calhoun)

The energetic aspect is clear enough to me. After all, I am not painting mandalas or setting fine grains of sand to a blueprint. Once the mathematics clicked for me, the opportunity presented itself fully: there are all sorts of archival photographs which may lend themselves to manipulation. These photos now come up again to be resuscitated.

(One image in this post presents how this is done.)

Still, am I creating mandalas? What is coming up and out seem to me reductions too, and also pieces symbolize eyes and sphincters. The images that consist of patterns of concentric circles nevertheless are unitary objects. Also, the direction of experimentation already is disrupting the simple concentricity.

Severity Mandala

Yes, creating mandalas is soothing. It occurs to me also that this is of a piece with my artistic mission, and, this also puts in 2nd order cybernetic relations a deeper aspect of the kitschy facile gimmicks I am employing as propositions in various visual experiments. Those relations are about learning.

As for my own psyche, I’m waiting for the dream. The only dream that recently arrived was optimistic, and this seemed to me its fault.

A magical, sacred, and perfected environment of the Buddha, which
denotes the order and harmony of an enlightened mind, and built on their
perfect wisdom. The purified circle of an enlightened being, an environment
wherein the endless compassion of the enlightened one is expressed.”
(C.G. Jung: ‘Mandala Symbolism’)

Oh, there’s this–see its opening and conclusion:

Theoretical Foundation for Jung’s “Mandala Symbolism”
Based on Discrete Chaotic Dynamics of Interacting Neurons
Vladimir Gontar (International Group for Chaos Studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel)

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