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Beyond the end.

I have had an interest in cosmology since I was in my teens and continue reading today, except that I have run out of new topics (as have the physicists). My imagination, however, always ties human experience back to the origin of the universe for in that instant everything was born including how our minds function. However, since the universe gives no hint of the rules of fine art my perspective is that it is art that reaches beyond words and known rules (at least representational art does) to explore feelings beyond the known universe. If the work is good, it is inexplicable whether it be a painting, sculpture, music or photograph. From this perspective we need fine art and minds that have learned to see and hear that which words cannot express.

As a pianist and lover of classical music and as a photographer and lover of visual art this perspective I believe is correct although I do not find it mentioned in scientific literature, political discussions or even in the (albiet limited) philosphy I have read.

Why this is so strikes me as at the intersection of obviously necessary and utterly unbelievable.

I believe this perspection is a result of a reasonably deep familisrity of the nature of the universe and especially the miraculous capability of the human mind.

A few hours ago as I was dwelling in frustration on how to write this last section I stumbled on a recording of Evegney Kissin in a long recital of list and then went to the piano and played Beethoven,

In the news is ongoing vicious treatment of humans by humans. The only clue to this is the colossal lack of awareness of the many dimensions of life. Is it concievable that members of QAnon, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, racists, etc. know just who and what they are in relation to what they could be? I contend not. It is a lifetime of learning for truth and beauty to be able to be experienced so we can move beyond the primitive ways of early civilization.

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Above is one of my photographs taken at a vernal pool a few feet from Walden Pond. Below my photograph is a link to an excerpt of a performance of a Beethoven piano concerto by Krystian Zimerman and Leonard Bernstein with the Vienna Philharomic Orchestra. I believe the beauty of each well exceeds what could be put into words.

So what is the point?

Paul Davies in his book The Goldilocks Enigma makes a strong case for an anthropocentric universe, that is a universe created for humans, but further the universe must be capable of creating human baings with minds able to create and experience such art.

At this stage of scientific research the perception and experience of art is one of the “hard problems” of science or rather a problem for which there is no known path to its understanding.

Albert Einstein wrote that gravity waves would never be detected for they were too small a signal for us to detect. But the path to their detection was clear and in 2015 a group of about 1000 physicists, after 50 years work, detected them. This was an easy problem.

So what is wrong with humanity? I believe it is straight-forward. a simple lack of courage especially on the part of scientists. Science is intended to do something quite simple in concept: detect, reveal, explain and verify truth beyond any reasonable doubt. But the science of race, color, brain functioning, religion and so forth are not taught. Rather that large segment of society that thrieves on power and money frightens away honest investigation and so at this time, 4:34 p.p., on May 12, 2022 we are on the brink of calamity as evangelicals, conservatives, racists, white supremists, religious over-believers, war mongers and climate terrorists that simply don’t give a damn have us on a road to destruction and ultimately it is the climate that frightents me the most for from that destruction there is no return.

What is the point? Music has color, rhythm, dynamic range, form, melody, etc. And images alsomhave these plus melody, at least in my viewing.

Music, however, has a great advantage is that you have to pay attention for a certain length of time, whereas, as I have seen often at exhbits a glance is all that is given to an image such as the one above. Perhaps there is some food for thought here.

I turned 80 on 9/11/2021. About twenty years ago I woke up to my first news about climate change and at this momenet (1/9/2022) there is still a website: caringfortheearth.com. It began as inanothersshoes.com in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook, Connecticut where I had some connections, but climate change took over. I spend two years of 12 hour days working on it and then Donald Trump arrived and life began to feel hopeless. It has gotten worse almost every day since, including today reading a story about Iran and nuclear weapons in the most recent New Yorker. And before that I had read the latest news about omicron and the likelihood that it will be endemic; that is, we will have to live with it indefinitely barring further biological breakthroughs.

Growing up in a corner of Poland in Central Falls, Rhode Island I got the first two or three of five or six classes in American history. From this point it seems that I viewed America as the pinnacle of human civilization, overcoming the countless mistakes since civilization began about 5000 BCE. Now, the mountain that was America has become to me a bump in the landscape with enough evil, corruption and lust for power as anywhere else, plus a history that I had thought was a progression to equality and compasion as riddled with lust for power and money I had not conieved possible. But that is not the worst of it.

My wife, Susan Ziegler, tells me my photograpy is more important now because it documents the warming earth, and when I read of a Texas politician willing to trade the earth for prosperity that was the last spike. I can’t take this anymore.

A year or so ago I was quoted in Time magazine that global warming was “...an insult to the Universe.” The only known inhavitated planet and we have already committed enough destruction to destroy its beauty and livibility. The New York Times just presented videos from 193 countries showing the impact of our spewing gigatons of carbon dioxide and methane for the last 100 years, knowing full well what we were doing.


I could say I am speechless (which I am) but the sadness of humanity being some new species I had not imagined does leave me without words, but with incalculable sadness.

I don’t know what we will be left with, but whatever it is it will have been trashed.

My Relationship With The Earth

I had never thought about it.

It is almost 50 years since I went hunting with a view camera. And this morning was the first time the thought entered my mind.

In the 20th century when I first photographed with my 4x5 view camera, there was no second thought: the earth was beautiful and we would keep it that way. Ha!!!

It was a beautiful relationship; I woke every morning expecting something special that I had to photograph. Of ourse, I did not think about it except that bisiness would clean up itself. From today’s perspective these were days of realized dreams. I photographed wonders from the Mass. Pike to the vacant lot a few hundred feet from my home, to Alaska and more, but I took the earth for granted. No more.

As its beauty is trashee by humanity I cry for the days when gorgeous red fall trees were all around me. No more. There is no fall, or spring for that matter.

The earth, mind and the ability to experience life are all gifts of beauty and joy. If only the power and money hungry would look and see, listen and hear.

Time Magazine JW Quote crop
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