Thursday, August 30, 2012


Embodiment is the universal starting point. Everything with a body is experiencing being in a particular place with whatever interface is available. Not just among humans, the fact of inhabiting a body is the shared element of all living things. We are consciousness experiencing the material realm and we’re all in it together. The perspective of each enriches the whole. As a portal we have several inputs. It begins in the senses. Our eyes tell us where we are. Smell, sound and the physical touch of things layer on their respective qualities, but the primary consciousness in a human body is not just how we are but where, self as location. This is the basis for the universality of art. Everyone knows how it feels to be in a tight place, understands weight as a physical property and as a metaphor for a heavy situation. We understand above and below in the physical action of stooping or reaching and use both of those words metaphorically all the time. The understanding of vision is based on our relationship to surroundings or situations, so using the language of embodiment in a spatial image communicates directly to our understanding of position and change of direction and the dominant motion within the space. Our eyes move around within the space of a painting and our bodies react to the meaning of the movement. The meaning is what we feel about it, what the relationships show. It grows from an understanding of the whole circumstance. It couldn’t exist without the experiencing body. What we know is a record of what we’ve seen and felt, a map of our experience over time as a body in motion. The way thinking is structured compares and analogizes in relation to the actions of embodiment. With our eyes, we find our way. Sight understanding underlies anticipation and prediction, recognition and navigation. Sight precedes the more cemented understanding when we grasp.

Every point-of-view, every vantage point from which to have experience has a truth. The differences in view are probably molded by the shape of our original location. A person from Maine has a different concept of coastline than a person from Florida or China. How could one idea be thought of as right or wrong? Pooling our views we gain a broader picture of the whole and how particular life circumstances creates a way of seeing. People trust their first person understanding and there are as many ways of understanding as there are of moving around in the particular landscape one travels.
Visual thinking emancipates you from categorization and identification. You are part of the action because whether you’re conscious of it or not your body is always responding to changes in the surroundings.

Visual intelligence is not concerned with right and wrong but with the meaning of the picture, the particular context. External codes may or may not fit a given circumstance.
Wisdom depends on perspective. We build a larger landscape of ideas when begin to see our common starting point. The skill of the future won’t be having the right answer but understanding how to navigate the terrain of an issue and respect the advance in understanding represented by seeing experience through a different window and adding more information to what we already have.

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