The Intention of Trying to Discover

If one looks at a thing with the intention of trying to discover what it means, one ends up no longer seeing the thing itself, but of thinking of the question that is raised. – Rene Magritte Our life is bound up with the lives of so many others. We gladly attach portions of our …

Experience is not what Happens

Experience is not what happens to a man, it is what a man does with what happens to him. – Aldous Huxley Our experiences shape who we are. But these moments in time do not happen in a vacuum. Our actions and reactions flow from acquired knowledge or a lack thereof. Just as the wind …

Connected in the Deep

We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep. – William James Standing at the edge of the stormy deep, I sense the pulse of millions of my fellow humans. Beyond the artificial boundaries of nations and politics, lie the vast interlaced storylines of our species. Life sweeps …

Once We Believe in Ourselves

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit. – e.e. cummings Our modern world suffers from increased complexity. A multitude of distractions vie to refocus our thoughts towards their product. The commodification of our attention has infiltrated deep into the substrata of our …

Artists’ Souls

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. – Henry Ward Beecher The world is filled to overflowing with inspiration standing in opposition to entropy. The creative process begins with a vague wandering off of the mental path. There is a whisper to turn the head …

Faith Looks Up

Sorrow looks back; Worry looks around; Faith looks up. – Ralph Waldo Emerson It seems that every day for the past week has been filled with news and talk about the sickness running rampant through China right now. My wife’s family is nervous, my Chinese friends are worried, and my former students are uncertain what …

Happy Lunar New Year

This is an excerpt from an article I wrote when I was managing editor of a monthly magazine in Hangzhou, China. It was the year 4705-4706 – Earth Rat year. Now twelve years later it is the year 4717- 4718 Metal Rat. The Rat Year begins the 12-year cycle. Let me just say tactfully that …

Art has Two Constants

He realized more vividly than ever before, that art had two constants, two unending preoccupations: it is always meditating on death and it is always thereby creating life. –Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago The spark of life within us glimmers and shines, and occasionally adversity or blessing fans the spark into a bonfire. That animated nucleus …

One Eye Sees, the Other Feels

Paul Klee Our minds are miraculous. Our senses ceaselessly gather information about our environment which is instantaneously sifted and sorted through a myriad of interconnected memories. Certain information is critical to our survival – stoplight!; fire; hunger;… Some information is gathered but is not readily of use, and our marvelous minds drop it into subconscious …