"Thoughts and ideas in the rarified field of the Ethereal plop onto Earth and perception as things," I wrote on a slip of paper as I walked around the block as the sun was settting the other evening. Maybe, I wondered, I've become obsessed with things the way I had been obsessed with ideas.
"The most important things in the world are not things," the stencilled letters announce the upcoming Sunday talk at the neighborhood church.
"Amos las cosas loca, locamente..." a quote by Pablo Neruda ("I have a crazy, crazy love of things") is how Barry Katz, historian of design at the California College of the Arts and at Stanford University, began his lecture on the 100-year perspective on the state of the design and design thinking last week at the Palo Alto Art Center.
Things. Things? Things! Why bother with creating a flower boutique or bakery when you can really rock the world as activist or spiritual guru?
"Blumenkraft" is a conjunction of the words blumen - "flower" -- and kraft -- "power." Kraft describes a physical force like electricity - or a hammer coming down hard on steel. It has nothing to do with the quaint 60's English term "flower power"...It's an entirely new linguistic creation, coined by Gregor. "The metaphoric power of flowers is based on a paradox," he says. "They seem weak and fragile but they inspire visual, emotional, and spiritual strength." - The Flower Shop: Charm, Grace, Beauty, Tenderness in a Commercial Context, by Leonard Koren
There is a physical visceral palpable energetic power in things. When I picked up and read one version of the Prajnaparamita Sutra this April the words buzzed with the force of a current.
Yet another inexplicable magnetic force drew me to a jewelry store in Saratoga last Saturday (and this in context, we're talking about a former renunciate that didn't care for jewelry....the Buddhist priest in Moratuwa, Sri Lanka says to me in February: "I see you lead a charmed life." I: "How so?" He offering me a biscuit with my tea: "You do not wear jewelry.") where particular objects nearly leap out at me the resonating vibration was so strong the jewelled things sang; the jewelry store owner a Siren. When a creator merges wholly for a moment with its creation, we know it as beautiful.
Lust. Lustrum. Luxury. Luster. Light. All have the same Latin roots. No surprise, beauty and light peer through many luxurious things with luster. The veil between thing and light of consciousness being so thin that some artists and creators know it to be as gossamer as a figment of our imagination.
This life-force is so unspeakable, so I talk about thngs. And they'll simply look like things. Few will see the lightning bolts from on high or the spiritual manna flowing from heaven...that's because it's so subtle. (Expecting fireworks? You're seeking, and missing it here now.)
Sometimes things are expensive like the nearly $7000 price tag on that divine garnet and pearl necklace at Deja & Co. Sometimes things are inexpensive like the pineapple heirloom tomato from the Saratoga Farmer's Market sprinkled with fresh basil and balsamic vinegar. Both sparked with fire, with life.
Things per se are only as interesting as the invisible behind it. Yet so few actually see the invisible. So abstract. Most, though, they can see, feel, hear, touch, smell things. So I work with things. To me they are the symbols of the invisible.
The alchemy of things. Alchemically transmuted even base desires are the stuff of our highest selves. For instance can you feel the intention behind things? "Design is the first signal of human intention," says William McDonough. We resonate with, attracted to, like intention even if it is not conscious. Why do you pick up that book, or this CD, that candle or walk into that store?
"When people talk about innovation in the '90s, they really mean technology. When people talk about innovation in this decade, they really mean design." - Bruce Nussbaum, BusinessWeekOnline, January 3, 2005
When a student asked George Nelson for advice on his course of study in design, Nelson replied, "Don't study design. Study life."
Regardless of outer perception, this will never ever really be a cool-hunting hip-chasing blog. In the words of Colleen, it's about smart woo-woo. I care for and will share only things that remind and connect me back to Me and point towards that which we know in our heart of hearts of life and truth.
Bonus: Do you think alchemy is about turning base metals into gold? The Harry Potter books brought 14th century Parisien bookseller and alchemist Nicholas Flamel back into the limelight. Legend has it, he's the only one whom ever located the secret of the Philosopher's Stone, or the secret of gold and eternal life:
This book fell into the hands of precisely the man who was destined to receive it; and he, with the help of the text and the hieroglyphic diagrams that taught the transmutation of metals into gold, accomplished the transmutation of his soul, which is a far rarer and more wonderful operation.