Musings in Winter: Albert Einstein
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Below – “Crystal Vase”; “Nude Eastern Bathers”; “Red Cup”
Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 11 January 1929 – Thomas Hardy, an English novelist and poet.
“The Darkling Thrush”
by Thomas Hardy
I leant upon a coppice gate,
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.
The land’s sharp features seemed to me
The Century’s corpse outleant,
Its crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind its death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervorless as I.
At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead,
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited.
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt and small,
With blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.
So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew,
And I was unaware.
Art for Winter – Part II of III: Javier Mulio (Spanish, contemporary)
Below – “Two Tulips in a Glass”; “Still Life”; “Two Lilies in a Vase”
Remembering an Influential Chemist on the Date of His Birth: Born 11 January 1906 – Albert Hofmann, a Swiss chemist known best for being the first person to synthesize, ingest, and discover the the psychedelic effects of LSD.
Some quotes from the work of Albert Hofmann:
“I suddenly became strangely inebriated. The external world
became changed as in a dream. Objects appeared to gain in relief;
they assumed unusual dimensions; and colors became more glowing.
Even self-perception and the sense of time were changed. When the
eyes were closed, colored pictures flashed past in a quickly changing
kaleidoscope. After a few hours, the not unpleasant inebriation,
which had been experienced whilst I was fully conscious, disappeared.
what had caused this condition?”
“By observing natural scientific discoveries through a perception deepened by meditation, we can develop a new awareness of reality. This awareness could become the bedrock of a spirituality that is not based on the dogmas of a given religion, but on insights into a higher and deeper meaning. I am referring to the ability to recognize, to read, and to understand the firsthand revelations.”
“It’s very, very dangerous to lose contact with living nature.”
Art for Winter – Part III of III: Kristian Mumford (Australian, contemporary)
Below – “Gifts of Light and Landscape”; “Strength”; “Mermaid Has Climbed to Shore She Awaits For the Prince Who Will Bring Immortality”
Remembering an Influential Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 11 January 1887 – Aldo Leopold, an American philosopher, scientist, educator, forester, conservationist, environmentalist, and author of “A Sand County Almanac.”
Some quotes from the work of Aldo Leopold:
“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”
“Conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
“Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching- even when doing the wrong thing is legal.”
“Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.”
“We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.”
“Nonconformity is the highest evolutionary attainment of social animals.”
“Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher ‘standard of living’ is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free. For us of the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television.”
“To those devoid of imagination a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.”
“I am glad I will not be young in a future without wilderness.”
Contemporary Russian Art – Vladimir Mukhin
In the words of one writer, “Vladimir Mukhin’s works instantly win you over with their lyricism, refined lines, light and energy, combining rich dynamics of impressionism and traditional academic painting. Vladimir Mukhin’s works are appreciated both by professional artists and art lovers worldwide.”
Below: “Swan’s Song”; “Red Scarf”; “Idyll”; “Muse and the Dog”; “Wild Horses”; “Jive.”
Below – “Walking Man I”; “Annette devout”; “The Dog”; “Self-Portrait.”
Remembering an Influential Psychologist on the Date of His Birth: Born 11 January 1842 – William James, an American psychologist, philosopher, and author of”The Varieties of Religious Experience.”
Some quotes from the work of William James:
“The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human can alter his life by altering his attitude.”
“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”
“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”
“The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”
“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”
“To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds,”
This Date in Art History: Born 11 January 1870 – Alexander Stirling Calder, an American sculptor.
Below – “The Last Dryad”; “Star Maiden”; “Pacific”; “Energy, Lord of the Isthmian Way”; “Scratching Her Heel”; “The Wissahickon” from the Swann Memorial Fountain in Philadelphia.