Portrait of Sascha Norris who died (as far as I am concerned) on November 15th, 2016.
You can read Sascha Norris at My odyssey, a Journey Through the Mind
|Rembrandt's laughing self portrait.|
The best portrait painters capture emotion, but there aren’t any Rembrandts in this competition – just a lot of badly daubed tattoos and very serious expressions.Jonathan Jones writes on art for the Guardian and was on the jury for the 2009 Turner prize. He had these interesting comments on the BP National portrait Gallery award:
The best portrait painters capture emotion, but there aren’t any Rembrandts in this competition – just a lot of badly daubed tattoos and very serious expressions. […] Why should I care about all these people? The sheer battering misery of it all produces callousness and cynicism. Too much po-faced portraiture makes a stone of the heart. This is because art is not a simple conduit of feeling. Only in the hands of a Rembrandt can the brush directly communicate the soul’s truth. The reality of the BP portrait award is that it does not attract the best painters around, but instead is a magnet for mediocrity. This leaves the judges with an impossible task – I know, I have been a judge myself – of trying to find meaning in what are really very uninspired daubs.
From Sad face: doom and gloom at the 2015 BP portrait award
|Rembrandt's laughing self portrait.|
A flower, a skull and an hourglass symbols for Life, Death and Time
(17th-century painting by Philippe de Champaigne).
"The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present."
In "Sun Dials and Roses of Yesterday: Garden Delights..." (1902) by Alice Morse Earle (1851-1911).
“The capacity for living in the present has almost become a lost art.This text from Sascha Norris hit me like an arrow.
But, we were born to live in the present. We are biologically programmed to live in the now. Thus, we cannot ever truly lose the ability to do so. It is only our own subconscious mind, as well as our past 'conditioning' that prevents us from doing so. This is why we must be willing to struggle for it. We must be willing to fight to make our present a thing of beauty. Each day will not stand the chance of becoming a masterpiece it can be if we do not approach it with a single-minded determination to make the most of it we can. And we can only do this by letting go of both the known behind us and the unknown before us. Only then will we be fully capable of surrendering to the sacred present.”
From Living in the Present, by Sascha Norris, Philosophy Editor at BellaOnline's, 05 September 2013.
“Eckhart Tolle, often dismissed by 'serious' philosophers as merely another New Age guru, did make a valid point in his best-selling book, “The Power of Now.” It is essential to our spiritual well-being (as well as, in my opinion, our physical and psychological well-being) to live in the present.”
From Living in the Present, by Sascha Norris, Philosophy Editor at BellaOnline's, 05 September 2013.
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.” (PON, p. 27)We all experience this special time when we relax after a hard busy day’s work, focusing on ourselves only, and distancing ourselves from our past and our future commitments, all our problems in life.
“I have little use for the past and rarely think about it; however, I would briefly like to tell you how I came to be a spiritual teacher and how this book came into existence. Until my thirtieth year, I lived in a state of almost continuous anxiety interspersed with periods of suicidal depression.” (PON, p. 8)
“You will not have any doubt that psychological time is a mental disease if you look at its collective manifestations. They occur, for example, in the form of ideologies such as communism, national socialism or any nationalism, or rigid religious belief systems, which operate under the implicit assumption that the highest good lies in the future and that therefore the end justifies the means.” (PON, p. 41) and “Humans are a dangerously insane and very sick species. That's not a judgment. It’s a fact.” (PON, p. 55)
He asks: “I don't mean to offend you personally, but do you not belong to the human race that has killed over 100 million members of their own species in the twentieth century alone?” (PON, p. 71)
“The future is an imagined Now, a projection of the mind. When the future comes, it comes as the Now. When you think about the future, you do it now. Past and future obviously have no reality of their own. […] Their reality is "borrowed" from the Now.” (PON, p. 37)
“Here is the key: End the delusion of time. Time and mind are inseparable. Remove time from the mind and it stops - unless you choose to use it. To be identified with your mind is to be trapped in time: the compulsion to live almost exclusively through memory and anticipation. This creates an endless preoccupation with past and future and an unwillingness to honor and acknowledge the resent moment and allow it to be. The compulsion arises because the past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of salvation, of fulfillment in whatever form. Both are illusions. […] Time isn't precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time - past and future - the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is. Why is it the most precious thing? Firstly, because it is the only thing. It's all there is. The eternal present is the space within which your whole life unfolds, the one factor that remains constant. Life is now. […] Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now. ” (PON, p. 36)
“Every physical object or body has come out of nothing, is surrounded by nothing, and will eventually return to nothing.” (PON, p. 87) “Nothing could be without space, yet space is nothing. Before the universe came into being, before the "big bang" if you like, there wasn't a vast empty space waiting to be filled. There was no space, as there was no thing. There was only the Unmanifested - the One. When the One became "the ten thousand things," suddenly space seemed to be there and enabled the many to be. Where did it come from? Was it created by God to accommodate the universe? Of course not. Space is no-thing, so it was never created.“ (PON, p. 90)
“Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.”William Shakespeare used this philosophical expression “Nothing comes from nothing” (Latin: ex nihilo nihil fit), a known thesis first argued by Parmenides, a “monist” ancient Greek philosopher. King Lear will end up depressed and insane.
”Nothing (…) cannot become an object of knowledge. You can't do a Ph.D. on "nothing." When scientists study space, they usually make it into something and thereby miss its essence entirely. Not surprisingly, the latest theory is that space isn't empty at all, that it is filled with some substance.” (PON, p. 88)
“What we think of as empty space is not really empty, but it is filled with pairs of particles and anti particles. These appear together at some point of space and time, move apart, and then come together and annihilate each other. These particles and anti particles occur because a field, such as the fields that carry light and gravity, can't be exactly zero. That would mean that the value of the field, would have both an exact position (at zero), and an exact speed or rate of change (also zero). This would be against the Uncertainty Principle, just as a particle can't have both an exact position, and an exact speed. So all fields must have what are called, vacuum fluctuations. Because of the quantum behaviour of nature, one can interpret these vacuum fluctuations, in terms of particles and anti particles, as I have described.”
From Does God play Dice? By Professor Hawking (1999)Space is neither “empty” nor “nothing”. Does denying Tolle know better?
|Heraclitus and Democritus, the "crying and laughing philosophers” by Dirck van Baburen (c.1595-1624).|
“Let me say it again: the present moment is all you ever have. There is never a time when your life is not ‘this moment.’ Is this not a fact?” (PON, p. 41)
“Sensible as Newton's picture of time may seem, Einstein realized it wasn't right. He discovered that time could run at different rates. As strange as it sounds, this means that time for me may not be the same as time for you. Einstein's discovery smashed Newton's conception of reality. […] Einstein realized that time and space are linked, in much the same way that north and west are. And with this surprising insight, Einstein would overthrow the common-sense idea that time ticks the same for everyone. […] And this was Einstein's key insight, that motion through space affects the passage of time.”
From The Fabric Of The Cosmos: The Illusion Of Time (PBS, November 9, 2011).
“And why cannot a Monist be a Theosophist? And why must Theosophy at least involve dualism? Theosophy teaches a far stricter and more far reaching Monism than does Secularism. […] The Monism of Theosophy is truly philosophical.” (CW XI:336).
© Copyright by the Theosophical Publishing House, Manila
Kazimir Malevich: Black Square 1915
“Every portal is a portal of death, the death of the false self. […] You then realize that death is an illusion, just as your identification with form was an illusion. The end of illusion - that's all that death is. It is painful only as long as you cling to illusion.” (PON, p. 92)
“Though we may imagine it (nothingness, note) to be capable of being defined, it is too nebulous, for it is neither a state or a condition. It is an illusion. Yet, it exists as a reality in our own minds. We give it both mundane and novel names such as “boredom,” “inertia,” “ennui,” apathy,” and “dissatisfaction.” These names represent a feeble attempt on our part to describe that which is more like a slumber of the soul than anything else. It flourishes in those of us who go through life without noticing the wonder and beauty of the world. It makes its home in the heart of the man who has closed himself off to experiencing anything that will affect him deeply. It is existence, without life. […] Nothingness, if we identify it for what it is, can teach us something. It can serve to motivate us towards change. […] We have to believe with both our hearts and our minds that we exist for something other than our own self-fulfillment. Otherwise, the nothingness will keep drawing us back to us. Jean-Paul Sartre said in his chef de oeuvre, Being and Nothingness, “Nothingness lies coiled in the heart of being, like a worm.””
(From Nothingness: An Investigation By Sascha Norris, 2010)
|The Young Rembrandt; self-portrait as “Democritus the Laughing Philosopher” at human follies (1628-1629).|
The First Day: Light
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
(Genesis 3:5, King James Bible)
|“Nude Descending a Staircase, No.2”(left) is a 1912 painting by Marcel Duchamp.|
|Between two rational numbers, there is an infinite number of real numbers.|
|“The Treachery of Images” (1928–29) by the Belgian René Magritte.|
|Salvador Dali, The Persistence of Memory|
|We often use the finite to approximate the infinite.|
“But what about time travel to the past? Well, that might be possible too, using something predicted by Einstein's equations, known as a wormhole. If wormholes exist, they would be kind of like, like shortcuts through spacetime, tunnels that link not only one place with another, but also one moment with another.” From The Fabric Of The Cosmos: The Illusion Of Time (PBS, November 9, 2011).
|The hourglass’ shape shows the “present” as a neck, a “singularity” between Past and Future through which the “flow of time” passes.|
“Einstein gave us a much more radical picture (than Newton’s, note). According to Einstein, time was more like a river, which meandered around stars and galaxies, speeding up and slowing down as it passed around massive bodies. One second on the earth was NOT one second on Mars. Clocks scattered throughout the universe beat to their own drummer.”
(From Is Time Travel Possible? By American theoretical physicist Michio Kaku)
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man…All is flux…Everything flows, nothing stands still" or “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change.”Heraclitus is painted as the “weeping” or “sad philosopher” because of his renowned lamenting about change.
"As I have said so many times, God doesn't play dice with the world."
(William Hermanns: “Einstein and the Poet”)
“Thus it seems that even God is bound by the Uncertainty Principle, and can not know both the position, and the speed, of a particle. So God does play dice with the universe. All the evidence points to him being an inveterate gambler, who throws the dice on every possible occasion.”
(From Does God play Dice? By S Hawking, 1999)
“For like life, love is a stream, ever flowing outward and inward in its true, eternal form. It’s never passive but always a moving, acting force.”
(From Shall We Love? By Sascha Norris.)
“Helena: (…) Love can make worthless things beautiful. When we’re in love, we don’t see with our eyes but with our minds. That’s why paintings of Cupid, the god of love, always show him as blind. And love doesn’t have good judgment either—Cupid, has wings and no eyes, so he’s bound to be reckless and hasty. That’s why they say love is a child. because it makes such bad choices. Just as boys like to play games by telling lies, Cupid breaks his promises all the time.”
(A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 1 Scene 1, William Shakespeare, Modern Text)
“Wherefore he (the Creator) resolved to have a moving image of eternity, and when he set in order the heaven, he made this image eternal but moving according to number, while eternity itself rests in unity; and this image we call time.”(From Timaeus, 37c-e, translated by B. Jowett)
|Cosmological inflation: a “particle of time” expands as a “timeline”.|
To see a world in a grain of sandAnd a heaven in a wild flower,Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,And eternity in an hour.
- William Blake
"If I am not for myself who will be for me, and if I am only for myself who am I and if not now, then when?!"This is my meaning of “living a discrete life”.
(Pirkei Avot 1:14). Hillel, Jewish rabbi who lived at Jerusalem in the time of King Herod (c.110 BC - 10 AD).
|"Donna con cappello verde“, Woman with Green Hat By Pablo Picasso, 1939|