MANIFESTO OF VISIONARY ART

      The philosopher who has made the greatest attempt to integrate these insights into a new world-view is Ken Wilber. Particularly through extended periods of meditation, he has tried to identify and articulate those transpersonal states which hallucinogens offer for a few 'peak' moments (of timeless duration).
      For Wilber, Transpersonal Philosophy involves seeing all of life as part of a greater whole. That wholeness is 'transpersonal' in the sense of being 'one awareness' with creativity, self-consciousness and spiritual unity. Meanwhile, each aspect of its totality is in transition - the many strands of life that are gradually evolving into greater, more complex, and yet holistic structures. Through a process of 'transcend and include', each organism within the great chain of being evolves to a higher level - and a greater degree of complexity, awareness, and wholeness.
      Man is at a particularly high level, having achieved not only consciousness but self-consciousness. He looks at the world and his place in it from the outside and the inside, both individually and collectively. (This creates four particular world-views: the biological and psychological; the social and cultural). Each offers its own truth, though all are needed for a truly holistic view of the world.
      Within his own lifetime, a man evolves from the 'pre-personal worldview' of early childhood (where you identify yourself more with bodily development - the physio- and bio-centric) to a later, 'personal worldview' (where you find your centre in ego and its role in society - the ego- and ethno-centric), to a final 'transpersonal worldview' (where you have 'decentered' yourself from the earlier levels and transcended them in favour of a 'world-centric' view).



 
 
 


L. CARUANA

      This higher, transpersonal state of being is uncommon: it may be witnessed by any of us for a few fleeting moments during certain 'peak' experiences. But more traditionally, it has manifest itself for more prolonged states among shamans, yogis, monks, or other contemplatives prone to mystical or visionary experiences.
      There are several 'peak' transpersonal experiences identified by Wilber. The first of these include, what he calls, Nature Mysticism: "Your identity decenters and expands...(so that you) actually experience your central identity, not just with all human beings, but all living beings... You experience the World Soul."(84) Thus, meditating upon a tree, you suddenly 'become that tree'. Certainly, Mati Klarwein captured this experience when he spoke of 'a motionless palm tree which used my nervous system to communicate with the creator'. And he went to great lengths in the attempt to capture this experience in a painting.
      This initial experience of Nature Mysticism may also expand to include, what Wilber calls, Deity Mysticism. Through deep meditation, certain timeless archetypes arise which give form to the identity between you and the transcendent whole: "you are looking at the basic forms and foundations of the entire manifest world. You are looking directly into the Face of the Divine."(85) Now, the transcendent Unity (of which we are a part) acquires the lineaments of our own face, but with features expanding to divine proportions. All cultural images and archetypes uprise in our memory, to render this experience into form. Certainly, Johfra's image of the Unio Mystica, with its multitude of cross-cultural symbols centered onto one interior, captures this experience and offers it visual form.



 
 
 


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