MANIFESTO OF VISIONARY ART

      Another transpersonal state identified by Wilber, 'the Causal', pursues upwelling awareness to its source, to its ultimate cause, only to lose itself ultimately in "unmanifest absorption or cessation... likened to a deep dreamless sleep, except... it is infinitely drenched in the fullness of Being... this pure Self is pure Emptiness." (86) Hence, "In front of you the clouds parade by, your thoughts parade by, bodily sensations parade by, and you are none of them. You are the vast expanse of freedom through which all these objects come and go..."(87) Ultimately, the causeless cause of awareness is called 'the Seer' - "This pure Seer is prior to life and death, prior to time and turmoil, prior to space and movement, prior to manifestation..."(88) Hence, it is referred to as 'Formless Mysticism'.
      But, moving beyond this to the next transpersonal state of 'Non-duality', we 'transcend and include' Nature, Deity, and Formless Mysticism under the higher, more-encompassing 'Non-Dual Mysticism'. We cease to identify ourselves with Nature, with the Divine, or with the Seer, and surrender ourselves to their deeper unseen unity. "There is nobody watching the display, there is just the display, a spontaneous and luminous gesture of pure perfection... You are still you and the mountain is still the mountain, but you and the mountain are two sides of one and the same experience, which is the one and only reality at that moment."(89) And, what is more, "Your soul expands to the corners of the universe and embraces all with infinite delight. You are utterly Full, utterly Saturated, so full and saturated that the boundaries to the Kosmos completely explode and leave you without date or duration, time or location, awash in an ocean of infinite care. You are released into the All, as the All - you are the self-seen radiant Kosmos, you are the universe of One Taste, and the taste is utterly infinite."(90)



 
 
 


L. CARUANA

      It may appear impossible for Visionary artists to render Formless and Non-Dual Mysticism into image form. And yet, as Wilber's descriptions make clear, the images are still present; it is only the attitude of the viewer which has changed. By meditating upon images of the world, he has gradually transcended them. But, all of this is through a process of 'transcend and include': the images themselves offer us the path which gradually leads to their transcendence. They are like a 'ladder of vision' which, once it is climbed, no longer need exist, and so may be discarded.
      As such, the images in certain works of Visionary Art may be so arranged as to offer us new paths in our thinking. They do not describe or depict the resulting states (as Wilber's texts have just tried to do) - they show us the way to it. Klarwein's and Johfra' images, leading to Nature and Deity Mysticism, become the first few steps on our visionary journey. And yet, many of Klarwein's later landscapes, or De Es' post-stone period works, may also lead us further - and indescribeably - to these higher Mystic states. It is all in the eyes of the beholder. As De Es commented, "When we wish to fully understand something we are observing, we must fully understand who is looking." (91) And he adds mysteriously, "If our vision were clear, we would find ourselves at the bottom of everything. But all we get by looking is - pictures." (92)
      It is no secret that many Visionary works of art are designed to be viewed 'with the aid of mind-altering substances'. What the hallucinogens offer, for a limited period of time, is a way of looking at pictures. And what the pictures offer, in exchange, is a way of looking at reality while in an altered state. The two compliment each other. And yet, what remains, once the effects of the drug has worn off, is the picture. A picture that, once, was a gateway to another world.



 
 
 


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