Visual thinking / Verbal Onslaught

I began looking for videos that might shine a light on what it’s like to have a brain dominated by images.

I found: Many videos on how to doodle, mostly for business presentations.

I found: Many videos on how to learn to draw.

I found: Videos on how to use visual “strategies” (actually techniques) to remember grocery lists.

And so…

I switched to videos about art and artists.

I found: Actual artists attempting to explain the work of other artists verbally.

I found: Actual artists attempting to explain their own work verbally.

I found: Experts verbally reviewing art and artists.


I settled on the following video because it illustrates the problem. The presenter is speaking in French, which means that if you are not a French speaker the “words” are mostly meaningless and become an incredible onslaught of noise; in fact I find it hard to believe that anyone can speak with such unrelenting force and without pause or pacing – and seemingly without needing to breathe. But this is what people do constantly. It’s less noticeable when listening to a language that one understands, because if it’s “your language” your attention is on the meaning.

And where is the visual meaning or content? Suffocated by words! How can people expect to visually engage with the environment when they never shut up? How can verbal thinkers understand anything, when they simply won’t shut up?

If you wanted to understand basketball, wouldn’t you try playing basketball?


“Progress” / A personal opinion

untitledn male

For women, it’s even worse: add raising children and maintaining a home on “pay” that is 70% of that earned by males for doing the same job!

I spent most of yesterday plowing through old posts, locating ones that can be “trashed” but also finding those that are worth updating or reworking. Many I don’t remember posting, and there is a core group that is consistently popular, at least in numbers of visits.

It’s the traditional time of year to “take a look” at files on my PC. Cleaning out .doc files is like overhauling my verbal memory, since my “organic” verbal memory (time-based, history-type) is poor. I would not have a clue as to when and where certain episodes of my life occurred, especially dates and details, if I hadn’t kept a journal, which I no longer do, and kept those details on the PC. My father used to get really peeved at my “lack of documentary memory” because he claimed to remember each detail of his own life, and the contents of every book, article or conversation he had ever had. Ironically, he had no visual or aesthetic appreciation for the “visible artistic universe” which is my reality; we met on the vast plane of science, where he gradually began to recognize that mathematics and art meet as faces on one coin: human potential.

He is always “in my mind” even though I can’t remember the date or year he died. It’s of little importance to me – mental pictures maintain timeless contact with who he was; what fathers ought to be: an introduction to the wider realm of knowledge and action beyond the domestic doors of home. The “how to part” of living, whether or not one’s own father is an engineer like mine, or a musician, or a business person. Fathers are a bridge to somewhere; if they truly love you, to places unknown, and of your own choosing. It must be terribly frightening for a father like mine; an Asperger, for whom the social universe was a chaotic and unstable sea of mystery and terror.  What would I do without the armature he relied on? The beauty of mathematics and the machines it made possible, safely enclosed his daily experiences.

“The Arts” for him were the “property – domain” of treacherous people; a common social belief that persists: crazy, out-of-control, dark side types who contribute little to mankind’s progress (except for promoting products and socio-political schemes). I received this news as profoundly ignorant opinion: What “progress” was he imagining? The industries and technologies that spread convenience – indoor plumbing, refrigeration, electrical devices, vehicles and other products, or the ability to destroy cities, homes and entire nations with the perverted power of nature as a weapon of mass genocide? It was the time of the Cold War and atomic bombs, of intercontinental ballistic missiles, of engineers laying the groundwork for today’s state of imprisonment for humanity within a global communication system of behavior and thought control – and instantaneous remote death.

The age of pornographic demotion of human existence is upon us: individuals have become objects from which data can be extracted; data that has no meaning nor intelligence; data that rules a supernatural, quantified abstraction, the product of  social manipulation that serves to enrich and empower the worst of our species: sociopathic predators.

This state of human affairs is a “done deal” that underwrites the future of Homo sapiens and the fate of earth. It is “our asteroid” – created by our choices over thousands of years of Civilization and domestication.

Art began our inventive journey – cave paintings and tools, sculptural manifestations in bone and rock, bits of protective “jewelry – adornment” that reveal curiosity about the environment and awe for “what is given” as challenges and opportunities for survival.

This stage may have been the apex of human thought. What we call progress may have been a quick and brilliant descent into insanity.




Who am I after all these years?/ Re-post

Visiting Great Gramma at her farm

Visiting Great Gramma at her farm; that’s me at the far left, looking very awkward and uncomfortable.

I grew up in a family in which mental illness was a fact of life. I’m Asperger (a valid brain type from my POV) and bipolar. My brother was schizoid. Everyone functioned – not great, but well enough, but I was the only one who actively searched for answers and treatment. It caused a rift in the family and I was essentially kicked out for wanting to be healthy. I would see my brother suffering, but he refused all treatment, even when he began to get into trouble with authorities and help was offered. It is  incomprehensible to me why a person would want to stay in a frightening and agitated state and not want to live as well as possible. But then, I observe the lives of so-called normal people and think the same thing. It’s difficult for me to remember that I once had a family, so great was the gulf between my expectations and theirs. From a young age I began building a “ghost” family of artists and writers whom I admired through their works, and from landscapes and buildings in the environment,  which is populated by thousands of strangers as well as friends. The habit became so rewarding that I just kept it up, accumulating a complex library of rich characters and environments that never leaves me. This creative act is likely to be the result of being a visual thinker.

Most everyone, especially when young, asks, Who am I? The answer for me turned out to be simple: I am everything I have ever seen.

Zen Brain / Visual Brain

Untitled_Panorama2 wpAfter frolicking all morning in the 70* air and glorious sun, I got back to the task of selecting images and composing a book, working title, “A Craving for Endless Space” (after Oswald Spengler’s description of the essence of Western Culture.) So simple: Pick photos; drag to template – no text. What could possibly go wrong?

Conventional order is what’s wrong. As soon as I place photos on successive pages, which is a linear configuration, my brain balks and goes into a strange mode. Have you seen an alligator role furiously, an action that tears a hunk of meat from its prey? I feel like that – the image of the alligator feeding is how I SEE what I feel – in this case a primitive feeling of “wrongness” in aggressively arranging images as sequential pages.

I’m making a book, so the photos must find their place; I can’t force them to line up randomly and I can’t  contrive their relationships to each other. They must guide me. In other words, I can’t be aggressive toward art. Images tell me what to do, which may take quite some time. It’s the Asperger tempo – so close to Zen. What we do, how we do it, and how long it takes,  arises from intuition.

People obsessed with controlling the behavior and thoughts of other people will never catch on to who we are; they will be perpetually pissed off. We’re not aggressive people, and in the U.S., that’s the definition of worthless.