Introduction

Artlocus.com contains a preview of my coffee table book, Filaments of Bliss with Sweet Symmetry. The art and the poetry revolve around a perspective that may appear foreign to the modern materialist mind.

This point of view is the strange attractor around which the art and poetry dance.

An interesting thing about a strange attractor is that when you look for it, there is nothing there, yet everything dances around it.

In the materialist philosophy, mind and consciousness emerge from the blind, dead, mechanical activity of matter.

There are problems with this model, though, not the least of which is the question: how does blind, inert matter give rise to mind and consciousness?

Think of billiards on a billiard table. They are set in motion by a pool cue and, somehow, as if by magic, they suddenly give rise to patterns that become conscious and self directed.

There is a point of view which solves this problem, and others, in one simple stroke. It was stated simply by a father of Quantum Physics, Max Planck. He said:

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness.”

This is the exact opposite of the model proposed by materialism, and with which we moderns have become so familiar that it has become like a second skin.

The model of reality put forward by Planc is a form of panpsychism and in one fell swoop it solves the problem, coined the hard problem by David Chalmers, of how consciousness arises from dead matter. It is the mirror image of the materialist point of view.

The beauty of this model is that everything still works the same. None of the laws of physics have been overthrown or discarded.

It means that consciousness and mind are material, too, and are fundamental. Matter, space and time are an emergent property of mind — and are mind itself. No more dualism!

Let us change our perspective then and start with the only thing that we can really know, which is our very own consciousness.

When we look at our conscious, we see that, at its fundamental level, it is an unchanging, luminous, cognitive space of knowingness.

Just as a mirror is unmoving, unchanging and spacious, yet reflects everything placed in front of it, so is our fundamental awareness unmoving, unchanging and cognizant of everything that arises in it. In fact, it brings our whole world into existence through its illumination.

When we look for this luminous ground of awareness, there is nothing to be seen, like a strange attractor, yet everything dances around its illumination.

What we see arising in the space of our awareness is a cascade of perceptions: colours, forms, textures, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, emotions and thoughts.

The element that is common to them all is our illuminating awareness. While our perceptions change in a cascading froth of impermanence, awareness itself remains constant and unchanging. It is primordial, pure presence and is the ground from which all of matter, space and time emerge.

Our perceptions depend on our awareness of them. If it were the other way around, if our awareness was dependent on our perceptions, why doesn’t our awareness change when a new set of perceptions arrive on the scene? As new content arises, the old content and its dependent awareness should disappear. But it doesn’t happen this way. It’s the same awareness today as it was yesterday, last week and 10 years ago.

How does our world of trees and stars emerge from consciousness? To find out, we need to look at it from a first person perspective.

When we look at our changing perceptions, we see patterns forming. As soon as we see a pattern, a dualistic split takes place. We separate the pattern from its background.

Let’s take the example of a tree. When we see a pattern that resembles a tree, our thoughts immediately throw an invisible boundary around it. We separate the tree pattern from everything that is not the tree and we attach the label, tree, to it.

In reality, the tree is a collection of other patterns: leaves, bark, roots, and is not truly separate from its environment. It depends on sunlight, air, nutrients and a whole host of other elements, including, importantly, our awareness of it.

We can apply the same logic to everything else in our universe. They all emerge from our awareness and follow the same process that brought the tree into existence through the dualistic split in our perceptions.

We also separate ourselves from the world. We divide our experience into inner, subjective experience and outer, objective experience and we believe that the outer, objective experience is somehow more real than our subjective experience.

But this division of inner and outer experience does not exist. It is just a thought. All that we have is our awareness and the sensory patterns that are illuminated by it. In fact, there isn’t even a separation between our awareness and our perceptions. The sensory patterns just happen to be the form that our awareness is currently taking. Just as waves on the ocean are emergent properties of the ocean and in fact are not separate from the ocean, the phenomena of our senses are emergent properties of awareness and are awareness itself.

Our world, and everything in it, is nothing less, and nothing more, than the cascade of changing forms which our consciousness takes, a temporary suit of clothes that it puts on. The dualistic split disappears because there is no boundary separating awareness and its perceptions.

The art and poetry on this website were created from the perspective of the primacy of awareness.

Art is the tool that I have used to play with my perceptions and continually rediscover the fundamental ground of existence, which is awareness, or pure presence,

Awareness, or pure presence, is the strange attractor/locus, around which the art happens.

I sincerely hope that you will enjoy the artwork and poetry as much as I did in creating it.

Try looking at the art and poetry as if they are your very own mind, even if just for a little while. Because that’s what they truly are, your own mind looking at itself.

 

Mike Butler
April 8th, 2014