Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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Plato and a Manipulated Woman

Once upon a time there was a woman, a beautiful woman, filled with life and vigor.  She sat for a sculptor who tried to copy her in marble with his chisels. Unfortunately, the sculpture was just a manipulation of her true image.   The sculptor could not capture her essence.    A few thousand years later, a photographer took a picture of the sculpture which became yet another manipulation of the true woman.  Finally, today a bored computer nerd decided she wanted to mess around with Photoshop to pixelize the photo and manipulate the poor woman once again.   And on it goes.  Who knows what someone might do with this image?

I’m sure you know what happens to a document when you copy it, and then copy the copy, and then copy the copy of the first copy.   Do that long enough and eventually you cannot see what was on the original document.  But the question is, does the original copy cease to exist?   No.

The same is true for the woman.  She still exists somewhere in time and space.   Well, maybe not the flesh-and-blood woman, but the ideal of that woman, the perfect form of Woman.

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato called this the Theory of Forms.  He postulated that  there is a spiritual realm that contains the blueprints of everything manifested in the physical realm. That vase, that music, that cat, those people, that government, that social relationship—everything— has a perfect and pure template in that realm.  The world of forms“…is a philosophical theory, concept, or world-view … that the physical world is not as real or true as timeless, absolute, unchangeable ideas. According to this theory, ideas in this sense, often capitalized and translated as ‘Ideas’ or ‘Forms’, are the non-physical essences of all things, of which objects and matter in the physical world are merely imitations.” (Wikipedia)

Do scholars and philosophers still believe this explanation of how the universe turns?  Not so much anymore.   This classical worldview was one of the underpinnings of western civilization for centuries,  at least that was what the Jesuits taught us in Philosophy 101.

So I sat down to screw around on a computer and make a pretty picture, and I ended up visiting with Plato one more time and letting him bend my mind.

If you would like to view a short, expedient explanation of this bit of Platonic philosophy and a very practical application of it, take a look here:

Image: “A Manipulated Woman” in Photoshop, LJGloyd 2019


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Wandering

I recently read Keri Smith’s book The Wander Society, another of countless books on how to jump start the creative process. The author promotes the practice of “wandering” through the world, both literally and figuratively, and learning to mindfully observe what is discovered.  The book’s description at the Amazon website describes “…the act of wandering, or unplanned exploring, as a way of life.” At Goodreads I gave the book only 3 stars simply because this is not an original notion. That criticism being made, I quickly realized that I have been negligent in this very form of creative self-care.

It has been raining quite regularly for many weeks, but this morning the clouds cleared and the sun broke through. So I grabbed my camera, hopped in my car and began to wander.  I ended up being entertained by a pair of white rabbits in a vegetable garden, joining a gathering of members of a bread baking guild as they made pizza in a wood-burning oven, roamed around the outside and inside of an old church, paused for a few minutes in a Zen meditation room, drove through a university, stopped at a library, and came home to a steaming bowl of home-made beef stew.

I visually documented my wandering.  Here are a few of my images:

ljgloyd (c) 2019


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The Face of Confidence


On my morning exploratory walk, I came across this giant mural. Mural painters amaze me. To create such a huge, public display of art takes an immense amount of confidence on the part of the artist. There is no room for fear of mistakes. The entire neighborhood will see that mistake in the process of being made, not to mention the humiliation of correcting it in front of the world. And heaven forbid if the mistake is not corrected and it stays on view for decades until someone mercifully paints over it. Hats off to public artists.

Teddy Roosevelt said this: “Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.”

I dunno, Teddy, I dunno.

 

Ljg.

I don’t know who painted this; otherwise I would’ve given her/him credit.


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Living Mindfully in an Old House


It is Christmas Day, and I am now in a new home.  The house is old and has a lot of quirks, and I have had to learn how to approach those activities which I formerly performed in a mindless manner with new care and consideration. For example, I have to remember not to operate more than one appliance at a time in the kitchen or I will blow a fuse. Not flip a circuit breaker– but blow a fuse– which I don’t know how to fix. Everything I do in this old house I must approach with slowness and gentleness.

On this Christmas, I find myself approaching all areas of my life with a little more slowness, mindfulness, and gentleness.   I find myself meditating more, praying more, being more grateful for the simple things in life — like a roof over my head even when I wonder if it will leak when it rains.

I think it has something to do with the season when Grace came into this world in the form of a Child.  This time of the year always makes me reflective in this way.   Now the trick is carrying this mindful practice beyond the holiday and into the new year.   Can I do it?   I aim to try.

HMerry Christmas, everyone.  Blessings to you all.


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I Got Evicted and Why This is a Good Thing

First load heading out of Bourgeois-ville.

Ten days ago I got an eviction notice.  I must vacate the home that I have lived in for 26 years to accommodate a relative of the landlords.  There was no offer in the letter to help me move, pay expenses or provide a reference attesting to all the years of me being a model tenant; no, simply the statement “we are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.”   I was less than comforted.  This is not an “inconvenience”. This is a life-altering  major disruption to my emotional equilibrium and sense of personal security,  and the lack of compassion shown in this letter is truly staggering.   What they’ve done is all perfectly legal, so there’s not much I can do about it, except bitch and complain.   But I won’t spend one more word about this here or anywhere else.  I won’t because being evicted is the best thing that could possibly have happened to me

Within 20 minutes of my reading the letter and after making an important phone call, I had a new place secured.  I will be moving into an small old house in a great neighborhood with no possibility of ever being evicted again.  It needs a lot of work, but for me the house is a mansion.

I totally see the hand of God in this matter.    If this house were not available to me, it is quite likely I would be out on the street.  People like me, with limited means, can’t afford to live in an area of greed-propelled skyrocketing rents.

And this brings me to this:  the greatest blessing in being evicted in this manner is not the fact that I can now live in a house of my own.  It is the fact that overnight I developed a better awareness of the plight of the poor and homeless. I know it is a cliché but I can’t help saying “there but by the grace of God go I.”   That fact alone places a big responsibility on my shoulders that I cannot ignore anymore.  If circumstances had been different, I could be part of a growing demographic.

I don’t know yet what I will do    Maybe all I will ever do is hand couple of bucks to the guy shivering under a blanket in front of my local Starbucks.  This event definitely will inform how I am going to vote on issues like this in the future. Heck, who knows? I may end up being some sort of activist for renters rights.

But first things first, I need to get packing.

2018

 

 

 


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Listening to Your Storytellers

 

My mother once told me the story of how she watched MGM Studio burn down some of their old stages while filming the burning of Atlanta scene for its movie Gone with the Wind. My grandfather used to regale me with stories of the Marx Brothers’ antics on set and how the Prince came to visit Grace while she was making one of her last movies.   My regret is that I did not pay much attention to these stories when they were told nor did I ask to hear more like them.  These stories from the “golden age” of Hollywood were part of my upbringing and were stories that connected me with my family heritage.  I wished I had asked more questions.

Stories, it seems, are important in imparting our familial and cultural identities.   Stories are also important in their power to change things for the better.

As I have stated before on this blog, the old 1990’s television series Northern Exposure was one of my favorites. I especially enjoyed the character of Ed Chigliak, a young indigenous Alaskan whose desire was to become a film maker. He was also studying to be a shaman, and he frequently cited scenes from movies to help members of the Cicely community with their problems and issues. There is healing in hearing our stories. There is power in telling them.

I don’t know what healing would come from my family stories, but they would have provided some fodder for my own stories if I had listened more. Perhaps I might have eventually found some wisdom in them.

Columnist and humorist, Dave Lieber, in a 2013 Ted Talk said this about story telling: “So tell your story. Take the data of your life and turn it into real people doing real things and you will move mountains. You will change the world.”