here we see Samuel Morse’s painting “Gallery of the Louvre” and one can imagine dynamics involved between curator and patron, artist and student, artist and curator, and the interlude that is occuring at the very moment captured on the canvas. Why did Morse choose the particular hall & paintings? what is he trying to say, if there was an intention? that there is a hallway in the distance…the very nature of there being a whole world surrounding this room that Morse captured; thrilling, really!
working as a therapist in the poverty stricken areas of pittsburgh gave me amazing insights into the human/social condition as well as many foreboding nightmares. it took me a long time to believe and realize that many parents that i was working with “JUST DIDN’T KNOW.” They really didn’t know that they were hurting their children. They’d been hurt,too, and were repeating to “love” the best that they knew how. It was always heart lifting when a family resolved a conflict together and there was a brief moment of light following the mother’s M.F-ing and other verbal abuse of the kids. It hurt so much to see these children gaze at her for support/love and to keep hoping that she was going to be able to give that; a victim of this social sphere of hazy boundaries, corrupted system, and quick-fix mentality. many of these parents would scold their children (or me!) for sending such rescue signals of love. i was even fired from a few cases by parents! It is a strange predicament; refusing love.
what other gifts are refused? creativity, community, joy, compassion….? the ubiquitous studies in motivation (and lack of) are a sign of its contribution to the problem; what is awry? persons lacking the initiative, the drive, the impetus, the fire….who & what is that ignition? neuroscientists claim it is a lacking dopamine surge and/or a seratonin complex. i see these reports and have read many of the learned helplessness(seligman) reports and drowning rat trials. it’s all worse whenever there is drug addiction involved, holy holy. if you’re like me, you are screaming about this reductionism. it makes me crazy! and i have seen the computer screen prints of these very neurons fire or bursting or NOT….and this still doesn’t convince me that it’s the answer. It’s a part of the answer. if it was the answer, all of the persons struggling with depression and anxiety would be functionally AWESOME after medication. The medication targets these exact processes. Sadly, this is not fixing the problem, and i wish they would quit teaching people that there was something wrong with their brain that needed fixing. great labels of disabling the masses. people are fixed in their roles and in their houses like some concrete statues who are dried and crumbling. the label creates an object. the object becomes static. *shudder*
i’ve also read reports about how creativity (ranging from arts to inventions) is accompanied by the OPPOSITE of the neural paths for depression/anxiety. Dopamine fires during the creative act. so. there. haha 😉
now what about shifting gears? what about getting out there and having the world knock you over? scared or not. motivated, feel like it, or not. the world will change you. holy holy. it’s like the room/hallway behind the room with all of the paintings…what’s going on out there???? get outside of your room, you fools! this world is so amazing and it’s covered over by anxiety, depression, lacking motivation, addiction, fear, _______ fill in the blank with other incorrigible facets. we weren’t meant to be isolated or immobile. it’s like the mind blowing concept in programming, zeros and negative numbers have meaning too! these “digits” fill up space in code for a reason and have to be there. get out there!! (plug for thomas merton’s, no man is an island). don’t have enough money to adventure? take your couch apart and you’re sure to find a hidden treasure in it’s architecture…or freaking dig a hole in your yard and look for bugs. please people. it’s killing me. worse, it’s killing YOU. it’s very Kantian, as we existential phenomenologists often are; ready, get set, JUMP IN, fly, wreck, jump, skip to my lou- just do something. please. do something. i want to scream this to the lots.
Samuel Morse is my hero of the day. He got it. He shifted gears.
did you see the article in the Smithsonian(September 2011) about Morse’s invention of the telegraph and his stunted journey as a painter? Here’s a great summary of the article’s contents. Morse’s art, Morse code, and the telegraph? thank you, Samuel Morse. now there’s a man who could use fire and move outside of his own room.