Sunday, 28 February 2010

Order out of Chaos

When my children were young they enjoyed playing with those well know building bricks. They came in packets with the appropriate bricks to follow the instructions and to build the model in the plan. My daughter used to follow the instructions to the letter build the model the dismantle it and replace all the bricks into the box with the instructions and they were all kept in order and in place. My son on the other hand would open his build the model then put all the bricks in a large box with all his others. He might build the model again but most often he used the bricks to make his own creations. Two people who had two different ideas about what to do, with a box of bricks.

I remember visiting a carpet making factory in China. We were taken into a room where five girls each had a frame before them with the warp stretched between to struts of wood. They were standing on a plank of wood balanced on a stack of bricks at either end. As they progressed up the weave hey added further bricks. (Health and safety?) Before them on a small table they had a large array of coloured wools strands. They seemed to working from a design they had in their head. It took them six months to make one carpet but at the end of the six months it was a thing of beauty.

The artist stands before a clean white canvas. They have an assortment of colours placed on a palette or other such. Some lay the colours out in a very ordered way, others in a seemingly random arrangement. From this seeming haphazard assortment there emerges on the canvas a pattern or picture that stimulates and excite the emotions of others.

We come into the world, a blank canvas. The time we have depends much on the choices we make, the lifestyle we choose. There are restrictions on us depending on where we are born the circumstances of the family we are born into. But each of us has a palette with which to weave the pattern of our lives.

There are for each of us important moments, when we have to make choices. For the artist it may be a choice of colour or pattern. At those moments it is always wise to take time to consider the possibilities of the outcomes of our actions. Sadly, more than ninety percent of the people I met in prison, as I visited as chaplain, had reacted rather than acted. In the face of the blank canvas we must stop and consider. This is the way of Tao.


  1. "Reacted rather than acted," quoting you. That says Everything, Ralph! It is the key to Human Freedom, everything, from life style to love, to the art we make to how we choose our toothpaste! It is a wonderful quote and we need to relearn it every day!

  2. I had not even noticed I had sad that Jerry but it is a fact the choices we make and options we choose have effects and reactions right down to the toothpaste we choose. Maybe I should make a postit of this before I forget it. Tahnks again Jerry for your insight.

  3. I like your description of the artist and his organizaton of tools, making choices etc. Not for me I'm afraid.
    If I might add; I think an artist's creativity is like a torch we should attempt to raise high despite organization and choice; and before we put tools to artwork we should remember to be bold, be free and be truthful in raising the torch.

    Now that I've said this, don't know if it relates to anything you've said!