Van Huebner, 3

Interview with Van Huebner

Van:

Well I can't presume to know what this whole feels like for a slime-mold or an elephant, but for me, I can't even swim to the bottom of the ocean much less see the perimeter of the "Universe."– but, if by "whole" you are meaning "Universe" I might agree to a "wholeness" or "one" but with the qualification that I am far too conscious of my visual limitation, and even further distrustful of the conceptual environment that I would find it impossible to pronounce formula that unifies all our understanding of physical laws, much less any co-variable of consciousness.

MP:

I believe your resistance to wholeness as an absolute is connected to a need to hold onto your individualism in the extreme. What I am trying desperately to tap into is your heart and that part of you that is absolutely connected to everything else.

Van:

I think my obsession with visual thinking is in keeping with Buddhist philosophy–

"Words and their discrimination bind one to the dreary round of rebirths into the world... meaning stands alone... [and] is attained by much learning, and much learning is attained by becoming conversant with meaning and not with words..."

– A Buddhist Bible. ed. Dwight Goddard, p312.

MP:

What I get from this quote is that meaning is a thing of the heart and not the mind, just like understanding. Minds can never touch. Hearts can.

Van:

Not where I was going with that, but hmm... actually, I think I was getting at the point (of agreement) where there must be some universal creative impulse, but that, as an artist (or whatever it is I am), I never feel satisfied with describing it with words– that through drawing I feel more successful at getting close to it. The process vs. the product, you know. So, drawing as meditation is quite simply itself my best answer to "what is this core universal impulse?”

I "feel" I know what it is, but I also feel like I'm looking away from it when I try to describe it with words. Yet, the visual product (or any of the arts) like words are evidence of our search, they all together allude to a deeper "meaning" perhaps than could be had without each of the others. Surely, though, I would think a "well rounded" education would allow like minds to meet. My own mind and heart, it could also be said though, are in check with each other.

MP:

This is good and usable stuff. Thank you so much. I think we are back on track. I appreciate the focus. Let me ask you this-- Why do you suppose two Zen masters have nothing to say to each other?

Van:

Hmmm– because they've already shaken the hands that didn't appear to be clapping?

MP:

I'm serious.

Van:

Oops, sorry. I thought you were injecting some humor. Okay, wait... Honestly, I think it would be a redundant conversation for them and they know this already. They'd be like practicing the minutely different ways to utter the words like actors rehearsing their script, you know. Or, like they know the way out of the woods already, and prefer to stay a while in silence before they amble out.

MP:

So there is no point. Looking into one another's eyes or laughing. Everything is clear. No discussion is necessary. It's all good. This is a meeting of hearts. As soon as you introduce language and the mind it will go on forever as we can never fully agree on the expression of terms because they are names for things that have no name. Okay, now I am going to quote someone:

"When you leave solitude you enter the marketplace"

– Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche

Van:

Are we still talking about Zen masters? Or the general public..., or just you and me specifically (I don't think of myself as a Zen master). I like this quote. Leaving that spiritual/intellectual refuge inside, we become prey to our desire to consume.

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