Van Huebner, 4

Interview with Van Huebner

MP:

Well, the marketplace yes... is a place of consumption but I think his point is that the endless (and I mean endless) negotiations begin. We enter trade... trade of ideas... and we will inevitably feel shorthanded. I would not call the common inner refuge intellectual. Perhaps this is where we (in our marketplace) impose a different meaning on the word "intellectual". I want to jump on the opportunity here and ask if you believe this inner refuge to be the same place in all cases. I am trying to corner you with another absolute but my reason is beneficent.

I believe the refuge is absent of both time and space and is common to all. It is nothingness, emptiness and acausal (without cause). It is eternal. Out of this eternal pure empty space that I believe us all to in essence actually BE, nature is expressed in its many forms and creates time through dimension and its cycles. So to refer back to the terms I joined and coined of "acausal witness", I speak of us all ultimately being (independent of projected biological nature) a witness, making no choices but simply experiencing.

Van:

Ah, yes...market place of ideas... Perhaps I should have said "reason" and not intellect. But it's the same problem there. As to being cornered... My heart says it wants a comfort zone of sorts– a solitude I've always craved. Seems a paradox though (to my reasoning self) to state that it's also a shapeless, timeless place we all share and that we are fixed as witnesses to the same wonder. Really bends my mind there.

When I am drawing I don’t think that I am consciously alone. Nor that I am conversing with anyone. Rather both those concepts are contrary to the event. I'm either in between these states of consciousness, or without them altogether... or as you have termed it I am not "I" but an "acausal witness" to the event.

MP:

I appreciate the willingness to at least look at this bit. I want you to entertain something if you will. I sense a contradiction that when looked at deeply might reveal much. You have stated that you reject absolutes. I understand where that comes from. I can appreciate it. In fact, what I'd like to ask you to do is be brutally honest with yourself and ask yourself if you in actuality know anything– anything.

It seems to me that the rejection of absolutes is the same as understanding quite clearly that there is no real empirical knowledge AT ALL. Take some time to look deeply at this. If this is the case, then yes... you cannot be anything more than awareness. My reasoning is that motive becomes just another idea. It is our egos that have us as we are walking to the bathroom out of necessity say "I decided to go to the bathroom". Shit just happens and we mistakenly take credit for it.

Van:

Hah, yes, I like that! I've avoided explaining the origins of my reluctance to adhere to any absolute because it involved bringing up lengthy digressions about politics and religion which we wanted to shy away from in my responses. Just to put it real briefly, "I scared myself." I caught myself stating absolutist malarkey about all large movements including environmentalism leading to fascism and suddenly decided it was time to distance myself from proclaiming I had any special knowledge anymore. So, yes, I know nothing, nada, nichts.

MP:

That's beautiful. So the witness thing fits does it not? I want to point out something, and you tell me if I am on target or not. Your reaction based response to your proclaiming though it threw you into the polar opposite camp, actually kept you on the same axis of ego. The refusal to admit any absolute is an absolutist approach. Another monk story: One Zen monk is pontificating and then apologizes. He looks to the other monk for understanding and the monk simply sneezes to show that his words were just an expulsion of noise anyway.

Van:

Yes, indeed, and my recoil was an absolutist reproach as well. I love this sneeze story!

MP:

Thanks. Hey, I think we are almost done with the interview. I have at least one more question but we will see how it goes. Given our reconciliation of absolutist opposites, and your acceptance of the inherent non-knowing and what might be called a meditative state as refuge that you mentioned, can you describe the process in understandable terms of how drawing enables you to recover this refuge-like space within yourself?

Van:

Yes, certainly. Firstly, (to draw from life, especially) I consciously let go of the natural focus of the eye, opening up the attention to the whole visual field. The reason being i draw from the relationships of shapes and contours rather than points. This resisting drawing from points allows both a quicker understanding of the figure as well as protects me from committing too greatly to any one error or feature. This, then, is also the meditative doorway if you will. Resisting focus frees me of self-consciousness, and not just doubt but, holding to any ideas at all about anything... I am freed of thought.

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