The discovery of the illusion of implied motion began simply enough with the Zoetrope. When looking at a series of still images, which show the same subject in a slightly different position in time, the rapid succession of those images gets translated in our minds as a moving image.
The theory of Persistence of Vision explains that continual motion is an illusion that occurs in our mind. When the image changes from one to the other, the first image will linger in our mind long enough to have it merge with the second one. The faster the images appear, the less jerky the motion appears.
This process was explored and refined into our modern day films. 24 frames per second is the standard. 24 separate images flash before us in one second, and we see movement.
During grammar school, my classmates and I would grab our books of higher learning and painstakingly go about the business of creating flip books out of the corners. We'd toil away, and I'm sure look quite busy and concentrated, while we drew out stick figure fights, car chases, you name it. We'd become immersed in our creations and by doing so were participating in one of the simplest and most natural of acts.
And we do this all of the time! You and I, participating in the act of beholding and the beholden. Letting ourselves get carried away by the iMAGICnation of our waking dreams. Outside of time, place and space.
Stillness in Movement; The art of motion, and more than this: This is our uncanny ability to believe. This is what allows us to become absorbed in a novel as with words, it weaves and guides us through a perfectly constructed universe. A play, as the bombastic acts of the players trigger in us a recognition and empathy that entertains and reveals. A song, the melody and words that truly create the soundtrack of our lives, the lyrical ebb and flow that is instantly familiar. A Lover, the glorious moment of blending, melting, sharing, where our souls meet and are united in heaven.
It is the moment when we participate in aesthetic arrest. A moment and an action that we surely do not give ourselves enough credit for. The Willing Suspension of Disbelief is a natural skill we all posses and use unconsciously.
All of the time.
We are immersed in the moment and the moment consumes us, carries us, and offers us that wonderful feeling of living, breathing, beauty.
"The aesthetic experience is a simple beholding of the object....you experience a radiance. You are held in aesthetic arrest." - Joseph Campbell.
My Grandfather once told me: "Desde que se inventaron las escusas, se acabaron los pendejos." Which translates roughly into: "Since excuses were invented, Idiots ceased to exist." He was speaking about assuming responsibility, the act of embracing one's acts. It is a unique quality of Human Nature that we perceive the act not getting caught with "getting away with it". The entire concept of irresponsibility revolves around the idea of one's acts not being tallied and counted against us.
If there are two things that define a Man, or Gentleman, they are his actions and his word. His word is how he declares his intention. It is his claim that sets forth his path and direction. It is his ability to clearly and succinctly define, who he is, what he is doing, and what he will do. The honorable Man is defined by his ability to "live up to his word." Hence, being a "Man of your word" was considered one of the highest honors any Man can carry, regardless of his social strata. Before laws, contracts, and judgements, there was the word. Deals were made verbally, and sealed with a handshake, which is our second definer of Men: His Actions.
The firm handshake and the word go hand in hand (my apologies for the pun). The handshake was the contract and the affirmation of the word. This was the first action amongst Men. This combination was a guarantee of commitment and results. It was a way of knowing, with certainty, what was to transpire amongst both parties. We agree on an action, and we seal it with a handshake.
I do what I say and I say what I do.
I recommend we dissolve the entire concept of "getting away with it". Let's strike from our lexicon those very words that purport to give us an out. Let's come to terms with the fact that there really is no place to hide. We truly do wear our hearts on our sleeves. The masks that we employ to direct our audience reveal as much, if not more, than what we believe we conceal. All acts reflect on the actor. We carry the mark of our actions in our gait, our look, the way we hesitate. Why pretend, when our very persona broadcasts to the world both our history and our expectations?
Sans judgement. Sans guilt. Sans religion, God, or anything else out there.
Take a stand.
I do what I say and I say what I do.
You don't need to be right. Being "right" is only valid in hindsight. Walk with a sure step. Make the commitment that drives you forward.
We are all born unfinished. Like the seed, caterpillar, stone, we are un-hued and naturally require the work that pulls, polishes, and sets.
I witnessed my Son in his frailty; a Time Traveler arriving in our temporal reality. Me being his host, welcome young Man to this trip we'll call your life. I remember you speaking to me, telling me how draining it was to arrive; how it was easy to sleep, to stay between both worlds. but the love we shared served as your guidepost. the lamp you followed to your corporeal beginnings came from our heat, my voice, the touch.
I witnessed my Woman in her distrust; a Goddess walking this earth. You challenged me with your myriad tasks. All designed to destabilize me, all designed to prove that I was worthy of you to open up. And I did. I remember you telling me how you didn't want to be hurt again. How it was too much to let go. But we danced. Slowly, with soft steps, and with a rhythm that is uniquely our own.
I see my Self in my unfolding; Stumbling through the basics. Bopping my head on the obvious. Having to re-learn that "Yes, Abner, you're back in school." "Yes, Abner you need to learn this in order to move on." "No, Abner it doesn't matter if you've done this in the past, you need to do it now." I look for shortcuts and ways out, only to remind myself that there is no other path for me. No other space for me. No other moment than the one I create/embrace/accept.
in an interdependent causality that moves in all directions
at all times
its too much
too allow yourself to intertwine with the ineffable. to dissipate, dissolve, not cease, but simply, Be.
When what we all long for are the moments of validation. The intimacy of sharing. The dissolution of our very selves; Every fiber, every atom, resonating with the simple fact that we are all truly and deeply intertwined.
One fine evening, in the hallowed, but crusty halls of El Tropico Night Club (The famous East L.A. haunt that specialized in hookers, transvestites, cocaine, and ghosts. "Broken Hearts & Broken Noses")two of my favorite patrons strolled in. One was a retired cop that worked security and had his own mechanics' shop (from his garage), the other was a Cab Driver. They were always quite jovial and had a great knack for telling stories and chiming in with each other. This particular time Jorge, our Cab Driver, walked looking like he had seen death itself. Angel, our retired cop, had his arm around him and looked like he could barely contain his smile. They sat at the Bar:
Me - Hey Man, que traes?
Jorge - Nuthin Man. How you been?
(Turning to Angel)
Me - Sup with your boy? Looks like su vieja se lo madreo!
Angel - Nah Bro. It's better than that! (Laughs)
I pop open a couple of beers (the usual) as they settle in
Jorge - (staring at the bottle) I can't fucken believe it.
Angel - (to me) You see, Jorge here is suffering from what us cops call "shock"; A near death experience; you know, "shaking hands with Jesus"
Me - (to Jorge) Not Jesus, my cousin, but the Man upstairs?
Angel - The one and only! (pats Jorge in the back) you'll make it through this homey.
Jorge - It wasn't my fault...
Me - Relax Man... What Happened?
Angel - (holding back a smile) ...well I don't know about that...
Jorge - (To Angel) Cmon! I just did the usual. (turns to me) I was doing my rounds; you know, hitting all the bars and clubs looking for fares. Its easy money to take a some drunks home. And sometimes I pick some hot Mamacitas!
Angel - (Laughs) ...right...
Jorge - Hey Man! I'm telling you I was just following the game plan! I picked up this old lady, over at Luminarias. She was sloshed! I figured: easy money. I'll take her home the long way, listen to some tunes, and ask her for a nice tip. (Takes a swig of beer) ...Damn...
Angel - Tell em what she said first.
Jorge - This old lady sits down in the back, and before I can ask where to she says: "All Men are Idiots"
Angel - "Bola de pendejos!"
Jorge - Yeah, so I get her address and we're on our way. I tell her "you shouldn't be so hard on us, some of us out there our good catches..."
(Jorge takes a sip)
Jorge - She starts sighing.
Angel - ya vez las novelas...
Jorge - She says: "Hay Mijo... if you only knew... just what I've gone through..."
Me - ...and she starts crying...
Angel - ...I'm tellin you...
Jorge - Yes! So now I've this drunk old lady just bawling in the back. And I'm trying to calm her down.
Me - Of course you are! Damsel in distress...
Angel - More like Gramsel!
Jorge - Anyway, I'm saying stupid shit like "Oh, it's gona be alright" and "maybe you're better off without him"
Angel - Bad Idea...
Jorge - She cries even louder when I said that! "How could you say that to me?!" she says.
Angel - Real bad...
Jorge - So now I'm apologizing! I'm like "Senora I didn't mean it." and "I'm sorry." and all that.
Me - Ah, my favorite line with my Ladies: "I'm sorry..."
(Me, Jorge, and Angel together) "...it was all my fault"
Angel - Wait, it gets better. Go on bro.
Jorge - I don't know how I got into this mess, but we go back and forth all the way through. Till finally, I'm at her house.
(Angel is again holding back a smile)
Jorge - I tell her the fare and she says: "Ok, young man. Pay yourself." I looked in my rear view, figured maybe she was gona hand me her purse, I don't know. Oh, man... She's leaning back on the seat. I'm like "What?" and she starts pulling up her skirt! "I said, Pay Yourself! Be a Man. get back here, and pay yourself!"
Angel - Yeah! Get to it Son! (Laughing)
Jorge - I said "Ma'am I'm sorry, but you've had to much to drink. I just need my fare and I'll be on my way.
She says: "What are you? some kind of faggot?!"
... she pulled up her skirt...
(Me and Angel) - ...oh man...
Jorge - "Maricon!" she says. I had to get out of the car and open her door. She wouldn't leave! Just kept saying it: "Maricon! Maricon!"
Jorge stoped and just stared at his beer bottle for a while. Angel and I stared at each other with ear to ear smiles till finally we both broke into guffaws. Angel patted Jorge in the back a few more times. Jorge smiled and shook his head.
Me - Guess you could have told her the usual again...
(Jorge, Angel, and Me) I'M SORRY. IT WAS ALL MY FAULT!
Disconcerting dynamic of our current times: We've been accustomed to blurb like living. Where our attention is only capable of accepting seconds worth of clips. All popular media is designed around this frame. Whether its news, music, TV, or any other medium, it is all compressed around a tight, minimal attention style.
Perhaps our need for streamlining and efficacy has gotten the best of us. As we've seemed to embed into our day to day an inability to focus, pay attention, remain silent. We are educating ourselves into natural states of attention deficit!
It was said Bodhidharma spent 9 years in a cave, meditating, listening to the ants scream.
Giving himself the time
and yet we bombard ourselves with enough static and noise to fill a lifetime of unfulfillment. We create urgency and hurry that drive us deeper into urgency and hurry that drive us deeper into...
Note how we actively seek out continual distractions. Note how quickly we end one task and look for another to fill the space. Note how we cannot simply walk and contemplate without dialing a friend or playing a tune. Have you ever seen anyone simply standing on the street thinking? I mean one who wasn’t homeless. It is not an easy thing to be solely with oneself, yet it is a glorious experience and an exercise in conversation with your soul. The silence may seem like a threatening place, but it is from where you spring forth. You need to go to the point of discomfort, delve into it and find there your revelation; Because it is in the engagement with your shadow, your silent self, that your nature, purpose, and actions can be revealed. Besides, staring at the sun will make you blind. Next time, notice how shadows bring out the beauty and nuance of an object.
Some of us happen to be quite uncomfortable with silence. Silence as reminder of our impending death; as time wasted in a “go get em’” world. If you’re not busy you must be doing something wrong. If the phone doesn’t ring you’re a loser. If you don’t have any emails this morning, other than spam, you don’t have a life. We long for constant validation and wallow in the implications of its repression. Hence silence is proof of failure. Inaction is an example of weakness. Not having validation is a clear sign that we are both unworthy and unwanted.
Let's re-evaluate the implications of silence: Embrace the silence that comes to you; better yet, actively look for moments of nothingness. Pure untouched emptiness. We have super saturated our lives with the constant noise, static, gibberish of the everyday in order to avoid the obvious. Have you noticed how quickly you fill your life with things “to do” from the moment you awake till the moment you sleep? Its no wonder you feel the overwhelming anxiety of not having “enough hours in the day”, when in reality, you are merely filling the voids in your life in order to avoid your responsibilities to yourself.
Pay attention. Its right there in front of you. You may be exhilarated to know that its coming. That its here. But do not confuse that with fear. Know that your task is to polish the mirror of your soul so that you may know, live and understand. And that, my friend is nothing to be afraid of, but rather, it is something to revere. It is the thing you have been waiting for.