June 19, 2024

The Art of Life



Published May 19, 2023, 5:20 a.m. by Courtney


The documentary film art - The art of life by science and nonduality explores the essential role that art plays in our lives. Through the stories of renowned artists, scientists, and philosophers, the film reveals how art can be a powerful force for transformation and healing.

The film begins with a quote from the late scientist and philosopher Albert Einstein: "There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." This quote sets the stage for the exploration of how art can help us to see the world as a miracle.

The first story in the film is about the artist Andrew Wyeth. Wyeth was a realist painter who is best known for his paintings of the rural landscapes of Pennsylvania. Wyeth's work was deeply influenced by his personal experiences and the people and places he knew.

Wyeth once said, "I paint my life." This quote is significant because it shows how art can be used to express our innermost thoughts and feelings. The film goes on to explore how Wyeth's paintings can be seen as a metaphor for our own lives.

The second story in the film is about the artist Vincent van Gogh. Van Gogh was a post-impressionist painter who is best known for his paintings of sunflowers and cypress trees. Van Gogh's work was deeply influenced by his personal experiences and the people and places he knew.

Van Gogh once said, "I am not an artist, I am a man who paints." This quote is significant because it shows how art can be used to express our innermost thoughts and feelings. The film goes on to explore how van Gogh's paintings can be seen as a metaphor for our own lives.

The third story in the film is about the artist Pablo Picasso. Picasso was a Cubist painter who is best known for his paintings of women. Picasso's work was deeply influenced by his personal experiences and the people and places he knew.

Picasso once said, "art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth." This quote is significant because it shows how art can be used to reveal truths that we may not be able to see in our everyday lives. The film goes on to explore how Picasso's paintings can be seen as a metaphor for our own lives.

The fourth story in the film is about the artist Frida Kahlo. Kahlo was a Mexican painter who is best known for her self-portraits. Kahlo's work was deeply influenced by her personal experiences and the people and places she knew.

Kahlo once said, "I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best." This quote is significant because it shows how art can be used to express our innermost thoughts and feelings. The film goes on to explore how Kahlo's paintings can be seen as a metaphor for our own lives.

The fifth story in the film is about the artist Georgia O'Keeffe. O'Keeffe was an American painter who is best known for her paintings of flowers. O'Keeffe's work was deeply influenced by her personal experiences and the people and places she knew.

O'Keeffe once said, "I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - thing I had no words for." This quote is significant because it shows how art can be used to express our innermost thoughts and feelings. The film goes on to explore how O'Keeffe's paintings can be seen as a metaphor for our own lives.

The sixth story in the film is about the artist Jackson Pollock. Pollock was an American painter who is best known for his paintings of abstract expressionism. Pollock's work was deeply influenced by his personal experiences and the people and places he knew.

Pollock once said, "My painting does not come from the easel. I don't start with a drawing, I don't make a sketch. I just jump in." This quote is significant because it shows how art can be used to express our innermost thoughts and feelings. The film goes on to explore how Pollock's paintings can be seen as a metaphor for our own lives.

The seventh story in the film is about the artist Mark Rothko. Rothko was an American painter who is best known for his paintings of color field abstraction. Rothko's work was deeply influenced by his personal experiences and the people and places he knew.

Rothko once said, "A painting is not about an experience, it is an experience." This quote is significant because it shows how art can be used to express our innermost thoughts and feelings. The film goes on to explore how Rothko's paintings can be seen as

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[Music]

[Music]

i was kind of a

semi-normal or

nearly normal young boy

[Music]

i was 14 and

sick at home one day and turned out i'd

read

every book in the house but one which

was my

algebra one textbook and

when i went back to school i said to my

high school math teacher

mrs hunsicker i said there must be

something wrong here i read that whole

book in four hours it doesn't say

anything

and she said you know it's funny most

people never notice that

so that's how i learned that i had this

uh

ability in mathematics

and there was this whole other world

that i kind of got sucked into that was

beautiful

i had six years in graduate school with

all a's

on the

doctoral exam i got

100 points more than anybody else and

then one day

i graduated i was supposed to go off to

mit because mit was the number three

place in the united states and

i got there and it was

it was cold and there was no beach and

so i said no i want to go to berkeley

just kind of by coincidence that

the unabomber had been there and he had

a two-year appointment and he had just

dropped out so there was an opening so

[Music]

so i went to berkeley

[Music]

i spent two years there and but i

decided i needed some time off i've been

in the university

since i was 16 now i was 29 and

i met a young lady from

hawaii and so we came and we lived

together for a year

on the beaches riding our bicycles

around and

and then she fell in love with a

saxophone player which

it's one of those things that happens

about 50 years ago a man named abraham

robinson

invented a logically consistent

system of infinitesimals

for a while he felt that my work was the

most beautiful work that had been done

with his method and

so i had my 15 minutes of fame i was

he talked about me in all of his

lectures and

in the jungle and wherever i was i'd

written four papers

which i sent off to abraham robinson

so after i was here for three years i

decided it was time to go back

and i got a letter back from his

secretary saying he died of cancer

so i got stranded because

it was only this one man

that thought i had done incredible stuff

nobody else

would have understood any of it or cared

about it

[Music]

someone said that someone out here had a

piece of land in the jungle they wanted

to sell

he brought me out here up this trail and

it was just like

tarzan i mean i had no no way to relate

to it all except for tarzan

and so we shook hands there

in the jungle and

so i came out and just started hacking

at the jungle

and just kind of wrapped up in a piece

of plastic at night and then

and then i'd walk up to the road and

hitch into town and i didn't have any

money at the time so i would just

wait until something happened and i

wound up

having a box of food again and i'd come

back out and do it all over again

[Music]

i had one once this size

like this and i cut it with a chainsaw

like this and it came back and i threw

myself back

and it came like that and it hit another

branch right there just before it hit my

head it was just taking my head off

everybody clears they use a big machine

and you just push it but if you did that

you'd destroy

those thousand fifteen year old hawaiian

lowie the the walls

the only way to not do that is to do it

by hand but that's insane i mean there

might have maybe 10 years of work to

clear that i mean no sane person would

do that so no hawaiian was going to do

that so i wound up with the land

[Music]

when i first came here

like 40 years ago twice i was talking to

an old hawaiian and they would start

telling me about partying

when they were young

before until the holly thing took over

and all of a sudden you could hear it in

the way they were talking what true

freedom was

it was like a whole reality it was like

wow i i don't have a clue what that was

we're enslaved inside of our heads

without knowing it without being able to

see it we're we're crippled they call us

howly's

and holly means without breath or

without soul

and part of it is you know like hi

and we're in our brain someplace all

right

but hawaiians like that they grab you

and give you a big bear hug

right

i mean you know they're so real it's so

wonderful

[Music]

so this was my escape

[Music]

out here you can just be whatever you

are sometimes i say

i spent 13 years in the university

learning how to think now i have to

spend the rest of my life learning how

to not think

you know you'd like to think that you

paid your dues

not by owning something or anything else

but just by because you you've given

your love and your energy

[Music]

you know people ask you know you you

studied mathematics in the university

for 13 years what do you use it for

and i it just makes me cringe i say it's

like do you ask bach if he like

what can design door chimes

it was beautiful it was a beautiful

experience it is a beautiful experience

mathematics this is this whole world of

the pattern the beauty is behind all of

that and it's only by

intimacy with it means you know you

study it you learn it you understand

you're being with it

it's the same thing

with beauty you can't see beauty unless

you're intimate with it

maybe i need all this incredible beauty

and stuff around me to have a feeling of

wealth i don't know

[Music]

this was a chance to do something that

was just basically

pure the art of life

[Music]

everything about here is is bizarrely

impractical

there were wild pigs running through all

here that at one point about two months

ago about 20 of them surrounded my house

all night long

and you could hear this

[Music]

all night long from sunset to sunrise it

was like one of those horror movies and

i went out with this machete

i went out and i saw this big boar and i

looked at him and he looked at me and i

went back in the house

they would have just ripped me to shreds

this is fairly recent growth but we're

sort of heading off more into

uh the edge of where i actually cleared

and so things get thicker

you can see when you get into this stuff

it's harder to figure out how in the

world actually even get through it

personally i think it was kind of an

insane thing to do

the old house the one that fell down

originally at one point i built it all

out of bamboo

you can tell by the texture like if it's

a young one and you cut it it'll just

rot if you need a really old one

and then you we'd run it through a fire

to try to push the sap out and then i

painted it with three coats of spar

varnish and i built a whole house out of

it

and then i got moldy it didn't work

the basic thing is we have hands we've

had hands for millions of years and what

are hands for you if you have hands you

grab things you hold them and you

manipulate them

and so our whole

conceptual

being

is in terms of that we our concepts that

we have

our meaning that we have we hold it we

grasp it and we manipulate that we do

that with everything and that's the way

our science is and that's the way

everything is and and the point is

that's leading us to the edge of a cliff

logic

and this grasping has served this huge

function

basically creating cement in people's

heads

you know in this case it's becoming

lethal because we're destroying the

planet you know there's too much cement

that's not allowing us to think in a new

way

what the whole culture needs right now

is how to find wealth without needing to

exploit everything

and it's the whole thing where science

can become more holistic

[Music]

there was a schism of math about 200

years ago before that math all had to do

with how the world worked and then there

became this incredibly abstract math

and it split in 1850 when lobozzewski

made this hyperbolic geometry

[Music]

you know the simple thing is that humans

somehow got to the point of knowing what

numbers are

people have expanded their concept of a

number

to include negative numbers and we've

expanded them to fractions

but it turns out that

you can expand your concept of numbers

beyond that

to to

include direction

vectors like arrows and if you do that

a huge amount of the the explanation of

the

the universe and math

just is comes from that being able to

expand your consciousness of number to

include direction

[Music]

in our everyday life what's obvious is

what worked evolutionarily

but what's really obvious once you get

outside of that and experiment it might

not correspond to that at all

when you study things holistically you

know these things now with massive data

you can learn things that you don't

understand how they actually work

we may for instance create conscious

beings but we won't understand how they

work

outside of the human mind there's this

immense universe

and it's got nothing to do with human

emotions there's no push me pull me

the world out there outside of human

minds is basically in some sense pure

mathematics

[Music]

i'm not very musical i can't sing i

can't even sing a note i'm just not

musical

but

somehow this music is incredibly

beautiful

[Music]

there's two strains of spirituality

one of them is just loving what's

beautiful and positive

but the other one is in transcending

that and seeing everything is beautiful

and positive

my dad used to say to me well what if

everybody lived like you

i just couldn't live that life

[Music]

do you feel lonely

yes sometimes you would feel lonely i

mean i think that that having a partner

in life

uh

is an utterly ideal beautiful thing to

be somebody that's your lifelong friend

that you're intimate with

but maybe that's not my karma i've been

in a minute and fell fallen in love

several times

[Music]

my father's

father left him when he was 11 years old

so when i was young

he used to say

who do you think you are a star border

it's his house everything is his and it

was

so you know i just left when i was 16 i

just left

one day when i was at little beach it

was this absolutely

gorgeous

day though it's been flat over there for

a week or so in kona winds

and it was just crystal clear and flat

and

i'd swim naked almost all the way around

to the next beach

and i swam into a mass of uh portuguese

manowar

portuguese manowar are not these big

things but they're these little things

that float on the surface and they have

all these long

tendrils that go down they're like

strings

and they stick on you and they they

shoot little harpoons into you and the

harpoons have a protein that attaches to

your pain receptors

and fires your pain receptors off at

maximum

and the reason they do that is if a fish

swims into those tentacles with just one

swish of its tail it would just rip them

all apart but it's so paralyzed by the

pain

that it can't can't react and it's just

paralyzed there so i swam into a huge

mass of these that had been blown by the

winds the southern winds and

and i took

i was naked so i took three handfuls off

my genitals and i looked into the water

and there's a there's a ball about this

big of mass of these things i ripped off

of me and they were all over my body

fortunately i was right next to the

shore and i crawled into this little

spot this is a really isolated spot

where there's nothing around i crawl

into this little spot

and looking out on this

crystal clear beautiful day there's no

human thing i can see it's just the

island like it might have been for a few

million years

if you got into a fear state or anger

state or anything like that you'd be

dead in like 20 seconds you would just

rip things apart so it was like one

second if you got through that second

thing you get to the next one

but i was in the sun and

the sun was unbearable there was a

little bit of shade and i'd throw myself

into there

and then after about three or four

seconds i get claustrophobic and i have

to throw myself out back in the sun so i

spent an hour throwing myself in and out

of this piece of shade

and just screaming

and

after about an hour the pain went down

just a little bit enough so that i could

crawl out

on a rock

i realized

that what saved my life

was

that the background feeling wasn't

anger or fear

it was this peculiar buddhist thing that

i felt like all the people

[Music]

all the people in the world that had

ever been tortured

uh

it feels like

there's so many people and beings right

now that are in such incredible

suffering

and it just feels like for a moment i

opened the door

to their presence

uh

you never really had your father's love

you never they weren't capable of but

for a very long time was incapable of

loving you because they were both so

armored

and they could never break through that

there's a that's a lot of pain in that

and

maybe without that pain it's difficult

to feel other people's pain

[Music]

[Music]

i spent probably 12 years hanging out

with the llama so i studied tibetan i

learned at least the the religious

script so that i knew what i was saying

colin winpoche was his teacher and he

had him stay in paiilla

every time he'd see me he'd pat my

pocket he says you got money

you got money

because he knew i had that

block against the money

he was here those are pictures of him

when he visited spent the night here and

he said you just stay here he says you

there's billions of beings here you just

take care of all of these beings and

then one day you'll find the the wish

fulfilling stone that's what the money

stone what chenrezig has in his hands

and then all riches will come to you

but what the money stone symbolizes is

great equanimity

everything that comes to you is

incredible richness no matter what it is

but it also you know you're not there

yet so it's a path and so that path it

also symbolizes the guru that all true

teaching comes from

moving towards great equanimity

this is my llama when he died

he had a a blockage tumor

[Music]

about a week before he died

and he we were at the dharma center in

paiilla

and he he looks at me he says when i die

he says i'm going far far away

he says when michael dies

they've got to come to his land and have

a big party for him

and then somebody's going to say

shh

michael doesn't like noise

teasing me that i was attached to my

left that she wasn't

so that was one of his final lessons

[Music]

in buddhism there's two things emptiness

and compassion compassion is a choice

you you choose to be loving

you choose

that

but emptiness is something different

emptiness is basically seeing the world

the way that it really is it's not being

subject to delusion

or at least knowing when you're subject

to illusion dilemma said that a fool

that knows he's a fool is only half a

fool

[Music]

the fundamentals of quantum mechanics

the absolute basis of it

is what it's likely when things are

indistinguishable

you know a photon electron not having

inherent existence radically changes the

way it behaves

if something can happen in two different

ways

if they're not distinguishable

you get interference and all these

bizarre things that happen in quantum

mechanics are when things are

indistinguishable

you know in buddhism it's the same thing

you know oh we're all enlightened we're

all you know we're perfect the way they

are the other hand in reality the way we

act we act like we're not and in essence

it's the same thing it's because we're

totally entangled with our environment

[Music]

the reason that our everyday world is

classical

is that

basically everything is becomes

distinguishable because of the light

everything is being entangled with its

environment constantly

you know so it appears to have inherent

existence it acts as if it has a narrow

existence

everything that's a deep

conception of realities in terms of two

things that are the opposites that are

mutually contradictory

you know the wave and particles

you know here's yours you're an

enlightened person and here you're this

entangled

trapped in samara you know they're two

opposite views they contradict each

other but you need both of them to

describe reality that's the copenhagen

connection

and the fact that you want to grab one

or the other

and say they contradict each other

that's you know that's not being alive

because that's not the way the world

really is that's what the copenhagen

that's what the discovery of quantum

mechanics says is that the deep reality

can't be described that way

[Music]

about 600 bc

buddha said

let's try to understand the world by

seeing the

simplest possible thing we can do

which is to do nothing

so that's meditation

we do nothing and we look

at the same time in greece

they said what's the simplest thing we

can think about and this if if things

are logically consistent some within as

long as we stay within logical

consistency we can actually come with a

conclusion we won't just talk at each

other for a lifetime

and so these traditions starting with

pythagoras and through euclid have led

to western science and buddhism has

continued in that way

so what's the the core

belief system the core concept in

buddhism

is called sunyata or emptiness

which has different definitions but

two of them are that things don't exist

in the way they seem to exist they exist

they seem to be one thing but actually

there's something else

so that's this vast philosophical system

they

they they also call that seeing reality

as it actually is

so you go out in the evening and you

watch the sunset

you don't go out in the evening and

watch the earth rotate

even though we've known this for 500

years we still don't see it

so that's an example of something

that's existing is something

different than it seems to

it seems to be the sun moving but

actually it's the earth rotating right

so even deeper

thing that science has which was totally

incomprehensible to people but since the

movie the matrix now people understand

is that this world out here isn't the

external world

it's not it's a representation in our

mind there's nothing out there that

corresponds to what you see there are no

colors outside of the human mind or

outside some mind

what is this model

this model is that there's this

three-dimensional space

and there are objects

in the space

and at any particular moment an object

that is a particular space and in

another moment like

three seconds later maybe it's in

another space

and there's two other that has two

properties one is that if this was here

and it moves here it has to move through

a continuous path a smooth path to get

there

and the other one is that two objects

can't be in the same place at the same

time

so that's the model

that we're immersed in we see as

external reality even though it's part

of our mind

but the thing is is that was built up by

evolution

it was built up so that our

ancestors could survive and reproduce

and for no other reason at all

it's inherently what we're actually

seeing out there is the wisdom of our

ancestors

much more than any kind of external

world

right

but the thing is is all of our ancestors

were

basically about this size i mean you

know

50 million years ago they might have

been real tiny but you know none of them

were ever

the size of an atom

or a subatomic particle so this model

that we've built up by evolution because

it worked for the last few hundred

million years there's no reason

whatsoever no operatory reason why it

should work

at the size of an atom

and of course

it wouldn't make any difference if the

smallest thing you could see was about a

tenth of a millimeter but now that we

can actually

manipulate things at the

level of an atom

we find out that it simply doesn't work

may what lies between clear light be

self-aware buddhist of the three times

through your compassion

may the mind of all beings like me be

freed

i'd worked and worked and worked and

worked here in my back got

really messed up

and i i really needed some therapy

and so i started swimming long distances

swimming a few miles along the coast

then i discovered the dolphins

i was sleeping on the beach i'd get up a

couple hours before sunrise and do yoga

and then it was a two mile hike if i

went along the road to where the

dolphins were or was about a four mile

hike if i went around the edge of the

lava flow

and then you'd be coming around and

there'd be the bay and you could see if

the dolphins were in there

and it was like an amazing thing i mean

basically to be able to live in this

beach and go swimming with the dolphins

every day in america

so these guys are swimming

and i'm watching them on the bottom and

i see for sure there's one bigger than

all the other ones and then i realized

that if he moves his head everybody

moves he moves his head that way

everybody moves he speeds up everybody

speeds up

and i'm swimming with this and i'm

watching that so i just without thinking

about automatically just get into

responding to what he's doing

and so i

accidentally put myself totally in his

control

and so for half an hour an hour

he just had control of me and then all

of a sudden they're on the bottom he

comes up off the bottom and accelerates

coming straight at me and he leads the

whole pod

and a few minutes later they're below me

and he's lined them all up shoulder to

shoulder in a line

with me right in the center

so

i figured that was sort of my initiation

into the pod that i was you just do what

the head man says and you're okay you

know

that was the rules

in their motions

it's very

very very mathematical very geometric

they're always moving and they move in a

way to include you

and you realize how harsh it is to be

around people

you know some people with their body

language include you but every place you

are people are excluding you with their

body language without not even

consciously

[Music]

they're just incredibly polite my

conceptualization was i look in our

human minds

and it looks like half of the emotions

are adaptions to scarcity you know this

is my land this is my food this is my

car this is my money my woman

but these guys don't have that they

they're they're hunting on these schools

of millions of fish she says their

problem is the tiger shark

and the adaption to the tiger shark for

these guys because they're not big

enough to defend themselves alone is

being in that pod

and since they can only sleep half their

brain

they're in that pod 24 7. if you're not

a good social being you're going to get

thrown out of the pod and you're going

to die

so they've had millions of years to

their adoption for survival is

politeness

if you learn a few tricks

then you're more fun to play with

so

they'd like to come and they'd swim

around you in a circle and i had these

hand paddles on so i'd curl on my side

and i'd go like this like crazy so one

could put his head right in front of me

and then spin me like a top

and then

just to make it more interesting they

get you spinning good and then all of a

sudden they try to change the axis and

make you spin at a different angle

which was really really fun but the only

problem was is that these guys can jump

up in the air

and do a dozen spins and come down you

know that's what they're good at that's

why they're called spinners but you know

you spin around a few dozen times like

this and you start to throw up so

i had thrown up a couple of times

and there was this one time where i i

just got to the point where i was going

through up and i'm not going to do it

again nope and all of a sudden comes

wham like this okay and then i'm like oh

and he comes again

okay and i let him get ahead of me and i

i went over the tail

so now what's happened is we're changing

the game so now he changed the game

and what he changed the game to

was i was swimming

overhand and hard he put his tail right

in front of my head and started swishing

back and forth

through my through my hands

and so

he's got all his buddies the other

juveniles and they're watching this and

so they come in and they start body

slamming him on the side

to just throw his rhythm off right so

all of a sudden i got a half dozen

dolphins so that became the game i

played with him i did that like

hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of

times that was the most fun thing i've

ever done in my whole life that was just

incredible

it's just too much fun to be able to

to stop

that's just what happened you know it

was

i didn't support myself i was just there

[Music]

how much money would it take to be able

to spend five years going every day

swimming with the dolphins

you know most people they can afford a

week

in hawaii and maybe they're lucky if

they get a day certainly with the

dolphins

they'll be able to go for five years

every day and some of the dolphins

that's karma you can't no amount of

money could afford that

you just have to

have your freedom

[Music]

there was one day i was in the bay

and

that day the dolphins were just with me

were super friendly they started

swimming

out of the bay

and it's like three and a half miles

around to the next place we can get out

of the water they start swimming out of

the bay

and so i stopped

well and they're continuing and they

turned around and came back to get me

with it so i so i

saw some of the ways i stopped again

they came back to get me again

and i didn't go i was already pretty

tired and then they came a third time

and then

i stopped and then they didn't come back

and it turned out that the people from

all along the coast were saying that

different pods kept coming together they

went along the whole coast

until there were you know a thousand a

couple thousand dolphins

and then they headed out there was some

massive party something going on and

they invited me

and i could have gone with them and it

was this exquisitely beautiful day of

course you wouldn't have survived you

know you you it was

but

still i always regretted that i didn't

go it would have been so special

[Music]

i just i like to feel vital and alive

and i like to feel

[Music]

an intimacy with the world and with

people

the buddhist principle is that

we're surrounded by zillions of buddhas

but they can't have any contact with you

because you're not open to them but if

you ever open up

it's all there

[Music]

everything here was built

for the moment for the experience for

the uh not

i mean i don't know what i'm doing i

built this house i don't ever build a

house before i don't know what i'm doing

it was just seemed like a chippy thing

to do at the time

evolution is a process of iteration

there's no plan there's no master plan

it's in each moment of what happens

my life is a process of iteration

you know i don't i was never smart

enough or felt adult enough to have a

plan for my life so there's nothing to

accomplish

[Music]

what's going to happen after me to this

i presume it just goes back to the

jungle because who in the world would do

this kind of work

[Music]

i mean what an incredible thing that you

could have this much beauty i mean if

you want to buy a van gogh it's going to

cost you 100 million dollars

is it really prettier than this

the mathematics that the

universe is designed on is beautiful

if you can see the beauty in every being

[Music]

then you can appreciate and love every

being

[Music]

we humans are drowning in a sea of

things complexity stress ideas

complexity has been woven into the

fabric of our soul

just play just be

jump in with love

swim in bliss

saying home and a prayer

[Music]

[Applause]

[Music]

you

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