“An artist who has no imagination is a mechanic.” (Robert Henri)
“Without the playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable.” (Carl Jung)
“What if imagination and art are not frosting at all, but the fountainhead of human experience?” (Rollo May)
“Everything you can imagine is real.” (Pablo Picasso)
“You cannot hear the waterfall if you stand next to it. I paint my jungles in the desert.” (Macedonlo de la Torre)
Face it. For various reasons, the human race is addicted to solving problems, even where problems don’t exist.
But imagination, unchained, would take us into a wholly different arena.
At some point in the future, art will intersect with reality in a way that exceeds any transformation yet seen.
I can’t put a number on the year or the century in which this will occur, but it won’t matter, because when it does happen, something will also happen to time itself…
As a result of art, language will change. A new layer will be added to the way we think and talk, and this layer will impregnate us with new esthetics which are impossible to define or label.
What was mystery becomes fact, but not rationally surrounded fact. It is immediacy of experience. In every second, we are alive. And a new language facilitates that.
For all this to come true, we need, above all, imagination—unchained.
Here is an introduction made by the famous astrologer and philosopher, Dane Rudhyar, before a concert of his music almost 40 years ago:
“Thus you find in my music extended chords which provide a definite sense of spacing between notes, notes which are supposed to be in dissonant relationship. These harmonies can be disturbing at first, but eventually you can learn to realize what is their essential purpose; and this purpose is to stimulate you, to arouse you, to break down crystallization…
“It is that kind of music to which you are subjected tonight. I hope that it will bring to you some sort of a realization of a possibility which perhaps you have not been aware of, or confusedly so, in the past. To really help you to live a more intense, a more creative life — this is the purpose I have always had in music, in other arts, or in my philosophy, astrology — indeed in whatever I have done. It is always an attempt to bring the human person away from the old traditional pattern of a classical, set and definite kind of society, and to lead it to new horizons where the creative factor in what really is man can be seen operating in full and glorious freedom.”
Paul Klee: “To emphasize only the beautiful seems to me to be like a mathematical system that only concerns itself with positive numbers.”
Klee was intimating that our language could be expanded so that it exceeds the possibility of translation back into prosaic terms.
What we are has the potential to invent art out along an infinite number of roads—and in doing so, we surpass any previous form of language. And when THAT happens, our communication with one another reaches new heights and depths. There is nothing technical or scientific about such a momentous breakthrough.
We tend to place a tremendous emphasis on UNITY in our culture. But the truth is, evolution is taking us in another direction. When this false unity fragments enough, we discover another possibility. The unique character of every individual can be taken to its extreme, and then we arrive at millions of different ways of being artists.
This is the future.
As improbable as it may seem, it has wings.
Magic is nothing more and nothing less than imagination superseding this universe. Magic occurs when imagination takes this reality for a ride.
Which brings us to what I call the Is People. The Is People are dedicated with a fervor to insisting that this Continuum and this consensus reality are inviolable, are the end-all and be-all.
They strive to fit themselves into Is, and this eventually has some interesting negative consequences. These people come to resemble solid matter. They take on the character of matter.
For them, imagination is at least a misdemeanor, if not a felony. It’s a blow to the Is of Is. They tend to view imagination as a form of mental disorder.
Technocrats like to gibber about imagination as if it’s nothing more than just another closed system that hasn’t been mapped yet. But they’re sure it will be, and when that happens, people will apparently give up creating and opt for living in a way that more closely resembles machines.
There are many people who secretly wish they were machines that functioned automatically and without flaws. It’s their wet dream.
Magic eventually comes to the conclusion that imagination creates reality. Any reality. And therefore, one universe, indivisible, is an illusion, a way of trapping Self.
What began as the physical universe, a brilliant work of art, ends up as a psychic straitjacket, a mental ward in which the inmates strive for normalcy. Those who fail at even this are labeled and shunted into a special section of the ward.
But the result of imagination, if pursued and deployed long enough and intensely enough, is:
Consensus reality begins to organize itself around you, rather than you organizing yourself around it.
There are various names and labels used to describe this state of affairs, but none of them catches the sensation of it.
Magic is one of those labels.
What I’m describing here isn’t some snap-of-the-fingers trick of manifestation; it’s a life lived.
The old alchemists were working in this area. They were striving for the transformation of consciousness. In true alchemy, one’s past, one’s experience, one’s conflicts all become fuel for the fire of creating new realities. Taken along certain lines, this is called art.
One universe, one logic, one Continuum, one role in that Continuum, one all-embracing commitment to that role, one avenue of perception, one Is…this is the delusion.
And eventually, the delusion gives birth to a dedication to what “everyone else” thinks and supposes and assumes and accepts. This is slavery.
Freeing one’s self, living through and by imagination, is not a mass movement. It’s a choice taken by one person. It’s a new and unique road for each person.
Societies and civilizations are organized around some concept of the common good. The concept always deteriorates, and this is because it is deployed to lower the ceiling on individual power rather than raise it.
“Be less than you are, then we can all come together in a common cause.”
It’s essentially a doctrine of sacrifice—everyone sacrifices to everyone else, and the result is a coagulated mass of denial of Self.
It is a theme promoted under a number of guises by men who have one thing in mind: control.
It’s a dictatorship of the soul. It has always existed.
Breaking out of it involves reasserting the power of imagination to invent new and novel realities.
Under a variety of names, this is art.
Promoting the image of the artist as a suffering victim is simply one more way to impose the doctrine of sacrifice.
In 1961, when I began writing and painting in earnest, I had a conversation with the extraordinary healer, Richard Jenkins, whom I write about in my book, The Secret Behind Secret Societies. This is my note from that time about what Richard told me:
“Paint what you want to, no matter what anyone else says. You may not always know what you want to create, but that’s good. Keep working, keep painting. You’ll find your way. You’ll invent something new, something unique, if you don’t give in. You’ll see everything in a new light. Reality is a bad joke. It’s nothing more than what everyone assents to, because they’re afraid. They’re afraid of what people will say. They’re afraid they have far more power than they want to discover. They’re afraid that power will lead them away from common and ordinary beliefs. They’re afraid they’ll become a target for the masses who have surrendered their own lives and don’t want to be reminded of it. They afraid they’ll find out something tremendous about themselves…”
Nothing I’ve experienced in the 50 years since then has diminished what Richard said to me.
These fears are all illusions that disintegrate when a person shoves in his chips on imagination and makes that bet and lives it.
This new language—what does it consist of? Heightened ecstatic impressions, a sense of thrilling dynamic motion, images, emotions on the aesthetic plane, and other qualities too immediate to describe. These are all in flux. There is no aim to “trap them in a bottle.” Trapping them would change their nature. The “procession of packets of energy” in some cases might appear to tell a story, but a story without the usual plotlines, without beginnings, middles, or endings.
It is a language we have known before and will know again. It is an expression of imagination itself, and it contains, as direct experience, all those desired exaltations and triumphs and joys and powers that we once thought were hidden from us, like mountaintops in the clouds. But instead, they are right here. They are flowing from person to person. They are the substance of daily life. They are vision finally realized. But they are not an ending. They are rivers.
Art is dangerous to authorities.
In 1891, Oscar Wilde wrote: “Art is individualism, and individualism is a disturbing and disintegrating force. There lies its immense value. For what it seeks is to disturb monotony of type, slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine.”
Authority wants limited perception.
It wants “things as they are” to rule the day.
It wants the fire of creative exploration to go out and turn to ashes.
Art is dangerous. It makes people move out of standard-response channels.
They don’t see what they’re supposed to see anymore.
That’s why schools teach brain-deadening courses in art history. Every attempt is made to codify the students’ reactions.
I’m not just talking about political art. I mean ANYTHING that truly comes out of reliance on imagination.
Those who run things—and their willing dupes—want reality to look a certain way and be experienced and felt in certain ways. These limited spectra form a shared lowest common denominator.
Even so-called spiritual experience is codified. It’s called organized religion. I call it “give money to the ceiling.” You give your money and they tell you high how the ceiling of your experience is and what you’ll find when you get there.
Art has none of these limitations. It’s created by people who’ve gone beyond the shrunken catalog of emotions, thoughts, and perceptions.
Art, by which I mean imagination, throws caution to the winds. It invents realities that engender new reactions, never before experienced.
The hammer blows and the soft propaganda of the common culture install layers of mind control: “See things, experience things in these prescribed ways.”
Over the years, I’ve encouraged a number of people to become artists. Aside from the work they then invented, I noticed their whole approach to, and perception of, life altered radically.
Their sense of vitality, their courage, their adventurous spirit came to the foreground.
Mind control, both externally applied and self-induced, is all about putting a lid on creative power. That is its real target.
Technocrats would like you to believe that hooking your brain up to some super-computer will fulfill your needs and desires. They seek to prove that all invention, all creation, all art, all imagination is merely a set of calculations within a closed system.
This effort betrays their own despair: they see no way they can truly create.
It is the vacuum in which all elites live. They build up a frozen dead consciousness of models and algorithms and “solutions,” and they seek to impose it, as reality, on the minds of populations.
Essentially, they’re saying, “If we have a soul-sickness, you have to have it, too.”
It’s called hatred of life.
On the other hand, individual creative power launches from a platform of freedom and rises through layer upon layer of greater freedom.
From that perspective, authoritarian power looks like a sick-unto-dying charade.
There are two levels of fake news. The first one, many people know about. This is false and deceptive information broadcast by major media, to keep the public from discovering what really goes on under the surface and behind the veil, where power is used.
The second level, very few people understand. It is owned and operated by what I call the Wizards of Is. They say, “Now this IS and that IS and here is something else that IS…keep looking and thinking about what is, what already exists.”
“Familiarize yourself with everything that already exists. We will give you an endless supply of things and ideas you can peruse and feast on. We will give you what exists. Look at all these things and accept them. Keep doing that.”
The corollary is: There is nothing for you to create. Everything that can be created is being created. You yourself have no power to create.
This is the deeper lie. This is where the battle stops and the individual surrenders.
This is where the individual who could be more becomes less.
This is where the artist is still-born and decides to live in half-light.
This is also where vital energies deplete and peter out.
This is where the machine takes over.
The individual can wake up and deploy his imagination.
This is where the new battle begins. This is where the artist sets aside all the standard responses and petty emotions and, instead, INVENTS.
This is where fear is blown away.
This is where the individual reacquaints himself with his deepest drives.
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