Pearls from artists* # 540
*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
The Wise Old Man or Woman is a figure found throughout folklore and mythology. They possess superior understanding and also often a more developed spiritual or moral character. Frequently, such characters provide the information or learning that the Hero needs to move forward in their quest. In “Star Wars,” Ben Kenobi plays the teacher to Luke, introducing purpose and knowledge into the young Hero’s life. Where the Hero brings a drive, courage, and direct action, the Wise Old One introduces the importance of the opposing values of thought and questioning. Jung describes it thus: ‘Often the old man in fairytales asks questions like who? Why? Whence? Wither? For the purpose of inducing self-reflection and mobilizing the moral force.’
The Wise One may appear in disguise to test the character of others. In the second “Star Wars” film, “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980), Luke’s mentor Yoda does not reveal himself as such when they first meet. He waits, asking questions that test Luke’s motivation for being there. Jung associated the Trickster archetype with the Wise One, and the use of disguise emphasizes this correlation.
Gary Bobroff in Carl Jung: Knowledge in a Nutshell
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Q: Would you speak about someone who made a difference in your professional life?
A: The first person who comes to mind is my favorite aunt, Teddie. In 1997 she was headed to northern California to attend a three-year-plus silent Tibetan Buddhist retreat at her teacher’s center. Teddie offered me her West 13th Street 6th-floor walkup apartment to live in while she was away. At the time I was based in Alexandria, VA and had just had my first solo exhibition at an important West 57th Street gallery, Brewster Fine Arts. I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the limited Washington, DC art scene, had outgrown everything it had to offer, and felt New York pulling me towards new and exciting professional adventures.
Teddie, recognizing my talent and ambition, made it possible for me to afford to move to New York. She had practiced Tibetan Buddhism for 35 years and was soon to become a Buddhist lama. She had an extraordinary mind and thought deeply about life. We used to talk for hours. Teddie was 7 years older and seemed more like a sister than an aunt. Indeed, she was my first soul mate. (I have been extremely fortunate to have had two such relationships in my life. The other was my late husband, Bryan).
Unfortunately, dear Aunt Teddie died at the age of 67 of breast cancer. Recently, on September 25 I honored her life in a short ceremony on a mountain cliff in Leh, Ladakh (India). A Tibetan Buddhist monk recited prayers as he placed her ashes among the rocks.
Comments are welcome!
Pearls from artists* # 131
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules
Rule 1: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for a while.
Rule 2: General duties of a student: pull everything out of your teacher. Pull everything out of your fellow students.
Rule 3: General duties of a teacher: Pull everything out of your students.
Rule 4: Consider everything an experiment.
Rule 5: Be self-disciplined. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
Rule 6: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only make.
Rule 7: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.
Rule 8: Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.
Rule 9: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.
Rule 10: “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” John Cage
Helpful Hints: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything – it might come in handy later.
There should be new rules next week.
Quoted in The Art Life: On Creativity and Career by Stuart Horodner
Comments are welcome!