A HISTORY OF THE IDEA OF THE BRONZE
This is the story of the bronze pictured on the home page.
Richard Dreyfus in the sci-fi film “Close Encounters…” played a character who became obsessed with creating a sculpture following an incident with extra terrestrials. You may remember from the film that he changed from an ordinary family man to one possessed. It turned out that his sculpture was representative of the location where the next encounter would occur.
There had been a shape taking form in my mind as well for over ten years. I have known what the shape was to represent. I wanted to create a sculpture which would symbolize the focus of my life’s work.
My college teaching career and my clinical work in psychology have been focused on what I now identify as “the evolution of consciousness.” The sculpture I imagined, would symbolize that idea. I recognize that I have spent the bulk of my life on this path of understanding, teaching about, and assisting people in discovering this truth.
Having reached the decision to retire from teaching, I found a new impetus for completing the project. I knew I needed someone who would be able to help me move from an idea into a physical object. I heard of an artist on Cape Cod who was especially interested in religious themes. We met, talked, and agreed to work together.
THE PERENNIAL PHILOSOPHY
The sculpture reflects the idea of the perennial philosophy. This is the notion that there is a universal theme which appears in the evolution of all cultures, even though they were separated by physical distance, language, and cultural practices. The term perennial is used to indicate that this universal shared notion reappears in different cultural contexts, images, eras of time and languages throughout human history. In particular this could be found in the period of time known as the Axis Age, roughly 800 to 300 BCE. Similar world views were shaped by Confucius and Lao Tzu in China; Zoroaster in Persia; the Buddha in India; the Greek philosophers in the West; and the Jewish prophets in Israel.
This perennial philosophy is now found in the work of Ken Wilber, who has identified and studied the evolution of human consciousness in its historical and personal context.
THE MAJOR ASSUMPTIONS OF THE PERENNIAL IDEA
At the heart of the idea are four propositions.
1. There are two realms of reality
There is the everyday reality with which we are all familiar in ordinary consciousness. Beyond this realm, however, is another which might be called non-ordinary consciousness. This realm is known through meditative and spiritual practices.
2. Human beings are part of both realms.
We are not only physical and mental beings, but spiritual beings as well. We have at the core of our beings, a center of transcendent awareness.
3. We can recognize that realm of spirit.
This is not a belief system. Rather, the method of realization of this part of our core Being is meditative practice. This is an immediate knowing, not an intellectual theory.It is experiential knowing.
4. Realizing our spiritual nature is the highest goal of consciousness.
The culmination of evolution of consciousness is the experiential knowledge of who we truly are, and how we participate in the divinity of the universe.
THE SCULPTURE AS METAPHOR
The bronze was created to express and symbolize this “perennial idea.”
The overall shape is that of a lotus, which is a traditional sacred symbol in many traditions.
1. The base
Carved from a block of black Vermont marble, it represents the ground unconscious, and the Ground of Being, from which all consciousness emerges.
2. The Roots
These represent the gradual emergence of consciousness in human history as cultures emerged from pre history and pre culture to the Axis Age. The leaves of the sculpture suggest the numerous and varied perspectives which have arisen over this long period of time. It culminates in eight petals representing the spiritual/psychological perspectives of the Axis Age, including the traditions of monotheism, polytheism, as well as modern western science and native American traditions.
3. The Stem
This represent the continuation of the evolution of consciousness into the modern era.
4. The Pinnacle
It represents the idea of the “One”, the unity which exists at the level of pure consciousness. This “Oneness” is called by many names. It is the ultimate goal of the evolution of consciousness and the realization of our divine nature. As our evolving consciousness reached toward It, It reaches to us.