This website has no other purpose than to display Chris Barclay's apparent lack of writing talent.

Waves Crashing, and the Falling of Ants

Waves Crashing, and the Falling of Ants

Yesterday I was hit with a wave of ennui. In my article Why it's all so sad, I discuss the principle again with more depth. But this time, instead of feeling depression or boredom with the futility, I exploded into this, this.. really frustrated anger.

I got into an argument about art and philosophy, where I proposed my belief that the concepts in art and beauty are really inherent within the object. The other parties maintained that the superficial beauty or feeling that the art gives is really the important bit, as it's the thing eliciting the emotion and feeling of purpose. It went on with me attempting to explain my theories of detail and meaning. I feel as though if we're all apes who seek out pleasure and then die, what's the fucking point of it? My opponents told me that I should embrace living a meaningless lifestyle to the best of my ability. To just be happy. I tried to describe how society molds us into living a lifestyle without free will, how we're all just constrained to these weird anthropological and cultural rules that restrain us from individuality. How addiction to pleasure leads us to loneliness, and reinforces these societal restraints. They laughed. 

If you've read my articles, you may see that this entire Junior year has been a series of developments philosophically and psychologically. You see my thoughts lazily splayed out, and understand what I believe to be true. ;KAJF;LKAJSF AL;KSJA;LJFA;LSKFJA 

In Ovid's The Metamorphosis, there is a passage about these ants crawling up a tree:

[Aeacus looking at a mysterious Oak tree] . . . "I noticed a long train of food-gathering ants, carrying vast loads in their tiny mouths, and forging their own way over its corrugated bark. Admiring their numbers, I said “Best of fathers, give me as many citizens as this and fill the city’s empty walls.” The tall oak-tree quivered, and its branches filled with sound, without a wind. I shivered, my limbs quaking with fear, and my hair stood on end. Though I kissed the oak-tree and the earth, not acknowledging my hopes, yet I did hope, and cherished my longings in my heart. Night fell, and sleep claimed my care-worn body."

The next passage I read followed Aaecus' dreams:

    ‘The same oak-tree was there before my eyes, with the same branches, and the same insects on its branches, and it shook with a similar motion, and seemed to scatter its column of grain-bearers onto the ground below. Suddenly they seemed to grow larger and larger, and raise themselves from the soil, and stand erect, they lost their leanness, many feet, and their black coloration, and their limbs took on human form. Sleep vanished."

Nonplussed. The emotion—or, non-emotion, that someone feels when the trees start trembling wildly without wind or earthquake. When ants on a tree turn into industrious civilians to fill your city. Nobody expects for their hopes and dreams to come true, and so when it happens, you're just. . slack-jawed. Dazed.

Last Saturday, I drove out into the sunsetting Atlanta metropolis searching for something. I brought few items: my grandfather's binoculars, a few sharpies, my literary sketchbook. A good 27 minutes out, I drove over a river and saw a thin bright blue glimmer out my window, like a diamond. Pulling to the side, off onto a dusty gravel path, I parked and walked coolly out. A strange area, near dusk, coated orange by the sun. The experience was incredibly transformative, and I may talk briefly about it in my Sincerity article.

I did talk about it briefly, but I didn't elaborate why. The experience led me down a very straight pathway between acres of trees, and although I was surrounded by cities on this spherical earth, i felt very alone and very in the middle of a dense forest. The light started to fade from the sky from orange to dull orange to purple to dark. The birds hummed first, annoyingly, and I couldn't see them despite my binoculars. Then the crickets, and they were the loudest. They would stop as I got near, but hum as I walked away and towards. I did not reach the seemingly infinite pathway between the trees (cut perhaps for trucks to move) until I turned right in order to loop around. But I did, and suddenly the clearing became infinitely long and indefinitely uncertain. I had the idea for the infinite canal with the canoe and the city with the beam of light here. I sketched it down.

But I still haven't talked much about waves. And I still won't, because there's a name that I'd like to point out. Václav Cigler: a Czech sculptor and architect who uses light and glass to project human's perspective on the landscape and thus the universe. It's insane, and since now I am in math class typing away—most likely annoyingly—I feel as though I must get all this down. In my first class today we did a strange exercise that vexed me. We took deep breaths, then we went outside for 10 minutes and freedrew an object without looking at our drawings, and came back inside to discuss. Whenever someone had a brilliant idea, it got shot down by the silence of the group or a discussion on the apparent structure of contemplative/meditative/whatever essays. Considering I have written 30 of these contemplative essays my junior year, I assure you that the structure is defined by YOU, and thus it allows for thoughts to transfer from the mind to the paper or whatever in a creatively nonexclusive way: the only thing stopping you is your psyche, emotions, external factors, and the unfortunate drawbacks of the written word. Anyways, I was roused (no, not aroused, 'roused' meaning agitated) in the middle of class—as my classmates were being particularly boring in their descriptions of a brick—so I chimed up. I asked them something to the measure of this: "What about this, why not look at the brick from another perspective. Sure, it's a brick, and it's red or brown and hard and held up by mortar. That's boring. If the contemplative essay is a discussion with a friend or whatever the worksheet says, then don't bore your friend with saying OooooOo what a cool looking brick. No, you want to interest them, and have a discussion on the nature of things. Maybe the brick feels dark and cold, or warm inside. From its perspective, it can feel the gravity within. There are so many—infinite—details inside the brick, all the rocks and stones and the edges of each, and you could talk about that. What about the laws of physics, or the laws of the universe, maybe the laws of human nature don't apply here. What if it dreams, or feels, or dies. Isn't that more interesting?" Then they discussed how the brick reminded them of a song, and drowned out the creative pleas coming from my friend to the right of me, who said that that had reminded him of his own personal life, walling off everyone from him. A despicable grin creeped up from the teacher who had come into the room to lead the discussion as we changed topics from bricks and fine literature to how fun and bubbly the "Brick Song" was.

2nd period I complained to my other teacher, and worked 35 minutes on physics, and tweeted about it. But in Physics we learned about light and reflection and refraction, and my commonplace book was filled up with ideas like water pouring into a submerged bucket. Spheres are cool because of how light interacts with them. There are 3 rules of refraction, all of which are incredible. There are rules for reflection, too. It explains color—all colors. It's insane, and I feel surged. 

So back to Václav Cigler. Here are a couple of his works. 

And here are more glass things not done by Václav Cigler

And then there's this quote...

Glass is for Cigler a pretext for expressing a different spatial and emotional perception of the world. The glass object thus not only becomes material within space but simultaneously a literal and figurative sphere that merges people and space—coloring, reflecting, refracting and unfolding, transforming both viewer and viewed.

And I wish that there was music like it. I don't think there could ever be, or else I haven't yet found it.... the artwork also points to the illusion of simplicity

In these seminal works, concealed beneath the apparent simplicity of the shapes and material, lies an inner world much more resonant than that which we see on the surface. For example, Round Panorama is based on the shape of a pebble eroded by water and modeled by nature. It is as if it came into being gradually by the action of organic influences and pressures. In Cigler’s conceptualization, it is a rounded, optical panorama in which we cannot see the edges of the planes, and therefore the reflected image of the surrounding landscape.

I still haven't gotten to the waves crashing part. Before I fall asleep, I often listen to the falling of rain. But recently, I've been listening to the crashing of waves while lying on my bed, imagining that I were stuck in the middle of some unbearable storm and my boat were floating impeccably in rhythm, missing hit after hit with the grace of a falling feather. This time, I have a two songs that bring me to this peace.

And that's it. My sincerity article was a bit of a flop, but I'll come back to it and articulate it better. My school's musical, Footloose, is going extrodinarily well, and is about to be finished up. The performances are in 2 days. My schoolwork has gone up, but I feel as though I'm missing hit after hit. It's some storm, really, and I feel like i'm suspended in a glass bubble where all the light is refracting around me in a perfect way. Physics is amazing, literature is amazing, art is amazing, history is amazing, there are so many interesting things about this universe and I have barely even scratched any surface.

My Conversation with Christopher

My Conversation with Christopher

The Open Road by Charles Burchfield

The Open Road by Charles Burchfield