Who am I? (A Knot on The Great Thread)
I am first and foremost a philosopher. Literally, I am a lover of wisdom (from Greek, philos means loving and sophia means wisdom.) I have at my core a primal need to know everything, like an omniscient divine being who has lost himself, and so I pursue knowledge. But, knowledge is not equivalent to wisdom. I think of wisdom as applied knowledge. Anyone can obtain information, but information alone is impotent. What one does with it can be insipid or magically transformative in one’s own life and/or the lives of other people. The acquisition of knowledge begins when one picks up a book (of course, not merely a common and profane book, but one of considerable virtue. And the book is only one means, a symbol, of education). But wisdom doesn’t come until after one puts that book down and, having acquired new knowledge, moves forward productively, or perhaps in more modern vernacular, pays it forward. I guess what I am saying is that, wisdom is not so much knowing as it is doing. This is, to me, what it means to live a productive life.
I am a material manifestation of spirit. There is a unique quality that makes me an individual among other manifestations, and I often use the word, soul, to communicate this aspect. Yet, I do not consider my soul as a separate entity from all other souls, other manifestations of spirit. If the cosmic spirit/material manifold were a thread – what I call The Great Thread in my meanderings – a thread that is infinitesimally thin and infinitely long with no beginning and no end, as a circle with an infinite radius, my soul is merely a knot along its path. Every form in the cosmos is a knot on this thread, some more complex than others; animals are more complicated than vegetables which are in turn more complicated than minerals, elements, and atoms.
I have been graced with this opportunity, of living as a human, to experience what life is like when perception is limited to four dimensions (three perceived as spatial and one temporal). And I believe that the purpose of my existence is to process my experience of reality and transform it into something that can exist in form outside of my soul’s consciousness. To live and express outwardly is to love and to share. This brings me to the next sense of who I am to be in this incarnation – an artist.
I am an artist. My path to becoming an artist has, however, been quite protracted and my biography to this point is not the subject of this essay on which I consider to be my place and purpose on Earth in the 21st century. One thing that has been consistent from my birth is that I am (my soul is) fed by the process of creation. The process is my sustenance, not the byproduct, the journey, not the destination. However, the byproduct is my contribution to humanity. It is, therefore, essential that in sharing my life’s experience (as a knot) with others (the Great Thread), I must never veer too far away from my artistic endeavors, lest my soul should whither and this form of me should die.
When I say that I am an artist, I am most commonly asked about my medium. I would never limit myself to a single medium or, for that matter, any particular form of art. As a visual artist, everything that can be seen is my media. In the performing arts, the stage is my canvas for drama. As a composer, whatever can issue sound is an instrument. As a writer I have previously considered only non-fiction as productive for me and I have published (albeit in small quantities) essays, reviews, poems, and a non-fiction book. I’ve recently awakened to the notion that fiction can be a formidable art form as a vessel for wisdom as it has been with classical literature since the times of Ancient Greece and Rome. Besides the story itself, there can be any number of layers of subtexts woven into intricate tapestries conveying anything the imagination can conjure.
In fact, I have recently come to the conclusion that to be a fully actualized human, one must be a wholehearted and steadfast artist. And to be a great artist, one must be a skilled alchemist. One may have the common misconception that art is limited to contrivances like paintings, sculptures and other works that have aesthetic appeal. But, true art is merely finding and expressing form, and inciting thought or emotion by the transformation of one or more substances, often but not always offering a fresh perspective. Repeatedly providing a gastronomic delight to diners in a restaurant can make a chef quite the culinary artist. Indubitably you have heard of the ‘culinary arts’. Well, I assure you than anyone has the potential to be a great artist – a hair stylist, an auto mechanic, a clerk or a dishwasher. Success is simply an alchemical mix of substantial input, process quality and the legacy you leave for The Great Thread.
Finally, I come to who I am now – a writer (an artist whose present medium is the written word).
My creative life, my being, was transformed during 2013 when I was cast in a production of Bertolt Brecht’s play, “The Life of Galileo.” Since then, I’ve been working on my magnum opus. An epic historical drama with love, magic, intrigue, religion, and philosophy in Renaissance Europe at the crux, it has become a much larger work which includes the visual and performing arts. The first limited edition tome will include the play I’ve been writing, essays, a musical orchestration, set design, graphics and more. Once done, it will be my source for a film treatment of a series I’d like to see serialized. Concurrently with that, I do also have a children’s story book and a biography in the works. But to maintain a connection with my community and human society in general, I’ve found a way to stay grounded amidst these lofty pursuits by means of the Orcas Island Shakespeare Society (OISS). In 2019 I founded this non-profit organization in Washington State to provide service to the community – free access to performing arts, educational classes and more, hopefully making Shakespeare’s works more accessible to all.
This is who I am. This is who I must be now. If I am to give anything to humanity in this incarnation, it will be done so by means of paying forward what I have gathered while existing as this knot in The Great Thread.