“The universe is composed of subjects to be communed with, not objects to be exploited. Everything has its own voice. Thunder and lightning and stars and planets, flowers, birds, animals, trees—all these have voices, and they constitute a community of existence that is profoundly related.”
Theodor Adorno said that, "we only know ourselves by knowing our fractured selves." Or something like that. I could look it up. So could you. And yeah, I agree with the sentiment in that each fracture is like an emotional growth ring on a tree - signifying a break, a loss, a cut, an exchange. I realized this one day when I told a friend that I would never get a tattoo. She tenderly took my hands and studied the scars and the callouses and wrinkles and declared, "Darling, you've been giving yourself tattoos for years."
Lately, I've been giving more thought and directed attention to my integrated self (such as it is). I have always maintained you know, divisions in my life. As if I were a discount store with a variety of departments. This included my work, my real work, my work for money. My relaxed time, my stressed time, my no time, my time in a bottle. And my rolls and assignments? Rows 12 through like, a billion. Artist, father, husband, son, brother, friend. Builder, teacher, student. Story teller, bad joke teller, William Teller. The aisles were wide, for the most part. Uh-Oh. Clean up on aisle 57.
Robert Walker Geitner III, "Self Portrait with Micky"But all those shelves (while particularly handy for storing all the accumulated bric-a-brac of an inquisitive life) end up being divisive, casting shadows on shadows and aspersions on rugs.
And so I am in the process of becoming my synthetic self. Working out of and recognizing, that creativity is a series of overlapping interludes. To even attempt to understand how this might evolve would be to encapsulate the very activity of synthesizing into a tangible bauble of a thought. A synapse fossilized in amber. It might give me something to hold up to the light, but with most of the shelves gone, where would I store that thought? Besides, understanding is beginning to seem so very inadequate. What I am curious about is beyond understanding.
Being a father is such a necessary and critical format of being for me. Being a father consistently requires that I upgrade my contract with Understanding. Being a father is not so much challenging to me it is a direct challenge to me. Especially now that the kids are grown up and spread far afield, especially as they create their own unique and complex realities, and especially as they deign to allow my reality to intersect with theirs in spiraling patterns of overlapping aspirations.
Sometimes, when I step beyond my clever self, I am able to access my innate wisdom. You know what I'm talking about. You do that. You might call it clarity. Or perhaps maturity. I just know that in those moments, understanding is not required because you. I. We. Are literally drowning in knowledge. Like that Peace that passeth all understanding thing. In these moments, I know that I called out to my kids and they responded. And they called out to me and I responded. Still do. And even when we aren't acknowledging it, my kids and I are calling out to you. And you are responding. And you are calling out to us and we are responding.
And that is so very powerful. And that type of power never, no never. Sits on no shelf.
Empathinc. was registered as a domain at 8:00 AM, September 11, 2001. It is an artist's ongoing investigation into how we occupy space, embody our own stories, and develop synthetic strategies of fair exchange. All artwork and writing by Tom Schulz, unless otherwise noted.