Sharpness in advantage:
Disgrace and evil attainments.
Perceiving beauty and complexity in all things is almost a pure "Lizard" perspective with a lot of support from the Lion. [Please do not confuse Lizard with Lizard Brain although some integration occurs.] The Mockingbird and Dog absolutely forbid using this idea to rationalize the destruction of the earth or each other. However, I do believe that any sound or object can be made and/or perceived as something beautiful to someone. I think that Duchamp's urinal is beautiful in spite of its association with urination (though that can be beautiful also). The trick is in changing our expectations and intentions.
The most difficult sounds and objects for working this way are those laden with intention, such as commercial music and art. They seem to be created solely for the purpose of letting the audience be totally passive while receiving the maximum amount of sensual pleasure for the money. Nothing is left unsaid or undone. There are no questions left unanswered.
Twigs and branches emerging;
All things, all matter, perceiving (making itself known).
The central darkness, alone perceiving,
Distant, distant, not submitting.
I will try to expand on my perception of the relatedness of all things in the chapter called Lion, because the discussion will move away from art.
By way of the Muse, art is an exciting erotic experience and anything can be made into art through her magical influence. In the right state of mind, I may find the Muse in everything; just like I could see Krishna, the Dog, or the Mockingbird in everything when I am in other states. Improvisation often requires a certain amount of emptiness which can best allow the gods to enter their devotee in order to empower her/him and so that s/he can accomplish more than s/he is usually capable. Preconceived ideas and intentions usually come from the ego which should be more suppressed than usual in other day-world activities.
The central darkness, alone perceiving,
Inner dawn, lacking direction.
I often think about St. John of the Cross' works, Ascent of Mt. Carmel and Dark Night of the Soul. In these works, St. John describes "that terrible dark night" of absolute emptiness. It is terrible because the subject feels absolutely alone and even forsaken by God Himself. In this state, there can be no distractions or objects which occupy the mind. Nothing is particularly pleasurable. St. John says that this state is the perfect one for which fullness of God may enter. God does not come by the subject's will but by His own will alone.1 And, the subject and God experience Martin Buber's "I-Thou", the Tibetan Buddhist's "face-to-face," etc. I actually have the audacity to equate improvising with other mystical experiences. The improvising artist often perceives a higher force flowing through him or her. Another fellow Lacertid, David Anderson, would say that improvising was like being in front of an open window. The goodness flows through the window freely until the artist tries to stand up and be identified as the source of the goodness. This blocks the flow. St. John warns against assuming that all visions and mystical visions are from God. He says that Satan often comes in these visions in order to tempt the individual into spiritual pride.2
Deceive the thighs,
Perceive the eyes.
I am not so afraid of the Devil and have even given him an honored place in my cosmology as part of the Muse. My pride is kept in check by the very autism that is my own artistic process; my own terrible dark night. I have very little to "show off" to others that others will appreciate. Most often, art which is the most appreciated by the largest quantity of humans is that which will stimulate them in as physical a way as is possible. Art can be seen as a kind of prostitution. My pride comes from being a prostitute for prostitutes. My work is most often appreciated by other artists because they are usually the ones who have the best perceptual skills for appreciating it. It is not always so blatantly pleasurable. The pleasure I most often seek comes from the feeling of transformation. However, as I have implied before, seeking transformation often scares it away and all I am really seeking is a slightly more sophisticated type of pleasure than is sought for in commercial music/art. I can do little more than Rock and Roll's blow job.
1 St. John of the Cross. Dark Night of the Soul; n.d.; rpt. 1959; Doubleday.
2 St. John of the Cross. Ascent of Mt. Carmel; n.d.; rpt.