1. Art as sorcery

Art is a form of mesmerism - of magic or sorcery. In the language of Carlos Castaneda and his books, this means that its aim is “the fixation of awareness”. Not a fixation of the sort induced by marketing men and their advertising images - whose manipulative intent we are all too familiar with.  Nor the sort of fixation that dulls and entraps people’s awareness by hooking it to their smartphone or computer screens – one that has only do to with their outer gaze or “first attention”.

Instead we are speaking of a fixation of our outer gaze that also accomplishes the feat of freeing our ‘inner gaze’.  Art is successful as magic or sorcery when it accomplishes the feat of fixating our gaze on an outer object in such a way that it prompts our gaze to turn inward at the same time.  It becomes even more magical when by fixating the focus of our outer gaze it succeeds also in shifting the inner point of origin or locus of that gaze –  its “assemblage” point” – moving it to a new position and fixing it there. For in this way it alters the nature of both our inner and outer perception (“the second attention”).  When our gaze is turned inward through its outer fixation, our inner gaze can itself be turned outwards – not only towards a new outer focus or fixation point of awareness but from a new inner fixation point or locus of awareness. The same type of movement of the fixation point of our awareness occurs in the course of what is called ‘lucid dreaming’ – which results from the dreamer becoming aware of being in the dream state and thus in a certain way “dreaming awake”. This has two main results. Firstly, dream images literally become less fleeting and mobile and instead more vivid, stable and lucid. Secondly, the aware or ‘lucid’ dreamer can intensify this experience of lucidity by quite consciously fixating their gaze on a particular dream image and fixing it in their gaze.

My ‘Lucid Art’ is drawn from long experience of ‘lucid dreaming’, but starts from its end-point. This is the fixation of our gaze on perceptual images so unusual or dreamlike - and yet so clear, translucent and ‘lucid’ in their colour and form - that they themselves work to fixate and vivify the awareness of the waking perceiver. In this way they render our seeing itself, and not just the object seen, more translucently lucid. The aim of Lucid Art then, like that of lucid dreaming, is lucid “seeing”. Another word for this is ‘clear-seeing’ or ‘clairvoyance’ - hence the intrinsic connection of lucid art with the magical or ‘esoteric arts’.

Many are impressed by the luminous intensity or ‘energy’ of ‘Lucid Art’. In this context it is useful to recall the root meaning of the word ‘energy’ itself, i.e. to ‘work upon’ or ‘set into work’. For whether hung on a brightly lit wall or displayed on a digital photo-frame, meditating Lucid Art works, even just for a few moments or minutes, allows them to work upon us – to set our awareness into work in new ways. Like all forms of visual art with a similarly lucid character, they do so by temporarily removing us from the space of our ordinary self and world and transporting us to a new place, both within ourselves and beyond our ordinary world.  

The more often we allow them to do so, the more our perceptual awareness is shifted to a new, more lucid inner fixation point or “assemblage point”.  And whilst my form of Lucid Art is computer-created, it works to bring about an intensification of awareness – the very opposite of the dulling and diminution of awareness brought about through blindly staring at screens. That is because of the inner place or locus of awareness from which it is created, which is not located in either our ordinary waking or dream consciousness.

Quotations from Carlos Castaneda:

“The old sorcerers called the result of fixing the assemblage point on new positions the second attention. Sorcerers really have two complete areas for their endeavours: a small one, called the first attention or the awareness of our daily world or the fixation of the assemblage point on its habitual position; and a much larger area, the second attention or the awareness of other worlds or the fixation of the assemblage point on each of an enormous number of new positions.”

“The dreaming attention is the control one acquires over one's dreams upon fixating the assemblage point on any new position to which it has been displaced during dreams.”

“Out of all the marvellous things the old sorcerers learned exploring those thousands of positions, only the art of dreaming and the art of stalking remain. The art of dreaming is concerned with the displacement of the assemblage point. Stalking is the art that deals with the fixation of the assemblage point on any location to which it is displaced.”

“We know we are maintaining cohesion by the clarity of our perception. The clearer the view of our dreams, the greater our cohesion.”

“…in dreaming , once you are able to hold the view of any item, you are really holding the dreaming position of your assemblage point. So then, an apprentice gazes at the leaves of a tree as if he is in a dream, but with a slight yet most meaningful variation: he holds his dreaming attention on the leaves of the tree in the awareness of our daily world.”


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