Wednesday, March 4, 2009

nerd-alert


Symbolic images have a power that goes beyond words. They contain ancient knowledge of the time before writing, before language even. They activate a spark in the right hemisphere of our brains that is reminiscent of the spark we felt as kids, while listening to our favorite story being told or read aloud. This spark is a piece of an infinite campfire, a thread that has traveled with our DNA from the beginning of time. Symbols are so powerful that we dream in their language, often more than our own languages, or the language of the dominant culture. The advertising industry knows this. They know red=sex and everyone can relate to birds even though we don't have wings. they exploit our disconnect from the symbolic language of nature and appropriate the iconography of the all-but-forgotten pre-Christian culture. T.V. and movies know the power of the image, as do fascist governments. They converse with the part of our minds that was dimmed when we entered school and were taught to use only one hand, when doodling began to get us into trouble. Considering media's constant dialog with our collective subconscious and our own considerable lack thereof, is it any wonder that the world is filled with terrible things, acts of violence that cannot be explained, only described as "random" and "pathological"? I believe that cultures create art, and that art creates the culture--virtually simultaneously. This can be seen when observing art and crafts movements going back 10,000 years. I think it's important, as artists, to recognize that we are creating reality. w need to think really freakin hard about the reality we wish to create.
Comics are coming at just the right time. We are in the midst of an image overload, but I think it's a good thing: a return of sorts to the way things were before everything started to go wrong. Comics, with their combination of word and image--utilizing left and right brain functioning simultaneously--are tapping into that ancient universal language of symbol, and I think they can, you know, change the world and shit.
But enough proselytizing...this was just my way of introducing my new series of posts: an A to Z of my favorite metaphysical symbolism in comics form. Hope you like it.

1 comment:

ellengwhite said...

That is really fascinating, and well put. I'm going to respond, you can delete this from viewing, if you don't like it.

"they activate a spark in the right hemisphere of our brains that is reminiscent of the spark we felt as kids, while listening to our favorite story being read of told out loud"

My childhood was so blissful, and loving and playful with my peers (for instance when I was the two headed jacket monster with Dan Ramsey), that I really struggled with how to recapture that, what was lost.

Me, mom, and sister reading Sword of Shanarra outloud. The constant inner, and insane dialogue of my left hemisphere, full of insecurities, judgements, worries, had taken over, in reaction to the traumas and disappointments and loneliness of growing up. How to as you put it "activate that spark in the right hemisphere", that is naturally playful, loving, courageous, fearless, mad, joyful, artistic in life, and crafts, mischeviously elusive to ideologues of all flavors, but able to find that thread of sanity, and grace in any point of view. That has been the mission of my entire twenties.

"Symbols are so powerful that we dream in their language, often more then our own lanuages, or the lanuguage of the dominant culture. The advertising industry knows this".

Powerful statement. Agreed. There are all these entities that have a life of their own in me, thoughts, opinions, imagination. For instance, from television, I might think I know millions of people I've never met, Iraqis, politicians, criminals. As if facts about people, counts as knowing people.

These thoughts, opinions and imagination are almost all neurotic in nature, I think so much, so inefficiently, because I'm not being myself, comfortable with who I am, at the deepest level, self-sufficient psychologically (happy as alone, as with others, in relationship as when single), but also utterly inter-dependent, collective and egoless, always in relation, with nothing hindering heart to heart talk, that loving, communing silent speech, here's a $ten without even thinking about it.

The insecurities I might have from not being accepted by my peers, is then preyed upon so to speak by the symbology of advertising, government (i.e. fascist) propaganda, although I might add also radical ideologies as well (less intentionally).

But are they as much prey to them? When I watch the News, for instance, newscasters, Big City downtown businessman, D.A's, the Presidential Cabinet, they look so introverted in a mess of nastiness. (lol)

Well, maybe not the current president, I'm the only one of all my cynical and anarchist-ish friends who thinks he is a Taoist Emperor Sage, like water, without form, when I look at him I feel I'm looking into a void.(lol)

"They converse with the part of our minds that was dimmed when we entered school and were taught to use only one hand, when doodling began to get us in trouble".

Speaking from my own experience, it (advertising, and fascist governments) converse with the foreign part of myself that is alien to the deepest levels of being. It was there, before Saved by the Bell, and a Gillette commercial had any sway. (lol) What is it in me, that Saved by the Bell, and a Gillette commercial, or fascist rhetoric have no sway? And who or what cannot that relate to?