Teaching the “big stuff”

When I was trying to decide what to do with my life, I consulted the oracle within that I thought I could access with help from some orange sunshine” LSD. It was not a wasted effort.

When I applied for my teaching position in Philadelphia in 1969 I was asked, “Why do you want to teach?” And the reply was a simple one that came as an answer from my internal quest: “I know things that are important for other people to know.”

It was a certainty I’ve had that has not faltered.

I consider myself as blessed to have had the opportunity to teach my design students the purity as close as I can see it-- design as “pure”—from the single point through the third dimension. REAL “Three dimensional design.” I ALWAYS taught them principles on the deepest level—the understanding of ratio and golden section—the chi and the phi, but more than that it comes though example. My best teaching is not about “facts”—it is about the BIG stuff—but it is carefully hidden…

As an example… one of the things I did for 30 years was to teach basic level technical drawing. I *loved* it. A friend asked me how I managed to maintain a level of interest in what he saw as, essentially, showing people how to make straight lines with tools.

I had to explain to him that on the deeper level within which I'm working *within the act of making a beautiful line* exists a communication directly with the source of the universe-- the magic of existence lies within the act of creating that line. God exists IN the line. And it can be done as “a line” (with no thinking) by most of the stupid folks, or done with joy for those who can bring themselves to that level.

And THAT level is where it “happens.”

Long ago when Pythagoras was teaching, the simple teaching of geometry WAS the teaching of mysteries. To me, it still is. The golden ratio is but a key that unlocks the universe as the magic it is. You just have to know about it and to revel in the mystery of it. When I teach three-dimensional design THAT is where I work from. And some folks get it and some don’t. And SOME get it years later. And knowing that they eventually do is joyous.

So, for me… teach the joy in making the line. Any old computer program can draw lines—and they are all lifeless—dead images on a dead page. Only YOU can make it “come alive” through joy.

A bit more background? Well, here we go a step deeper….

What I taught was "3D"-- and THIS is what I was really teaching—underneath it all—the sub context…

1: The single dimension exist only as a point

2: the second dimension exists as a point extended-- a line

3: the third dimension exists as a plane extended-- a solid

(now we have to step back a bit…)

We can experience the 4th dimension ONLY as the understanding of TIME as we pass through the 3rd dimension. Our planet (earth) travels once around the sun in one year and, as it does so, it is travelling IN SPACE through the universe. It takes about 90 years (+/-) to transverse that which we can experience as "time." Generally, our consciousness is so short that our connection to the third dimension exists only as questions like,“how long is that string?” or “how far to the store?” Maybe we can get to, “how long will this trip take?”

After THAT... we cannot conceive of the 4th dimension-- it can be seen (conceived) only by those who exist on planes who are consciously aware of their own 3rd dimension as time-- a rarity.

So.... the other planes of consciousness (4th, 5th, 6th dimension, etc.) DO exist, but are not available for us to experience *from where we are* although we might do so when we get to exist on other levels-- which are beyond this reality. Sigh....

I believe that we ALL have a "life reason" that we may or may not know (and sometime it can be as simple as just smiling at THAT person at THAT time on THAT bus.

Higher intelligence tells you this, and you reply: "Shit! You mean I lived my life for THAT?"

And IT replies: "yup".)

Sounds like a Kurt Vonnegut novel-- which is why I love his stuff so much, I guess...

We live our lives to do it. And sometimes we KNOW it. And most of the time we don't-- so we live our lives anyway.

And SOME folks think they have the answers and try to get others into believing their stuff-- and *doing* that is NOT good (and they will eventually learn that lesson). The best (and often the most difficult) is to simply live by example, and cease the preaching.

So I have a belief in a "higher intelligence" that has a plan that is so far out we can't even understand it. The movie "Defending Your Life” has a bit of the picture painted... that fits well with my conception of how it is… but who can tell? "Oh... you little brains want the answer..."

In the mid 1960s I attended a lecture at the American Museum of Natural History by Frederick Hoyle, the Royal Astronomer. I was interested in hearing him because I just read a “science-fiction” story he wrote called “The Black Cloud.” It turned out to be a beginning lecture about astronomy… yawn. But then someone asked Hoyle if he thought there were other “civilizations” out there. He pointed at a slide he had on the screen—a full color picture of galaxy after galaxy and said, “How can there not be?” Indeed! How can there not be?

It was a student of Ouspensky who said your knowledge is only perceptible as THREE dimensions (the third being the passage through time). The 4th you can only see as the *edge* of the nebula (the edge end when you look at the edge of the glass standing up) but it is beyond you to *exist at that place* in three dimensions.

It's all a giant loop, with a meaning that is always at the edge. Ours is NOT to understand, but simply to do and learn and partake in the puzzle. With wonderment, if possible.

June 2005