Sunday, January 08, 2006

Welcome. I created this site as an archive of the poem/paintings I've been doing lately. Albert Hoffman, the scientist who discovered LSD, turns 100 on Wednesday. Hoffman's comments on our relationship to the natural world (from "Nearly 100, LSD's Father Ponders His 'Problem Child,'" Craig Smith, NY Times) are, I think, a good introduction to this blog:

Mr. Hofmann will turn 100 on Wednesday, a milestone to be marked by a
symposium in nearby Basel on the chemical compound that he discovered
and that famously unlocked the Blakean doors of perception, altering
consciousnesses around the world. As the years accumulate behind him,
Mr. Hofmann's conversation turns ever more insistently around one
theme: man's oneness with nature and the dangers of an increasing
inattention to that fact.

"It's very, very dangerous to lose contact with living nature," he
said, listing to the right in a green armchair that looked out over
frost-dusted fields and snow-laced trees. A glass pitcher held a
bouquet of roses on the coffee table before him. "In the big cities,
there are people who have never seen living nature, all things are
products of humans," he said. "The bigger the town, the less they see
and understand nature." And, yes, he said, LSD, which he calls his
"problem child," could help reconnect people to the universe.

Rounding a century, Mr. Hofmann is physically reduced but mentally
clear. He is prone to digressions, ambling with pleasure through
memories of his boyhood, but his bright eyes flash with the
recollection of a mystical experience he had on a forest path more than
90 years ago in the hills above Baden, Switzerland. The experience left
him longing for a similar glimpse of what he calls "a miraculous,
powerful, unfathomable reality."

"I was completely astonished by the beauty of nature," he said, laying
a slightly gnarled finger alongside his nose, his longish white hair
swept back from his temples and the crown of his head. He said any
natural scientist who was not a mystic was not a real natural
scientist. "Outside is pure energy and colorless substance," he said.
"All of the rest happens through the mechanism of our senses. Our eyes
see just a small fraction of the light in the world. It is a trick to
make a colored world, which does not exist outside of human beings."

He became particularly fascinated by the mechanisms through which
plants turn sunlight into the building blocks for our own bodies.
"Everything comes from the sun via the plant kingdom," he said.


1 comment:

Andrew Joron said...

The "Blakean doors of perception" are quite an appropriate allusion here, since your artworks are involved in the visionary synthesis of shape and text.