L.A. Corvinus sculps.. Tower of Babel, floor plan (translated by Jean-Jaques Scheuchzer. Physique Sacrée. ou Histoire-Naturelle de la Bible. n.c. : n.p., 1732. Page 0.86, Plate 72)
We are living in a special time. Throughout the world there is a stirring and an interrelation of forces never before experienced by mankind. All around us we see an unprecedented acceleration of the possibilities of change. Power potentials have been released which threaten to upset cosmic balances.
Ironically, the more gigantic and astonishing our manipulations of these energies, the more puerile and insignificant our understanding of them. Philosophers and scientists are coming to agree that not only do we need a deep alteration in the present state of mankind, but that a radical shift depends solely on our relationship to consciousness – the invisible, fundamental energy behind phenomenal existence.
As one walks the streets of the city, one is struck by the energies manifested through each human being – the results of wishes, emotions, and physical movements, energies in incessant random motion. Inextricably bound to an entire fabric of events, we have no choice but to submit to the rhythm and momentum of our ordinary lives. Yet, in the midst of the flux, a call to consciousness can be heard. Is it possible to accept one’s inevitable destiny, and, at the same time, open to the timeless, spaceless, essential movement? Can we microscopic entities, beset by our frailties and mal-training, initiate a radical transformation for ourselves and for the earth?
—William Segal, Opening (Continuum Publishing, New York, 1999).
Painting by William Segal, Self Portrait in a Yellow Hat
Alexander Calder in his studio. Photo: Andreas Feininger