What the art historians had forgotten is that in Chinese, Japanese, Persian, and Indian art, they never painted shadows. Why did they paint shadows in European art? Shadows are because of optics. Optics need shadows and strong light. Strong light makes the deepest shadows. It took me a few years to realize fully that the art historians didn't grasp that. There are a lot of interesting new things, ideas, pictures.
How does life become totally painful By total retreat. Total noninspection becomes total pain.But existence is basically composed of a very few truths onto which have hung a great many artificialities and which man has adorned with enormous numbers of lies. And man is prisoner of his own shadows. Now one of the things you can do with man is to get him to look up and find out that he can look through the shadows and look at the shadows and find out what they are.
Then I noticed that my shadow was crying too, shedding clear, sharp shadow tears. Have you ever seen the shadows of tears, Mr. Wind-Up Bird? They're nothing like ordinary shadows. Nothing at all. They come here from some other, distant world, especially for our hearts. Or maybe not. It struck me then that the tears my shadow was shedding might be the real thing, and the tears that I was shedding were just shadows. You don't get it, I'm sure, Mr. Wind-Up Bird. When a naked seventeen-year-old girl is shedding tears in the moonlight, anything can happen. It's true.
The Stormlight rising from his exposed skin was enough to illuminate the chasm, and it cast shadows on the walls as he ran. Those seemed to become figures, crafted by the bones and branches stretching from the heaps on the ground. Bodies and souls. His movement made the shadows twist, as if turning to regard him.
Those powers that control the tent are not threatened at all by any activity that you engage in, in the shadows, that's not moving toward the tent. And I am rather convinced that we have a generation that is so preoccupied with life in the shadows, they never even focus on getting to the sunlight where you open up the big tent.
I would call back at least for literature this world of shadows we are losing. In the mansion called literature I would have the eaves deep and the walls dark, I would push back into the shadows the things that come forward too clearly, I would strip away the useless decoration. I do not ask that this be done everywhere, but perhaps we may be allowed at least one mansion where we can turn off the electric lights and see what it is like without them.
We are finally living in Plato's cave, if we consider how those who were imprisoned within the cave - who could do nothing but watch those shadows passing on the back wall - were convinced that those shadows were their one and only reality. I see a profound similarity to all this in the epoch we're now living in. We no longer live simply through images: we live through images that don't even exist, which are the result not of physical projection but of pure virtuality.
When loud by landside streamlets gush, And clear in the greenwood quires the thrush, With sun on the meadows And songs in the shadows Comes again to me The gift of the tongues of the lea, The gift of the tongues of meadows. So when the earth is alive with gods, And the lusty ploughman breaks the sod, And the grass sings in the meadows, And the flowers smile in the shadows, Sits my heart at ease, Hearing the song of the leas, Singing the songs of the meadows.
... I was reminded of a remark of Willa Cather's, that you can't paint sunlight, you can only paint what it does with shadows on a wall. If you examine a life, as Socrates has been so tediously advising us to do for so many centuries, do you really examine a life, or do you examine the shadows it casts on other lives? Entity or relationships? Objective reality or the vanishing point of a multiple perspective exercise? Prism or the rainbows it refracts? And what if you're the wall? What if you never cast a shadow or rainbow of your own, but have only caught those cast by others?
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