Nature Photography

The Power of Words

If we call this wetland, runoff, mud, rot, ditch or swamp, we are talking about a social relationship to it, and not the thing itself.

If we call the beautiful surface of the water “water tension,” we are reducing this living force of the universe to a category of thought, or at least an application of a “law” of “nature” — something to be judged and dismissed before we consider the next case before us.

If we call these photographs, such as they are, “art”, however poor it may be, or comment on Harold’s “eye,” or “creativity” (whatever that is), we rely on a social relationship that places an image, such as the ones above, in a non-practical space, one that moves no energy or does no “work,” in the sense of the forces described by the science of physics, as follows…

In physics, a force is said to do work if, when acting, there is a displacement of the point of application in the direction of the force. For example, when a ball is held above the ground and then dropped, the work done on the ball as it falls is equal to the weight of the ball (a force) multiplied by the distance to the ground (a displacement).

Work transfers energy from one place to another or one form to another. Source: Wikipedia.

I dunno, but that sounds like a description of this to me…

Perhaps it is not considered so by the science of physics because the energy involved does not move things from one place to another, except, well, light, protozoa, human hearts, and so on … rather passive energies that flood into empty space not by moving but by filling or appearing.

And that is called, for some reason, “art” or “poetry” instead of “physics.” Here, let’s see what the collective porridge pot of the world has to say about that:

Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author’s imaginative or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power.[1][2] Source: Wikipedia

Well, that’s simply untrue. It says that art is a way of creating artifacts, that these artifacts express imaginative or technical skill, which is limited, and that the artifacts are defined by an intent for them to be appreciated for beauty or emotional power. The human or bot that wrote that is neither an artist nor a maker of tools for physicists. Words have such power to bring us close or to distance us. What, though, if we chose words that did not set us at a distance, and called this…

Skin.

Or life. Or breath. Or mind.

Could we make that “work”, in the sense of physics, by moving our cities from one state (environmental decay) to another (environmental integration and growth)? Sure, but it wouldn’t be “work,” and so an attitude embalmed in language deems it not to be. It would be “art” to this distancing attitude, and thus can be dismissed, should one choose to, as “not practical.” A new physics, an indigenous one, that starts from the land, will have to start on different principles, one in which any equations include the observation that this…

… is this …

… is this:

… is this …

… is this:

W = τ θ

In other words, every calculation of physical forces contains calculations of perceptual forces. The forces are all equal, socially, but their disruption into different realms gives them roles to which they are then bound. These are strong 18th and 19th century European values regarding social order. Indigenous systems of law do include such calculations. So can all.

 

 

7 replies »

  1. I don’t understand completely, but I do know that Saving the Appearances by Owen Barfield has some of the same thrust as yours. About “art”. . . . Whenever people say, “but that’s a metaphor” or “it’s just a symbol”, I blanch, thinking about how the most powerful truths are expressed in what we call “just a metaphor” or “just a symbol.” Thank you for stretching my mind, perception, etc., and I don’t think your post–words, photos–is “just your eye.”

    Like

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