Member Questionnaire 1 (lemontrees)What is beauty? What is love?
"Beauty" is my substitution for "truth." What are your most important values?
I think a more accurate statement would be that I don't know what either are, but am drawn to both, so I am always using one to approximate (or delineate, or define) the other.
Love is something that can equally fill an empty space or a full one--what I think of as love has no known source nor known limit. It is that feeling when you can hold an openness in the mind and watch it filling. (But who knows.)
TransformationDo you have any sort of spiritual/religious beliefs, and why do you hold (or don't) those beliefs in the first place?
I encountered the work of James Turrell a few days ago. He is an artist that plays with light and space. After looking at some of his pieces, I wrote down this: Opinion on war and militaries? What is power to you?
"Many of the Turrell pieces pivot around the simple idea that it is possible to make "nothingness" into "somethingness" by manipulation of light's effects on the eye. Turrell wants us to see that there is an inherent “somethingness” about that experience—that, as viewers, our changing relationship to space, brought about by the biological impulse to make sense of certain visual patterns, subtly alters our perceptions of what’s expected, what’s possible. When visual focus is shifted onto illusionary space, the hierarchy of “real” vs. “unreal” space becomes disrupted; Turrell co-opts the laws of lines and visual logic to show us what can emerge from a space in which the boundaries are already very clear. It felt natural that much of the language he used to describe his own work was spiritual. "
I've always felt a spiritual connection with art that create estrangement through a subtle altering of perception or an innovation of form, which can paradoxically bring a viewer's attention to things that are obvious, or buried, exposing people to aspects of themselves/ reality about which they were unaware. (This is not exactly what I think Turrell is doing, so this is a bit off-topic.) I used to think art was my substitute for religion. I take a lot of solace in art's exploration of indescribable, interstitial spaces (as personified by Turrell's floating light-form-objects!)
I am terribly bad with political knowledge, and trying to fix this.What have you had long conversations about? What are your interests? Why?
Power to me is something quite vague, but palpable. I'd like to not having power over others or have them have power over me. Once, someone told me that cruelty was casual neglect wielded by someone in a position of power to you, but I am not sure if I believe this.
In an interview that the poet Lucie Brock-Broido gives on her collection "The Master Letters," a series of poems that mimic letters Emily Dickinson wrote to an older male figure that literary historians know as "the master," she says:
"There are a lot of times when the speaker, quite nastily, speaks of the master’s hand, which she says is “concaved around her mouth.” In other words, it is his will to temper or tamper with her languages. But the speaker always surfaces again and says, “You have the catchweed of quiet on your tongue, I have the power of speech.” "
I used to have these long desperate conversations about art, love, and beauty to heighten my experience. Now I think it's better just to focus on living life, which is pretty difficult in and of itself. Interested in health/medicine as a conversation topic? Are you focused on your body?
I think I process the world often through things I read or filter my reactions/explanations of my reactions through literature/art etc that I have thought about. I don't try to do this but my mind is pretty obsessively stuck on those things. At the same time, I am aware that I tend to adopt thoughts or judge my own ideas against the structure of pre-determined ideas; I am not a conceptual person and so I rarely come up with anything new.
No, not usually. My mother is obsessive about health. She used to have these psychosomatic episodes. She wanted me to grow up to be a doctor so that I could look at her body for free.What do you think of daily chores?
I am bad at taking care of the needs of my body, but simultaneously, I am extremely attuned to subtle shifts. Right now there is a faintness in my hands, and it bothers me.
I'm bad with them unless there's someone else I'm sharing my space with, then I get diligent. I really enjoy tasks like cleaning, etc, once I get into them, and can get obsessive.Books or films you liked? Recently read/watched or otherwise. Examples welcome.
A lot. Currently working on Thomas Bernhard's "Corrections" and Karl Ove Knausgaard's "My Struggle." (both just okay so far.) Most recently finished books are Helen Oyeyemi's "White is for Witching" and Miranda Field's "Swallow." What has made you cry? What has made you smile? Why?
Most recently finished books that I actually loved were probably Art Spiegelman's "Maus" and Siri Hustvedt's "The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves."
Most loved books of all time include "Swann's Way," "His Dark Materials," and "Housekeeping."
I spent some time today reading the Amazon sample and reviews of "Crazy Rich Asians."
I cry a shit ton. So everything.Where do you feel: at one with the environment/a sense of belonging?
Cute animal photos make me smile.
It really depends. Usually doesn't happen, so when it does it's always a revelation.What have people seen as your weaknesses? What do you dislike about yourself?
Weaknesses: impracticability, some laziness, flakiness. What have people seen as your strengths? What do you like about yourself?
Dislike about myself: everything, at one point or another.
Strengths: kindness, courage. In what areas of your life would you like help?
Like: creativity, stubbornness, ability to start anew when hitting rock bottom.
Job, career. I really want someone I can go to at all times with job advice. Execution I can do on my own. Ever feel stuck in a rut? If yes, describe the causes and your reaction to it.
Also: apt-hunting, prices. I am such shit at this sort of stuff.
Yes.What qualities do you most like and dislike in other people? What types do you get along with?
Dislike: Fakeness, shallowness.How do you feel about romance/sex? What qualities do you want in a partner?
Like: Straightforwardness, boldness.
What types do I get along with: it depends on the person.
Romance/sex: usually difficult for me to manage, b/c I'm a hopeless romantic. I get myself into weird straits or shy away from contact.If you were to raise a child, what would be your main concerns, what measures would you take, and why?
Qualities: Intellect, some degree of empathy, some interest in the arts or literature helpful. Playful.
I would want to be able to meet their needs, even if there are quite different from the needs I had as a child or necessitate a different upbringing from the one I would want to try my best to give them.A friend makes a claim that clashes with your current beliefs. What is your inward and outward reaction?
I want to expose my children to arts and to different kinds of people/events, etc, so that they have a thorough education and an open context by which to make sense of their world.
Outward: a shameful attitude of "my opinion is not as important as yours."Describe your relationship to society. How do you see people as a whole? What do you consider a prevalent social problem? Name one.
Inward: upset-ness turning into anger that I don't have the power to express myself.
I would hope that social structures/subsets/class/hierarchies/etc don't define us.How do you choose your friends and how do you behave around them?
I wish there was more money going into our public education systems.
They're people I've come to love and trust. I can be bitchy to them when I'm floundering but I try to give them what support I can.How do you behave around strangers?
Usually don't talk to them.