Ilya Shambat

Ilya Shambat
Location
Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Birthday
November 21
Title
Partner
Company
Adda Enterprises
Bio
Born in Russia, family moved to America when I was 12. Got a degree from University of Virginia at 18. Worked for Oracle, translated four books of classical Russian poety, was part of San Francisco and Washington, DC poetry and music scene. Good friends with San Francisco's own Persephone's Bees and acquainted with Patch Adams. Currently married with children, residing in Australia and working on a clean energy technology implementation.

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Salon.com
NOVEMBER 21, 2012 4:54AM

Expressing Spiritual Reality

Rate: 1 Flag

In any number of teachings, spiritual reality is regarded as being undescribable and unexplainable. I think that these teachings are wrong. Spiritual reality is in fact explainable - if you are good enough at explaining.

The best way to be able to describe spiritual reality comes from better right brain - left brain integration. There are many ways to achieve that; but my favorite one is extended metaphor. Metaphor allows one to draw comparisons between parts of the universe that aren't normally compared. And this makes it possible to see common themes - common themes that are part of the underlying reality that is common to all.

In 1995, I went on the Internet as DR. ROCKET and used extended metaphor based on that theme left and right. Soon everything was about nuclear weapons and half-lives and silos and black holes and supernovas. What started basically as a joke went to a large-scale extended metaphor that sometimes produced meaningful observations. Pretty soon I was writing things that people described as transcendent - by virtue of using extended metaphor to see deeper into underlying reality and demonstrate the underlying themes.

A lot of art, from surrealism onwards, has been about expressing not things in physical world but states of mind. The large part of the reason is that, with photography and video, it is possible to capture real-world objects precisely; which means that there is less demand for paintings that describe the physical world. Thus a lot of the art has been about reproducing not physical objects but mindsets. That is because mindsets cannot be photographed, and it takes artistic expression to transmit them.

Does that mean that there is no merit for realist art? Absolutely not - in fact there is now a style of sculpture called super-realism that produces sculptures that look like they are alive. Some of the most beautiful artwork I've seen came from a lady artist named Julia Howard, who photographed things in the real world and used them to express feelings and mindsets. She could look at a flower, a path, even peeled paint on the door, and turn it into a work of art. She married the realistic with the emotional to photograph emotional themes in the physical world. This was one way of explaining, or at least expressing, the spiritual - by finding its representations reflected in the physical world. She found a way to visually express emotional reality, motivating me to do the same thing through poetry that I wrote about her.

Some of the most profound expression of spiritual themes is found in the literature of Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Dostoyevsky was an epileptic, which means that he constantly had right brain and left brain in contact with one another. I've also known a poet in America - named 13 of Nazareth - who also is epileptic; and his descriptions of spiritual meanings are brilliant and profound. In both cases, there is strong left brain-right brain integration. And that makes spiritual reality that one feels verbally expressible.

All in all the spiritual themes are expressible; they just aren't typically easily expressible. They require an effort to be expressed. And whether this is done through photographs, through painting or through poetry and philosophy, it is a doable and worthwhile project.

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