Thanks for the topic.
Light is very interesting and, I think, very important for the
experience of quality.
Aristotle thought we send energy out from our eyes to see. Alhazen,
in Egypt around 1000, is the first one I know about who said light
brings information into our eyes.
The Gothic period in Europe (about 1100-1400) was very much about
the mystical properties of light and color (stained glass is the
Masaccio and then Leonardo were the real beginning of a (they thought
objective) fascination with light and that culminated with Monet in
painting, then giving that ('objective') approach to photography.
European art since the renaissance explains a lot of why eurocentric
culture has such a hard time with concepts such as dharmakaya light.
'If you can't weigh, measure and quantify it, it ain't important'.
In the 20th century, Artists have tended to deal with light and color
directly (Kandinsky, Rothko, Albers, Irwin) Many of these people
knew, at least intuitively (Vermeer for example absolutely got it),
that light is a path to.................!
On Mar 7, 2006, at 3:07 PM, Maggie Hettinger wrote:
I'm enjoying what I read. It looks as if personal experience is
supporting the notion that the DK light is really significant, in
Pirsig mentions two aspects of the experience that I'm really
One, you've described beautifully: The notion that the light is
perceived when something is really, really important, whether we are
conscious of the importance or not. The fact of the pupil dilation
makes it seem a really fundamental human response. I wondered if
there's research on that.
The second aspect is the kitten following. That could be really key,
but where would we look for it in research?
My own experience with the light includes a conversation with a woman
who was talking about her vision for our little parish school years
ago. I can still see her sitting there, face aglow, light behind her
hair (coming from where? she wasn't sitting where the light would
shine behind her). I know that even though the school is gone, and
we aren't working together on a regular basis, I still have intense
feelings about the concepts we initiated, and I also have a different
kind of feeling for her--respect, loyalty, what?--that is different
than my connection with other people.
Another example: I can picture my mentor, when he was dying, but it
is his face I remember, a glow that reminded me of my daughter's face
giving birth. The whole sense was the same. The intensity, the
glow, and the importance.
It's funny to just type out sentences about these experiences. They
are too important for just a simple statement.
I have a paper I've been working on, one that wants to talk about the
light in that context, as a fundamental human response. I don't see
much about it, but haven't done a serious search, yet. I'm looking
for shortcuts, actually.