Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Geometry of Innocence

Yesterday, for some reason, the phrase “geometry of innocence” floated into my mind again. This phrase isn’t exactly flitting through my thoughts on a regular basis, but it does at times pass through my consciousness, so I decided to Google it to see what appears.

The first link was to a blog called The Geometry of Innocence. It has some fascinating imagery by someone named Nicholas Elias. The blog is stimulating, as is the website of Mr. Elias, but both fail to answer the primary question, why was my mind flitting about the notion of the geometry of innocence.

The second listing in my search engine was to a book of photography by Ken Schles titled The Geometry of Innocence. There were four books in stock yesterday at a price of $101 each. The book is summarized this way:

Twelve years after the legendary success of his first book of photographs, Invisible City, Ken Schles returns with his long-awaited sophomore effort, The Geometry of Innocence. Schles's focus is on the relentless shifting of social structures and spaces that mark the urban landscape of today. His images form a kind of visual roller coaster, sending the viewer onto city streets and playgrounds, into pubs and bars, putting the viewer inside a police helicopter and taking them to death row, hospital rooms, and police interventions. While there is no "story" per se, this breathless sequence of pictures is condensed into thematic clusters, providing a spellbinding and almost physically palpable experience. The works in The Geometry of Innocence address and play upon the immediacy and relativity of meaning in the photographic image, creating a bold and highly nuanced artistic statement.

The third listing is that of Ken Schles himself, and the book above.

A bit further down the list of search findings we find this: another interesting website containing art and photography, a blog called Lightworkers. This blog adds a metaphysical quality to the discussion, beginning thus…

The trinity, the tripartitie form or imprint, is the neutral center, the magnetic stillness to which and from which, all manifests and dissipates. It is the heart center, which in vertical alignment activates the spinal column. The auric cloud is the east/west axis and is the envelope and medium of exchange of bilateral symmetry. The spiral energy or zigzag of the yin/yang is the 396693 of DNA that extends itself in two way light emanations between the four polar boundaries of Akashic Light. Messenger RNA is outbreath and its feedback loop is returned to that neutral center. The liquid crystalline stairwell that winds and unwinds through itself is the portal for angelic communication that manifests as intracellular balance. All is permeable as Divine Intelligence.

The structural forms of mineral, plant and animal are the vessels of Light which to our senses are 3D extensions of the interacting fields of function between Cube and Sphere. Fractal patterns are the emanations of frequency that transcend and circulate the blueprints of expanded and contracted matter in its two way journey of Silent Sound and White Light. Binary systems are the portals and gates of membranous form, the on/off sequences that impose and dispose of nutrients and debris.

And so it is we are led to consider Fibonnaci numbers, vibrational waves, matrices of platonic solids and the crystalline forms that invite us to consider more deeply the relationship of all things pertaining to perception, intergalactic visioning, the nature of Space, Time and the limitations of angels. But this is hardly why I keep having the phrase Geometry of Innocence fluttering through my head, is it?

Then finally I recognize my answer. Ah, foolish me…. It was Dylan who penned that familiar line “geometry of innocence” with his ruthless exorcising of clichés, re-assembling English language into vivid yet obscure re-combinations… The phrase is an extract from Dylan’s Tombstone Blues, the second cut on Highway 61 Revisited with all it's crazy references to Gypsy Davey and Belle Starr, and Jack the Ripper and the reincarnation of Paul Revere's horse.

The geometry of innocence flesh on the bone
Causes Galileo’s math book to get thrown
At Delilah who sits worthlessly alone
But the tears on her cheeks are from laughter

A little further on, Dylan’s wheezing expectoration proclaims…

Where Ma Rainey and Beethoven once unwrapped their bedroll
Tuba players now rehearse around the flagpole
And the National Bank at a profit sells road maps for the soul
To the old folks home and the college

Now I wish I could write you a melody so plain
That could hold you dear lady from going insane
That could ease you and cool you and cease the pain
Of your useless and pointless knowledge

Mama’s in the fact’ry
She ain’t got no shoes
Daddy’s in the alley
He’s lookin’ for the fuse
I’m in the streets
With the tombstone blues

Lest you think it all nonsense, you’re invited to explore the song’s meanings in John Hinchey’s study of the poetry of Dylan's lyrics, Like A Complete Unknown. Among other things Hinchey writes, “The song is full of a very Blakean sense that the heroic energies of our civilization are expended in an attempt to suppress its own liveliness.” If you prefer, you can dig into the song meanings website where inquirers explore together the most obscure, confusing and sometimes most profound songs of our generation.

In the end, if it all ends up a mystery… well, sometimes life is like that, isn’t it?

1 comment:

ann klefstad said...

nice riffs!

There's a new book out on the geometry of brachiating forms that might interest you--I'll try to dig up the author.