The Young Jesus
Spirit of William Blake
The Tacit Conspiracy
Artist – Eugene Halliday 1911-1987
Excerpts from the teachings of Eugene Halliday
We have spoken in the past about there being two paths or ways of working, one the ‘right-hand path’ of life, the creative path, the other method, the ‘left-hand path’, or the scientific path. The balanced man is in the centre of his universe, and it has been said to be the task of mankind in this age to integrate these two opposites into his being, to find a point of integration of the left and the right. If the creative power of man is located in the right hemisphere of his brain and in his right hand, and the scientific power of man in the left hemisphere, then we all have in us both qualities and neither can be ignored.
Psyche is a Greek word and means ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’. It is linked with ‘spiros’ , meaning ‘breath’, from which we get words like ‘inspire’ with its two meanings either ‘respiratory’ at the physical level, or as an idea, an ‘in-breathing’ at the intellective level.
Psyche appears in Greek mythology as a mortal who was so beautiful that Aphrodite the most beautiful of the goddesses was jealous and asked Eros her son to punish Psyche. Eros obedient as all sons, took Psyche home to his bed but told her she must not look on him. But being female, curiosity overcame her, so she had to go back to the land of mortals, where she went through countless tribulations before she was finally granted the status of a goddess and restored to Eros.
Now psyche is a quality in man which is so beautiful that the gods are jealous. And it forms a link, a possibility of communication, between man and his eternal origin, between the finite and the infinite.
When we use the word “psyche” it is intended to convey the meaning “Soul” or “Spirit”. Others use the same word to mean “mind”, and that they equate “mind” with a function of the brain. This is not the sense in which we are using it. We will consider the brain to be an organ of the mind. And we contrast ‘psyche’ with ‘soma’. Another Greek word that means ‘body’ the physical material substance with which the psyche is associated in life.
The psyche is a sentient being, a being possessing the inherent power to feel and know the form of its experience.
Every experience it has introduces into it a quantity of energy formed in some specific manner.
This energy changes the inner form of the psyche by super-stressing parts of it and so gives rise to percepts, concepts, feeling states, volitional impulses, etc.
The psyche is a field-force in the infinite field of the Absolute.
Its vibrations produce within it all conceivable forms or patterns of energy. It is therefore in principle omniscient.
There are two ways of producing a work of Art.
1) An Objective way based on the use of the physical sense organs as instruments for observing external forms and patterns in the outer world. The painter uses his eyes, the sculptor his haptic sensitivity, the musician his ears, and the writer his whole sense apparatus.
Objective Thought translates everything into results .
2) The Subjective way is based on the psyche’s sensitivity to its own inner processes.
This way we may call ‘Psychographics’. It comes into operation from the psyche’s own inherent capacity to express its own inner condition of tension patterns as a pattern of movements arising from the usually hidden centre of the psyche.
The whole process of ‘psycho?graphics’ is made possible because the psyche is itself a field of energy, which when allowed to move freely, can portray its own inner condition.
It is a process of self?portraiture as valid as that seen in the first way of producing a work of art, where the artist decides to paint an objective picture of his physical appearance by perhaps sitting before a mirror and recording the patterns of forms, tones, colour etc, which he there sees reflected.
The psychographic approach utilises the fact that all inner processes of the living organism are processes, that is, forms of activity which by removal of inhibiting factors can release themselves into patterns of motion, which if one holds a pencil or a brush in one’s hand, as one moves over the surface of a canvas or a piece of paper, are recorded in lines or pigments on that surface.
Here we look at a drawing or painting simply as a record of an actual pattern of motions which have arisen from the depths of the psyche. The psyche knows its own problems, and their solution. The fact that external events, the pressure of civilised living and other factors have obscured the psyche’s knowledge from its surface consciousness does not prove its non-awareness of itself in its deeper levels. By the removal of inhibiting factors which suppress the psyche’s inner self-awareness, the natural tendency of bio-energies to re-state their original harmonious inter-function, is allowed free operation.
In health, a living organism shows evidence by its ease of action that its inner biological functions are well integrated.
Accepting the known recording power of living protoplasm, and removing inhibiting concepts, by the use of the concept of “letting”, we are able to release the hidden content of the psyche, that is, its record of its total life experience.
Every living being is to some extent an “agent” of its own life processes. By which we mean “an active initiator of some of the adjustments that the total organism makes to demands made upon it from its own environment.
We have to view the psyche as purposive, that is, as having within itself some defined or definable goal and some amount of energy with which to pursuer this goal. The conjunction of definable goal or goals, and energy produces the actual behaviour pattern we see in individual living beings.
If we say “let your hand move freely in space as it wants to” then we are calling upon areas of the mind other than those which have been socially conditioned in a negative or inhibiting way. If we place a brush in the hand and let it move over the surface of a piece of paper the resulting forms will constitute an actual record of the “let” process.
Subjective Thought puts everything into processes and omits results.
A WORK OF ART is “there” before the artist paints it. It has its own inner life and significance.
To allow its expression the artist must not rationally define it, nor interfere with it as it is proceeding.
For each artist his “now emerging” work of art is part of his being, seeking self-expression.
We may say that the “conscious ego” of the artist is but a part of the total work of art which is his whole being; and that his action as artist is but an attempt to disclose himself to himself.
The fragmented parts of his conscious personality cry out for the revelation of the hidden relations which exist unexpressed between them, and between them and the whole ontological work of art of which they are a part.
The artist is to aid the disclosure of these hidden relations of the fragments of his being by highly alert supersensitive watching of the inner phenomena of his introverted awareness.
This discloses the cross resonances of all the hidden parts of his being.
The resultant insights into the inner relations are then fed back into the artist’s being-consciousness, to the greater integration of his psychosomatic unity.
The Universe and Artist
THE UNIVERSE IS A CONTINUUM of energy, the behaviour patterns of which bring into existence, maintain for a time, and then dissolve again the multitude of forms we see around us.
The fact of the energy continuum, the impossibility of the absolute isolation of any being, event or relation from any other, forces upon us the necessity of viewing the whole of universal phenomena in terms of this continuum. That is to say, we are required by universal fact to view life in terms of the solidarity of all being. By “solidarity” naturally we do not mean that we must view reality in terms of a solid, static block of material substance, but that we must see all beings, events and relations as presupposing and permeating each other.
All isolationist or segregationalist propaganda in any field whatever is therefore unreal and doomed to ultimate failure.
The artist, using the word in its widest sense, and thus including musicians, painters, sculptors, writers and poets, etc., is thoroughly conscious of the interrelatedness and interpenetrating significance of all forms of being. The musician-composer knows absolutely certainly that one note alone without overtones or partials is meaningless, that two notes generate between them a zone of meaning, an interplay of actual vibrations, the production of resultant tones which bring into being significations previously non-existent.
As with musical tones, so with the colours and tone-values and forms of the painter, the three-dimensional formal interplay of the sculptor, the verbal stimulus of the writer, the sonic structures of vowel and consonant of the poet, etc.
So also with the interplay of individual forms of character in the relationships which play themselves out in the living pattern of human society.
Any painter knows that each colour, apart from possessing peculiar properties of its own, also has a specific effect on every other colour to which it is brought into relation. So with individuals. Each individual human being has his own specific character which serves to mark him off from others, and he has also his specific effect on other human beings, which no other individual has. This is the centre of the problem of the unique nature of each individual, the mysterious problem of what constitutes human personality.
Like the painter with his colours, so the musician or composer with his musical tones. Each tone or note has its own specific frequency or frequency-pattern peculiar to itself. And each tone has its own effect on every other tone. Some tones are concordant with others, some discordant. The intelligent, creative manipulation of these qualities constitutes the art of the composer. The intelligent creative direction of the multitude of divergent individuals within the world population constitutes the art of the statesman, and locally the art of the politician.
A composer who so disposed the tones of his instruments as to produce cacophony would be considered a bad composer. So with the statesman or politician who produced in the people only continuous unrest and rebellion.
The more articulated the mind the more the relation of its elements. But articulation must have a truly functionally harmonising value.
The intelligent person articulates the contents of his mind in relation with the goals he purposes to fulfil.
The artist is essentially an articulator of forms. The way in which he articulates these forms may reflect the existing relations of forms in the world, or the past or future relations of them, or any other possible mode of relation in which they may be placed.
As the artist sees above all men the fact of the articulation or functional relation of all forms in the universe he is essentially religious, for if religion is defined in its proper sense it means precisely the interrelationship of all beings on all planes or levels of reality.
The question of the existence or non-existence of a personal God is one largely dependent on the definition of personality, of what constitutes a person. One thing is certain and that is that the source power of the universe has produced by its evolutionary processes what we are pleased to call the human person. Whatever appears in actual manifestation within the universe was certainly contained at least in potentiality in the source of that universe.
Those thinkers (as atheists generally and Marxists especially) who deny the existence of a personal God on the grounds of His non-proveability show themselves ignorant of the very nature of proof. They would apply methods of proof derived from the world of material bodies or particles to a realm of supra-material energies where such proofs are totally inadequate to deal with the realities.
The universe is an energy continuum, in many ways behaving like an ocean in which energy takes the place of water as substance, and the behaviour of this energy takes a form analogous to that of the waves, whirlpools, spray, etc., of the waters of the ocean.
We can conceive an absolutely still ocean, an ocean showing no forms of movement, no waves or ripples or bubbles, etc. Such an absolutely still ocean would represent a principle of unify without diversity.
We cannot say that such a still ocean would present any actual value, for actuality implies action and motion patterns. There are no values other than actual ones.
We cannot conceive waves without the ocean as their supporting substance. In a continuum of energy we cannot conceive of actual manifestation of form, waves of energy, without the continuum or ocean of energy as their substance.
From this we can see that pure unity without diversity would be valueless, and pure diversity without an underlying unity impossible. This illustrates the double nature of all beings, living and nonliving. All beings are substantially one. All beings are actually differentiated from each other by the specific way in which each is activated.
The valuelessness of pure unity devoid of diverse forms establishes the value of the individual.
The isolating tendency of specific forms and action-patterns establishes the necessity of the remembering of their underlying unity of substance. Man as an individual represents a specific form of value. But this value is meaningful only against the back-ground of the underlying unific essence, that unity principle which makes relationships between individuals possible.
Eugene Halliday – Contrib IV:112-117
BEFORE I WRITE A WORD I HEAR IT.
Before I hear it, I do not know what it is, what it is going to be. It is a primary datum, a “given” in my consciousness. Where it comes from is not defined, but that undefined has power to define, and does define the words that are heard and written.
One is so used to accepting words “given” in consciousness, and to accepting them as ideas or thoughts, that one tends to go straight to their significance, their reference value, and to forget that the words are there from the moment of their being “given”.
We tend to think that our thinking is other than our mental “word-manipulating”.
It is basic to Hindu thought that we cannot mentally formulate any thought without a verbal process. Namarupa (Name-form) is really an inseparable double term for the two aspects of reality: Nama (name, sound heard) and rupa (form seen by the eye, physical or mental). The reality that we see is the same reality that the mental ear hears.
This is the theory of Shabdabrahman in short form. Sound is a compression-decompression alternation which structuralises energy quanta into patterns. Each pattern is a sound-energy behaviour-complex, a “thing” which gives forth in its act of vibrating its own characteristic “name“. To know thoroughly this “name” is to know thoroughly the form correspondent of it, its reference. Hence the ancient belief in the magical power of names. To know thoroughly the name of any being is to know its form and therefore to be in the best position to relate to it, or to influence it, or manipulate it.
The vocative “0” is the circumscribing word which begins any mantra addressed to any particular being. To say “0, Caesar!” is already to have captured Caesar’s attention, to have drawn a line round him and focussed energy upon the fact of his existence. And in so far as he hears his name called, he is forced to consider himself as the referent of the name.
– Eugene Halliday
– excerpt from “An Approach to Colour Symbolism in Art Therapy” by Eugene Halliday & Golda Rose.
For the purpose of Art Therapy, colour may be viewed in different ways. We can talk about a colour as a visual phenomenon associated with a particular personal experience, as for example, when we associate a particular colour with our car, or with a particular suit or costume we have worn on a particular occasion.
Such colour association we may call PARTICULAR.
So viewed, a ‘particular’ colour may call to mind a particular thing we have seen, or a particular occasion on which we have experienced this colour.
Then we have what we call FAVOURITE COLOURS – colours that we tend to prefer before others for our clothes, our furnishings, our wall-papers and so on. Such colours we may call PERSONALLY PREFERRED colours. These may indicate something about our type of personality – quiet, flamboyant, gay, sombre, etc.
Another aspect of colour is that which we discover when we study the general experience of the human race in relation to the colours displayed in NATURE. We associate brilliant-red skies with sunsets, summer-blue skies with good weather, grey skies with winter.
We recognise a SEASONAL cycle which displays light spring-greens, full greens of mid-summer, the browns and reds of autumn’s falling leaves, the bare grey-brown tree trunks and branches of winter.
These nature-colours have very powerful associations, which operate in our minds at great depths, as well as in our surface consciousness. For they have been reinforced by thousands and thousands of years of experience in our ancestors, and have left deep traces in our protoplasm. Such deeply established associations may be referred to as ANCESTRAL or RACIAL ASSOCIATIONS.
The emotional content of such associations may justify our use of certain colours to stimulate the appearance in consciousness of certain mental states, emotions, or moods. Certainly, if we had
no such ancestral associations of colours, the impact of great paintings would not spread itself over such a wide area of human appreciation as it manifestly does.
So we need to be aware of different ways of approach to the question of function and value of colour in works of visual art. We need to tell ourselves from which viewpoint we are approaching a question, –
… PARTICULAR – PERSONAL – NATURAL – SEASONAL – RACIAL and so on.
Only by reminding ourselves of these different aspects can we avoid too hasty judgements about the significance of any particular colour, or colours, or combinations of these, in an art therapy situation.
The whole problem of Colour Values thus needs very careful consideration.
The deeper levels of colour-associations reach down into the depths of our being, where emotions are more important than our conscious intellectual processes.
Colours act less on our intellect than on our emotions.