Cosmic Conditions


One of the recurring themes in my work is “Cosmic Conditions”. I’m often wondering about the conditions that create an existence such as our own. For example I often wonder if something like consciousness arises when certain conditions arise. I often wonder what we could learn through an exacting study of the things that are foundational to our experience of the world. By this I don’t simply mean sensory perception but things that are much more general, for example, what I call “the permanency of action”. This is a concept foundational to a world or universe that is what we might call “meaningful” in addition to the existence of autonomous subjects, and the frail-mortal-uncertainty those subjects experience.


I think that we live our lives as a response to these cosmic conditions. We grasp at Identity, Purpose and Significance in an attempt to ward off these dreadful sublime ideas. We seek the attention of others to ward off the loneliness of our autonomy. We try to make ourselves useful, meaningful, even powerful in order not to confront the deep abyss of space and time where we are truly frail and pitiful as dust. Yet, in our limited and frail loneliness we seem to have the ability to make choices that impact our future but, even this we dread, because this is where our mistakes become the burdens to carry.


I think too many of us we have tricked ourselves into thinking that we have attained some immunity through our accomplishments. I don’t believe that any amount of power or prestige can make us immune to the meaninglessness of our condition. Should we then throw ourselves to the grave? No, in fact, I think that when we live in love, and community, when we share honestly, when we stand up for character and compassion, I think then we find that the conditions that once filled us with dread make this existence beautiful and exciting. This is a life were a sadistic death worshiper can find redemption and be transformed into an agent of patience. Profound acts of generosity and gratitude can be acted out in even the most dire of circumstances. The most startling demonstrations of beauty seem to exist among the most broken places: when individuals even on the edge of death can find the character to care for others, even their oppressors.

What does all this have to do with the drawing I made? I use drawing to help stir up contemplations. While this might look stout and serious (and sound serious), it is really a playful activity for me, like playing with Legos. I don’t plan how my drawings will look, I just doodle around. After I drew this I also damaged the paper to give it the tonality of brokenness. The first image is a digital inversion.

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This entry was posted in Art, Drawing, Pen & Ink, Philosophy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Cosmic Conditions

  1. Really interesting post, the images are beautiful, I love the original.
    “We seek the attention of others to ward off the loneliness of our autonomy.” The poignancy of these words is particularly relevant to my feelings at the moment.

  2. Lindsey says:

    Reminds me of a jelly fish! I like the darker ink on it.

  3. Pingback: Exhibitions Opening | Matthew D. Kiehl

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