There’s a feeling I sometimes get when I jog in the dark woods after midnight – a brief sense that there’s someone at my heels (but it’s only echoes of my footsteps). For a split second, I feel like a child again. It’s both wonderful and disconcerting. Our lives are full of such moments. Here’s another example: when, all of a sudden, I realize that I’m doing something without conscious thought, simply out of habit. The realization is like being shaken awake.
When that happens, I become aware of the layers of my own consciousness – of the fact that the rational self is a rickety shack on the edge of a volcano.
Great works of art have a similar effect on me. They knock away, if only for a moment, the illusion of the self that’s accreted over the years.
We’re not here for very long. Stay awake.
H.R. Giger, the master surrealist, has died. His work both unsettled and inspired me. I dedicate this post to him. R.I.P.