When I was a boy of eight or so, one of my tasks was to "shut up" the chickens at night to protect them from roving foxes. My father's farm was situated on an old Roman road in what we called "the meadows". Chickens cannot be rushed, they panic and get very excited if you try to hurry them. The dusk had often turned to night before the task was completed. Sometimes this was accomplished with my brother, but frequently on my own. In this way I spent a lot of time at night in the lonely countryside watching the dusk fade and the stars begin to come out. Today I recognize the feelings that I had then, as those of awe and wonder, heightened by alarm. I was conscious of the land being both filled with history but primitive in its simplicity and I now recognize that those feelings form the basis of the way that I look at landscape to this day. What I see today in a landscape, are feelings that contain those of loneliness and primitive beginnings that are timeless. I have come to believe that the wilderness and that we see today is dominated by an adherence to a great natural law of randomness. I am very conscious that the basic laws of the world obey the principles of survival and reproduction. I have a difficult time seeing in those laws the world that is of the moment, perhaps because of the endless efforts of human organization and socialization.
I recognize the sophistication of current enquiry and have adapted in my works "the table" that is both for scientific investigation and in use for museum display. By isolating and focusing an image and bringing it to a table, I find I can revisit my feelings of wonder and consciousness of the unknown.
It seems to me that the present does not pass, but rather drifts away into space. Like the stars that we now see as they were so many millions of years ago, the moments of our lives might well be re-experienced were we able to project ourselves into a position of sufficient distance. Since I believe that moments are not ended but simply in a new position in space, I am conscious that the point at which we live is always at the edge of time.
The technological world which we embrace with enthusiasm seems to me essentially anti-human and corrosive. The agenda of politics, in whatever sphere, is always linked to special interests and benefit those interests only. My philosophy requires that we consider a broader agenda encompassing the entire human condition. It is with awe that I contemplate how little human nature has changed over the centuries and how we continually fail to focus on the parts that would benefit from change.
No Matter how much we are influenced by the man made urban environment about us, our basic responses stem from a relationship with the land that extends deeply into pre-history. A response to a simple situation is directed only partially by the experience of our life. The "essence" of that response was set centuries ago. The difference between generations is only a description of the influences that we use at different times to guide the "essence" which remains constant.
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