Profound (or shallow?) Objectification

Profound objectification is a method of practicing a mind state of equanimity that a lot of artists are familiar with because it comes from practicing drawing, or photography, or painting, or sculpting, or any art practice where you’re doing a lot of observing.

Handknee, graphite and charcoal on paper

Surfing in place, Digital Sketch










It comes with drawing from observation. As you practice more, you start to see past your own desires, and past your own assumptions of the subject in it’s relationship to you. You really see shallower as well as deeper. You see shallower than the meaning, shallower than the surface, until it’s just the light that you’re witnessing. The light that simply bounces from the surface. The light that’s reflected and refracted inside the surface, and then comes back toward you. It’s just the light that you’re looking at rather than what you want the object to be. It starts to simply be what it is. You start to see it without all the extra stuff that you put on it, and you realize that it exists in it’s own right. The object has autonomy outside it’s relation to you. This is a clearer and more humble version of anything you look at, without the names for things we all agree on, or the names you call things by, but you start to see it by it’s name as it’s called in your eye, only by the light that returns from it at the moment you’re watching.

Dynamic gesture, charcoal on paper

Not again, charcoal on paper

This kind of seeing allows you to see the soul in the inanimate object. You don’t have to imagine it, you don’t have to know it, you don’t have to make any decisions about it at all, you just have to see it without all the naming and choosing and wanting and deciding and knowing. The light as it is in it’s shallow nothingness strips you of all the artifice from your understanding of what you’re seeing, and it lets you “profoundly objectify” the thing while you maintain your empathy and compassion for it. Most objectification leads to disrespect because you retain your desire, and an ego-centric position. This shallow-yet-profound-objectification opens you up to the ability to respect anything, real or imagined, alive or inanimate. The classism, all the priorities and hierarchies disintegrate from your gaze and fall away. How equal could the world we live in be, if all things were offered the same respect by virtue of the way we see them, rather than how we think about them, name them, speak of them, and desire them?” 

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