The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing – Socrates

Please take a deep breath.

Breathe once more.

Do it again.

Slowly go on breathing.

Take your time.

Try to be aware of what you’re doing.

We humans have a heart, often seen as our centre. Our motor, a mechanism to be able to live.

We have muscles, physical power. We have a brain; the main reason why we think of ourselves as primates.

We also have lungs – to breathe – by inspiring and expiring. I think most of us will think the most important element that we breathe is oxygen. So take a breath, inspire and let your heart – by pumping – spread through your veins what you have inspired.

As a visual artist I am aware of the fundamental idea that an artwork occurs by trial and error. Creating is not a matter of thinking or having a great idea; it’s a process in which you try to see options and possibilities. In the act of making these options visible you have to be prepared to notice when your idea transcends in something extraordinary. In this process it is not coincidental that we speak about in-spiration, as a movement of energy from the outside of our body to the inside, tapping from an energy much larger than us as individual solitary beings.

In our society our brain is more valued than our creativity. Still, it’s a quite a misunderstanding that the ability of our brain to store and reproduce knowledge is a sign of wisdom. In fact it is nothing more than the proof that someone is able remember well; you can still be narrow minded after university. We should evaluate the value we give our cognitive capacities and its wonders like his holiness the economy, which is a man-made system that we approach as a natural phenomenon. One of its excesses – stashing money – is a form of anti-social behaviour.

It’s those who learn by understanding, by being aware, who gain wisdom and are able to discover. The Hungarian doctor and biochemist Albert Szent Györgyi (1893-1986) who isolated vitamin C said ‘A discovery is an accident meeting a prepared mind’. We would not have had penicillin if Alexander Fleming had not noticed the fungus that was able to kill bacteria. It was not Flemings idea to find this fungus, he discovered it by observing his experiments with an open mind.

Accidents are not plain accidents. They don’t befall us but are possibilities to learn. So start preparing your mind for our future, to be able to see the discovery in the accident when it occurs.

Know nothing and act. Be meaningful. Get out of your brain, find your insights. Nourish the social and emotional capital of our society and the natural capital of our planet.

Our spirit is the inhabitant of our body. One of the meanings of spirit – spiritus in Latin – is breath; this connection give us a wonderful view on the deeper meaning of inspiration; letting the spirit in.

So breathe your spirit in. We are not islands. We are one, connected and responsible for each other.

Work: I am calling’, (ply)wood, brass, glass, electric wire, 42 x 40,5 x 29,5 cm, Casper ter Heerdt, 2019