For many, spirituality may already have begun to emerge, or may have emerged long ago. For others, an additional distinction may not yet have emerged clearly.
Early on, we identified willingness as sine qua non to ethical, moral, spiritual or for that matter virtually any kind of personal development. Later, we found through painful experience that we had a startling capacity for self-deception and needed the distinction of honesty to break through barriers that impeded our progress. This week, we focus on the distinction of openness, the final element in the holy trinity of honesty, openness and willingness (HOW), transformed into WHO in order of development.
You may ask how openness differs from willingness. These are only words we use to describe distinctions we make as we learn to identify, categorize and work with an ever-expanding set of life experiences. In essence, though, the distinction proposed between willingness and openness is that the former is a precursor to the latter: the former cracks the door open a bit, mainly through the emotion that we call willingness, while the latter throws the door wide open in all three domains of emotion, thought and action. With that introduction, enjoy the music, art and readings on the global subject of openness and then prepare for an exploration of this essential spiritual virtue in each of the three domains of Being.
- Lawrence M. Krauss, Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s Life in Science (W.W. Norton & Company, 2011): “Like those quantum particles, he seemed eager to try every path – even the crazy ones. That was true in his life as well as in his physics.”
- Hugh Eakin, Picasso’s War: How Modern Art Came to America (Crown Publishers, 2022): “It is almost unthinkable that the now universally acknowledged masterpieces of modern art, such as Pablo Picasso’s ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ or Henri Matisse’s ‘The Red Studio,’ were scorned by American museums and that wealthy patrons refused to buy even a single canvas by either painter.”
- Pierre Bonnard, The Open Window (1921)
- Konstantin Makovsky, By the Open Window (1910)
- Henri Matisse, Open Window, Collioure (1905)
- Victor Borisov-Musatov, Window (1886)
- Rembrandt van Rijn, Girl in the Window (1645)
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
In Ann Arbor, Michigan, from 1961 through 1966, a group of independent free-thinking musical composers put together a yearly ONCE festival to explore expansion of musical boundaries. These efforts have resulted in a 5-CD compilation of music, which is available. To most people, this music remains obscure but it is well worth seeking out not only on its own terms but also to illustrate the virtue of openness. Selections from these composers, not necessarily represented at the ONCE Festivals or even of those vintages, are linked below.
- Robert Ashley, Perfect Lives
- Robert Ashley, Fourth of July
- Robert Ashley, The Bar
- Robert Ashley, The Bottlemen
- Robert Ashley, The Wolfman
- Robert Ashley, Automatic Writing
- Robert Ashley, Ideas About Thinking
- Gordon Mumma, 1978 Santa Cruz Saw Festival
- Roger Reynolds, Sanctuary
- Roger Reynolds, Quick are the Mouths of Earth
- Roger Reynolds, A Portrait of Vanzetti
- Roger Reynolds, Watershed I
- Roger Reynolds, Variations for Solo Piano
- David Tudor and Pauline Oliveros, Applebox Double
- Robert Sheff, Diotima
Andreas Romberg (1767-1821) composed twenty violin concerti but only four of them have been published. They evoke openness of Being, even in a minor key.
- Thomas Wilson, Piano Concerto: “Seen as a whole, the Concerto is a continuous set of free variations based on the quiet, reflective music given out by the solo piano at the outset” [from the liner notes to this album].
- Tawadros, “Hand in Hand Suite”
- John Keats, “Ode to Psyche”
Books of poetry:
- Florence Gander, Twice Alive (New Directions, 2021) “vibrates with the thrill that comes with being open with another person”.