Brain Food #824: To spring into life
Progressing through repetition
Thoughts of the day
For half the world, spring arrives every year on March 20th. The first day of spring is marked by the spring equinox, the day on which the sun sits above the equator, distributing its light evenly across the Northern and Southern hemispheres. On equinoxes, every place on Earth receives approximately twelve hours of sunlight and twelve hours of nighttime, making the day a balance of light and dark.
In one of the chapters of What Matters Most, psychoanalyst James Hollis compares life as a noun to life as a verb. Experiencing life as a noun is rigid, regimented, resistant to change. Experiencing life as a verb makes room for growth and transformation, accepting that, though the world and its seasons move cyclically, no spring is the same as the one before. Life is an act of progressing through repetition.
In her essay On Self-Respect, Joan Didion wrote, “Nonetheless, character—the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life—is the source from which self-respect springs.”
And so, spring itself can be seen in two senses, the season, but also the verb. To spring is to leap into motion. As the snow starts to melt, the seeds we may have planted during winter may now begin to spring into life.
Alexander Calder embraced change in his kinetic art, gaining fame and reputation through the creation of mobile, moving sculptures. Even in his paintings, like Spring Carnival, motion and change remain central forces.
Calder challenged the concept of art as something static — perhaps we should look at life and the self in the same way: “Why must art be static? You look at an abstraction, sculptured or painted, an entirely exciting arrangement of planes, spheres, nuclei, entirely without meaning. It would be perfect, but it is always still. The next step in sculpture is motion.”
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