Awakened Buddha

The second guest writer of this issue is the artist Mazyar Zarnadar, whom SuperGlue interviewed this month. In this text, the Centre d’Art Vevey’s founder develops their thoughts on the relationship to the self, to others, to the world and to the cosmos through a metaphysical lens.

Mazyar Zarnadar, Self-Portrait, drawing, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

It’s always a difficult task to introduce oneself since it implies for one to know who one is. We are not the same person we were yesterday and at the same time we have always been the same person who is saying «I». Even if the details and parameters of this «I» are changing while beeing in a constant motion, the person who is saying «I» stays the same.

If someone’s voice was recorded two years ago and the same person is asked today if they were the one who got their voice recorded, this person can not state that this fact is wrong.

This shows that we are at the same time absolutely one, unique, undividable and yet in change, in motion, in a constant transformation state, a dynamic unity. During these two years, the person who got their voice recorded has passed through numerous events of their life. The physical body of this person has changed, every day, every minute, every second, cells have died and new cells hare born, food was eaten and dirt was evacuated, a landscape was seen and the same landscape disappeared, kilometers were walked and faces were smiled at, parfumes were smelled and hands have touched. Nothing happened twice the same way, everything has died and everything was born again, every moment has gone but happened for ever.

If we could acces to the entire datas of our memories, we would see that all the sounds we produced, every object we touched, every direction we looked to, everywhere we walked, has been recorded, that those occurances can not be erased from time and space, that the relation between the motion of the planets and the existence of matter has sealed our path through life forever.

Most commonly, when we want to know something or someone, our first need is to locate the object of our quest in order to attain a co-existencial level of being which allows us to start the process of knowledge absorption through our external and internal senses.

When we want to know someone for instance, we need to be with this person inside a physical space to look, hear, smell, touch, feel, estimate, imagine, meditate and memorize to get to build an idea of who might be this person in terms of the physical and mental characteristics that this person might show us and our cognitive capacity to create an abstract synthesis of this person out of what we are witnessing. Thus the process of knowing is impossible without a preliminary geographical orientation phenomenon that we need to activate.

Geographical orientation as any type of action in the material world relies on space and time dimensions. One needs a physical space wether abstract or not and a given moment within the motion mechanism of the planets to start any action. Thus, geographical orientation of an object implies a time and space localisation action in order to fix the coordinates of the desired researched target. One of the basic rules of the cosmos recorded in western hard science in the XXth century with Einstein, is that everything inside the cosmos is dividable. Even the most tiny single atome can be scratched. Then logically, our physical body can also be divided : we lose hair, we cut nails, we may loose a piece of our flesh, unfortunately.

But even when we get to loose a piece of our physical body we remain ourselves. If blood stops circulating in your right foot and you stop feeling it, still, you stay the same person but with a diminished motor ability. If you loose the use of your voice for some reason, your ipseity, your proper identity stays the same. You can not talk for some days but still, you are who you are. In other words while every single atome inside the infinity of the cosmos can be divided, you stay undividable, absolutly unique.

This also means that only something that is dividable can be traced and located. Materialists would say that our consciousness is inside our brain and that when the brain stops functioning, ultimately our consciousness stops its activity and dies. But as a great iranian soufi master named Jalal-od-Din Mohammad Balkhi Rûmi said in the XIIIth century, even if you open someone’s skull and analyse their brain, you would not reach their inner self. If our consciousness is inside our brain then we should be able to see it as we can see a single atome with a microscope. Other scientists would argue that an intended progress in technology would make possible the down-load of a human cousiousness inside a computer. Artificial intelligence is based on algorythms and probabilities, data bases connected to fast processors. And even if many computers can today analyse our behaviours and draw patterns out of it to predict what choice we will probably make within the next hour, and send us annoying messages, they can not be who we are. A computer can take your job but it can not take your identity. The computer can not replace you, a computer can not survive you unless it becomes a sad, cold and pale unhuman avatar. This places us in front of an important issue: if we choose to know ourselves, if we want to know who we are, we first need to geographicaly locate what we call our mind, our cousciousness, our spirit, our soul or our intellect. Also, if our ipseity, our true identity can not be divided and that only what can be divided in the cosmos has the characteristic of being locatable on an orientation table, then it means that our consciousness doesn’t belong to the cosmos. Our intellect, due to its unique essence, is living out of time and space. Our soul is not to be located on any geographical map. No compass can help you to naviguate in the ocean of your intellect.

We all know that our physical body has a place of origin, that the encounter between our father’s and mother’s chromosoms created a third being that took the shape of a growing foetus that once was the astrolab of our cousciouness that lived for the first time with our first heart beat. We know the geographical coordinates of our physical creation as being inside the uterus of our mothers. Our physical being is the result of an aesthetic experience between a male and a female. But what do we know about our intellectual and spiritual birth? Every existing thing has an origin which is the condition of it’s possibility. If we know that our physical body didn’t exist and that it came to the material world through the process of reproduction, how can we know the place of origin of our mind? Which map can lead us over the « qâf mountain » ? Which sherpa will show us the way and the technics to go through the dangerous inner valleys of our ego, without falling down and getting our heart robbed? Either we refuse to think about our true identity and its location and spend our entire life in a denial of who we truly are, or we decide to tie our laces and start looking for the awaken bouddha within us.

Mazyar Zarnadar, 2020

This text was originally published in Vocab0, critical review of the Centre d’Art Vevey