Saturday, September 1

Putting Descartes Before The Horse

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Recently I heard of an early twentieth-century anthropologist named James Frazer. Seems he had a theory about what he called Sympathetic Magic.

Now if I got it straight, he argued that “things that have once been in contact with each other continue to act upon each other at a distance, even after the contact has been severed.”

Hmmmm… see those boats in today's image? There is no body of water nearby to the City of Lancaster that would permit ships like them to operate. Now, see the bricks, and the window arch? See the repeating arch over the coal-bin window to this building’s basement? I’m told you’ll find exactly this design routinely throughout the British Isles.

Do these two things point just one way – toward the truth of Frazer’s Sympathetic Magic? Somehow bricklaying and ship building techniques are just as real here in one of Lancaster’s lovely alleyways as they were when they were bumped up against sometime long ago. These two images, one made from brick, the others from wood and canvas are both material objects yet they are signs from long long ago, and far far away. What’s most magical is that we accept the fusion here on this tiny street without a thought.

And yet because they are, therefore I think. How would one say that, Sum ergo cogito? Sympathetic Magic, eh?

4 comments:

Who is..... Carteach0? said...

Imagine that, Ted Byrne! And still where I can make silly comments at him! What a wonderful day it's shaping up to be!

The objects and details in the photo are all certainly linked, but left out is the most important link of all.

People.

The common element through the cloth is the people who built the building, carved the boats, walk the streets making pictures.

Explore that link and the weave becomes even more fascinating.

Ted, take a look at my profile and dive back in your memory. See if I'm not there staring back at you.

Who is..... Carteach0? said...

Not even a guess?

Ok, Just wanted to say thanks for the radio show you used to do. It was a bright spot in my day and folks still remind me of it occasionally.

You had a way if getting my blood flowing better than any cup of coffee ever did.

Sure miss it....

Nice to see your talents certainly weren't monotone.... excellent photography!

Art in Lancaster signing off...

Chad Oneil said...

This one jumped out at me, Ted. Very much my style.

Ted Byrne said...

(Art) Ladies and gentlemen... we have the pleasure of the attendence of one of Lancaster County's most insiteful commentators. Good to have you on board ole buddy.

(Chad) Yes, it has some part of what you teach us at your website. I guess I got it subliminally. Odd how great minds move in similar circles, eh? Heh heh heh... And it is equally odd how design captures our attention. This was an abstract which just grabbed my lense. I wonder why it strangely works?