Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Spiragraph of Life

I found a book on my shelf today that has changed my life: The Simplified Human Figure: Intuitional Expression by Adolfo Best-Maugard (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1936). It's a dump find that has been around for some time.

Today I picked it up, opened it to nearly the end, and was astounded by what I read. It suddenly seemed to provide the information about design, about art, about the purpose of life itself, that I have been searching for all along.

The method of design of which this book presents an aspect, quite aside from its practical usefulness, is both a discipline to the mind and a stimulus to the intuition, both working in conjunction, and as such it is an aid to harmonious development: intelligence interprets those things which the intuition  divines, the emotions charge them with life, and the hand executes. By these means the entire nature is aroused to a creative and co-ordinated activity; it is freed of its repressions and made ready for those further transmutations which the more intimate, intense, and vital experiences of life perhaps alone can give. The book is intended to be both a manual of design and an evolutionary agent. . . .
This quest for LIFE should be carried on within oneself, not in the outside world or in others, where it is usually sought. These (because he makes them so) are only reflections of himself, giving him back only his own image, useful therefore for knowledge of himself, but not for self-regeneration. This is discovered only in the silence, and in the secret places of the heart, for self-regeneration depends on the capacity for loving. Love is the power which frees man from his egg-shell existence and unites him with Life. Love may descend at any moment or never. But it is possible nevertheless to create conditions favorable to the descent of the divine fire. Right attitude creates a favorable condition; it attracts, like a lighted lamp in a window. Attitude may be defined as the way one wants to be or to become. If one wants to be love-illuminated, the attitude should be one of expectancy of that event.
In a glassine envelope attached to the inside back cover is a pink "spiragraph" tool to be used in demonstrating the "organic structure and mathematical perfection" of the instinctive spiral.
The intellect, on the other hand, interferes with this instinctive and intuitive action. It acts by itself and thus disturbs the great organic rhythms, unless it be conditioned, controlled, harmonized in its action by its "divine spouse" which is LOVE.

The design of the Spirograph geometric drawing game (which I loved as a kid) is attributed to the British engineer Denys Fisher who first marketed it in 1965. Athough according to The Bioscope, Theodore and Bessie Brown actually came up with the idea first back in 1907. Precursors include: the Phenakistoscope, the Zoetrope, the Zoopraxiscope, the Tachyscope, the Bioscope, the Kammatograph, and the Animatograph.