Neuroaesthetics: “What art does to the brain”.
An illustrated essay exploring the intersections of yoga, psychology, neuroaesthetics, esoteric torus studies and cognitive science.
Whatever the stimulus, the cognitive and neurophysiological response to outward aesthetic objects and internal yoga-based or meditative practices is very much the same. There is almost complete overlap between the descriptions of a person having an aesthetic experience and a person having a meditative experience.
Neuroaesthetics has generated new tools with which to understand and elucidate the history and the production of art. Paintings have been explored to create a productive phylogeny of aesthetic forms, which beyond their primary meaning as art works functioning in the aesthetic field, can also explain questions that formerly were the jurisdiction of neuroscience, the philosophy of consciousness and evolutionary psychology.
Neuroaesthetics is a dynamic process in flux through which aesthetic ideas and methods pertaining to perception, concept, the phenomenal, illusions which have always formed the latent content of aesthetic practice are fore-grounded. As such, it clears another path to be added to the already existing histories of art in which artistic practice can also help to play a role in the investigation of the brain.
Neuroaesthetics imports, displaces, appropriates, deterritorializes and reterritorializes the ideas of neuroscience into artistic practice and thereby commits it to a very different history, context and set of genealogic conditions.
Neuroaesthetics realizes that optical phenomena embedded in the structure of an artwork can play a significant role in how that artwork is perceived and cognised. It is not, however, the whole artwork rather it is enmeshed in a network of cultural and historical conditions that give it meaning. These conditions cannot be stripped from it without altering and changing it into something else. These same cultural conditions also re-make the subject as an observer in two important ways. First by affecting how, by what means, and what he or she pays attention to and secondly by changing the matter of the brain itself. Recent theories called Neural Darwinism and Neural Constructivism have given us the tools with which to understand the conditions under which this might occur and the mechanisms by which it might happen. It is by effecting the spatial and temporal distribution of connections of neurons, synapses and neural networks that the brain uses to code the world that it acts and participates in, that new forms of thoughts become possible.
Neuroaesthetics embraces the single occurrence as a fact and as a real thing. One artist and one artists work can change the course of art history and cause seismic shifts that ripple throughout the strings of networks that make up the cultural system.
I have recently come to discover that the torus is a form is considered to be the primary geometric dynamic flow pattern – in other words, all manifestation, evolution, emergence and progression can be described by this geometry.
Whilst researching the subject I realised that the eye’s iris happens to be a torus, and thus has a direct harmonic resonance with our visual acuity and process.
I was immediately inspired to develop a series of torus studies that might hold codes/keys for unlocking the mystic bridge between the non-physical mind and the physical body, much in the way of many schools and practices of yoga.
My intention with this body of work (in progress), is to activate and stimulate a deep and progressive response in the mind of the viewer, through intuitive and considered placement of patternings, to facilitate a series of visual meditations that invite a gentle surrender towards the journey to inner peace.
I have dreamed of a visual language that transcends the intellect, and as I continue to explore the understanding of my art I’m gaining a deeper understanding of how ‘medicine can be applied through the eyes’, and currently I am exploring my current understanding that we ‘feel what we see’, we do not ‘see what we see’ – meaning that light is changed into a neurological chemical after reaching the retina, and therefore the ‘viewer’ is feeling a chemical effect, not ‘seeing’ an image.
And my art is about relating the ‘feeling’ using the ‘image’ as a vehicle… Therefore I draw what I feel, and describe it in the 127,000,000 pixel format (the number of receptors – rods and cones – that we have in each eye), almost as a musician might play an instrument with 127 million keys, in chords, rhythms, progressions and scales.
And from this biochemical experience/signal, arises a transmission and signalling throughout the bloodstream, through the heart, and therefore subtly affecting entire immune system, creating the potential for wellbeing and healing.
An internal journey, reproduced through the application of drops of paint in a sequential and intuitive pattern sequence, creating eye asanas. Each is an exercise, 3rd eye gymnastics for Ajna Chakra. Eye Nourishment – Excitations – Vitamins – Activations – Netra Asana
The toroidal shape is similar to a donut but rather than having an empty central “hole”, the topology of a torus folds in upon itself and all points along its surface converge together into a zero-dimensional point at the centre called the Vertex.
It has even been suggested that the torus can be used to define the workings of consciousness itself. In other words – consciousness has a geometry. The geometric shape used to describe the self-reflexive nature of consciousness is the torus. The torus allows a vortex of energy to form which bends back along itself and re-enters itself. It ‘inside-outs’, continuously flowing back into itself. Thus the energy of a torus is continually refreshing itself, continually influencing itself.
Toroidal energy fields exist around everything. People. Trees. Earth. Planets. The Sun. The Solar System. The Galaxy. The Universe. The Source.
Whereas the Vector Equilibrium represents the ultimate stillness of energy, the Torus shows us how energy moves in its most balanced dynamic flow process. The important thing to understand about the torus is that it represents a process, not just a particular form.
A torus consists of a central axis with a vortex at both ends and a surrounding coherent field. Energy flows in one vortex, through the central axis, out the other vortex, and then wraps around itself to return to the first incoming vortex. The simplest description of its overall form is that of a donut, though it takes many different shapes, depending upon the medium in which it exists. For example, a smoke ring in air or a bubble ring in water are both very donut shaped. And yet an apple or an orange, which are both torus forms, are more overtly spherical. Plants and trees all display the same energy flow process, yet exhibit a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Hurricanes, tornadoes, magnetic fields around planets and stars, and whole galaxies themselves are all toroidal energy systems. Extending this observation of the consistent presence of this flow form into the quantum realm, we can postulate that atomic structures and systems are also made of the same dynamic form.
In our model of cosmometry, the torus is the fundamental form of balanced energy flow found in sustainable systems at all scales. It is the primary component that enables a seamless fractal embedding of energy flow from micro-atomic to macro-galactic wherein each individual entity has its unique identity while also being connected with all else. In the words of pioneering researcher Arthur Young – ‘The self in a toroidal Universe can be both separate and connected with everything else.’
For example, our Sun has a large toroidal field surrounding it, the heliosphere, that is itself embedded inside a vastly larger toroidal field encompassing the Milky Way galaxy. Our Earth’s magnetic field is surrounding us and is inside the Sun’s field, buffering us from the direct impact of solar electromagnetic radiation. Earth’s atmosphere and ocean dynamics are toroidal and are influenced by the surrounding magnetic field. Ecosystems, plants, animals, all exhibit torus flow dynamics and reside within and are directly influenced by (and directly influence) the Earth’s atmospheric and oceanic systems. And on it goes inward into the ecosystems and organs of our bodies, the cells they’re made of, and the molecules, atoms and sub-atomic particles they’re made of.
In this way we can see that there is a seamlessly dynamic exchange of energy and information (consciousness) occurring throughout the entire cosmic experience. It is like a ‘stepping down’ and ‘stepping up’ from level to level wherein the balance of energy dynamics comes into coherence appropriate to each scale. And yet there is only one whole energy flow occurring throughout the entirety of it. This is what physicist David Bohm calls the Holomovement.
Bohm states – ‘The new form of insight can perhaps best be called undivided wholeness in flowing movement. This view implies that flow is, in some sense, prior to that of the ‘things’ that can be seen to form and dissolve in this flow’
According to Bohm, a vivid image of this sense of analysis of the whole is afforded by vortex structures in a flowing stream. Such vortices can be relatively stable patterns within a continuous flow, but such an analysis does not imply that the flow patterns have any sharp division, or that they are literally separate and independently existent entities; rather, they are most fundamentally undivided.
Thus, according to Bohm’s view, the whole is in continuous flux, and hence is referred to as the holomovement (movement of the whole).
Continuing our exploration of the torus as a form and flow process, one of the key characteristics of it is that at its very centre, the entire system comes to a point of ultimate balance and stillness — in other words, perfect centeredness. Like the centre point of the vector equilibrium, this is the centre point ‘singularity’ of the torus. And since we’re really talking about a unified model of cosmometry, this centre point is one and the same in both the VE and the torus. In the VE, it’s the centre of the system in its state of unmanifest perfect equilibrium. In the torus it’s the centre of the system in its state of manifest flow process.
As in the case of a black whole singularity at the centre of galaxies, this centre point within all systems connects the system continuously with the underlying Unified Field (energy and information return to the zero-point source state of infinite density via a singularity). In this way, everything is unified and holographically present as the Unified Field informs every manifest entity of the entirety of the cosmos in every moment, and every entity informs the entire cosmos of its localized presence via the Unified Field. This kind of reciprocal exchange is a primary feature of toroidal systems, wherein the individual is informed and influenced by its surrounding environment, and the surrounding environment is informed and influenced by the individual, in a continuous balanced rhythmic interchange.
‘A reciprocal relationship enables a qualitative relation between structure and background, in which each has the potential not only to ‘impact’ the other, but to generate transformations in the nature of what each actually is. More broadly considered, the notion of reciprocal relation allows for nested, mutual influence even between macroscopic processes and those at the atomic level, indicating the complexity of the pathways through which the qualitative infinity of nature may manifest.’
The toroidal form figures heavily into the esoteric study of Sacred Geometry, a meta-science that reveals how shape and mathematical form are primary underlying principles of manifestation.
The torus is a three dimensional figure created by rotating a circle 360 degrees along a line formed by another circle. This is also known as a donut or bagel shape. The hole is one ‘inside’ and the interior of the donut (like the inside of a tyre tube) is another ‘inside’.
‘The hearts’ torus electromagnetic field is not the only source that emits this type of electromagnetic field. Every atom emits the same torus field. The Earth is also at the centre of a torus, so is the solar system and even our galaxy and all are holographic. Scientists believe there is a good possibility that there is only one universal torus encompassing an infinite number of interacting, holographic tori within its spectrum.’
Yogis are successful internal alchemists. The asanas, and the other seven limbs of yoga, help the yogi to bring their physical being into energetic alignment with all that is. The first four chakras are associated with elements, we balance the elements to invite the divine serpent up the spine. The truth that we strive to remember in our own body, is that we are all love. We are already one with all that is, our entire physical organism and beyond into the Absolute. This truth stems from the heart, but is simultaneously one with all that is. Loving the individual self from within using the breath as the lover, the element of air being that of our heart chakra. Yogis endeavour to open up the whole body, making it so that every cell of your being gets a sip of the breath, prana life force energy. The breath is the light with which we shine upon the darkness. As we shine light upon our inner shadows we release them.
We are all inextricably linked to one another, all of existence is for that matter. Envision your crown blossoming open into an infinite petalled lotus flower. At the base of your spine, imagine a root system of multitudinous proportions expanding deep down into Mother Earth from your foundation. Now envision the fountain of petals spilling over and connecting to your roots in a beautiful ever changing and flowing torus. We create our own existence and our moment to moment experiences. Our outer and inner worlds are one in the same. We are all one. Sacred geometry reaffirms this truth.
‘The vector equilibrium is the zero starting point for happenings or non-happenings: it is the empty theatre and empty circus and empty Universe ready to accommodate any act and any audience.’ – Buckminster Fuller
‘To use the imagery of a Tibetan poem, every action, every event comes of itself from the Void as from the surface of a clear lake there leaps suddenly a fish.’ – Alan Watts
The iris of the eye is also a torus, as this perfected geometry captures light at the optimum level. The iris (plural: irides or irises) is a thin, circular structure in the eye, responsible for controlling the diameter and size of the pupil and thus the amount of light reaching the retina. Eye colour is defined by that of the iris. In optical terms, the pupil is the eye’s aperture, while the iris is the diaphragm.
The Torus (Latin for Ring) is the perfected geometry of the human energy field. It is the shape of the human zygote after 512 cell division, thus it stores all the Memory of We Are. It is essentially a sphere that has imploded to form a doughnut-like shape, highly efficient, having maximum volume for minimal surface area. That is why smoke-rings take this form, as it is a dynamic and intelligent way for atoms to move through space.
Each atom, and everything on the planet is surrounded by its own energy field known as The Torus. This self-sustaining balanced dynamic energy flow process, is the base for everything powerful on the planet; consisting of a single axis and two vortices. Energy passes through one vortex, along the centre of the axis, out the other vortex, wraps back around the circumference and renews by passing through the original vortex. This shape can be clearly seen in some of nature’s most powerful creations: the tornado, the whirlpool, the black hole, magnetic fields, energy fields around planets and the sun, etc. It is also found around each living organism such as people and plants. The Earth’s Torus is run through the centre of the planet and creates our atmosphere.
Each of our products and our concepts are all based around utilizing this naturally occurring miracle. There can be no equal in potential of the energy output or harmonization with nature. By basing science around this naturally occurring power-source we can achieve everything we have ever dreamed of and more, without any destruction, pollution or loss of land.
In the Vector Equlibrium, it’s the centre of the system in its state of unmanifest perfect equilibrium. In the torus it’s the centre of the system in its state of manifest flow process.
A torsion field (also called axion field, spin field, spinor field, and microlepton field) is a feature of an unusual theory of energy in which the quantum spin of particles can be used to cause emanations lacking mass and energy to carry information through vacuum orders of magnitude faster than the speed of light.
‘For every thought there is a sensation in the body/mind, and as all things are empty of inherent meaning we get to assign meaning, and geometric shapes seem to contain the nearest thing to inherent meaning. A healing system based on shapes that embody intention, that literally communicate without words to the deepest part of the psyche seems like an aligning healing modality that is entirely possible and for which the time has come.’ Tim Williams