Friday, 7 January 2011



Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,

Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.

The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
Are of imagination all compact.

One sees more devils than vast hell can hold.

That is the madman. The lover, all as frantic,

Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt.

The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven.

And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen

Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing 
A local habitation and a name.

Such tricks hath strong imagination
That if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy

Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear?

Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream  Act 5.

Why have I opened up with this quotation?

In order to discuss the Human Mind and its  seeming independent , involuntary activity in generating images or thoughts from surrounding or internal stimuli.

Look how Shakespeare breaks it down.

1. The brain gets to work creating fantasy independent of the reasoning mind
2. There are three groups with fertile imaginations: the lunatic; the lover; the poet
3.the lunatic imagines horrors everywhere; the lover sees beauty where it might be absent; the poet takes abstract ideas and gives them concrete form.

One point that leads me to my next ideas is his mention of OPTICAL ILLUSION, the ‘bush’ imagined as a ‘bear.’

So, to get hold of things let us pose a few questions:

Where does Inspiration come from?
What is inspiration?
 How does the human mind get to grips with the world?

First off let us look at one or two OPTICAL ILLUSIONS:



Our next one


 Another example


Another One 


What do all these things have in common? They are all optical illusions.

Without any effort on our part the mind produces an INTERPRETATION of the details of the pictures. In short, the mind gets to work on it unaided and out comes the result.

In the first two instances the interpretation is most likely to be wrong: the shapes are the same size; in fact, the plane is nearer to the observer than the balloon.
The next two illustrate my topic more easily. In both instances they are basic shapes, but ‘arranged’ in such a way that the mind, sometimes after a period, produces the image, in the first case a woman, in the second two men or a wineglass. The mind will keep flipping between the two possibilities.

There is a school of Psychology called Gestalt .  It emerged at the end of the 19th century in Germany and Austria and  is concerned with the study of Perception: how we see things.

In short, the mind takes the objects it perceives as a whole. This means  it has a tendency to force order out of chaos. So, look at a cloud long enough and the mind will produce faces, figures, even landscapes.

But of course, the main question is: is the mind drawing the material from within the person, or as some believe, is it being fed in from outside. From where,  for example did Handel get the material which later became  the massive 'Handel's Messiah'?  Did he draw on patterns, notes, ideas, from deep down in his psyche or was it somehow fed in from outside. Of course, many Bible Students hold that the Holy Spirit fed material into the minds of the writers of the Scriptures. And then like secretaries they wrote it down. But that is not our topic here.


This leads me to my discussion about Leonardo da Vinci.

What is at once apparent concerning Leonardo da Vinci is that he was a Polymath, a master in more fields than any other person since or before him. Even Albert Einstein, or William Shakespeare were masters in just a single field. In the case of Leonardo da Vinci this was not the case. Nothing, either in the field of science or art was beyond reach.

His master pieces of Art or his Scientific Inventions reveal his being a total genius.

This picture of THE MONA LISA is well known. The enigma of whether the Lady is smiling or not has intrigued scholars for centuries.

Let us look at a picture of a landscape and of a Scientific Invention.

The landscape is rather vague in this reproduction because it is merely a sketch.

Notice the Landscape at the back of the figure in this next picture.

Next Consider the Scientific Drawing below. Remember there are many of these drawings, each of which reveals the breadth of Leonardo da Vinci's mind. 


 Art and science in its many forms were inseparable which many of his inventions  show. 

Da Vinci explored and thoroughly mastered subjects like surgical anatomy, map making, and all sorts of engineering projects. His drawings of the human anatomy are outstanding.

He seemed to be able to cram so much into a day. Whilst he was engaged in the pursuits I have mentioned, at the same time he had to earn a living. This he did by painting masterpieces such as the Last Supper for rich patrons, including the Church.

I could go on. But the main point I wish to draw out. Is where do you think he got his inspiration from.

It is worth thinking about this fact. That Leonardo would often wander into the CAVES OF TUSCANY and stand for a long time gazing at the FUNGAL PATTERNS on the walls. Eventually, a complete PICTURE would FORM IN HIS MND, which he then incorporated into his art work.

So, I leave you with the question was the MIND drawing on its own internal resources which FORCED THE PERCEPTION of order out of meaningless patterns?

I hope you enjoyed the Blog.

Any Comments?

All Pictures from Wikimedia Commons.


  1. How very interesting and not as simple as the question: what is in and what is out.Everything is both in and out, has inner and outer content and expression. While wondering what is the sense of sharing my opinion here, my hand just stretched out and opened the nearest book and - I found a place where the exact words from my today's meditation, just 2 hours ago,struck my eyes. So in the air around and through me 2 things happened: my meditation which is from my inside and the book which comes from my outside, both contained one and the same word. Inspiration means to make something internal(the ideas in me come from my most inner part) into some external expression.

  2. Not a single man, not a whole people, even not mankind can create anything. Man, people, mankind are conducters, instruments of certain energies of the living nature, of her thoughts. As far as a man is an instrument, mouthpiece of the nature, the people, the mankind, so far can his dreams be fulfilled.