4/10/07 07:26 pm - Creation
Hello beautiful souls. This recent essay addresses a decision most of you don't know about. I've forged myself anew from bits of all I've been. I'll express something unusual here-- I hope you all read this. :)
When I skipped college in 1986, after outscoring everyone on the SAT, people thought I was crazy. My parents tried to commit me to Friends (Psychiatric) Hospital in Philadelphia.
Life’s strange and wonderful. If I'd known more, I may have gone to college at seventeen-- but I wouldn't be here now, applying to Savannah College of Art and Design. I do this joyfully and without regrets. I know I can benefit from SCAD much more than anyone resembling my younger self.
My carefree early childhood crumbled through spontaneous and merciless religious questioning. I became mortified by the obscuring power of belief, and stricken with the essence of an eventually overpowering skepticism. Soon afterwards, I was emotionally numbed by my mother's surprising suicide attempts. I was also greatly disturbed, at the onset of puberty, by my condition of hemifacial microsomia. I tried to hide this mild facial deformity, and such secrecy made me feel quite alone and different.
My increasingly private thought led toward an ambition, and egoic refuge, that stifled and nearly broke me: the drive to make a big difference in a world suffused with suffering, despite many efforts of brilliant and compassionate minds. I sensed the struggle to assimilate and equal their limited successes, never mind to achieve a quantum improvement in the human condition. Yes, I was that idealistic; but skepticism deepened, as desire and biased belief doomed hopes of objective perception. As I lost regard for conventional thought, schoolwork suffered, and I fell toward the cool embrace of a nihilistic Buddhism. I decided that desire always causes suffering, and it's best to abandon all human and material ambition.
I forsook college, but I was too scared to run to a monastery, and too lazy for professional writing. I suffered for years through jobs that seemed petty. I also, however, began to improve in many ways. My faltering attachment to Buddhism was transmuted by tantric perspectives. Instead of scorning all desires, I began seeking an opposite ideal: to desire all things in due proportion; to fully accept and enjoy diversity. As I judged less, I saw more, and sensed the incomparable challenge of understanding humanity. I focused on short-term goals, easing ambition and perfectionism. I became receptive to others' ideas, relaxing naive notions of intellectual singularity. I was inspired by others' manifold beauty.
This progressed for years, until a key breakthrough in 2005: my acceptance of tireless skepticism. I finally embraced the paradox of being human-- to live moments, yet dream eternity; to subjectively create models of the 'objective.' I accepted that models and theories are always incomplete, and I never 'know' the future, nor even the past. I have only moments and possibilities, and mine are increasingly filled with beauty, love and adventure. They've led quite surely back to school.
I started at community college last year, planning to double major in political science and film. I focused on political science due to limited time and money, and my efforts were logically fixed on related projects and student leadership. However, my self-confidence and clarity have improved so much now that I can entirely commit to my truest desire: the boundless possibilities of filmmaking.
When I moved to Savannah, your school was an intriguing but uncertain factor. I'd heard great things about SCAD for years, and my own research was always promising. Since my arrival, the faculty and facilities have greatly impressed me. I'm sure SCAD can provide the critical thinking and technical skills I need; but more importantly, this is an inspiring region. I moved here partly for social reasons, and partly for love of the art, architecture and gardens; the Southern culture; and beyond all, the flora, the fauna and the shining sea. I've grown to realize how important such things are for my art.
I had a vision when I was 25. I'd driven far to watch the sunset from a famous overlook, but I'd arrived too late, at the last dimming glow of dusk. It was a very remote place, and I stayed to absorb the immense night falling over me. Eventually, my gaze turned skyward, and I gasped at countless stars on the inky black. I saw the Milky Way itself, and I knew its geometry-- the vast disk stretching before me, through the center of the galaxy-- and in an impossible moment, all stars leapt off through the void; still clear and bright, but beyond invisible, indelible distance. This distance was not something in itself, but rather, was in the stars and in me; and in such emptying of space and time, I was filled with all else: my eyes and mind, the sky, and those immense pinpricks of starlight, all melded in due relations.
Rationally, distance often still puzzles me. I can span it, however, through its very instrument of becoming-- the human mind, with its relentless conception of past, present and future based on fleeting perceptions. I can dissolve self-created separations through ideational links; and in this connection, I make moments utterly true. Despite all doubts, life has convinced me I am that which is "other," beyond all tumult of cogitation; and such identity, both rational and mystic, is exactly what I wish to express in all forms of art. I still hope to change our conflicted, ever-accelerating society, and its direst need is appreciation of diversity.
I think I'm already a skilled artist, although I've sought neither acclaim nor money for it. Poetry and photography will keep nurturing my necessary, and necessarily changing, sense of self. I'm also excited about sequential art, which offers unique means of focused storytelling. I'm especially keen to blend drawing and painting with photomanipulation, which I'm relatively experienced with. Film, however, has long seemed my best chance to make a difference both socially and artistically.
I have many objectives in both documentary and fictive filmmaking. For instance, I hope to utilize and to describe how environment and biology have influenced our ethical and aesthetic values. I further hope to highlight rewarding ethical and aesthetic possibilities for skeptical or even 'lost' people. My key artistic goal, however, is to develop integrative cinematic vision, transcending the reductionism of human categories. Film holds boundless expressive potential through synergy of images, sounds and words. I'm experienced in all three -- I also sing and play piano-- but more importantly, I'm a holistic and flexible thinker. I consider ideas from any source, and always as they relate to the whole. In this search for connection, I'm committed to both personal vision and communication, which meet through a dialectic that is, quite precisely, my goal to understand humanity.
Great art includes and yet reaches beyond reason. I seek contextual, organic interplays of order with chaos, which is structurally present between discrete things. I appreciate history and styles, scripts and storyboards--and I'll study them carefully-- but the wholehearted exploration of expressive detail transforms all preconceptions. This happens in my poetry and photography, and it's the most exciting and rewarding part for me: finding new bits of myself suddenly, amid all that seems other. Each occasion suggests more vividly that there's no limit to what I can become.
It may seem, nonetheless, that I want to do too much at SCAD. I'm intensely interested in sequential art, photography, painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry, and interactive design. I will study social and natural sciences whenever I can. I'm very athletic, and I'd love to play several sports at school. I'm an ardent hiker (and nature photographer) so I hope to go on outdoors trips. I'm especially interested in continuing my student leadership here. I know I can't do it all at once, but I have immense energy and enthusiasm for all that may prove feasible.
It starts now, as always, and I'm finally and fiercely ready. I hope and believe SCAD will help me to reach more freely for visions.