Monthly Archives: August 2012

TV is an odd medium, that is, if it is a medium at all.

I have been trying to understand my dissatisfaction with the box, and come to terms with why, despite watching regularly, I feel so empty afterwards.

First of all, it isn’t a question of the quality of the programing. While it is unarguably true that most of the stuff on TV is dreck, there are examples of quality. The Simpsons, for instance — which I think will eventually be compared quite favorably with Shakespeare — or Book Notes on C-Span.

Yet, when I turn off the box, I feel like I have just eaten a boxcar of Cheez Doodles, and am more than a little queasy.

And I need a spiritual Bromo Seltzer.

One of the issues is, I believe, that TV is different from other media. If TV is a medium, it is one that is already twice-removed. That is, television isn’t, in itself, a medium for ideas or images — a conduit for content — but a medium of media.

That is, a play can be seen as a medium for words and ideas, but television is a medium for plays: What we talk about when we discuss television isn’t TV, but the plays, or discussions, or documentaries, or stand-up routines that are carried by TV.

In that sense, it is theater we are critiquing when we complain about bad sitcoms, not TV per se.

Almost anything that appears on TV is really some other medium, carried at the second remove, over the airwaves and into our houses.

So, complaining about the quality of TV shows isn’t really complaining about TV at all.

This second-handedness of television is one of the things that bothers me about it most.

I see the consequences of a TV-based culture constantly, when young people quote old sitcoms for wisdom — as if the Brady Bunch were relevant to anything.

And now, with the pervasiveness of the box in our culture, we look to the second-hand image in preference to the the actuality: Nothing is accepted as real until it is validated by being shown on TV.

Like a bunch of people at a bar in New York, when a car crash occurs right outside and the customers watch the wreck on the TV over the bar, covered from local TV helicopter cameras, rather than look out the window. An image on TV now seems more real than the actuality.

Animals are what appear on TV nature programs. Police are what they see on Cops. And movies are what they see on HBO.

This second-handedness of television means that audiences often make no distinction between seeing a movie in a theater and seeing it on a 26-inch screen.

What is missing is the actuality of the event: For animals smell; their fur has a feel under the hand that TV cannot give us.

Cops spend a lot of time filling in paper work and waiting for court appearances; TV requires the chase.

And seeing a movie includes the visual density of a projected image, which is gutted by the low-resolution of a TV screen.

We build our lives from our experience. If our experience is already second-hand, our lives cannot be fully realized. There is a “nowness” — an actuality and presence — to real experience that cannot be duplicated on the box. I worry that educators show videos of cows in class of rather than taking their students on a class trip to a dairy. What you learn from the video is second hand. What you learn from an actual dairy enters that deep well of experience we can draw from for the rest of our lives. What is lost on TV is that 360-degreeness and three-dimensionality — the smell and grit — of reality.

It also, by its rapid image editing, cuts us off from the important possibility of learning through slow accumulation of detail. In TV, nothing is slow, and there is no detail, only a quick wash of effect.

So, if television cannot give us a meaningful experience, and is only a second-hand medium of media, giving us images of theater and music, what is essentially television?

What can we say about television that isn’t mistakenly critiquing the drama, or the discussion, or the music that is conducted through the box into our living rooms?

This, in addition to the medium’s second-handedness, is what really bothers me:

The actual TV-ness of the box can only accomplish two things.

TV can only make something look attractive, or make it look repellent.

The images that TV gives us cannot make political arguments, it cannot discuss issues, it cannot weigh difficult moral questions. That is the lesson we first widely learned during the Nixon-Kennedy television debates, when Kennedy smiled and Nixon glowered. Many listening to the debates on radio assumed Nixon had won. But on TV, Kennedy glowed and the box gleamed in response.

As a result, political campaigns now rely not on actual debate — no one who really understands the term believes the so-called TV debates are anything of the sort — but the presentation of images making “our guy” look heroic and “their guy” look like an oaf.

And this leads to the natural result of TV’s “attraction-repulsion” duality.

The only thing on television that naturally belongs there — as drama naturally belongs in the theater, or as political debate naturally belongs in the town hall — is advertising.

Television is ultimately the final and natural home of the commercial, that glossy dreamlike presentation of images of the libido, really well lit and set into a mythology of personal gratification.

In one way of defining the term, television is at its heart pornographic.

I don’t mean that it is filled with sexual imagery, but that the pictures on television short circuit complex reactions and substitute simple desire. Television is the ultimate “me see, me want” medium. It makes us want to possess those images it glamorizes. We are not meant to think about, feel deeply or discuss the ideas, but only to want the images. That is what I call pornographic.

TV suppresses the best in our natures and substitutes covetousness. We want the splash of the sports beverage, we want the wind rushing through our hair as we see the actor drive the SUV through the Tetons. We want the shiny hair, or the woman possessing the shiny hair.

In this, the programing is not substantially different from the commercials: We want the smiles and lifestyles of our TV Friends, and the clothes they wear on Sex and the City.

It is a world of pure fantasy, devoid of consequences, complexity or depth. It creates a world in which everything is an “it,” in the terms of Martin Buber.

That objectification of the world is the bottom line on pornography. And when we combine the problem of TV’s pornographic essence with its displacing actual experience, we wind up with a deep metaphysical tummy ache.

Which is why I really need a Bromo.

As I have become older, I have begun to think that the problem of color is primarily a linguistic one.

Color a problem? It seems like one of the clearest, most obvious of phenomena. We all see it: At least, we all stop at stop signs. We know red.

Or think we do.

Artists know about color, certainly. They know the primary colors of red, blue and yellow, and the secondary and tertiary colors they can mix.

Physicists know about color, too. They know about wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum and how one tiny segment of this huge megaband of waves can be perceived visually, from the longer wavelengths of red to the shorter, buzzier ones of blue.

But these two knowledges don’t agree. They are relativity and quantum mechanics.

Further, a printer will tell you that the primary colors are not red, blue and yellow, but cyan, magenta and yellow. And a television technician will tell you that the primary colors are blue, green and red.

What gives?

Perceptual psychologists and neuroscientists are still working on the problem of color. The first and most significant problem is that, realistically speaking, color does not exist. That is, what we see when we look at a tomato or an apple, that sensuous red we ascribe to the object, does not have an objective reality. It is a subjective additive that our brains give it so we may make sense of what we see. In evolutionary terms, we use color to know when fruit is ripe.

(Interestingly, it seems as if evolution continues to work in the human species and, as most people now buy food from markets rather than foraging for them, we may be losing our ability to distinguish reds and greens. The incidence of red-green color blindness is growing, and eventually, we may all share it.)

A simple view of how color vision works would seem to make sense of it all. In our eyes, on our retinas, are light-sensitive cells — we call them cones — that are alternately triggered by red, green and blue wavelengths of light, and those signals are transmitted to our brains, where they are synthesized into little color pictures of what we are looking at.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an accurate version of what happens.

First problem is that the cones are not discretely sensitive to red, green and blue. There is considerable overlap, as seen in this graph.

Second, the color we perceive is not always related to wavelength. Consider yellow. There is, of course, a yellow wavelength of light, and we see that wavelength because yellow light tickles both the green and red sensors in our eyes, and we blend them together in our brain to make yellow. The problem is that if something has no yellow wavelengths at all, but manages to tickle both the red and green sensors, we still see yellow. No yellow light at all, but still, we see yellow.

And consider magenta. It is a color that does not exist in the natural spectrum. There is no magenta wavelength of light. But if an object reflects both red and blue wavelengths of light, we are rewarded by the mental sensation of the hue we call magenta. No wavelength at all, but still, there is color.

So, color cannot simply be a mental recording of wavelength. Most of the colors we perceive are mixtures of other wavelengths according us the pleasant and often useful sensation of color, but without any strict accordance to the laws of physics.

What is more, current research on vision tells us that what we synthesize in our brains is not a twining of the three signals from the three types of cone, but rather a group of oppositions worked out by the brain.

Along with cones in the retina are the rods, which are tasked with the registration of light and dark — commonly called black and white. The electrical signals that are sent to our brain to be analyzed are first, the opposition of lights and darks, second the opposition of blues and yellows — which are the colors most other mammals work with — and thirdly, the addition we got from our primate ancestors, the ability to analyze the opposition of red and green.

So, as we now think it to be, the signals sent to our brains give us black-white, blue-yellow, and red-green.

Perhaps, then, what we call primary colors should be black, white, blue, yellow, red and green. That would make sense.

They are all simple names for colors that have clear identities. Everyone knows what green is, or blue.

Or do they? Here’s where the linguistic part comes in.

In English, for instance, there are other color names that have a similar direct and clear determination of hue. Orange and pink, for instance. Brown and purple. Simple names for hues we recognize has having distinct identities. And just because we speak English, we take our name-markers for a simple one-to-one description of reality.

But hold on: Other languages organize colors differently.

Consider Russian, where what we call light blue has one name and what we call simply a darker shade of blue, has another name. Siniy and Goluboy. The distinction is the same as we make between red and pink. We hold them to be distinct colors, not merely shades of the same color. In Russian, that distinction is accorded to the blues.

Or take Japanese, where all of blues and greens are covered by the single word, ai. There is the ai of the sky and the ai of the trees below it. It is all ai.

There are languages in which the surface reflectivity of an object changes its color name. We have that in English, where a metallic version of grey is called silver, and a version of yellow that maintains specular reflections is called gold.

“In certain languages there are names for colors that are descriptive in terms of surface, as a wet black or a dry black,” says painter Henry Leo Schoebel, whose paintings are all about the sheen of their surface.

“There is a big difference between a box merely painted black with glossy house paint, and a Japanese lacquer box. The lacquer is a blacker black.”

There are academic arguments going on all the time over whether the names of colors are universal or are culturally distinct. I’m not getting into that, except to say that both seem to be true. But colors are universal in the sense that everyone knows red is red and would not be confused with, say, blue. But when we say red, we don’t always mean the same thing.

“If one says ‘red’ and there are 50 people listening, it can be expected that there will be 50 different reds in their minds,” painter and color theorist Josef Albers once wrote.

The Zuni language classes yellow and orange together, which means that once they have coded it in language, say, as if to tell a friend what they have seen, the friend decodes the word into his trove of experience and comes up with something quite different. It may be orange; it may be yellow. That is a distinction that our language makes, but his does not.

The same as Russian separates siniy and goluboy and ours does not.

The tomato is a whole lot more close to the orange end of the red spectrum and the stop sign is closer to the magenta end of the red spectrum. Yet we call both red, and if we tell a friend about something we have seen and say it is red, the friend will decode the term the same inexact way the Zuni friend decodes orange-yellow.

And outside the limits of language, color is something we know from its embodiment, not from its abstraction. That is why so many secondary names for tints and hues are actually the names of those items who bear those colors, such as lavender, fuchsia, turquoise, teal, olive, coral, puce, salmon.

And it’s why painters cannot use tubes of paint called “red,” “green,” or “blue,” but instead rely on vermilion, phalo green or ultramarine. Pigments are not abstractions, but physical substances, and they differ in effect, hue and their properties of admixture. Mix blue and yellow to get green? Which blue? Which yellow?

This physicality of pigment also means that an artist’s colors don’t behave according to a neat color theory. Each pigment has its own idiosyncrasies and personality.

“For reds, I use acra violet, cadmium-red light, red oxide,” painter Anne Coe says. “Phthalo blue, ultramarine and cobalt for blues, cadmium-yellow light and medium and then yellow ocher.

“You do have to have a violet. It’s hard to mix a violet.

“And you can’t put black into a cadmium-yellow light: It turns green.”

So much for color theory.

In the end, colors are as individual as people, and any color theory is a compromise, fudging this or that for coherence. There is no theoretical certainty in color, and in the end, we have to admit that each of dozens — even thousands — of colors has its distinct identity and each pigment its distinct properties.

And so, I have given up on color theory.

What is the single greatest enemy of art?

What one thing more than any other manages to sabotage the efforts of the artist?

It’s not lack of money; it’s not the bourgeois tastes of the masses; it’s not cultural victimization.

The one great enemy of art is talent.

Well, maybe not talent, exactly, but the satisfaction of having talent and the willingness to settle for what talent gives you.

Being self-satisfied always makes the artist willing to settle for less.

I remember artist Frederick Sommer stating his case quite clearly: “Why would you ever do anything less well than you can?”

If you are going to attempt something, he says, you had better give it everything you have.

And talent simply isn’t everything you have.

Talent is like beauty; it comes with the genes. To rely on beauty to get you through the world is a shallow and unworthy existence. To rely on talent is equally unworthy.

Not that great artists aren’t talented. Talent is a gift, surely. But no artist ever produced anything great BECAUSE he had talent. In fact, many artists have had to work extremely hard to rise above their talent.

Talent, as I am using the word, is facility. It is the ease with which an artist — or poet or playwright or composer — can create something that looks like what society approves of as good art.

In the visual arts, this is often seen first in the ability to draw.

We think of Degas or Ingres or Picasso as great draftsmen, able to capture reality with the quick flick of a pencil, clean and unfussy.

But there are two things I want to say about that:

First, much of what passes for realistic drawing is in fact not realistic but conventional. We, the inheritors of the European traditions of art, have come to expect our art to LOOK a certain way, and when someone can produce that look, we mistake it for verisimilitude.

I don’t want to go into this too deeply here, because it will get me off the track.

But Suffice it to say, good draftsmanship, of this variety, says more about the acculturation of the artist than the artist’s engagement with the world.

And second, and more important, there have been great artists with little talent, at least, little of what we conventionally call talent.

I think of two in particular:

Paul Cezanne and Vincent van Gogh.

Both are among the greatest achievers Western art has ever known, and both did it despite having only middling talent. Consider Vincent’s drawing of a carpenter (above), from 1880. Almost childish.

One looks through van Gogh’s notebooks and looks in vain for facility. Nothing came easy for the Dutchman. The books are full of false starts and erasures. The pencil lines pile up on themselves in corrections and rethinkings.

One looks at Cezanne’s drawings and sees the work any moderately talented high school student could match, even exceed.

But the genius of both — indeed the genius of all great artists, even those like Degas who possessed talent out the wazoo — is their sense of commitment. They are committed unto death each time they essay a drawing.

It is always the depth of commitment that makes the artist. Talent helps, but talent is only a tool.

What do I mean by commitment?

I am talking about the ability to concentrate as if your life depended on it: To look at the world and steer your pencil as if you were defusing a bomb.

If the world falls away and only your task is real, you have made it to the first level.

But even that is only the first level.

Hey, we’re still only talking about drawing here. Drawings are wonderful — in many ways, I enjoy drawings more than I do paintings, just as I often enjoy symphony rehearsals more than concerts or dance rehearsals more than recitals.

What, then, takes us beyond the “preparatory drawing” and into the bigger, more important form.


I don’t mean the worldly ambition of making money or reputation. Those are altogether unworthy ambitions, and rather small ambitions at that. Anyone with TALENT can achieve those ends.

No, by ambition, I mean the grand biting off more than you can chew. I mean always working at the outer edges of your talent, attempting to take off into the stratosphere.

When one looks at the artists who were truly great, and let’s name a few:

Besides van Gogh and Cezanne, there is Manet, Goya, Michelangelo, Raphael, Poussin, Picasso, Matisse, Rembrandt, Durer, Turner, Botticelli, Titian.

Each one of these had ambition to paint more than pretty pictures. Each attempted to wrestle with some aspect of reality and bring it into submission so we could see it, test it and comprehend it.

Art that does less, I have said before, is wallpaper.

So where does that leave talent?

Well, the same place as that other great bugaboo of art, “creativity.”

You have no idea how ill I get when I hear someone talking about creativity as if it were a good thing.

Creativity is, like talent, an excuse for laziness. An excuse to accept easy, slovenly or simple-minded art as “good enough”; It is not.

Creativity is almost always used as such an excuse when we hear it. It is one of those words that should immediately make you suspicious. People who really understand what is going on in art don’t rely on such a word. It is only for poseurs and dilettantes.

Creativity is the merest baby steps of art. It is sure nothing to be proud of. Anyone is capable of creativity. It is just looking for a new way to join two sticks.

If it isn’t joined to a critical mind that can then judge whether the new way these sticks are joined is or is not a BETTER way, it is worthless.

Sure, it can be fun. So can a cross-word puzzle. But that don’t make it art.

Art is hard. If it isn’t, it isn’t worth doing.

If you are comfortable with what you are doing, it isn’t worth doing.

If you know HOW to do what you are doing, it isn’t worth doing.

That reminds me of another thing Frederick Sommer says: “I never read a book I understand,” he says. “If I already understand it, why am I wasting my time chewing this stuff twice.”

We need to dive into those things we don’t understand and think and feel as hard as we can, making sense of it. Then we have accomplished something.

Creativity: I leave that to new-age wannabes, where nothing of real worth is possible.

Shall we find yet another popular bugaboo? How about spontaneity?

Did Milton create “Paradise Lost” spontaneously?

Real art comes as the result of great labor.

It is the highly polished and refined gem that is worked and reworked, thought through and re-thought through.

No great art comes spontaneously.

Think of the great Sumi paintings of Japan, that are made with a few deft strokes of brush and ink, with no erasings possible, no “redos.”

A great Zen painter can only produce such work after years of great labor. It doesn’t come without effort.

But go downtown to any poetry slam: You will find piles of really wretched poetry written by young people who think that every word they utter is sacred. That spontaneity is somehow Holy.

Jack Kerouac espoused this view. But his best books, and especially “On the Road,” were rewritten heavily. It is later in his career that he started writing genuinely “spontaneous prose,” as he called it. And those books are awful.

His friend, Allen Ginsberg, likewise liked to say, “First thought, best thought.” But all his best writing, from “Howl” to “Kaddish” exists in variorum editions that show how much they were reworked and rewritten.

“First thought, best thought,”my ass.

The secret of great writing is rewriting, someone once said. And that is certainly correct. The really proper word doesn’t always come the first time round, and then the greater structure of a piece must often be carpented and finessed.

Ask James Joyce, who spent 11 years writing “Ulysses.”

I see it all around me in art galleries. Artists want a pat on the back, as they got when they were children and their mothers patted them for drawing such a nice doggie and horsie.

That is good for children. It is insufficient for working artists.

It is a struggle, and should be a struggle.

Art isn’t easy and it wasn’t meant to be. No human endeavor worth pursuing is easy.



Finding directions is a trial for some. My wife — and no, this isn’t a wife joke — has trouble understanding the compass points. We lived just a few blocks south of Northern Avenue.

“How can it be south?” she asked. “If it’s Northern Avenue, it must be north.”

Another time I asked her, “Which is further west, California or Hawaii?”

“From here?” she asked.

Such answers dazzle me, because I have a preternatural sense of direction. I don’t take credit for this; I was born this way, the same way some people are born with a talent for music or with a photogenic face. When  such things were handed out, what I got was a sense of direction.

I have surprised even myself at times. When I was in third grade, the class took a bus trip to visit a nature preserve in northern New Jersey. Some 30 years later, revisiting my old haunts, I decided to find the nature preserve and drove right to it, no false turns or missed clues.

A few years ago, driving through Ontario, I saw a side street that looked as if it might lead to the motel my family had stayed at during a vacation we had made when I was in the 10th grade. I turned and found the motel, very distinct because in addition to the usual motel units, it had a two story stucco house attached to it.

I have wondered many a time about this sense of direction and tried to figure out its mechanism. For many, when they take or give directions, they use a kind of linear description: Go three blocks, turn left at the church, go another two blocks and turn right at the gas station, continue for four miles and look for a house with a red SUV in the driveway.

For those people, they are always traveling in a straight line forward. They may take a turn at a landmark, but they think of themselves as continuing to face forward and move in that conceptual straight line.

For me, and those like me, however, there is a starting point and an ending point and they remain aligned, as with the stars, or on a map, and I can negotiate any number of turns or diversions and never lose track of that map pin stuck into that place. It is as if I can always “see” them there, no matter how many buildings or miles intervene.

The mechanism for this I have not previously much thought about, but now, I have come across at least one aspect of what makes a sense of direction. It begins with one’s autonomic nervous system.

With eyes closed, I can touch my fingertips together. This is no great act; most anyone can do it. But doing it requires that I rely on my inner sense of where my body is. I know, spatially, where I extend to — i.e. the limits of my palpable being. Even without seeing, I can sense where my skin is and where I fill that sack of skin. We all, to greater and lesser extent, have that sense.

It is true that our “sense of ourselves” isn’t always accurate, in fact, it is grossly distorted — hands, tongue and head feel much bigger than they actually are — at least by the measuring tape.

It is not really the body which is distorted, but the “space” which our body fills. We move more precisely concerning those areas which seem large out of proportion. We can distinguish two very close points on our tongue yet cannot tell a much greater distance on our backs. It is as though we occupy, psychologically, a relativistic space — an Einsteinian universe with warps and curves in its substance. It is not just that my head feels larger than my back, it is that the space occupied by my head is larger — the increments of that space feel evenly distributed across my body and since there are more of those increments in my head or hands, they feel correspondingly bigger. The squares in the graph paper I might use to chart my body are drawn with warped lines.

A similar sense of position is felt in a room. The space of the room exists almost as a solid or “anti-solid” in which I determine my latitude and longitude. I feel closer to one wall than another. This is not merely a measurable phenomenon — I feel it.

In fact, my “felt being” includes not only my autonomic sense of myself, but also my sense of the walls almost as a projection of my skin. I can feel everything that goes on inside the room — accurately place proportions (is it 2/3 of the way across the room? 4/5? 5/6?) But what is outside the room is normally beyond thought, and unless actively thought about, does not exist.

Of course, I can go outside and look — but then I only change one room for a larger — the outdoors.

Sitting at my desk, I can throw a wadded up first-draft over my shoulder and have it land at the base of the far wall without looking — my autonomic sense of my position in the room tells me just how far to throw it.

The room, in a real sense, is just a part of me.

If I close my eyes and turn my head, I still know my orientation in the room; I still know the directions of the four walls.

This same sense of orientation exists when driving or parking a car. I know by pure feel how far behind me the car extends. Even though I cannot see the back bumper, I nevertheless don’t crunch into the car behind me when backing into a parking spot.

In my car, I have become a centaur, and my automotive rump is just as real as my carnal one.

I believe that this same autonomic sense, projected to a vaster landscape, is the root of a good sense of direction.

A person with a good sense of direction translates these instructions into spatial understanding. If he forgets the written instructions at home, he may still find the house with the red van.

The person without this sense of spatial orientation is lost without the step-by-step.

My brother has told me that when he is a passenger in a car, it is as though he entered an elevator and when the car finally stops, the door opens and he gets out. For me, with the spatial sense, I always feel, not only when the car turns right or left, not only how much off “straight” my internal gyroscope has been turned, but also how the space — the very large space — I am driving through has been altered, much the same way as I know — feel — my changed orientation in a room when I walk from one side to the other.

As your projected body limits change as you move from small room to larger, so the land I feel oriented to changes as I enter different kinds of terrain. And as I leave territory I am familiar with and enter that which is new. In a new city, my territory — my personal space — can be very small indeed: a few square blocks. But at home, my personal orientation easily covers 30 miles or more. And accurately.

At times, traveling through Montana or Nebraska, I feel secure in a “felt space” of hundreds of miles.

This space that I feel can be just as distorted as my simple body sense. Often the nearest 200 yards seem the biggest, like my tongue. The direction I am going in seems larger and more clearly defined than the space at 10 o’clock or 2 o’clock — which space is useless for my travels.

At any given moment, I can point to New York or Lake Superior. I don’t usually have to think first, which direction is North and then imagine in my head a map of the U.S. and figure from that where the Big Apple is. I am always aware of where north is, and east or south or northwest. I point as quickly to Los Angeles — thousands of miles away — as automatically as if asked to point to the front yard of my home from its living room.

In a sense, the map of the U.S. exists constantly inside my head and I know, without actively concerning myself with it, where on that map I am, where that little arrow is with the tag: “You are here.”

That map is, as in Steven Wright’s joke, “life size.”

I can visualize it spreading out and covering the actual land. In a sense, I drive on that life-size map, and never have to fold it up and stuff it in the glove compartment.

Envoi: When European mapmakers first began orienting their maps with north at the top, it was a new convention. And they found a neat little glyph to designate the directions. For them, there was a four-way divide: North, East, South and West. It could be subdivided into northeast or southwest, and further turned into such arcane weather forecast terms as east-northeast or south-southwest. A good glyph can include all these.

But I am reminded that not all cultures thought in terms of the four cardinal compass points. Many American Indian cultures had six directions, not four. They included North, East, South and West, but also Up and Down. Surely up and down deserve as much respect as north and south. They are as real, and work the same way as a directional framework, with ourselves always at the crossing of the moveable axes.

I am now in the habit of considering that there are really seven cardinal points, because while the original six compass points extend outward from the axis mundi of ourselves, there is the seventh, which is Inward. If, as I believe, all directions must needs reference our individual positions on the grid of the planet, the central point inward is as meaningful as those star rays outward from us. It is a two-way street.

So: North; South; East; West; Up; Down; and In — where it all happens.