They are decorated cabinets, containing mirrors set up to repeatedly reflect the people looking into it, surrounded by reflections of the interior decoration of the box.
The effect is a surreal gallery of repeating faces at different angles. I would love to actually look inside one.
The pictures other people have taken from inside the Infinity Box remind me of the many faces that are used to depict the infinite forms & incarnations of the Hindu god Vishnu.
It's also similar to the Jimi Hendrix "Axis: Bold as Love" album art, one of my favorite examples of album cover design. It is a classic piece of psychedelic pop art, derived from the Hindu iconography.
As much as I love the convenience & interactivity of digital media, there is also a great quality to having physical books.
I'm definitely a bibliophile & enjoy collecting interesting books of all kinds. I usually read non-fiction books, because I prefer information over stories.
For the past several months, on my lunch breaks I've been reading through an entire reference book that's full of random knowledge. I got it for $10 at a used book shop. QPB Dictionary of Ideas is exactly what it says- a dictionary full of philosophical concepts, important people in history, and all kinds of information relevant to the thinking man or woman.
Basically, it consists of a cube made of 1-way mirrors all reflecting each other. There are lights inside to illuminate the reflective surfaces. The cube can be filled with air to distort the surfaces, and therefore the reflections inside.
The result is like a mind-bending window into higher dimensions. The resulting patterns forming from the endlessly repeating reflections are fractal in nature, and gives us a glimpse into infinity.
A single form encompasses
the multitude of dharmas,
all of which are interconnected
Within the Net of Indra.
Layer after layer, there is no point at which it all ends.
Whether in motion or still,
ALL is fully interpenetrating.
- Zhitong (d.1124)
Even though my career is in graphic art, I have always been interested in science.
In high school & college I took physics courses because I loved the way it analytically uncovered the mysteries of our Universe. However, I also realized that scientists, like everyone else, are just making up stories.
Yes, science is more self-consistent than other intellectual endeavors. It is fairly obvious though, that scientific theories are only limited cases, that do not describe the totality of happenings within the reality we inhabit. Old theories are replaced with new ones as more information becomes available. "Laws" such as thermodynamics are applied to idealized situations. Even previously immutable physical constants are shown to be not as "constant" as we once believed.
Scientists can sometimes be like priests when it comes to holding onto questionable premises as dogma. The Big Bang, dark matter, and the use of various constants to make equations do what they are expected to do... these are just some examples of faulty premises that have become doctrine that cannot be questioned without fierce resistance from the scientific community.
Maybe it's because I'm also inclined to a mystical point-of-view, but I tend to look beyond the monkey grunts & crude symbols that we use to try to explain the world. Science & math may be more refined than most ways of thinking, but they are still the products of our limited monkey mind.
The Universe is Infinity.
All we are doing (with any system of knowledge) is looking at bits & pieces of that Infinity, and trying to connect the few stray pieces we can comprehend at any given time.
All that being said, I recently watched this video by Nassim Haramein about new ways of looking at the atomic realm & how it relates to other scales of Reality. It takes alot to blow my mind these days, but this video really made me think about the world in a new way. *Disclaimer: I am not claiming to fully believe everything he has to say, or that his theories are without flaws. However, to argue about this stuff would be missing the forest for the trees. What he brings is a new vision for understanding the Universe at different scales.
I think fractals are a key to understanding the nature of Reality.
Nassim very much incorporates a fractal view of nature, which I think is crucial to a unified view of the Universe. I don't think that a "Unified Theory of Everything" is actually possible. However, we can always find ways to integrate more & more aspects of scientific theory into more elegant and useful forms.
Scientifically-minded people may hear "sacred geometry" and be immediately repulsed by the mystical implications. However, symbols like 'The Flower of Life' are simply geometric forms studied in an attempt to find underlying patterns in natural processes. There does not need to be anything about "God" or metaphysics injected into the discussion.
I also feel that there is definitely a "zero point" energy inherent in the quantum field. One day, with sufficient understanding and technology, we will be able to extract this infinite energy source, that exists within us & around us, throughout the Universe. When our energy problems are solved, many other difficulties faced by the human race will also be overcome. We will be able to harvest unlimited energy, bend gravity, & travel to the stars, freeing us from the womb of planet Earth- so we can guarantee our survival as a species.
All revolutionary ways of thinking are at first ridiculed by those who have fooled themselves to think they know how things really are. The truth is, we know relatively nothing! However, I think Nassim's talk opens doors to new ways of approaching the way we look at the Universe.
We must keep our mind open and realize that everything, including "truth" & scientific understanding, is subject to change.
Usually I don't post about my personal life here, but we were recently blessed with the birth of a new member of my family- my first niece, Susanna Sawyer. She was born on the vernal equinox, March 20, 2014.
Nothing makes you ponder the mysteries of Life more than a newborn child being brought into the world...
I already have 2 awesome nephews, Gregory & David. I love those kids, but being an uncle definitely helps me realize the difficulties that come with raising children!
My hope for Susanna is that she grows up happy & has a good life. She has a strong, supportive family, with plenty of older Dudes in her family who are going to be looking out for her.
Here's a pic of yours truly, Uncle Paulie, with little Susanna.
Also, here is the beautiful video my sister-in-law & her husband made of the event, using their new Ultra-HD video camera:
One of the earliest markers of human civilization is the ability to comprehend & track the cycles of time.
Being able to predict the passage of seasons & celestial events gave people tremendous power to live in tune with the world around them.
All of the earliest monumental structures that survive from ancient times are astronomical markers that helped the priests and leaders of these cultures organize their society.
Synchronizing our lives to the cyclical nature of the
universe has been a necessary function for surviving the climatic changes, hunting, agriculture, or
social purposes. Because of the importance of seasonal markers, like the equinoxes & solstices, these events were given deep spiritual significance by our ancestors.
These are a couple articles exploring our ancient connection to the occurrence of the equinox.
Back in the days of "The Bush Dark Ages", when ignorance & fear ruled the country, Bartcop.com was a voice of sanity for progressively-minded people like myself.
I started this blog almost 10 years ago, and Bartcop was one of my early inspirations for creating a regular outlet for my personal interests & views. Every day, the Bartcop blog always had great political cartoons from different artists, links to important stories, & of course Bart's awesome commentary.
Bartcop had an online following, with dozens of readers (...as he would say), but he always had an 'underground' quality to his iconoclastic approach to political commentary. His appeal came from his irreverence toward authority & "the establishment," regardless of whether he was railing against incompetent crooks in the government, media, or private sector.
Although he was an uncompromising liberal voice, he also wouldn't hesitate to criticize President Obama or other Democrats when they acted against the interests of the American people. Even after Obama was elected & it seemed we might have a slightly better situation, there were still plenty of material for Bart to work with. That's one good thing about being in the parody/mockery business- there's never an end to the absurdity that Life has to offer.
I emailed Bart once in awhile, & he would always respond or post the political
graphics I make from time to time. The open forum he provided for other bloggers was much appreciated, & was one of the many things that made Bartcop.com so unique. Even though the layout of his
blog was fairly basic and never really changed, the original content
& images he would provide every day were continually fresh, interesting, &
Bartcop.com was a daily read for me, for almost a decade, so when Bart got sick recently, I continued to check the page each day. Yesterday, however, I visited his page & saw a message that made my heart drop...
I was deeply saddened to learn that Terry Coppage, aka Bartcop, passed away.
Although I never met him in person, when you read someone's daily thoughts for 10 years, you can't help but feel a deep connection with that individual. I probably feel like many of his other readers, that a mind-meld I really enjoyed has been shut off...
Although it is great that he influenced so many people, it's a damn shame that he wasn't more well-known. I see all these assholes & idiots on cable news getting a platform to spew total bullshit, while Bartcop hammered out the truth, day after day, while remaining virtually unrecognized by the "mainstream" media.
I felt that after enjoying his work for so many years, I wanted to help his memory live on, with a tribute to someone who will be sorely missed by myself & many others. Hopefully the Bartcop archives will remain in the future, so our descendants can look back & see his contribution to American political discourse in the beginning of the 21st century.
He provided a light, during times when so many people felt like the world was very dark... and for that we are grateful.
Here are some graphics I volunteered to make for Bartcop a couple years ago, when he asked for some designs for stickers:
"With our thoughts, we make our world... Our mind is central and precedes our deeds. Speak or act with a pure mind,
and happiness will follow you."
The Dalai Lama is one of the many wisdom teachers in this world who have helped illuminate my mind. This is the 1st time he has offered an opening prayer for that un-holy legislative body... the U.S. Senate.
He admits to simply being a monk, who follows the primary practices of
self-awareness & compassion for all beings. There is no special
access to the divine that's only for certain 'holy' people. You or I
have the exact same potential for spiritual realization that the Dalai
Lama or the Pope may seem to have.
I don't necessarily have a
problem w/ a prayer or blessing before government functions, as long as
people of different religious backgrounds are represented. This is NOT a
"Christian nation". Sorry, it's just a fact... The United States of
America is a secular nation, with religious freedom for all. In this
country, you can happily be a Christian of your preferred denomination,
or a Buddhist, a Pastafarian, or even free from any religious ideology,
if you choose.
I haven't had a chance to post here recently, since I just had an awesome weekend-long birthday bash! I've also had many good things going on in both my business & personal life that are the culmination of years of patience and persistent effort.
Even though I posted a gallery of pics already, I wanted to now feature what was the highlight of the show, for me.
After a hiatus of several years, the game "Da Vinci's Challenge" made a return to Toy Fair this year!
"Da Vinci's Challenge" is a visual strategy game, that I created as a graphic design student. One of my senior projects was to create an original board game. I found inspiration in the ancient symbol of interlocking circles, known as 'The Flower of Life'. The historic legacy of the design also made me use a classic theme for the look of the game. I hand-made the original version out of • carved stone pieces • a copper plate I etched for the game board • a stone block for the base • a wood case • & parchment paper for the rules.
Once I decided to use the Flower of Life symbol as the basis for the game board, the idea for the game play & rules came quickly to me.
There are 2 types of pieces, an oval & a triangle. Each player chooses their color & takes turns using their pieces to create 9 different patterns, or "Secret Symbols". The patterns are worth different point values, depending on their complexity. The player who scores the most points by the end of the game wins!
The game play is easy enough for children to learn, but there are strategic elements that add to the depth & challenge for advanced players. You can block your opponent's patterns, & also create multiple patterns by placing a single piece. At the end of the game, the pieces covering the game board form a unique design every time. You can look at the finished board & see all the patterns that have made throughout the game.
These are just some of the features that make "Da Vinci's Challenge" so unique.
The publisher decided to produce a new run of the game this year, with several major improvements. The new edition is planned to have a molded plastic game board with slots for the pieces, and also cups to store the pieces. I have personally updated the package design & the graphics for a more polished look. These are all things that were sorely lacking in the first printing, and make a world of difference in the gaming experience.
"Da Vinci's Challenge" is a creation that I believe is truly timeless. I hope that this gets to market again & reaches many people- to give them enjoyment, inspiration, and perhaps insight into the mysteries of sacred geometry & other esoteric wisdom.
Here are some of the pictures featuring "Da Vinci's Challenge" at the Toy Fair booth for Briarpatch, Inc. I got a few photos with my creation, with the updated graphics & components.Check out my Toy Fair photo album for more pics:
It is a trade show where many toy & game companies from around the world exhibit their latest products. The convention is held every February, at the Javits Center in Manhattan.
I've been going to the Toy Fair every year for most of my career, since it is a chance to see many of our studio's clients & other people we deal with in the industry. It's also a place where we can see all the product & packaging design we do throughout the year, in one place.
The game board is the beautiful circular symbol, known as 'The Flower of Life'- an eye-catching pattern of interlocking circles. This geometric design has been known to artists & thinkers throughout history. It was carved onto ancient Egyptian temples, & it was even studied in depth by the game's namesake, Leonardo da Vinci!
Play is simple enough for anyone to learn- but offers endless strategy, to challenge the most dedicated gamers.
Each player uses the shapes in their color (ovals & triangles), to create 'Secret Symbols'. These are configurations that resemble familiar icons- such as a Pyramid, Eye, Flower, and Star. Each 'Secret Symbol' has a point value that depends on the difficulty to complete it. The player who scores the most points by the end of the game wins, & becomes the Master of Da Vinci's Challenge!
I originally created "Da Vinci's Challenge" for a senior project, when I was a graphic design major. The original version was hand-made from stone pieces, a copper board, & a wooden case. I eventually pitched it to a client who published board games.
It was first released in 2005, and has won some of the top awards in the toy industry- including the Oppenheim Platinum Award & the Mensa Mind Games Select award.
After a hiatus over the past few years, a brand-new edition of "Da Vinci's Challenge" is on track to make a comeback, in the Fall of this year. It will be featured this month at the 2014 Toy Fair in the Javitz Center, NYC, at Booth #2507 for Briarpatch Toys.
I will be posting updates here in the coming months, and you can also visit the official Facebook page with news & related material:
50 years ago, The Beatles came to America & performed on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964.
This was an event that truly made music history & has influenced people ever since, whether they know it or not. From an early age, my Dad, Big Paul, impressed upon me the greatness of The Beatles & their music. Half a century after he saw this live on TV, with so many millions of other people, I was with my Dad watching The Beatles Grammy special tonight. It was an excellent tribute to this legendary band.
It's clear that this 1st appearance of The Fab Four in America defined the baby boomer generation, almost as much as the Moon landing or any other event. They not only changed the musical landscape of the time, but also had a huge effect on pop culture in general. They would go on, in their relatively short career, to break all kinds of ground in creative & technical artistry.
Anyone with any music knowledge recognizes The Beatles as the greatest band of all time. Their impact on the world cannot be overstated, and their genius will be apparent for as long as their music endures.
Siddartha Guatama (Buddha) supposedly lived about 500 years before Yeshua bin Yusuf (Jesus), and there is some speculation that Jesus was familiar with The Buddha's teachings. Both of these religious traditions embody the practice of enlightened spiritual values.
I sometimes get into a debate with my parents about the idea that there used to be "the good old days"- where the world was a better place when they were kids.
They don't seem to realize that things were just as horrible back then, if not more so! They just weren't aware of this fact because they were kids at the time, & had no idea of the problems in the world.
When people ask me what time period I'd like to live in, I always answer, "Right now!" I feel like life for the average person is much better than it has ever been, thanks to science & technology.
There is still endless misery & suffering on this planet. However, the existence of tools like computers & the Internet have completely transformed the world. When I think back to life as a kid, instead of feeling nostalgia, I realize how much of a pain in the ass it was to learn & do things that are now instantaneously accessible.
This is a funny cartoon that sums up how I feel about the days before digital technology & communication:
The Flower of Life is a symbol that is the basis for the strategy game I created, "Da Vinci's Challenge". This harmonious design is created through a regular repetition of circles. The
circle has always been known as a symbol of perfection, completeness,
and unity. This is an extremely well-done graphic. It's a
clear, extremely concise primer for the patterns found in nature, known
as 'sacred geometry'. These forms & concepts are the closest thing
we have to a blueprint for reality.
It is part of a school of thought known as "Sacred Geometry," which is the study of patterns found in nature. These universal patterns & forms have been applied throughout history- to art, architecture, & spiritual contemplation.
I used the Flower of Life as the basis for the strategy game I created, "Da Vinci's Challenge". It is a beautiful design that contains many timeless mysteries.
When I got my amazing iPhone, I created these hi-tech silver wallpapers with the symbol. The glowing version is for the 'lock' screen, & the version with the glow turned off is for the regular background. I figured I'd post them here, for anyone who'd like to use them as backgrounds for their cell phones.
Click the images for a version to download:
Recently, I also made this black version to switch it up a little.