Saturday, April 03, 2010

Curious about Contemplation: Do You Take Time to Contemplate? What Are Your Areas for Contemplation?

Definition of Contemplation: The act of the mind in considering with attention; continued attention of the mind to a particular subject; meditation; musing; study. Holy meditation. The act of looking forward to an event as about to happen; expectation; the act of intending or purposing.

An art aims, above all, at producing something beautiful which affects not our feelings but the organ of pure contemplation, our imagination.” - Eduard Hanslick, German writer

Inspiration for this week’s theme came from my re-listening to Michael Gelb’s fascinating book, How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci. Besides introducing us to the genius da Vinci, Gelb describes the seven principles that help define how Leonardo thought. And yes, contemplation is one of those.

I love writing this blog, because it not only forces me to pick a theme, it also – through my investigation of the theme’s quotations – but also lets me read how others have felt about it. This is incredibly enlightening and does lead me to heavy contemplation.

You will find the following interesting and invigorating:
  • The wise man knows how to run his life so that contemplation is Possible.” - Gabriel Marcel, French philosopher
  • Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation.” - Jean Arp, German sculptor
  • That pleasure which is at once the most pure, the most elevating and the most intense, is derived, I maintain, from the contemplation of the beautiful.” - Edgar Allan Poe, American poet
  • The act of contemplation then creates the thing created.” - Isaac Disraeli, English businessman
  • The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.” – Aristotle, Greek philosopher
  • Action is greater than writing. A good man is a nobler object of contemplation than a great author. There are but two things worth living for: to do what is worthy of being written; and to write what is worthy of being read.” - Ross Perot, American businessman
  • Art is contemplation. It is the pleasure of the mind which searches into nature and which there divines the spirit of which nature herself is animated.” - Auguste Rodin, French sculptor

And, a few more with a different twist:

  • I think a lot of contemplation happens in bathtubs. It does for me. Nothing like a hot bath to ease the tension and think about what's going to happen next.” - Sarah McLachlan, Canadian musician
  • If there is a special Hell for writers it would be in the forced contemplation of their own works.” - John Dos Passos, American novelist
  • If we know the divine art of concentration, if we know the divine art of meditation, if we know the divine art of contemplation, easily and consciously we can unite the inner world and the outer world.” - Sri Chinmoy, Indian philosopher
  • There are few things more pleasing than the contemplation of order and useful arrangement.” - Arthur Phillip, British soldier
  • Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live.” - Nicolas de Chamfort, French writer
  • Contemplation seems to be about the only luxury that costs nothing.” - Dodie Smith, English dramatist

I hope this article moved you to contemplate. And I do recommend the da Vinci book highly. They also offer a companion workbook, which I have placed on my Wish List. I would love to hear how it is working for you.