A couple of weeks ago at Schumacher College Maria and I had the pleasure of meeting Kengo, a designer who is currently studying Holistic Science. Kengo’s intention for reading the masters is “to ground my experience in the design industries with the Deep Ecology of Schumacher College to engage in ecological and socially orientated enterprises”.
As part of his course work, Kengo has produced a beautiful book The Unnamed Flower, the full preview of which can be read here.
When I read his book I thought it both exquisite and a wonderful introduction to Goethe’s way of science, of which I write about often on Transition Consciousness. Last week I wrote a prequel so to speak to this guest article of Kengo, on Goethe and Sensemaking, which introduces the central theme of Goethe’s work, that of the need for different modes of consciousness to fully understand and make sense of organic systems, which are self-contained “wholes” and which unlike machines, have an ability to “come forth out of themselves”.
In this article, Kengo has graciously shared his artwork (please click on each picture to see a larger version). I can strongly recommend you spend time reading The Unnamed Flower. Sometimes it seems in our technological world we have lost the art of observation, a skill which is as relevant in business as it is in science. Organic life is not a machine ruled by cause and effect, but also have a creative freedom, and in studying Goethe, as Kengo has done, we can develop new “organs of perception” which reconnect us with the livingness of life, and new windows on the complex world we are embedded within.
How Do I Relate to the World?
This is the question I am exploring during my master’s programme at Schumacher College. It has been a unique space in my busy life to pause and question my relationship with the world. Together we looked deeply into the nature of perception, and through this, I met Goethe and Phenomenology.
I must admit, I struggled to begin with. I felt bogged down with strange words and theories that were in essence telling me simply how to see. After a frustrating week, I was clearing my head in the vegetable garden and sat looking at a scruffy raspberry plant. Suddenly, I was hit by a sense I had not felt before. It was a feeling of vibrancy, a very strong sense of life, far more than my intellectual understanding or even its visual beauty. Had I just seen what Goethe saw?
I realised for this work to be meaningful, I had to go out and practice it. This was when my project began; painting a sequence of a flower’s metamorphosis from bud to seed.
The process was surprisingly tricky, fighting with the environment and the flower itself to capture its essence. However, through this struggle, a shift in perspective occurred. Again, I felt a profoundly moving, fleeting sense of life, though this time through its transformation.
What did I sense and why does it matter? I think Goethe’s insight allowed me to see past my conceptual idea of the plant to the true ineffable miracle of the plant itself. This left me with the question what else am I missing and how differently would I treat something if had I truly felt its miracle?
To read my story, visit www.blurb.co.uk/b/4921061-the-unnamed-flower and press “Preview”