About Reality and Orders of Magnitude


Brief Explanation

Many of my drawings and drawings series investigate ideas and concepts about the organization of reality on levels beyond what we can perceive. There are two main areas of investigation: One - images that present a landscape of an unknowable scale of reality. Two - a representation of a moment of change, or a transition event, on a distant scale larger or smaller than our own world.

Consideration of this topic is rewarding aesthetically because it forces the viewer to ponder rich philosophical issues that might not otherwise arise. It also forces contemplation of the depth and uncertainty of knowledge and existence.


Detailed Explanation


Why explore this topic with art?

There is a quote by Victor Hugo, “Where the telescope ends the microscope begins which of the two has the grander view?” As a very young person I had many thoughts about the nature of reality. Looking up at the stars, without any formal training, I often considered the limits of the universe. As I got older and took a few college courses, I enjoyed thinking about reality itself and the levels of organization. I was fascinated to learn that there are different levels of organization containing separate worlds. What is alive on one level, within one world, are unaware of other levels. But as humans we have physical instruments and mental methods to understand levels outside of our own ability to perceive.

It was not until I took college courses I began to think about increasingly small levels of existence. It fascinated me to learn that the quantum level is so different from our own level of perception that there are no similar objects within our world to make comparisons. Even at a cosmic level of planets and suns, there are similar occurrences within our world to make comparisons.

Physical instruments allow us to gather information upon which we can make assumptions, for example using a microscope to look at cells, to gain understanding of a level of organization that we could never see or feel. In addition, we can use forms of logic to make assumptions. An example of this would be using math to understand levels of observation we cannot see or feel. But at a certain point using methods of thought might exceed our ability to verify with instruments.

I do not know methods of math and logic, or methods using scientific instruments, to explore these levels. Fortunately, we live in a time where anyone can access information if they are curious. Unless one is fortunate enough to work in a profession that permits contemplation, life might not encourage exploration of such topics. Regardless of situation, art is a valid way to explore these ideas and concepts.



Context of the images

I use images to contemplate the area of another level of perception. Images can provide a view analogous to a landscape in our own dimension of reality. With some drawings, I do not specify if the landscape exists on a level of perception greater or smaller than our own.

With other drawings, I ponder the appearance of the world many levels larger than what we can view or perceive. It is my feeling that some level of perception, distantly larger than what we can perceive, has similarities to the organic. I know there are examples in nature of perfect geometry but when I create these drawings improvisationally, I often tend to go towards organic shapes. It is my instinct that on some level of perception there must be spherical, cylindrical, and tubular forms that flow and compress one another just like organs do. But these cosmic forms contain galactic structures instead of microbes and cells. These forms may also exist on a proportionally small level of existence.

It is an interesting thought about how many distinct levels of perception exist. The question might not have a real answer because it depends on how one defines a level. I define a level as scale of perception limited by the ability of human perception with logic and instruments, which can continue upwards or downwards proportionally. But, moving too many levels up or down from the baseline of human perception is the limit of what we can know with certainty. However, we can still contemplate the appearance of levels outside our ability to verify.

There may be infinite levels of organization of reality and humanity will never be able to comprehend these levels of organization holistically. Everything that appears certain might only an illusion. It is a possibility that we are just like microbes that are swimming around in their own world without any awareness of what exists on scales distantly above their own existence. But one could say this cannot be true because, as sentient beings, we can use logic and be creative outside of just existing on instinct. Even with our ability to reason, a concern is that all our all perception could be incorrect and thus our assumptions could be wrong. It is a question outside the scope of this article if our perception of reality from our senses and other methods can be true. It is necessary to assume it is so that we can proceed forward.

In addition to being landscapes of an unknowable level of reality, some drawings investigate moments of transition within the context of different levels of existence. The exact moment of change is an interesting visual occurrence. Some drawings specify a moment of change and other drawings leave it up to the viewer to interpret.



Some areas of investigation

One area of investigation is to imagine a level distantly above cosmic wherein entire dimension pops into existence in a spherical shape and then bursts like a bubble in boiling water in a pot on the stove. Although to our own perception the length of time it takes for the bubble to pop is longer than the age of our universe.

Some drawings might illustrate a thick viscous soup of forming and dissolving elements flowing against each other where each small element within the composition is an indescribably large multiversal structure that contains an infinite variety of dimensions and universes. These structures exist on a scale that we cannot perceive outside of imagination.


Some drawings create the landscape of a vastly smaller scale of existence. Drawings could represent the arrangement of molecules that line up to form continuous structures and make solid objects in our world. Or, the view could exist within an organic form where microbes and cells line up to create barriers and channels. Another possibility is that substances within an ambiguous scale beyond sub-atomic consist of nameless particles that arrange in rows and patterns to form ridges and valleys.


A topic for investigation with drawings is cataclysmic events of creation and destruction occurring rapidly and restructuring many levels of organization-- like a big bang event. Indescribable forces due to infinite quantities create areas of emptiness and areas of transparent objects. Other areas possess no light or reflective qualities and appear as dark spaces to our type of perception. Jagged and vaguely geometric forms, along with organic forms, move in a current like many pieces of driftwood flowing in the current of a river, while unimaginable yet smooth forces from outside our frame of reference intercept and pierce the flow. These events could occur on levels distantly large or small to our own.

Consider the time that passes in a transition event. The areas of investigation could occur in time periods longer than what is possible to describe. Or, these occurrences might occur on a scale of time so small it can only be described with precise scientific language because it is too far away from our own understanding. They could occur infinitely within the duration of a moment, with structures on scales that are to the subatomic what the subatomic is to us. Or, these changes could be infinitely long processes with universal structures that occur on a scale larger than the duration of the observable universe.

One can assume that the interconnectedness of each level during these transition events may be indescribably complex. The forces released could annihilate levels of organization that exist below or above. For example, an atomic bomb that uses the energy within only one atom to destroy the entire city. The atom itself is immensely small but when it changes the released forces destroy an entire city. Another example, the conditions before the big bang where everything that exists was compressed in a single location and something happened that created every level of reality known to humanity. What are the visual consequences of the precise moment of transition events if we can perceive them?




If one assumes that the complexity of organization of the universe is infinite then it is safe to say that any visual organization of these levels in art is accurate and is true somewhere, but it may be so far outside our own perception that we will never be able to verify it. It is a satisfying aesthetic experience to consider the image within the art is something that is occurring, or has occurred, somewhere within the infinite potentiality of existence-- and the viewing of the art itself is the only way to perceive it.



Multi-dimensional bubbles forming and dissolving

Expanding Development


Viscous soup of multiverses

Flowing Synthesis


Landscape of vastly smaller scale

Landscape of a Different Scale 1

Landscape of a Different Scale 2


Cataclysmic events of creation and destruction

Inflective Totality







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