Thursday, May 05, 2016

Third Eye Sunglasses as Philosoprop: Protection for New Organs of Perception

Third Eye Sunglasses, 2016
 "The human being knows himself only insofar as he knows the world;  
he perceives the world only in himself, and himself only in the world.  
Every new object, clearly seen, opens up a new organ of perception in us."
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The idea to design a set of glasses that can provide shade for delicate, newly-forming organs of perception first occurred to me in the Peruvian rainforest in 2002. I didn't get around to actually creating a set until 2008, blogging about them for the first time in 2009. In 2013 one of my sets of Third Eye Sunglasses was included in an exhibition in NYC. In 2015 it was both a surprise and a delight to discover that Prince had developed the same idea.

I have long imagined that brains may be like satellite dishes, and ideas like ambient waves that can be tuned into if the frequencies between transmitter and receiver align.

In the case of the concept for an apparatus that softens the glare of mystical illumination, it seems it has been floating around in the aethers for quite some time...

Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel tweeted this 1970 photo of Swedish prog artist Ardy Strüwer.

I can't be sure exactly what the idea of sunglasses that protect the third eye means to Mr. Strüwer or meant to Prince, but for me I think it may have something to do with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe...

The conventional scientific method requires that the scientist conduct her or his experiments in as detached, objective a way as possible. Goethe, however, believed that strict objectivity is a literal impossibility, as the observer is not, in fact, separate from that which is being observed...while there may be an illusion of separateness, both existences are intertwined and interdependent. Goethe called a kind of study that would take into account both the quantitative as well as the qualitative "delicate empiricism". He believed that coming to knowledge through all the senses, including empathy and intuition, is not only valid, but vital.
In modern Western culture, we are taught from an early age to perceive ourselves as autonomous entities...separate from one another, and from  the world we inhabit. When we begin to recognize that this separateness is not the reality of our experience new organs of perception open. This may be accompanied by feelings of euphoria...but it may also be overwhelming, frightening, or painful. Hence the need for an apparatus that can soften the glare...
Several pairs of Third Eye Glasses are now available in the Philosoprop Shop...including a brand new type that – instead of softening the glare, prismatically enhances it (please use with caution).