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Art, as a way of observing, reflecting, experiencing, responding creatively and lovingly to the world, must therefore become indispensible for knowing the world, indeed indispensible to holistic scientific aspiration.
The waves of the ocean continue to inspire a composer such as Martin Mackerras as the expression of a living, natural being, mysterious and beautiful, if also darkly threatening. Martin beholds the world with the untarnished wonder of a child who feels intuitively how in the ocean waves are not accidental transmissions of energy, but essential inner character. In this, ocean waves are like musical tones.

But the phenomenon of wave is perpetual throughout nature, visible at rest in the proportions of the single rose, active in the seasonal breathing of the year. Life is vibrant. It is as though the immensity of an ocean had receded like sleep from our waking lives on dry earth, leaving in its ebbing tide a residue of substantiated dream images – lions and human babies, hills, eucalypts and cello scrolls. The single waves remain in the world of solid forms, physically and nominally separate.

The ocean is the metaphorically real primordial body from which the diversity of all, particular, life-bearing forms can be felt to have emerged. Universal water is our first mother, the marine ‘Maria’. She is not only water-body; like a soul, drawn by the moon she breathes and dreams, is woken by the sun. And as a paradisial continuum between infinitely interpenetrating surfaces and deathless duration, the ocean is metaphor for our spiritual home in eternity. Spiritual consciousness is both separate and inseparable from, is both discrete within and continuous with, the divine unity, like the individual waves described by Sogual Rimpoche in the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Noone can meet the ocean truly and doubt the existence of life between death and and a new birth. For the wave is pneuma (wind; spirit; breath) made immanent in water. Therefore the wave and the sound are in perfect reciprocal relationship:

The wind ‹pneuma› bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and wither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit ‹pneuma›. (John 3:8)

Martin Mackerras’s epic piano-piece The Waves, like Virginia Woolf’s identically titled novel, dissolves the bondaries between the impressionistic-immanent and the mystic-transcendent, between pneuma and ‘the sound thereof’. Like the ocean wave itself, Martin’s composition is both these things.

The first part of The Waves is a real attempt to emulate the sound or feeling of Nature in the rhythmic relation between flux and stillness:

In the depths of the ocean is peace, but the surface is changeable and turbulent. Analogous to human experience - On the level of mind and body we are subject to turbulence and change, but on the much deeper level of being, in the deeper realms of consciousness , everything is still, peaceful and in perfect balance. (M.M)

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