Art, Cultural, Philosphy, Travel, writing

‘Unconcealment’ and Getting Lost

img_0095At the end of this strange and deeply disappointing year of 2016, I am spending my last days at home preparing for a new life. I leave my beloved wife and home on December 31, 2016 for a year of intense study at the Angel Academy of Art. It is a very odd feeling to know that one is leaving all that they love for the unknown.

This morning, while deciding what to post on Instagram for my daily “moment of zen picture,” I noticed that the flowers and buds on one of the palm trees was teeming with bees. I believe these are the Mayan bees. In the Maya region, the bee of choice was Melipona beecheii, called xuna’an kab or colel-kab (“royal lady”) in the Maya language. As you might guess from the name, American bees don’t sting–but they will bite with their mouths to defend their hives. Wild stingless bees live in hollow trees; they don’t make honeycombs but rather store their honey in round sacks of black wax. They make less honey than European bees, and their honey is said to be sweeter. (source)

We all know the importance of bees in the cycle of living things. This blog is not about bees but rather the role of industriousness and cycles. For most of my life I have worked. Beginning with afternoons and weekends at my father’s service station when I was in the 8th grade, I have worked. This is not a complaint—it is a celebration that I have that ability and was given the opportunity than=t many do not have. I actually love to work. When I stare at the bees I see their single purpose wrapped into their instinctual industriousness. I wonder at how their genetic code sets such an important chain of events in motion—and enables most of the world’s fruits and flowers to even survive. They work cooperatively and individually.

As I ready myself mentally and physically for a year alone but with my new “hive” of fellow students at the Academy, I too will be working cooperatively and individually. I will be learning so that I can become better at something I love. But just doing what I love is not the deep-rooted reason for this journey. The real reason much more complex.

I am going to focus on rewiring my instincts. Like the bee, I have embedded deep within me the instinct to work. While all of the work that I have done has been rewarding, it has not been totally linked to a deeper need. That need is to be free of convention and obligation. Of course, I am not suggesting that I want to become careless.

In the new book At the Existential Café by Sarah Bakewell on page 184 of the Chatto & Windus 2016 first edition:

Heidegger traces ‘poetry’ to its Greek root poiēses—making and crafting—and he cites Hölderlin again, saying, ‘poetically, man dwells on this earth.’ Poetry is a way of being. Poets and artists ‘let things be’, but they also let things come out and show themselves. They help to ease things into ‘unconcealment’ (Unverborgenheit in the original German), which is Heidegger’s rendition of the Greek term alētheia, usually translated as ‘truth’. This is a deeper kind of truth than mere correspondence of a statement to reality,…

This need I have for being free of convention and obligation will enable me to ‘un-hide’ myself. It will allow me to make a distinctive contribution to the world—not a contribution that is coupled to external obligations, duty or servitude. I know this by tracing the works of art that I have “sold” so far. Nearly all of these works were not overly studied or belabored. They were not done for anyone but myself. In fact, most of them came very quickly and were done when I was not worried about external obligations. I find it revealing that these are the ones that resonate with people.

So for one year I will be released to dive deep into this realm of personal unconcealment. AS I write this I am listening to The Best of Chet Baker Sings. In Let’s Get Lost, he sings:

Let’s get lost
Lost in each other’s arms
Let’s get lost
Let them send out alarms

And though they’ll think us rather rude
Let’s tell the world we’re in that crazy mood
Let’s defrost in a romantic mist
Let’s get crossed off everybody’s list
To celebrate this night we’ve found each other
Mm, let’s get lost

Let’s defrost in a romantic mist
Let’s get crossed off everybody’s list
To celebrate this night we’ve found each other
Mm, let’s get lost
Oh, let’s get lost

My love affair will be with myself. I am getting lost and will be checked off everybody’s list. I will use my weekly blog posts from Florence, Italy to report on my progress.



About Jeffrey Scherer

artist.father.grandfather.leftist.walker.retired architect


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