Alfred Bast? – A very different bio-graphy
“Bio“ means life and “graphy“ is derived from “inscribing”, “carving” or “drawing“.
At the beginning, there is life. And then it is drawn.
A biography is drawn from life.
I, who answers with “yes, here“, when the name Alfred Bast is called out (like about ten other people in Germany who would react in the same way to this name), arrived in this motherly and worldly nest like any other child: as a universal being without speech. Step by step it learns how to babble, crawl, walk, to speak and to talk. It begins to recognize itself in a mirror, at the age of three it starts to develop its ego and to identify with it more and more. It also begins to comprehend – and painfully so – its being apart, its isolation.
It learns to use the name that it was given by its parents like a key, learns about its sex, and practices modes of thinking and what, in comparison to others, it can or cannot master. It learns to adapt to the conditions of its environment and to surpass them, no matter how differing they might be, to fulfill them and to represent them, and, finally, to develop them further. Becomes a father, a mother, becomes active in a profession and specializes in a certain field. Its lifetime becomes a statistically comprehensible span. It ranges from being a loser to being a superstar. Sometimes, they are one and the same.
At any rate, the universal “bio“ now has a marking and has become a “graphy”, a drawing of life.
(Painting: „Arco“ / mixed technique on canvas / 180 x 120 cm / 1990 )
The former universal and speechless entity has learned how to speak, maybe in several languages, forgetting in the process, however, what to talk about or whether it had wanted to express itself at all. It has adopted the frame and the structures it was born into. They have become second nature. It has incorporated this framework, reproduced its patterns, expanded them and transformed them into the essence of its existence – even became a role model of such a framework itself? The is frame its own content, speech talking about itself to itself.
The self, forgetful about itself, has created a conditioned ego instead, and has invented a magnificent substitute self to use – an “auto”-mobile. With this vehicle it drives in ever faster circles, going around and around. There is no arrival, as starting point and finishing line are identical. The intensification in this static dynamics builds on the ever more imaginative velocities of systems. The basic human pace, however, heart frequency and respiratory rate, should of course by no means imitate this tendency.
In a similar vein, the tendency towards dramatization, the creation of problems and catastrophes increases, and so does a matching set of dynamics that is focused on solutions. The fuel needed is refined from stereotypes of enemies, opponents and competitors (which is a useful concept to outsource inner conflicts and defeat them somewhere else). The question about the meaning of all this is largely obscured by the chasing of scapegoats and the magic of projections, as the question itself makes speechless, causes disorientation and seems to be without meaning itself.
My life, my “bio” has never completely lost contact with the speechlessness of the original being. A circumstance which may seem unfortunate as it renders me unfit to invest my capacities into this race in the ring. From each point of the circle I always move towards its middle.
And so, in my 68th year and along the drawn trace, my “graphy”, I am also being deeply immersed in the realms of my and the human origin, heading towards where and before the self emerged, with character and its bearer already being present. Now I take this adopted, this superimposed ego-frame with its structures and patterns that exists on a thin outer layer of the existence of an endlessly bigger being trained on the name Alfred Bast, and with that I step out into the vast, empty fields of its nameless content. I am doing so apprehensively, so as not to fill this void all too quickly with my well-practiced patterns, but to remain open for everything that does not immediately emerge and thus seems to be non-existent. Staying oriented to the very first pulse of life that escapes definition, and yet, in the end, is the foundation and nourishing source including all that has become of the patterned and structured self.
(Drawing: Annual Project Book, Entry: 10.10.2013 / Reclam-Universal-Notizbuch, mixed technique 14,5 x 18,5 cm)
This is wonderful.
In this fullness of wonders there is the miracle drug of self-surpassing identity (not dissolving the self, which is just off-centre, but showing its true nature as a kind of bowl, a ring around the secret of life), a mixture of intuition and creative achievement. There is milk that softens the inherited hard crusts of the bread that life has left over and makes it edible even for toothless old age.
Of course there is also the divine – and threefold at that.
The first variety is always a performance, too: A human invention and mammoth construction of those things that go beyond the comprehensible when being forced into understanding. They appear as dogmatic religions that bind the numinous to theo-logical systems. “Sin” and “the fall of mankind” were invented, and with that a highly imaginative infernal machine anchoring the very direct experiences of pain in human existence in a supra-personal context, thus delegating these torments to far-away causes and other guilty parties. With all imaginable monstrosities and punishments the so-called “just” pursue those who divert from the pre-scribed rules that are called “holy” (with God speaking sometimes in Arabic, sometimes in English and other tongues), or, worse even, the fallen betrayers who join the enemy, the disbelievers and heathens. This, alas, has been the dramatic entertainment for many thousands of years. There always is a beginning and an end, like in all movies.
The second version is the atheistic denial of any higher intelligence considering mankind a coincidental by-product of blind evolutionary dynamics forced to lay hands on everything, and first of all on mankind itself, in order to achieve technical improvements. This goes along with tremendous visionary effort and promising visions for the future. Everything will soon be better, wider, bigger, more intelligent and more beautiful. And when our planet finally will have changed into a dump hill, then, – and lo behold – we will be ready to landscape the moon and fly to Venus for a holiday.
The third divine option is quieter, subtler and is voiced more gently, almost lyrical by nature and without limit. It can also be found in the scriptures, and, above all, in the writing and language of life, of the heart, of nature. Some humans, who had and still have an influence on mankind, were also able to translate this mystery into words and deeds. Luckily, they are known to us all: Christ, Krishna, Buddha, Lao Tse, Meister Eckhart, the Sufis and Rosicrucians, teachers and spiritual seekers: Sri Aurobindo, Rudolf Steiner. Poets: Goethe, Schiller, Hoelderlin, Novalis, Dostojewski, Rilke. Philosophers: Gebser, Teilhard de Chardin. Composers and artists: Johann Sebastian Bach, Leonardo da Vinci and many, many more, nameless people, too, who give and share love, wisdom, art and peaceful power – they act with a serene seriousness, smiling and ever present. And please do not forget: without Eve, Mary, Magdalen, Lilith, Beatrice and all the other women, all this would not exist.
From art I have learned the most, enjoyed and integrated the most. It is not only obedience and imitation that art demands, but full-fledged commitment, entirely. Future in that case is not some time later, but in the immediate here and now. Art gets to your bones using them as drumsticks in the rhythm of your heartbeat in a variety of ways. I have become an addict and dependent, depending on the freedom of art always to be right at the beginning of something – fresh from the spring.
From that source and on the relative height of my learned ability to express myself, I experience the body to be home to the universe that awakens in it. I also experience, like every human being, that the body is mortal, fragile and frail. And yet – and simultaneously and all the more – what a magnificent instrument and creation of the universal intelligence it is. Who or what has made it since time immemorial, has slowly built and animated it? This coincidence must be guided by supreme intelligence. It is this quality that I would like to get to know, to inhale with my tiny self like a flower drinks the light. And like flowers follow the light, my self also orients itself more and more consciously towards this universal intelligence. At night, it folds together and moves to the deeply rooted grounds of the mothers. There the body’s cells that contain the experience and knowledge of countless lives and incarnations are nourished with fresh vitality. A human body, as is mine, is an instrument capable of playing the universal melody in a unique manner. It is the movement of a wave infused by the ocean that is incorporated in the self like in a single drop.
This self may again exclaim “I am Alfred Bast” – but in a different way now, for within it has experienced the awakening of its innate strangeness.