Outer intelligence with an inner intelligence

The mind of Western man, by means of science, is being led inevitably towards a meeting with the no-mind of the pure Zen Buddhist doctrine of the Orient
-R.Lippold (1960)

Kosmorganica emphasizes external perceptual knowledge and internal metaphysical knowledge. Kosmorganica concentrates on physical and spiritual cosmology. According to Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence, there arenine types of intelligence. They include logical/mathematical, linguistic, musical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, naturalist, existential, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.[17] Kosmorganica focuses on intrapersonal and musical. The intrapersonal refers to that which takes place in one’s mind or self and this case consciousness. Musical intelligence in Kosmorganica comprises rhythm, harmony, mathematical proportions, geometry, pattern, and frequencies both of sound and light. This blending of science, art, and metaphysics was typical in ancient social rituals in ancient Egypt and Greece. One could say that Kosmorganica revives Pythagorean School practices.

For the Pythagoreans, structure, and mathematics make up perception and the mind’s reconstruction of the external world.[18]  They believed that numbers were not merely symbols of quantity, but moreover quality. For them, mathematical ratios were the gateway to creativity, spirituality, and reason. They observed numbers in specific proportions in natural growth and concluded they had to be of the divine. They developed a doctrine to explain the growth of the cosmos through numbers. Numbers are the principles of what exists and the ‘One’ is its primal ground. ‘The One begins to breathe as the breath flows in, it assumes a more complicated structure.’ [19] In addition to numbers, The Pythagorean school extended a metaphysical understanding of the concept of sound.Adherents were interested in harmonizing his universe which included balancing spirit with a body, humans with nature, each other, and the cosmos. They applied mathematical proportion in audio vibrations and musical intervals to illustrate order as a microcosmic expression of the cosmos. Pythagoras viewed music to be the principal way through which humans can liberate their souls from the constraints of the body and connect with its divine nature. Playing music was spiritual. It was healing. It was a science. It was intellect. It was created and it was community. He preached that numbers translated into sound attune to the patterns of our souls to a cosmic soul and hence, develop the divine within.[20] Pythagoras was the father of soul music in the literal sense. Like the Pythagoreans, Kosmorganica envisions that through their phenomenological experiences of frequency (e.g. sound, light, pattern) and pattern, the visitor attunes with the geometric forms and rhythms of nature and the universe. If the Kosmorganica visitor resides only at the phenomenological level, they will not apprehend these harmonizing aspects. External intelligence balances with, not against internal intelligence.                                                                           

Inner with external sciences

Humanity has forgotten who and what we are and through art, we can be reminded of what has been lost. Art is our best means to rediscover the interior integrity.[21] – G.K. Chesterton

With psychological overtones, Coomaraswamy compares the missing inner science in the analysis of art in modern western art. By inner science, we refer to intuition and consciousness.[22] Similar to Jameson’s assault on postmodern’s focus on the surface or styles, Coomaraswamy claims that the accident of Western modern art history is how style is confused for art rather than art being the mechanism to express internal mental patterns at play.[23] Coomaraswamy contrasts western-style queuing with traditional Indian and Chinese art. The greatest difference is visual correspondence tends to be external (physical) in Western modern art history; Whereas it is a combination of internal (mental) and soft external (sensational) sciences in traditional Indian art. Although this may seem like a gross generalization and it does not apply to the entire history of Western modern art, he makes this broad statement to compare it to traditional eastern aesthetics. The aspiration in traditional Chinese art is to capture exclusively internal mechanisms of mind and spirit or shên and ch’i.[24]  Generally, with a traditional western gaze,  art is in the eyes or head (conceptual art) and the eastern gaze is in the heart and mind.[25] ( Kim-Cohen a harsh critic of Ambient media is blind and deaf to Kosmorganic aesthetics which he calls mute perception including Ambient media because his gaze is 100% in the head and neither eyes nor heart.) [26] When Coomaraswamy refers to ‘mind’, he addresses the realm of consciousness rather than linguistic thought. Cosmic consciousness, a territory named in 1901 by R.M. Bucke is defined as:

‘Along with the consciousness of the cosmos there occurs an intellectual enlightenment or illumination which alone would place the individual on a new plane of existence…To this is added a state of moral exaltation, an indescribable feeling of elevation, elation, and joyousness, and a quickening of the moral sense, which is fully as striking and more important both to the individual and to the race than is the enhanced intellectual power. With these come, what may be called a sense of immortality, a consciousness of eternal life, not a conviction that he shall have this, but the consciousness that he has it already.’

– R.M. Bucke (1901)

[1] At the time of writing, 2021, the subcategories include but are not limited to: Expanded media, Visual music, Mapping, Immersive Media, Intermedia, Transmedia, Ambient, Ambient Media, Sound Art, Sound Walks, Art Walks, Ritualistic Performance Art, Sublime, Atmospheric art, Contemplative arts, Multisensory rooms, Experimental Architecture, Installation art, Visual Music, AV performance.

[2] Jameson, F. (1991.). Postmodernism, Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Post-contemporary Interventions). Duke University Press.7

[3] Coomaraswamy, A. K. (1956). The transformation of nature in art. New York: Dover Publications.86.

[4] Briggs, J. (2015). Fractals: The patterns of chaos: discovering a new aesthetic of art, science, and nature. Brattleboro, Vermont: Echo Point Books & Media.


[5] DePaoli, G. (1990) Meditations and Humor; Art as Koan. In Gelburd, G., De, P. G., Hofstra Museum., & Edith C. Blum Art Institute. The trans parent thread: Asian philosophy in recent American art. (pp.14-36). Hempstead, N.Y: Hofstra University.19.

[6] Kosky, J. L. (2012). Arts of Wonder. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.171.

[7] Gamwell, L.  (2005). Exploring the Invisible: Art, science, and the spiritual – revised and expanded edition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Fanning, L. (2018). Encountering the Spiritual in Contemporary Art. New Haven, Conn.:Yale University Press.

Spretnak, C. (2016). Spiritual dynamic in modern art: Art history reconsidered, 1800 to the present.

Kuspit, D. B., Gamwell, L., & State University of New York at Binghamton. (1996). Health and happiness in 20th-century avant-garde art. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press.

[8] Get quote.

[9] Turrell, J. in Kosky, J. L. (2012). Arts of Wonder. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.91.

[10]  ‘My grandmother used to tell me that as you sat in Quaker silence you were to go inside to greet the light. That expression stuck with me.’ James Turrell in Whittaker, R. (2000). Greeting the Light with James Turrell. Works and Conversations. (Retrieved 2021, Feb.16). https://www.conversations.org/story.php?sid=32

[11] Azzarello, N. (2018, Oct.16). Jame Turrell interview on the ‘light inside people’. Design Bloom. (Retrived 2021, Feb.16). https://www.designboom.com/art/james-turrell-interview-light-10-16-2018/

JT: for me, light is nutrition, almost like food. and I’m concerned with the light inside people. when you close your eyes or dream, you see a different light than with your eyes open. we usually use light to illuminate the things around us. but I am interested in the very personal, inner light.

[12] Get citation.

[13] Roquent describes ambient media as music, video, literature, fashion that allows one to tune oneself to the exterior environment, with a focus on the mood and emotional attunement. Eno who coined the term describes it as Ambient music ‘provides calm and space to think, while maintaining emotional freedom and subjective interest that earlier forms of background music sought to erase. It is ignorable as it is interesting.’ Roquet, P. (2016). Ambient media: Japanese atmospheres of self. Minneapolis, Minn: University of Minnesota press.

[14] Kim-Cohen, S. (2020). Against ambience and other essays.London, England : Bloomsbury Publishing

[15] Roquet, P. (2016). Ambient media: Japanese atmospheres of self. Minneapolis, Minn: University of Minnesota press.3.

[16] Spretnak, C. (2016). Spiritual dynamic in modern art: Art history reconsidered, 1800 to the present.14.

[17]  Gardner, H. (1993). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books.xii-xiv.

[18] Ghyka, M. C. (1977). The geometry of art and life. New York: Dover Publications.173.

[19] Burkert, W. (2003). Lore and science in ancient Pythagoreanism. Ann Arbor: UMI.37.

[20] Robinson. op. cit. pp.60-61.

[21] Beckett, W. (1993). The mystical now: Art and the sacred. New York, NY: Universe.9.

[22] Tibetan scholar , Robert Thurman cautioned, the Western privilege of the outer sciences over our inner sciences has been detrimental to civilization. Clarke, J. J. (1997). Oriental enlightenment: The encounter between Asian and Western thought. London: Routledge.151.

[23] Coomaraswamy, A. K. (1956). The transformation of nature in art. New York: Dover Publications.86.

[24] Coomaraswamy, A. K. (1956). The transformation of nature in art. New York: Dover Publications.14.

[25]  When written this most likely did not include conceptual art. Coomaraswamy, A. K. (1956). The transformation of nature in art. New York: Dover Publications.29.

[26] Kim-Cohen analyzes art history as a linear progression. He questions that phenomenal formalism is of the past pre-1960’s when conceptual art flourished. He is biased toward linguistic conceptualism. Kim-Cohen accuses internal intelligences associated with Kosmorganic aesthetics or what he reduces and calls ‘mute perception’ as detached from social meaning and discursive analysis. Since he rejects mysticism and healing aspects of art, then the conversation stops short of a consensus that the information Age has produces ambient media. Kim-Cohen, S. (2020). Against ambience and other essays.London, England : Bloomsbury Publishing. 10,37, 75-76.