August 4, 2021

Sunflower moments

“When van Gogh paints sunflowers, he reveals, or achieves, the vivid relation between himself, as man, and the sunflower, as sunflower, at that quick moment of time.

His painting does not represent the sunflower itself. We shall never know what the sunflower itself is. And the camera will visualize the sunflower far more perfectly than van Gogh can.

The vision on the canvas is a third thing, utterly intangible and inexplicable, the offspring of the sunflower itself and van Gogh himself.” D.H. Lawrence.

That ‘third thing’, the ‘vivid relation’ between ‘me’ and the other, is a moment when we feel truly alive, connected, aware of our place in the universe.  Such moments don’t only happen to artists.  I’ve experienced them while shopping, walking or making dinner.  The difference is I’ve never tried to capture them.

It seems to me that much of what we do as humans is about creating opportunities where those ‘sunflower moments’ – that you might also call Sawubona can happen.

What if that is what work was really for?

What if we measured our performance by that?