151, 2019-04, …um den Zufall am Schopf zu fassen!, oil on linen, 82 x 90″ (detail)
“The problem for those who wait .- For a higher man in whom the solution to a problem lies asleep, strokes of luck and all sorts of unpredictable things are necessary for him to swing into action at just the right time -“for an eruption,” as we could say. Ordinarily it does not happen, and in all the corners of the earth sit people waiting, who hardly know to what extent they are waiting, but even less that they are waiting in vain. From time to time the call to wake up, that chance which provides the “permission” for action comes too late – at a time when the best youth and power for action have already been used up in sitting still. And many a man, in the very moment he “sprang up,” has found to his horror that his limbs have gone to sleep and his spirit is already too heavy! “It is too late,” he says to himself, having lost faith in himself, and is now forever useless. – In the realm of the genius, could “Raphael without hands,” taking that phrase in the widest sense, perhaps not be the exception but the rule? – Genius is perhaps not really so rare, but the five hundred hands needed to tyrannize the kairos, “the right time,” to seize chance by the forelock!”
— Aphorism 274, Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
This space intentionally left blank: …um den Zufall am Schopf zu fassen! As an archival digital image, has been minted as an NFT, to celebrate the spirit of this particular work’s theme.
I had been planning to do this painting for some months after a reread of Beyond Good and Evil, when the image hit me like a lightning strike. Spring of 2018 I encountered a system of synchronicities around Unicorns, beyond only what was trending, including my all- pervading sense of depersonalization— feeling so much of the time like one of Blade Runner’s replicants— and attempts to be Human… to find a way to justify my actions in the world, and to see to it that I do not become Peer Gynt, which is to say, Nobody. The Unicorn dream of the Replicant is the dream prototype-symbol of Will incarnate: Occasio, or Kairos, was the ancient greco-roman spirit of chance and the decisive moment, bald except for a ponytail at the front of the scalp— on that rare, perhaps once in a lifetime of their flight past us, one was supposed to attempt to seize this ponytail in order to claim advantage of the unique, fleeting moment in space-time when all the salient events synchronize and make liberation possible, kairos. All the rest of life will just be a passage of chronos, the marking of historical time in the world of human affairs. A unicorn’s horn, it being the same substance as hair, is surely a forelock if there ever was one, and it’s easy to identify this mythic creature as a manifestation of Kairos. Nietzsche’s own final decisive moment in life and self-determination was to desperately embrace a horse that was being mercilessly beaten by its owner in the street, where onlookers stood and did nothing… for most anyone instead, they only ever await permission to take action, somnolent in the very real dream or waking life deferred, no prototype. With the freedom of surrender to the events of this exact moment, where to take hold of it is to let go of all else, horse, rider, the terrain, and all contingencies become inseparable. The Unicorn is actuation and actuality, no dream, but available to us here and now. The Unicorn is this illumination, realization, and embodiment of the universe declaring itself free.