Drawing Maya by Hunter Madsen


Religions commonly teach that reality is not exactly as it may appear on life's surface, that we must pull back the veil to grasp the deeper meanings and spiritual struggles hidden beneath. 

Ancient Hindu texts, the Upanishads, describe man's experience in the universe as the interplay between Purusha  - the eternal, unchanging principles, consciousness - and Prakṛti - the ever-molting, ephemeral material world, or Nature.  The former manifests as Ātman (the self or soul), and the latter as Māyā, the mysterious outward manifestation of ulterior realities. 

Put simply, reality is the converse of WYSIWYG: what we see is not what we get; there is vastly more.
This enticing view of reality as peekaboo is dismissed as hooey by the so-called logical empiricists, a loose cohort of philosophers (such as A.J. Ayer and Karl Popper) and scientists (such as Albert Einstein). Empiricists insist scientific findings about reality are the only factual knowledge and that all religious metaphysics ought to be jettisoned as meaningless.  
This stance sounds less fun to most people, because it refuses to tickle our inborn hunch that, indeed, it sure feels like there's something more to existence than what we can measure.

Should we nurture that hunch? The underlying, fork-in-the-road question is this: do you think that our feelings and intuitions can rightly serve as trustworthy tools for confirming what is real about the wider world?  If yes, then how are we to collectively decide whose felt realities should guide how we live, when yours conflict with mine? 

TITLE - "Maya"
WHERE - Kathmandu, Nepal (2019)