An Extended Metaphor

Humans see the world in one of two ways. The low fidelity view is pure black and white - even gray is missing. The high fidelity world is a place of infinite colors and variations too numerous and small for any one person to see in toto. The difference between the two is the difference between a clear, unambiguous place and the very definition of chaos.

Despite it's awe-inspiring beauty, the hi-fi world is an unattainable utopia. Everyone feels free to interpret the colors and textures in the way they personally see fit. Their brushes dabs in the "right" colors, just so. They arrange the subject and scale. Frequently, the power of the brush reshapes the world independent from convention - and in some cases - common sense. It's a totally subjective world of simultaneous extreme beauty and awful ugliness. It can be a frightening place, but it's the world where mankind's most original thinking is born.

The lo-fi world can be beautiful in its own way, but it's every bit an unattainable utopia as hi-fi. It's a place of unchecked geometrical perfection, where perfectly clear black lines mark clean unambiguous boundaries. As long as everyone chooses to see the beauty in those clear and perfect lines, the lo-fi world is the place to be. It's a place we all crave in one way or another, but when an idea from the hi-fi world starts to impose color, both worlds - and every painter in them - are plunged into chaos.

The chaos can't be helped. Humans are a tinkering breed, never content with their world and always trying to capture a perfect beauty. It's impossible for us not to paint in color with the left hand while the right paints a study in perfect black and white harmony. It is our yin and yang. It is our feng shui. It's always - to one degree or other - a constant battle of balance between our two worlds.

Although humans will never strike perfect harmony, it doesn't mean we shouldn't try. Master hi-fi painters need to respect their lo-fi brethren. They know that lo-fi painters prefer a slow, deliberate path to recognizing the same things hi-fi painters see clearly. In fairness, lo-fi painters would be well-served to harness the emotion and experimentation of their hi-fi counterparts. Ignoring that boundless dynamism can damage the vision of their own world and make it a clear, but creative dead zone where nothing evolves and there is no life.

Theoretical discussions about the two worlds always abound, but sometimes they go into hyperdrive. The inevitable disagreements between hi-fi and lo-fi proponents devolve into paintball fights where every canvas is ruined - and that serves neither well. So, the most masterful painters learn from others. That's how it should be, but frequently isn't. Our communal fate hinges on masters' ability to strike the delicate balance that keeps the engine of the world functioning properly. However, some painters are too egotistical, too vain to work with others.

Perhaps expecting them to is also to have an unrealistic view of utopia. Who knows?

The Poobah is a featured contributor at Bring It On!


Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Friday, March 09, 2007

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