Dear Dr. Chang,

Your work is thoughtful, carefully substantiated synthesis of the study of art and the philsophic study of human nature. The discussion of mental evolution, focusing upon the "ontogeny recapitualating pphylogeny" axiom, is fascinating and clearly presented. An admirable control of the tenuous balance between scientific facts and lucid, understandable prose is strongly evident in your handling of this important contribution to the philosophy of science. Subsequent discussions of dreams, creativity, and the mental and physical life cycle further expand your presentation with the same cogent detail and exemplary clarity. I was impressed with your application of these theories of natural philosophy to the development of art and to the creative process. In addition, by explaining the therapeutic values of art as a means to keep in touch with reality by stimulating different levels of consciousness, you open a new and unexplored perspective to your readers. In sum, I found your work consistently interesting and entertaining, a unique blend of scientific information, philosophy, and practical advice.

 

Exerpt from acceptance for publication letter,

Editor, Exposition Press, Inc., New York, November 14, 1978

Publication- Mental Evolution and Art, Exposition Press, Inc., 1980

 

 

Some pasages from the book-

 

...Along with the evolution of our bodies to the beat of environmental adaptation marched the development of our cognitive processes. And like the recapitulation of our physical origin during our fetal stage, so blossoms forth our mental history of evolutionary change. Our minds are not just a polished and finished conscious human product, but an amorphous entity of infinite variety of thinking, all inherited from the potpourri of intelligent mechanisms adequate to support long past ancestral forms of life. And all these levels, whether conscious or unconscious, play their vital part in keeping us not only in psychological equilibrium and in environmental harmony, but alive.

 

...Thus one can see why many times, after the cessation of scientific support for a theory, we continue to cling on to old beliefs, for they may have been around so long as to have permanently influenced our understanding of reality and to have decreased our ability to ADAPT to mental as well as environmental change.

 

 

...What is art? Is there a definition of the word? Art is the simultaneous stimuli that activates our different levels of consciousness. And the sheer magnitude of the triggering of reactions in the various mental levels may separate the aesthetic experience from the business-as-usual one. So much of our subconscious levels of thinking are also excited, much fantasy emerges and colors our interaction with our visual interpretation of what's out there. We project ourselves into a piece of art that we personally enjoy. We search for the mystery of ourself within the dimensions of the art object. We tire of a piece when the answer, whether or not due to the Who-Am-I that a particular work elicits in a viewer or the repetitious viewing of the same pattern, no longer serves as a vessel that quenches the need for a metaphysical interaction with the environment (of which the artwork is a part of). Thus the purpose of art is to provide emotional laden physical objects that can guide out man's primordial fantasies and also create the feeling of appreciation for the physical world through underlying metaphysical reasoning


Pygoya, portrait for "Primal Instincts" Show,
SOHO too Gallery, Honolulu, 1985