87. The difficulty of imagining it (or of filling out the picture of it) is in knowing when one has pictured that. I.e. the indefiniteness of the request to imagine it.
88. The difficulty is, therefore, one of knowing what we are supposed to consider as the analogue of something that is familiar to us.
First. A morning in May in which I became capable of “seeing” tulips. Previously obscured from a balcony or stair, tulips from a window began to appear and spread out onto the streets below. Some morning, in May, I had actual cause to “see”— One might have said: “It’s spring, of course there are tulips everywhere.” Another, “Look how luminous the tulips have become!” Further, by way of explanation: “I am only capable of distinguishing between images as a subject in the midst of their difference, alternatively appearing the same and unalike.” The means by which one becomes capable of seeing past a surface (that which continually relocates itself in past similitude or difference), or the material process in which a red becomes increasingly saturated over time until there is no such thing as “red” any longer, just a singular, restrained darkness set increasingly upon itself— A blue tulip does not exist here. Second. The image of a tulip, flowering or beginning to flower, in a room or a garden outdoors, as reflected in a mirror or painting, otherwise seen as colourless, as in a dream or analog depiction. “One can see tulips”, and so the variousness of the image is recalled. If we suppose it to be a simple and straightforward task to extrapolate, recall or imagine colour in the absence of any visual aid, it must be an equally intuitive matter to assume we can concretely know something beyond the surface of that which we see, even as our seeing becomes trapped in its perpetually occurring passage. I never want to complicate an image so much as add layers to its complexity—feed into its variousness. The thrall of certain flowers which appear momentarily red or blue at adjacent moments in time. During the day, cast beneath violet shadow. When cloudless light drifts through a curtain, pale lilac. Third. Another side to the image. Beneath the pale light of the evident, some evening in May, I came to view tulips as being scattered within variousness. The garden I had forestalled the previous year had already bent into the realm of shadow. Already had I abandoned any memory of it. Tulips are finite. Neither may they be partially preserved. Existing in the momentary, they appear to me purely as a surface. Defeated, their petals fall to the floor. A canvas has now reshaped them. Fourth. Surface, considered gradually knowable on the basis of pure assumption, remains most changeable and therefore unclassifiable by way of its colour. Still, it is this aspect of any surface which remains assumed, unquestioned until one has cause to look closely at it. “One can see tulips.” That we can imagine something to be true, and so come to believe in its veracity, while maintaining no tangible evidence of it being this or any other way: “One is seeing tulips.” To start over (begin again) “some evening in May”— “One has seen tulips.” Fifth. The improbable nature of a tulip being that which is already ripening or lit from within, now having been set on a countertop or table, or imagined from within a painting of its semblance— To propose understanding as to the permanent nature of a surface, one must begin at an assumed point of recognition. Such a state relocates itself indefinitely; any resulting image may resemble what temporalities have come before but can never itself form a full representation. One does not extract an image so much as return it to its various nature. The allegory of an image by day, momentary in stature, or numinous when lit from within. Sixth. That I hold so much belief in “things” That the garden is “beautiful to behold” And the distinction underlying the stability of the Structure gestures towards its permanence By way of undermining it— So what if surface calls out? I do not need to answer it. So what if this rune appears indecipherable? I have not yet signed my name. Variousness is a relative endeavour. I had never seen such a beautiful blue before.
- From Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Remarks on Colour (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977), 27.