Through aesthetic experiences themselves, or mindful descriptions of their richness (in the published essay series and other essays), the content of Anxious-Buddha places you in the bond between two creative worlds— the world of natural perception, or what Maurice Merleau-Ponty called naive (pre-reflective) perception— and the world of mental considerations about perceptual content, which tend to cycle back into the ever-refreshing perceptual stream itself, and thereby guide it to completion as a new accomplishment: a full blown content-of-consciousness.
The primary emphasis of the themes presented throughout this site are fundamentally the same: the hidden and widely misunderstood process of perception. In today's popular notions about imagery, value is often proclaimed to lie in the "conceptual" realm— the realm of narratives, ideas, and social activism. Thus, an emphasis on the perceptual and sensuous as stand alone features is often treated as devoid of humanism and depth in comparison to images that incite us emotionally, challenge us to action, or tell a story. Despite this trend there is a deeper, more serious stratum that is missed when we choose to neglect our capacity to retain a tiny glimpse of the perceptual magic that goes on prior to the maturation of even our most rudimentary idea or thoughts, no matter how noble. As science has confirmed in our age, the enchantment at the heart of sensation lies in the fact that it is an active and living process— a coupling and dance with distal physics— even when entirely at the service of functionality. There is no passive "shunting", "copying" or "mirroring" of a ready-made world in the aboriginal sweep of perceptual processes: there is an active completion of a world that invokes a species-specific, situational context: ours. But we are also, in the end, the symbolic species— we are oriented to the represented world of ideas, as opposed to our active participation in the revealed style of the physically present. It is that ingrained idea-realm that inevitably leads us, ironically, to our perceptual experiences. Amidst the flood of cultural habits and modern trends, we need not lose the capacity to hesitate— to see, and to feel again the inception of that prior magic at the heart of perception and sensation, even as it readily extinguishes itself in the fruition of a more mundane functional context.
By virtue of the relationship between the active nature of perception and its conceptual derivatives— thought is always ultimately "about" a metaphysic, even when vigorously proclaimed otherwise. It is always addressed beyond itself. Yet ironically, it too is a process that does not strictly reside 'outside' of nature, regardless of the assertions it may come to.
These two domains: the domain of mindfulness in pre-reflective perception and the domain of thought's basic metaphysical trajectory (in the form of an 'as-if' concept and context to construct in a narrative), sets up the antagonistic subject matter— i.e., the Anxious (thought) and the Buddha (perception) of Anxious-Buddha.
Consciousness itself is a project of the world, meant for a world which it neither embraces nor possesses, but toward which it is perpetually directed. (Maurice Merleau-Ponty)