Anxious-Buddha presents a small sampling of the fine-art and themes of award-winning digital artist Charles H. Carver. For commercial design see 'commercial' link instead. For Gunks' specific photography, essay collections and other resources, see

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.

Perception: The Mystery Grove 

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.

Thinking: The Metaphysic

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.

Sentient Song by Charles H. Carver
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)
Sensation, natural perception, reflection, language, myth and science — each are spontaneous movements of the human spirit which come to fruition in form, in action, and in the meanings they embody. We naturally enact form and meaning, and each moulds us according to the style of our species and the creativity of our culture. The sediments run deep, but ultimately beneath the habitual concepts we adhere to by tradition; beneath the lucid and the purposefully directed employment of the intellect, we discover still another fertile ground. It is the Mystery Grove whereby our senses naturally couple to the distal environment which gave rise to their function and style, and raise it by their power to the status of completeness, to the living— to Being. The natural world lives through us and we according to its formative hand. Here, beneath interpretation and judgement; beneath True or False: a world coalesces in the living senses from a horizon we can only belatedly ill-conceive.
Here, we cannot even question the self-evident “there-is” which the senses move to complete and act upon — we gain only the possibility to doubt the subsequent judgements we have brought to accompany it on the way to an elaborated and functional set of meanings. But that is the world’s most primary and buried meaning: the simple, bold and astonishing “There-Is”. Here, biology and spiritual mystery are not at odds — for it is our biology which describes the latent potential and the functional style which our senses employ — and it is our perceiving being which is manifest through that exchange. We are a living instance of that very process — the necessarily forgotten process of perception. For us, the mystery does not refer to meanings sought or functional purposes queried. It hints to a more primordial and potent simplicity: the blatant and astonishing There-Is, whose coupled other side we naturally are.