An Organizing Vision — The Weaving Web

by Spencer Koffman


While meditating, I had an organizing vision of a multi-dimensional network of sparkling energy with intricate relationships and dancing, coordinated movements.  I use this “dancing pattern” image as a visual metaphor that highlights the connections between the structures and processes of the Cosmos.

In the meditation, I am simultaneously the whole web, an embedded participant located at my place in the web, and a spectator floating outside the web.  I am able to focus on different aspects, so I can see just the movement, or different organizing energy centers, or the interactions between the different centers, or an indivisible whole.

The experience of the vision was extremely powerful.  I felt an energy and aliveness akin to being swept away by a gigantic ocean wave.  My mind and heart understood it as more real than daily waking life.

I had been writing my philosophy but it wasn’t coming together.  The vision felt like a gift, a visual epiphany that helped organize and communicate my thoughts.  The weaving web is an image of seeing reality as a whole, while simultaneously that whole can also be divided an infinite number of ways.  A web has connections, but no center.  You can remove parts without destroying it.  There’s no beginning and no end.  Paradoxically, the center is everywhere, while the circumference is nowhere.

Every philosophy highlights certain aspects of reality.  My philosophy focuses on internal and external processes and relationships. In other words, when I look at the web, I see a system of parts that move both chaotically and in patterns; with some parts forming ongoing relationships.

My vision is similar to the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva in Hindu mythology.  During the 9th and 10th centuries, Indian artists created bronze statues depicting this dance.  In the words of art historian Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, the dancing figure of Shiva is the “clearest image of the activity of God which any art or religion can boast of…”

Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva

A modern statue of the Indian deity Shiva Nataraja, the Lord of Dance.

Below is an image I found online that captures some of the feeling of my vision (It falls short of my vision in that it only has one center and it is just two-dimensional).  Go online and stare for awhile at the moving image of the rotating dot whirlpool.  The movement appears to change.  An observer can either follow a specific part around as it moves or focus on a pattern.

Web Vision

Rotating dot whirlpool

Another representation that captures some of the vision is Electric Sheep.  Electric Sheep is a collaborative abstract artwork first created in 1999 by Scott Draves. The Electric Sheep is a form of artificial life.  Software recreates the biological phenomena of evolution and reproduction though mathematics. The system is made up of man and machine.  It’s run on the computers of hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.  When these computers “sleep”, the Electric Sheep software comes on and the computers communicate over the internet, creating morphing abstract animations known as “sheep”.  Viewers vote for their favorites, thus the more popular sheep live longer and reproduce.  The result is a collective “android dream”, blending man and machine to create an artificial life form.  Below are some sheep that depict some of my vision.

Sheep 1

An example of Sheep

Sheep 2

Another example of sheep

Sheep 3

A third example of sheep

It brings to mind the Paul Simon lyric about a person who sees “angels in the architecture, spinning in infinity.”

The weaving web is all around us.  Complex movements that create structures are found in nature, in our psyche and behaviors, in our dreams and myths, our cultures and societies, and in atoms and galaxies.  The weaving is web is a metaphor for the patterns and interactions of the Cosmos.  But it is not just an abstract symbol, the weaving web is embodied by life and the world.  So, I see the weaving web as groups interacting, a lake ecology, the stars, the internet, and everything else around us and within us.

The weaving web holds the essence of my philosophy.  If I were an artist or musician, I would express my vision on canvass or in song.  But I’m a writer, so what follows is my attempt to transform the beauty, meaning, and power of the image of the weaving web into words and concepts.

The Philosophy of the Weaving Web