An Alternative Biography
Once upon a time, long ago, there lived a little girl in the northern region of England known today as Cumbria. This little girl saw the colours of the "host of golden daffodils" and the bluebell-carpeted woods in springtime, saw the rich red and purple, and the yellow mellow fruitfulness all around her later in the year, and she marvelled. Her spirits lifted and her soul sang.
But as she looked around at the many people who came and went every day in her home, she pondered: "Mummy" she asked, "why is that lady dressed in brown and grey?" "Why is everyone wearing black this evening - I thought we were having a party?" "Why do some of our honoured guests not like the bedrooms we have given them - why do they all want the other ones?" Her mother sighed, "I don't know, little one," she said, "but we must learn from this and colour the bedrooms, and our whole house, in ways that they all love."
When the little girl grew up, she went to live in the city. Everywhere she looked was grey and she longed for the beauty of her native landscape. Grey streets, grey buildings, grey skies - she remembered that under grey winter skies at home there remained a myriad of subtle colours - evergreen trees, a robin's breast, so many browns in the sleeping earth. She did love the city, as it was full of wonderful people and great excitement - yet here too the colours people chose were drab. Nowhere she looked did she ever see any of the citizens not wearing black. Was there some secret magic hidden in this darkness? Their homes were the colours of the dairy - but without the golden-brown cows or the rich yellow butter and cheese, just milk and cream.
Then she travelled to a distant Island, where she stayed for two years. Here the people's skin was rich, very dark and golden, and their clothes were all colourful. They laughed and sang all day. There was music everywhere and the millions of glorious blue and green colours in the ocean and the pinks and reds of the flowers - bougainvillea and hibiscus - were always there, with little variation through the yearly cycle. They made her soul sing again. She saw the connections between colour and music.
Still she asked everyone she met, "Why? How?" She knew, from the depth of her heart, that colour made her soul sing, that beautiful colour was the key to joy and beauty, to clear expression, to harmonious lives, but no one could tell her how, or why. She wanted to share the joy and make other souls sing. "I will have to go to School again," she resolved. She asked the Schools: "Can you teach me?"
"No," said the first School, "we can teach you the mechanical processes of mixing colours, the art of proportion and use of space. The teachers at the School on the other side of the Divide can teach you the physical processes in your brain. But none of us can teach you how to make souls sing, because every soul sings a different song."
"Do you know how to make souls sing?" she begged of the other School. "No" they replied, "every soul sings a different song." "But there must be melodies we can learn that create these songs!" she declared. They shook their heads. "But what about connections?" she asked. "We do not see connections - we are scientists and they are artists; there are no connections between us."
She spent many years searching, studying the works of the doctors - Dr Freud and Dr Jung, Dr Luscher and Dr Newton - and the philosophers, Aristotle and Goethe, and many other great minds.
One day, she travelled to an even more distant Land and there she met the Wise Lady. "Do you know the secret of how to make souls sing?" she asked. "Yes my child." answered the Wise Lady, "I know the secret, but I cannot share it with you - you must find it for yourself." "Where will I find it?" "It is there, inside you, but you will need to learn the art of the artists and the science of the scientists and make the connections yourself. The melodies you seek are in the connections."
"May I sit at your feet?" she asked the Wise Lady. "Oh yes my child; work with me and you will find the harmony of colours, and understand how my forbears in the City of Angels were able to make souls sing."
The young woman worked with the Wise Lady and her soul sang. She walked the shoreline of the mighty Pacific Ocean, delighting in the millions of colours - in the pebbles, the wild shore plants, the shells, the water; she wandered in the valleys, losing count of the number of greens in the grass, of how many purples, reds, blues, pinks, yellows she could find in the wild flowers. She noticed that the green of the stems and leaves of every single flower were exactly the right shade to enhance the colours of the petals. She watched how living creatures responded to light and shade - to colours. She visited huge canyons, whose rocks rose up to the sky, and marvelled at the myriad of colours in each layer of their formation.
The Wise Lady took her to big buildings, to help people there who wanted to sell more of their goods and wanted to impress their customers; sometimes they wanted to dress all their workers in the same colour. The Wise Lady and the young woman found the best colours for them to do all of those things. "Will their souls sing?" she would ask. "Oh yes - but they do not know that that is what we are giving them."
When the time came for the young woman to return to her native land, the Wise Lady gave her a beautiful glass that made everything bigger and clearer, as she reminded her always to look very closely. Then she went on:
"My child, you must remember many things and do not be discouraged: Remember that the song of the daffodil does not harmonise with the chrysanthemum's melody - these golden songs are different; the swallow does not sing with the robin and a babbling brook cannot live with ice. Be prepared to find many people in the world who think their souls cannot sing and devote themselves to numbers. Do not talk to them of the beauty of colour, but of its power to influence their customers. There are those who see the power of colour to expose the truth and they are afraid of it; they tell themselves that black and grey are perfect colours for everything. Do not try to change them, or you will frighten them even more; some of those people will come to you of their own accord and ask you to help them to find the song in their souls - only then should you offer them your skill. There are those who are not comfortable if they cannot have scientific, rational explanations for everything. Make sure that you have made your connections well and understood the scientists' wisdom.
Still some of them will not believe you, the ones who must always look to other people's opinions. Take your connections to the leaders of the Science Schools and tell them about them. Ask them to test your connections rigorously and be prepared for them to dismiss them. If that happens, you will know that your connections are not complete and you must go away and work on them until they pass muster with the most sceptical scientists. Only when you have the support of the most eminent scientists in their field will these people trust you.
Remember, you were not put on this earth to direct the path that another should take. You are not here to convert the world and impose your views on others. You might find that only one person ever truly asks you for your skill. Be vigilant that you do not become bossy and try to bully others into adopting what you see as the route to harmony and joy. All you can do is show them the effects that their colour choices will have, but you must let them make their own decisions, from the information you have given them. You are here to find your own soul's song and to guide and support anyone else who asks for a helping hand; at the same time, you must constantly seek guidance from others who are further along the same path. You must never think you can stop learning.
If you remember all of this, you will be in a position to create harmony in the world. Where there is the stress and strain of clashing colours and conflicting messages, you will be able to bring order and clarity. If you do as I do, and work with the people in the big buildings, you will indirectly make many souls sing."
So the woman, no longer young, returned to her native land and worked on her connections. She explored the mysteries of the printing process, the dyeing process, the use of light colours - red, green and blue - and she learned the strict science of colour. Many came and asked her to help them to make their souls sing and her knowledge grew, as she learned to use her beautiful glass to recognise and interpret the myriad of colours in their eyes, the links between eastern and western philosophies, the universal delight in some colour combinations, the unpredictable nature of individual colours and the invalidity of many colour myths. She understood how colour behaves completely differently in all the different ways that humanity tries to harness it in order to recreate Nature's bountiful gift.
After many years, she took her connections to the leaders of the Science Schools. They welcomed her and willingly tested her connections - and found that those connections held true under the scrutiny of their most brilliant minds.
Meanwhile, a new creature had been born - it was called CAD. It had a child, called CADCAM. Art and Science began to reunite as they both greeted this wondrous new creature and adopted it; the Divide began to disappear. The woman realised that she too must adopt this new creature and she asked the Science teachers if her connections could be made into a tool that would help artists to use science, and still make souls sing. "Yes!" they said. They were true to their word.
Another new creature had also been born; this one was called The Internet. It had huge tentacles and it was possible for it to touch millions of people, right across the world, in seconds.
Suddenly, in the middle of this scientific explosion, the people in the big buildings began to talk about the need to make their workers' souls sing. They recognised that lives must consist of more than just numbers, more than scientific rationalisation. They began to search for harmony and balance.
The woman was happy and her soul sang.