Art and Architecture of Consciousness | March 2008

FMBR Editorial: April, 2008

Art and Architecture of Consciousness

Mali Burgess, in a 1991 talk at FMBR


As far back as I can remember, I experienced everything around me: trees, stones, chairs, animals, and humans as luminous, vibrating consciousness. This ontological experience of consciousness, as a numinosity of being, informed my lifelong interest in a phenomenological approach to consciousness as synonymous with existence. A deep interest in essence led me to three fundamental aspects of the nature of consciousness: existence, relationship, and dynamic.


In 1987, I had an experience of the most fundamental three-dimensional relationship dynamic, the tetrahedron, in which the great complexity of life was embodied within its profound simplicity. This experience, and the subsequent research it inspired, led me to geometric dynamics - the nomenclature that I use to describe relationship as a dynamic of consciousness and the embodiment of that dynamic in the simultaneous expression of infinite and finite, eternal and temporal, everything and nothing. This complimentary interconnected relationship, mirrored in the fundamental flux of creation, informed my work in the creative arts, integral and healing arts, and education. It led to insights into the art and architecture of consciousness and the psychophysiological effects of the architecture of space.


At the heart of the paradox of origination, found in wisdom traditions and emergent theory, are awareness, emptiness, and pure being. While words cannot describe the ineffable essence of existence that lies beyond concept, definition, and self awareness, words that describe the process of the ever-present nature of consciousness include presence and awareness.



In 1971 when I visited the University of California at Davis, the Architecture Department had designed a walking tour that progressed through the rolling grounds of the campus to literally and figuratively arrive at the social issue they felt most needed to be addressed to create a sustainable future: education. Education and awareness are key components of social change. In a world faced with serious challenges to the development of a more sustainable, humanitarian, equitable, and wiser global community, they inform the ways society can embrace collaborative, self-organizing, synergistic, creative, and sustainable approaches to learning as a living process. Education and awareness also inform the mystery of grace and the wisdom of being revealed inclusively in the present moment.

About the essay

This essay was written in response to a call to previous FMBR presenters to reflect on their life-path, and the insights and learning that led them to a present issue of great importance.

About the author

Dr. Mali Burgess spoke on the Power of Pattern on Human Beings at FMBR in 1991. Mali has a B.A. in Architecture & Visual Art from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences from Union Institute and University. Her conclusions, regarding a global process of education, have also become the vision of the GlobalShift University (GSU). The GSU, organized by Erwin Lazlo, is now in its formative stage and has a mission to educate and train a new generation of positive-change agents to work toward solving the world's most vexing and universal problems. Bill Gough

William C. Gough, FMBR Chairman of the Board

To send comments by email regarding this editorial to Bill Gough click here.

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