John Langdon

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About John Langdon

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  1. Ambigrams and the Tao

    Rene, I assume "Door's open" means that I'm cleared to post in the Taoist Discussion section rather than hang out here in the lobby... Not sure how to do that... Also β€” and maybe this is more for DynamicTao β€” would you recommend that I post selected essays from Wordplay?
  2. Ambigrams and the Tao

    Thanks, Rene. Perhaps one of the most important ideas that I learned from the sphere is that in life, Yin and Yang do not always appear to be equal in quantity or force. (This is a limitation of the flat graphic image.) But we can trust that they are, in the great scheme, still equal, just as we can trust that they are equal overall β€” equalized on the invisible part of the sphere. Thank you, too, DynamicTao. Are you referring to my totem (vertical) ambigram of "THE TAO"?
  3. Ambigrams and the Tao

    Here's one of my pieces of Taoart β€” my yin/yang sphere. This is one of a few pieces that resulted from my curiosity about yin/yang theory when pushed beyond two dimensions. The tennis ball division of the surface of a sphere is no earth-shattering discovery (which followed innumerable failed or abandoned attempts to divide it in curving halves down to its center), but from this sphere, I learned that there are often (always?) an overt yin and a covert yin, and of course, an overt and covert yang as well.
  4. Ambigrams and the Tao

    The Yin & Yang ambigram (from Wordplay) doesn't demonstrate the relationship between the symbol and an ambigram itself, but almost all the ambigrams in Wordplay are accompanied by typeset definitions (or other relevant aphorisms) and this is a good example. They serve the immediate function of encouraging the reader to discover the invertibility of the ambigram, but further, to consider that there are two equally valid and appropriate ways to think about the word(s). As I said this morning, this supports the idea that yin forces and yang forces are equally important in maintaining a harmonious balance in our lives and in the universe. RenΓ©, I think of the Tao as the Way that everything in the universe works (with the notable exception of certain earthlings who think that "good" can eliminate "evil," etc.). For me personally, it's not something that I consciously base decisions on ("well, last week I took the high road; I think this week I'll take the low road"), as much as it is a way that I understand my life and what goes on around it. I think that understanding does affect the Way I go through life.
  5. Ambigrams and the Tao

    It's not a direct step from yin/yang to ambigrams, but I'm a word guy, and I wanted to do things with words that would reflect aspects of the Tao. Invert yin/yang and it remains the same. We need to be able to see that both the yin and the yang have equal value, as ambigrams retain their linguistic value when inverted. I have also done a series of works without words. The pieces explore the visual and spiritual relationship between the Eastern yin/yang and the Tao, and the Western symbols and principles: normal bell curve, wave pattern, infinity symbol. Is there any way to post images here?
  6. Ambigrams and the Tao

    I never thought of ambigrams as having much commercial appeal. They resist imposed conditions. But after Dan Brown and the internet, they seem to have great appeal so people want to exploit that. And I'm happy to do commissioned work. They look slick and commercial, because my background is in typography and logo design, and that's the standard of quality (readability and aesthetics) that I strive for.
  7. Ambigrams and the Tao

    Hello β€” I'm a newly registered member. I'm the author of Wordplay, a book of my ambigrams and my personal, contemporary, and western version of the Tao. If you're unfamiliar with the term 'ambigrams' they are words designed in such a way as to allow readability from more than one point of view. If you've read Dan Brown's Angels & Demons, you've already seen some of my work. I'm one of the originators of ambigrams, and the yin/yang symbol was the primary spiritual influence. I had been creating variations on the yin/yang symbol β€” including ambigrams β€” for several years before I read anything about Taoism. But working with the symbol as a jumping off point for my artwork, I had developed a thorough understanding of the Tao. "You don't need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen... The world will freely offer itself to you... It will roll in ecstasy at your feet." Franz Kafka, The Great Wall of China I look forward to this groups discussions. John Langdon