Philosophy of Harold Pastorius: The Values which shaped his art.
At age 25 , the external trauma caused by the Berlin Wall half-a-world-away galvanised Hal’s understanding of himself and his values. Caught in a recall by the military, Hal’s pursuit of his life’s dream was interrupted and came to a complete halt. Or, so it seemed at the time. Instead, Hal focused inward and wrote five separate papers during this emotionally turbulent year identifying his creed and crystallised the values he applied to life and his art [which in many ways was his life].
Harold Leroy Pastorius, Jr.’s lessons for life at age 25 were stated as his personal creed:
• I must know what I want to be in order to succeed in life’s struggles,
• I will be creative with my hands and mind,
• I will be philosophical about life’s values.
• I will be different from all others in applying myself to life!
• I want to be a different philosophical creator.
• I will be in complete control of my mind & emotions once I (1) name it, (2) believe it, (3)picture it, and finally (4) work at it.
On faith and its relationship to the subconscious:
• The subconscious is man’s creative soul. It leads and drives him in his life’s search.
• I feel I know for what man searches, and I have faith I have found it.
• Now at 25…I know for what I live, and to what end I search.
Individuality is supreme: excerpts from a letter to Bill Roach a friend where Harold attended school:
• There is only one thing that is really important—the individual.
• The individual comes before all else
• before god; because we would only view others as wrong who do not believe in our view of god
• before governments; otherwise we would all need to be the same…no real individuality only types, as in the book “Brave New World”.
• before any collective mass of men; otherwise there would be no great men only great masses. We would loose creativity which is the result of individuals suffering and attempting to be heard as a voice separate from the crowd
• individual suffering has great value: it has the ability to mould the individual; suffering is the source and inspiration for growth and change. “Oh Happy Day” for the thrill of living. The individual is inseparable from all that comes with facing life, unaided and unsheltered, in the quest of understanding through thought.
To Love Life, you must enjoy it:
• Self Expression Through Speech, Painting, Writing, and Original Thought all equal designing your life
• Self Expansion: use Study or Travel to lead to Direct expansion as they require both thought to problem solving.
• Enjoy Change: observe different friends on different occasions with their different drives and opinions. Observe the change in people.
• Delight in offering to others the unique approach and thoughts only you as an individual can provide
• As often as possible participate in new experiences, just for practice and experience
Values to obtain or maintain, then rely on these to make decisions:
• Know yourself: abilities, emotions, and reactions
• Keep a strong respect for truth and honesty: faith in others is an unerring trust in them
• Emotions but with control = sensitivity: an artist may be emotionally driven to the point of losing control for a short time, but must focus on sensitivity to see the options
• Be Accommodating: be willing to bypass your preference to permit a choice to others.
• Look to nature: be able to fall back into it for a fresh start; see the seasonal effects as a source of change.
• Nurture your freedom of expression: It comes from within. Express yourself verbally or physically when occasions arise.
• Feel you have never wasted a moment, even when just relaxing in the sun. Know you have put your soul (subconscious) at ease so you can think more clearly.
• Strive to understand all people and all philosophies of life…at least to the level of accepting them as real and emotional for everyday people.
• try to understand peoples reasoning behind religions
• try to understand what drives other people
• look for good (characteristics in others which could be useful in your life)
• Have confidence in your convictions and decisions
• Have faith in your ability to make decisions and stand by them…know they will always be the best decision you could make with the information at the time (thus no regret)
• Build life from the ground up as many times as necessary…never loose confidence in your love of life, nor in your chosen path in life.
Note: none of the philosophy will work without using the quality of common sense and/or reason.
Hal lived daily by the advice of Sibyl Partridge’s (1908) ten points “Just For Today”
1. I will be happy. Happiness comes from within… it is not a matter of external elements.
2. I will adjust myself to what is. I will take family, business and luck as they come by fitting myself into them rather than trying to make them fit my desires. [This is the only element not given a check mark on his list, as if he had not achieved this item.]
3. I will take care of my body through exercise, care, and nourishment while avoiding neglect and abuse. Thus, my body will be a perfect machine for my bidding.
4. I will strengthen my mind. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought, and concentration.
5. I will exercise my soul three times. I will do somebody good and not get found out. I will do two things I don’t want to do just for practice.
6. I will be agreeable. I will look well; dress becomingly; talk low; act courteously; be liberal with praise; and not criticise, find fault, nor try to regulate or improve anyone.
7. I will concentrate on living this day only. I will not try to tackle my whole life problems at once. I will do for twelve hours what would appall me if I had to do it for a lifetime.
8. I will be organised and have a program. I will write what I need to do, but may not follow it exactly. This will eliminate the two pests of hurry and indecision.
9. I will have a quiet half-hour by myself and relax. I will sometimes think of God during this half hour, so as to get a little more perspective into my life.
10. I will be unafraid. I will not be afraid to be happy, to enjoy what is beautiful. I will love and believe those I love, love me.