The Origins of Writing and Art

Viewed from the Guided Imagery perspective, writing is the shadow of a thought/image. The artist or scribe acts as the screen, revealing the gist of the thought/image while consciously concealing the more profound implications of meaning. The visual form this communication assumes is that of a silhouette - an outline that is sometimes blackened or painted.

The silhouette is closely tied to the origins of writing and art. In ancient Black Africa, it was a dominating concept. The Egyptian Old Kingdom held it sacred since everything had a Ka, a “double,” a shadow signifying aliveness as a reality.

                                       Inner world  Ka              Outer world Ka 

Their paintings on the walls of their tombs, always illustrated in profile, depicted a “double world,” one visible, the other concealed. In this context, it was the Ka, the silhouette or shadow, role to advise, coordinate and mitigate life between the two spheres of reality. Thus writing was the life-force that manifested inner reality in the outer world.

In his Natural History (circa 77–79 AD), Pliny the Elder writes,

"We have no certain knowledge as to the commencement of the art of painting, nor does this inquiry fall under our consideration. The Egyptians assert that it was invented among them, six thousand years before it passed into Greece; a vain boast, it is very evident."

Fortunately, we now know Pliny the Elder was wrong. The Egyptian assertion wasn’t a vain boast at all.