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. The silhouette in ancient Black Africa was sacred. It was a dominating concept in the Egyptian Old Kingdom; 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, where the Ka, the silhouette or shadow, played a significant advisory role in coordinating and mitigating life between the two spheres of reality.

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.