The Dawning Age of Reason


An explosion of light comes crackling through the branches as a trumpet Lilly heralds the dawning of a new age.  Below, crumbling idols are the vestiges of the old, and above, the trees’ vibrant greens are the fountains of the new.  Yet while the reason of the new age supersedes the superstition of the old, it is built on what came before.  Roots tread a fine line between absorbing age-old wisdom from the ancient rocks that they depend on for support, and breaking apart their decaying remnants.  The flower carries within it a potent symbol of the new age, its stamens poised to pollinate the world with the new science of medicine that has doubled lifespans within merely a handful of generations.

As with much of my work, the inspiration for this narrative didn’t emerge until very late in its evolution.  A forest scene emerged after a quick improvisation, and as I teased out some gnarly tree trunks, I felt that ancient temples were an appropriate addition to the scene.

The sky over the canopy started out orange, but it was too jarring for me, so it became a calmer blue.  The blue inspired the sunlight and the lens flare, and very soon a long green vine twisted its way out of the canopy and into the bell of a flower.

It wasn’t until I added the stamens, which turned to yellow pills, that the inspiration for the name and the theme of this piece struck me.  Maybe it was in my subconscious all along, but it didn’t fully materialize until the end.

In many ways the revolution of evidence-based medicine is the age of reason’s greatest accomplishment – underscored by the fact that if I’d lived in the era before it, I’d either be dead or very close to dying by this point in my life.