A post for The Creative Think Machine.

It was a Halloween topic, but I think I might have gotten a little too dark with this one.  Hard to work on.

It’s inspired by a book I’m reading right now, by Jacques Lusseyran.

Jacques was one of the leaders of the French resistance during WWII.  He was born in France, in 1921.

When Jacques was 8 years old, he was coming in from the schoolyard, all rowdy with his buddies, and accidentally knocked into the corner of the teacher’s desk.


So hard, in fact, that the lenses on his glasses embedded themselves into his eyes, and rendered him blind.  He had to have his eyes removed.

But here is the strange thing: even though he was totally blind, Jacques could still see.

He saw, he said, a sort of radiance, or light.  He could see it “rising, spreading, resting on objects, giving them form, then leaving them.”

He could feel this stream of light between the leaves of trees, or the auras of people, like in his parents.  He couldn’t tell whether the light came from within himself, or from some unknown source, but it was there.  It coursed through him in a stream of radiance.

But this light was conditional; if he was angry, or afraid, the light withdrew, and darkness enveloped him.  If he was playing with friends and he “suddenly grew anxious to win, to be first at all costs, then all at once I could see nothing.”  If he was jealous or unfriendly, the light left.

But, if he focused on being calm, and serene withing, and “approached people with confidence and thought well of them, I was rewarded with light.”

When Jacques tried to tell people about this light, they didn’t believe him.  So, he kept quiet.

In 1938, Jacques heard the first Nazi broadcast on Radio Vienna, and was horrified.  He could immediately see the “outer darkness” of the words that emanated from the radio.

As the months progressed and the Nazis drew nearer, Jacques realized that there were two sides in this battle, “with love on one side and hate on the other; fear one way and joy another.”  So, Jacques got to work to fight the darkness he saw.

He studied the German language for two hours every day, for the next five years.

And, after the Germans invaded France, 17-year-old Jacques–who was not terribly religious, or was raised by religious parents–adopted an ascetic way of life, and began each day at 4:30 am with a soldier’s prayer, praying for the strength to fight this monster of darkness.

Jacques became good enough at recognizing light that, after he formed the Volunteers of Liberty (the resistance group), he was in charge of recruitment.  It was a risky job–any member might let  slip to a Nazi soldier, and destroy the resistance overnight.  The members of the resistance would tentatively bring a friend to meet Jacques.  He would talk to the friend for a while, listening to their voice, would shake their hand, and see the light about them.  And by this he could gauge if they were trustworthy and fit for the resistance.

It’s a good book so far.

One last picture:

I did this entire post on my new Windows Surface Pro.  It’s like a mini cintiq and I’m not just saying that.  Two thumbs WAY up.