Animal Locomotion: Reanimating Muybridge’s 19th Century Illustrations with GIFs
The 19th century photographs by Eadweard Muybridge captured something that had previously been too fleeting for the human eye: the mechanics of animal locomotion.
In his 1893 book Descriptive Zoopraxography, or the Science of Animal Locomotion Made Popular, Muybridge described his most famous animal locomotion capture of a horse. The series of photographs aimed to settle a dispute over “the possibility of a horse having all of his feet free of contact with the ground at the same instant, while trotting, even at a high rate of speed.” The photographs revealed conclusively for the first time that a horse’s feet do indeed leave the ground all at once while in full gallop, the horse pulling its legs briefly underneath itself before sprinting forward.
Muybridge’s animal locomotion studies were a great success and he traveled around showing the horse and other creatures in motion through his “zoopaxiscope” that brought the series of frozen images to life in a sort of early stop motion movie projector. Collected in the Descriptive Zoopraxography book are some of these images, which were traced from his original photogravures. While you might not have a zoopaxiscope handy to reanimate the animals, we do have the magic of animated GIFs.
For many more of Muybridge’s dizzying GIFs, keep reading Animal Locomotion: Reanimating Muybridge’s 19th Century Illustrations with GIFs on Atlas Obscura…
yanshik asked: What to do when everything about spirituality or religion suddenly intimidates me? It seems like every religion is about hell and fear and aimed for a certain type of confident, spiritual supermen. I'm constantly haunted by thoughts of being not good enough a person, being evil or Satanic (even though I've never been a Christian) and so on. I don't have any kind of spiritual community to share these thoughts with but perhaps you could give some insight into the situation? :-)
Religions are wildly different. Some have opposition, like christianity, and some don’t, like Taoism. What you are doing is allowing your mind to make uneducated sweeping judgments and then making that into your reality. Drop your conclusions and there will be space for you to discover what is real.
There will always be struggle so long as you conceive of things in terms of dichotomy. Good against evil, birth against death, purity against corruption, truth against illusion, and other such nonsense.
Don’t heed anyone until you can see the place from which they are speaking. Otherwise you won’t be really hearing them, you will only be hearing your ego.
The only evil is confusion. Deep down at the most fundamental level, no one is guilty. It is hard for many of us who have been wronged to accept this but until we do, we won’t be able to know the fundamental goodness that is our own nature.
Although we are inevitably held accountable for our actions, the very stuff out of which we are made is godliness. It doesn’t matter if you are a homeless child, a hedge funder, or a dictator. We are all made of the same thing. I don’t just mean our physical bodies, I mean consciousness.
When we are confused about what we really are, in other words believing we are anything other that infinite consciousness, then struggle and strain become possible. Then you feel the need to strive to be good and avoid being evil.
Spirituality is not about winning that fight, or any other for that matter. Spirituality is about awakening from the illusion of conflict, of separation, of duality altogether.
It reminds me of this Amanda Palmer lyric: "Who needs love when there’s law and order?"
When you ditch all sense of morality, of dichotomy, of separation, then what guides us? What keeps us from sinking into absolute depravity and animalism?
Love. Compassion is the directionless compass that shines bright when we let all of our barriers and inhibitions down. As Lao Tzu said, "Nature is not human hearted." Things will always fall apart just as surely as they come together. Until we really get in touch with the impermanence of all things, unconditional love seems impossible.
When there is the illusion of law and order, who needs the fearless chest-ripping, heart-scathing love that is Compassion? We have family and strangers and boyfriends and enemies and girlfriends and coworkers and bosses and teachers and all else. But when you recognize that all of those labels are garbage and toss them out, the only thing that keeps us sane is sheer love.
Don’t trust the tiny paradigm you have known, this cocoon of thoughts. Rip it open and step into the fresh air, no matter how raw that may make you feel. I would highly recommend the book The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron.