painting morning in my metaverse

metaverse (IV)

day & night and Schrödinger’s cat [1]


I am very pleased that my postings on this topic are so well received and thank you for the general interest!
After this posting today, one more on this topic will follow, but it will be easier to understand. Today it gets a little more complicated.

When I present “day” and “night” in my metaverse today, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. And yet it is – a very large one, in fact.
Because the first question that arises is: is there even day and night in a metaverse?
For a westerner anchored in dualistic thinking, there are only 3 possible answers. A: Yes. B: No. C: Maybe – in certain parts of a metaverse where there are solar systems like ours. Each of these answers would meet our expectations.
Quantum physics would answer differently. Schrödinger (the father of quantum mechanics, Austrian roots BTW) would have seen it like this: simultaneously both alive and dead as a result of its fate being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur. They exist and at the same time, they don’t exist with Schrödinger until someone has provided solid evidence for one or the other assumption. This is certainly a qualitatively better answer than in the first case.
But how would the same question be answered from a Zen Buddhist point of view? Day and non-day, night and non-night exist at the same time.
Again, this answer is qualitatively better in my view. In a footnote, I would like to quote the Zen master Shunryu Suzuki. [2]

What Schrödinger’s cat meowed in 1932 is an old hat in Zen Buddhism.
I have emphasized this aspect mainly because it not only occupies a prominent part in my personal thinking or in my painting but in my understanding of our being in general.
Einstein called quantum physics “spooky”. Niels Bohr wrote: “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real“. (One would assume that this postulate should have found its way into our thinking 60 years after the death of this eminent scientist.)
How far am I with quantum physics myself? To put it in the words of Isaac Newton: “What I know is a drop, what I don’t know is an ocean.” And what do I “know” about Zen Buddhism? In the best case, 2 drops come together. [3]
How do I even dare to touch on this subject matter? Then why do I paint or show such subjects? Of course, when I tackled the topic of the metaverse, one of my first questions was, what does it mean to me? After some thought, I decided to use the term metaphor.
But that also means that if this giant construct metaverse is a metaphor, then everything contained in it is also a metaphor. Day and night become a metaphor and I no longer have a problem picking up on these topics. More on this in my next posting.

However, if I now write a few lines about the pictures presented today, it should not be taken too seriously. Zen Buddhism always comes with a wink and has the rogue in the neck. Hint if you are new to Zen-Buddhism. [4]

painting morning in my metaverse


A typical morning scene in my metaverse would look like this. You get the impression that with the first rays of morning, the souled elements of the metaverse are frolicking in these rays of light and filling up with energy for the day. But what do I know?


The evening-night period looks a little like what we’re used to. The last bits of thought of the day clear the way for the hours when we are closest to ourselves and entertained by our subconscious. (The original looks better, some nuance and depth are missed on screen)

painting night in my metaverse


To better illustrate my experiments, I would like to single out 1 detail. IS and NOT-IS are quite close. Now is that a bird and that a fish? It’s fish and non-fish at the same time. The same goes for the birds.

morning in my metaverse details of a painting
Now someone might say: “That’s old hat, that’s what abstract painting is about!” And I would answer, yes, but my paintings are abstract and non-abstract at the same time :).

Didn’t quite get it? Please don’t worry, it’s not your fault. Probably none of us left a big question mark in our brain ganglia when we first stumbled across Schrödinger’s cat. And Zen Buddhism is certainly not something to be “learned” at a few weekend seminars. Not to mention understanding.

bonus material

With my metaverse project, I thought a lot about the “Begin” area and painted a few versions. As an “illustration” I chose dragon/chaos in my last posting.
One of the previous versions was this one, which has some merits, but didn’t seem suitable to me. Too abstract, even the dragon wouldn’t necessarily be recognized.

dragon as creator, painting
In another attempt, I wanted to show the beginning as a rather ecstatic event. But there is already too much recorded that could not have been there at a real beginning.

painting eggsdazee

extra bonus material 🙂

Of course, it would also be interesting to compare how Zen Buddhism sounds acoustically. This acoustic treat was one of my all-time favorite records for many years: Tony Scott with Japanese musicians: Music for Zen Meditation And Other Joys. Give your soul a treat 🙂



[1] In quantum mechanics, Schrödinger’s cat is a thought experiment that illustrates a paradox of quantum superposition. In the thought experiment, a hypothetical cat may be considered simultaneously both alive and dead as a result of its fate being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur. Schrödinger’s famous thought experiment poses the question, “when does a quantum system stop existing as a superposition of states and become one or the other?”

[2] “….Our body and mind are two and one. We usually think that what is not one must be more than one. But in actual experience, our life is not only plural but also singular….” And a few sentences later: “In a few years, we will die. If we just think that this is the end of our life, that is a wrong understanding. On the other hand, if we think we’re not going to die, that’s wrong too. We die and we don’t die. That is the right understanding.”(Shunryu Suzuki: Zen-Geist Anfänger-Geist. Theseus 2016, p 26)

[3] When I came across a Zen Buddhist painting for the first time around 50 years ago, it hit me like a blow and wouldn’t let me go. But I wouldn’t say I’m a Zen Buddhist. Naturally, if you think about it long enough, it all becomes less of a mystery, and suddenly former paradoxes become natural wisdom. It just doesn’t work as long as we stick to dualistic thinking.

[4] A fun way to approach Zen Buddhism is with Zen-Buddhist jokes like these ones on If you can laugh about those jokes, you understand more about Zen Buddhism than you originally thought 🙂

More of this: metaverse


21 responses to “metaverse (IV)”


    Thought provoking, as always. Thanks for the Zen jokes, too. 😎

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you very much! Artists have to be provoking – part of the business plan 😄 Glad you enjoyed the jokes.

  2. swabby429 avatar

    I’ve studied some Dzogchen, which is similar to Zen. Both contain crazy wisdom showing that conceptual thinking is tricky.

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Right! It makes one think a lot. Especially as we so often think we know it all 😄

  3. chris ludke avatar

    That is amazing! I understand some of it because I know things are not as they seem. Like concrete is moving on a subatomic level and it looks solid but it is breaking down. When you paint these do you have a plan for how it will look finished or are you going with the flow with the idea to see how it turns out?

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Hard to answer. When it comes to a themed series like this, the process is: I think a lot about the concept and what it’s actually about. (Concept and composition are the most important for me). This can also happen when walking in nature…. I limit that more and more, so that a narrow “topic” remains – depending on my mood. I often do simple studies, e.g. trying out and (sometimes) committing to certain colors or techniques. When I then start painting (I usually meditate beforehand), I try to have an empty head. At the moment I’m at the point where the less I work with my head, the more spirited the paintings become.

      And one of my most important working-tools is music. I’ve been listening to Arvo Pärt a lot lately. His music is extremely inspirational. But there were also times when I mainly listened to Brian Eno. And Bach of course…..

      1. chris ludke avatar

        Thanks! You’re giving me an inspiration here.

  4. Zettl Friedrich avatar

    Thank you! Being an experienced painter, you know that these things cannot easily be expressed in words. Each of us has our experiences and certain stuff on our minds. Some of it we need, others we should leave out when painting….

  5. chris ludke avatar

    Yeah. They told us in art school, “Don’t clean the cobwebs out of your brain on the canvas, no one wants to see that.” But people who are interested in psyche want to know what makes a person into an artist. So how can I draw the line when doing an abstract?

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      You must become the line, a Zen master might have told you 😄

      1. chris ludke avatar

        hahahahaha! You cracking me up here! Thanks!

  6. Martha Kennedy avatar

    I love the jokes. I love your paintings. Forgive me, but the meta verse just seems to me like another abstract construction from a reality we don’t understand anyway. I’m looking at death all the time right now and I don’t know why, but it’s a great simplifier. In my mind is a Japanese poem and I can’t find it anywhere, but someone asks a Zen master what he would miss when he died and he answers that he will miss the sky. When it comes to reality, mystery seems to me to be the governing principle. All the hours I spend out there in the Big Empty with the dogs? I know where I am; the rest of the time just seems like a lot of made-up human drama. We name everything, we humans, and forget that the name is just a convenience so we can tell someone else about it — it has nothing at all to do with the intrinsic nature of the thing unless it’s descriptive but even then? “Green earth from the limestone boulders in Veneto.” Meaningless, but the pigment itself is real. So… I’m just kind of dumb where these things are concerned, I guess, and that’s why I haven’t attempted to comment before.

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you for your detailed explanation! Wise words, as always, and I can relate to everything very well. Your “koan” with the Zen-master and heaven is just great!
      I would like to take up your question about metaverse. (I try to show MY own version in this series).

      In the M.Z.s metaverse, the following scenario would happen right now: you and I would not communicate like we do now, but would sit as avatars in a virtual coffee shop, drink virtual coffee and chat about the good old days when there was only internet. When I then pay, we laugh about the days when people still paid with pieces of metal, printed paper and plastic. I, on the other hand, pay for the coffee with virtual money (which I previously exchanged for hard-earned fiat money).

      After our conversation you go out and satisfy your shopping cravings, buy cool sunglasses and a must-have handbag at the hip shop with an Italian name to make your friends jealous… Everything virtual, but everything with payment transactions and everything in a blockchain system.
      By then, a large number of people had already earned money: the designers of the avatars (completely new dimension, adapted to wishes), the operators of the coffee shop…..but before that the brokers who rented this shop (virtually)….

      But I don’t know yet if you can take your dogs with you, probably also in the form of avatars.

      I haven’t figured out what I’m actually should be looking for there. A gamer’s paradise, well. A paradise to build appearances and mold them with money, well. Really seeing all my online friends now – God forbid!

      1. Martha Kennedy avatar

        Thank you. Now I know I DO understand what the Metaverse is. Honestly, I have enough trouble struggling with alleged reality. Sometime in 1993 I was riding my bike with a friend and we came whooping down a hill and I saw the light of the sun behind a hill, a halo of colors and it hit me “What’s real anyway?” THAT is a dangerous question. I had my breakdown after that.

        We live in a world of consensual reality that serves as a buffer against the real thing. I see it all the time in myself and those around me who “respond” to me with their expectations (as I am probably doing, too). It’s a paper doll world. Alan Watts wrote about it so beautifully describing real vs. symbolic wealth. Anyway, thank you.

        It’s like the paradox of the Klein bottle. My dad was showing me all this cool topology stuff including that and I wondered, “How is it a bottle if it can’t hold anything?” that was it. 🙂

      2. Zettl Friedrich avatar

        With that much of thinking and reflecting I wonder if M.Z. metaverse is the right thing for you 🙃 But there will be enough influencers who can kinda guide you there.

      3. Martha Kennedy avatar

        I think it’s better for me to stay out here in this “reality” with my canine avatars… It’s already weird enough. 😀

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you very much ❤️

  7. alicia | avatar

    Very thought-provoking! Without the writings sharing the thought processes behind them, aesthetically, I like the works!

    1. Zettl Friedrich avatar

      Thank you very much! I’m glad that you like my pictures! As far as the text is concerned, the main thing I try to do, of course, is to make my pictures easier to understand.

      1. alicia | avatar

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