Meditation In An Art Studio

Things I’m Looking “Along” in 2023

Luke Burgis
5 min readJan 8


My grandmother’s art studio on the Old Mission Peninsula of Traverse City, MI, surrounded by vineyards and cherry trees. It smells like old leather. It has fueled my imagination since I was a child.

As I read this meditation in a toolshed this morning, I was transported back to my grandmother’s art studio in Traverse City, MI, the place where my imagination was first formed.

Here are some of the things on my mind as we begin 2023:

  • Looking Along Things. It is necessary to not only look at things, but also along them. This is the only way to understand the true nature of the world that we live in — and ourselves. The beam of light shining through a crack in the toolshed is inviting us to look along it, not at it. Where might be that light be shining in through a crack in my life? What do I need to look along?
  • Imitatio Machina. The modern world trains and incentivizes us to think programmatically, like machines, rather than spiritually, like humans — like people with an illative sense of reality. We only look at, never through — ”objectively”, not sacramentally. This closes the mind to transcendence.
  • The Over-intellectualization of the Modern Soul. My disillusionment with many podcasts and much non-fiction is partly due to this: they have become overly-intellectualized enterprises that only look at, and rarely along. Sometimes I do sense that (in the case of a podcast) there are two people standing shoulder-to-shoulder looking together at some great truth — but there is something critically unnatural, artificial, and performative about the medium as a whole holding it back. There has hardly been any underlying innovation at all in the past few years — just more content.
  • The Medium Is the Message. The medium is the message, and formal cause — that is, the form through which power moves and communication travels — is more important than content. Everyone feels the effects of monetary inflation; few seem to have felt the inflation of content as viscerally. The thought of Marshall McLuhan will see a resurgence this decade as we grapple with new structures and effects of media. Paradoxically, the effects precede causes.
  • Rites of Passage. Throughout history, human cultures have had important rites of passage that help people pass from one state in life to the next: birth, puberty, various degrees of maturation, marriage, children, even death. Today these old rites are…



Luke Burgis

Author of “WANTING: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life.” Find more at