Tabula Rasa is something I learned from my early years in college. While this Latin phrase is often translated as “blank slate” in English, I interpret it as the perfect phrase for new beginnings. Every once in a while, when tabula rasa crosses my mind, the significance of it grows and takes a new shape.
But how can a blank slate morph?
Like everything in this world meanings and words evolve, just as much as blank slates.
Past Depictions of Tabula Rasa
In college, I envisioned tabula rasa as heavy, gray stones (like the ones Moses carried to write the ten commandments on). The weight of the stones were symbolic of how much my actions and decisions from then on would be my own to bare. I imagined heavy, old school rocks waiting to to be struck with stories about the things I’ve done, places I’ve been, and people I’ve met. It was also at this time when I chose to (figuratively) cast away my high school “slates and stones” to start anew.
When I graduated from uni, I imagined tabula rasa as a blank journal. By this time, journals and notebooks were more than bound pieces of paper with a cover protecting it. Journals and notebooks were my saving grace when I had to organize my thoughts, make pro/con lists about career paths, plan out my next move after college, and simple keep me in good company when I needed the comfort. The new tabula rasa journal represented not just a new chapter, but a new volume in my life.
Current Depiction of Tabula Rasa
Forward to today’s image of tabula rasa — the photo above.
I purposefully chose the photo above because that is what tabula rasa is to me — in this precise moment, at this stage in my existence.
Why a wall?
Taking a modern perspective of tabula rasa, I’ve always admired graffiti artists who fearlessly leave their mark in places we sometime least expect, or in places for the world to experience and take in. Walls aren’t meant to be carried around like the stones I used to image in college. Walls aren’t meant to affect just one person with a journal. Walls are external in the way they present themselves, and internal in that when the artist paints their picture on it, it because the most intimate, private, and transformative experience.
Tabula Rasa is a blank wall… weathered by many different external conditions, but ready for a new story and a new beginning.
What shape does your tabula rasa take?
love and light