Ch'ing Ch'ing Goes the Bell


Kurt loved teaching, honored his teachers, and felt gratitude for the entire lineage of teachers who came before him. This was true in his experience of both the academic and spiritual world. In this short, devotional homage we see Kurt’s immersion into Vajrayana Buddhism of the mid-1970s. Of the teachings, he sings, “…up from the mud & Kurt von Meier, through the waters of the Lake Danakoss, wherever it might be as in the Taoist Water Wheel "reversing the flow" of the Golden Light within, onto the lily/lotus flower…”

Study and Travel - 1975


“Refugee cultures reflect, in their adaptation to new spatial surroundings, the temporal changes undergone by cultures which remain in place. The refugee is a 20th Century archetype in which we may see our own process of transformation; like the Hopis, we are refugees in our own country.”
This quote is included in a three-page summary of Kurt’s plans, perhaps in light of an upcoming sabbatical leave. It provides some historical information about Kurt’s activities, but also adds to the considerable store of his written material focused on archteypes, transformation, Laws of Form, and Tibetan Buddhism.

Letter to SFMOMA Curator Henry Hopkins


Henry Hopkins, painter and museum curator (now deceased, 1928-2009), was instrumental in establishing arts and architecture programs at UCLA in the early 60s, was the director of the LA County Museum of Art, and as such established a cordial relationship with Kurt von Meier, who was teaching art history at UCLA in Southern California at that time.

This letter from Kurt to Hopkins dates from 1983, when Kurt was making plans for his sabbatical leave of 1984 and SFMOMA, then under the leadership of Hopkins, was looking at recruitment for a museum project. It’s an amusing and typically quirky von Meier missive which recounts Kurt’s history (in part) at UCLA and his self-evaluation as a “mythopoeic character.”

2wallymail - June 15, 1996


Here's an email Kurt composed to Cliff (Walter) Barney in 1996, in response to an email Cliff sent Kurt in May (delivered in printed form to Kurt in June). The original email noted (and the package contained) the cover of TIME magazine, featuring an article - "Can Machines Think?" Both Kurt and Cliff had steeped themselves in the cybernetic theories of Heinz von Foerster, and the writings of Warren McCulloch. Kurt's reply is typically wide-ranging, well-informed and entertaining, and reveals his frustrations with the emerging use of email and "spellcheck." Accordingly, he notes inaccuracies and inconsistencies in spelling in several sources of information. "Jene LaRue used to say that while spelling rules--the rightness of orthography--were conventional, it was most important (deepest, oldest, most prior) to spell correctly the names of the gods and presumably, in hierarchical order, those of the demi-gods, heroes, daimons, distinguished colleagues, scientists, artists, authors because they are the notational forms that enjoin (or sustain) being invoked, so one had best get it right, or at least as right as possible." He also carefully examines the magazine cover, noting the number of cogs on the gear wheels. 

Pages from the Notebooks of von Meier


Kurt's blue-lined notebook was never far from hand. Tucked into a manila folder, it sat by his spot on the couch ready for his pen whenever a thought or event stimulated Kurt's mind or heart (which happened frequently and easily). There are many dozens of these notebooks stretching over a 40-year period.

Here are two pages from 1990; not all of it is immediately understandable, given Kurt's personal "shorthand." But overall, these pages are revealing.