Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Artist, the Poet...Glimpsing the Absolute

How the world needs artists and poets! Not the junkers, the demolitionists who hoodwinked generations into mistaking bewildering reviews for value, but real artists.

It is the poet and artist who, as Malcolm Muggeridge, quoting William Blake, used to say, see "though and not [merely] with the eye". It is in looking and seeing that human beings glimpse what Catholics call grasping the intuition of being.

It is that kind of seeing which wakes us up to creation and breaks us free from the illusions of the mundane, not denying its 'reality' as being, but rather in penetrating its every facet of exquisiteness. In this way even a grain of sand, a snow flake, or fruit on the table become 'magical'. Because in so seeing we glimpse the Absolute in what is contingent, created.

The craftsman, musician and photographer are also artists who help us to see; it's not only painters and poets, of course.

"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness"---Matthew 6:22, 23

There is an artistic as well as a moral and spiritual dimension in this seeing. Children often see this way because their focus is not so expansive, their thought not yet locked in the exclusively discursive. And then as our attention is given greater terrain on which to focus, we often sadly lose what the true poet and artists retain, and what they summon us back to.

"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."---Matt 18:1-4

True poets and artists call us back to our simplicity and make the hearts of all peoples everywhere rejoice, beyond all of our other differences. These artists call us back to the wonder of being, unlike the decadent 'artists' whose efforts call attention mostly to themselves as supposed possessors of some kind of gnosis (secret knowledge).

Art, like trade or assistance in natural or man made disasters, is one of the things that cultures---however different they may be---can and should always share. Being that which is common to man, it is one means of contributing to peace which all human beings desire (well, the majority anyway), even if it does not possess in itself the whole means to effectuate that peace apart from principles and intelligent negotiation.

Art and poetry make us more of who we are, even in those times when assembly line 'mass production" tragically deprives so many of a paying career. That is bad, but it never stopped the true artists who see their work as a vocation, a gift received and given, for richer or poorer.

Our Lord said,

See the lilies of the field. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.---Matt 6:28, 29

The creative person, and those of us who relish and learn from the focused and contemplative seeing of others, has very little to be depressed about, even when times are difficult, because art is its own occupation and reward. Nevertheless a culture seeks its own good when it makes room for and rewards its true artists who open our eyes to being and enrich us all.

--->Conspiracy Theory and Symbolic Self-Immunity, Caryl Johnston's 2006 review of Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare by Michael A. Hoffmann II.

Whatever one thinks of Mr. Hoffman's revisionist views relative to the numbers of those who according to the Nuremberg trials were gassed or otherwise killed in Nazi concentration camps---not something I am competent to debate even if I wanted to, which I don't (Eichmann was enough for me)---this book of his is important of itself. I reviewed it here; but I now find that Caryl Johnston did a much more interesting and elaborate review way back in the Year of Our Lord, 2006.

--->Israel's Fated Bleak Future By John J. Mearsheimer "A Jewish apartheid state is not sustainable over the long term. The discrimination and repression that underpin apartheid are antithetical to core Western values. How could anyone make a moral case for it in the United States, where democracy is venerated and segregation and racism are routinely condemned?"

--->EU Weimar: Trillion Dollar Madness by Robert Wenzel

--->A 'Duty to Die'? By Thomas Sowell. "One of the many fashionable notions that have caught on among some of the intelligentsia is that old people have "a duty to die," rather than become a burden to others. This is more than just an idea discussed around a seminar table. Already the government-run medical system in Britain is restricting what medications or treatments it will authorize for the elderly".

--->Christ assures us nothing will destroy the Church, Pope states. Note, Apropos of That: "As his armies were swallowing up the countries of Europe, French emperor Napoleon is reported to have said to Church officials, "Je d├ętruirai votre ├ęglise" ("I will destroy your Church")." When informed of the emperor's words, Ercole Cardinal Consalvi, one of the great statesmen of the papal court, replied, "He will never succeed. We have not managed to do it ourselves!"

--->Disputed Mojave cross honoring US war dead stolen