Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Postscript: The Aesthetics of Perspective

Analysis
The last post was composed of sentences taken from 18 works written by others. Minor changes were made to the original wording in certain instances. You could call it a patchwork or collage of prose, similar to what sampling is to music or centos are to poetry. Jonathan Lethem's article, "The Ecstasy of Influence," inspired me to use this creative method.

The overall theme revolves around the creative opportunities allotted to us through perspective. The first paragraph is about taking everyday objects and seeing them in non-practical ways, even to the point of spiritualizing material things that have no obvious relation to the spiritual.

The second paragraph questions the notion that the nature of reality is logical rather than paradoxical. Scientific observations can be made through classical physics and quantum physics alike; order and chaos both exist at the spiritual level; some events are determined to happen and some are not. A balanced perspective recognizes the ambivalence of reality.

Finally, the third paragraph addresses psychological inconsistency, and the fluctuating perspectives that result from this. Pain and pleasure are a couple of examples. Sometimes the individual must embrace their pain in total passivity, and other times, it is possible for them to transcend it, if only for a moment. Though ambivalence is descriptively true of reality at numerous levels, it is ideal for the person to love God without exception.

Version Including Citations
The division of labor does not require that all the people involved in producing the art object be under the same roof, like assembly-line workers, or even that they be alive at the same time.[1] Is the table something I know through experience or do my senses reveal to me something else?[2] While the block is still completely whole, the image may exist inside himself through the sheer power of imagination.[3] A rose is a rose is a rose. But these chair legs were chair legs were St. Michael and all angels.[4] Little flower, root and all, and all in all, I should know what God and man is.[5] Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly.[6]

In classical physics, observed systems have an existence independent of the mind that observes and probes them. In quantum physics, however, only through an act of observation does a physical quantity come to have an actual value.[7] But the moment will come, and it is near, when man, overcome by horror, looks up and in a flash sees both pictures at once.[8] The Old Testament affirms the reality of hostile seas, cosmic monsters, and evil spirits in the world, though it also affirms Yahweh's ability to vanquish them and preserve order in his creation.[9] Aspects of the future are settled either by God's will or by present circumstances, and so God knows them as settled; but some of the future is not.[10] Picture and sculpture are the celebrations and festivities of form, but true art is never fixed.[11]

The mystical consciousness, as we have seen, belongs—from the psychological point of view—to that mobile or "unstable" type in which the artistic temperament also finds a place. It sways easily between the extremes of pleasure and pain.[12] I have no pain or difficulty about my state, because I have no will but that of God.[13] I see the rowan berries reddening and don’t know for a moment why they, of all things, should be depressing.[14] Imagination is the faculty by which we form images of all absent and present things; and both it and the matter on which it works are contained in consciousness.[15] By such a full intention wholly directed to God, a man may abide steadfast and unshaken in himself.[16] Purity of heart is to will one thing.[17] I have come from the city of Destruction, and am going to Mount Zion.[18]

Works Cited
[1] Howard S. Becker, Art Worlds
[2] Stephen Mumford, Metaphysics: A Very Short Introduction
[3] Anonymous, The Mystical Theology of Saint Denis
[4] Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception
[5] Tennyson, "Flower in the Crannied Wall"
[6] G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
[7] Jeffrey M. Schwartz and Sharon Begley, The Mind and the Brain
[8] Martin Buber, I and Thou
[9] Gregory A. Boyd, God at War
[10] —, Satan and the Problem of Evil
[11] Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Art"
[12] Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism
[13] Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God
[14] C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
[15] Anonymous, The Cloud of Unknowing
[16] Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
[17] Kierkegaard, Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits 
[18] John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Aesthetics of Perspective

The division of labor does not require that all the people involved in producing the art object be under the same roof, like assembly-line workers, or even that they be alive at the same time. Is the table something I know through experience or do my senses reveal to me something else? While the block is still completely whole, the image may exist inside himself through the sheer power of imagination. A rose is a rose is a rose. But these chair legs were chair legs were St. Michael and all angels. Little flower, root and all, and all in all, I should know what God and man is. Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly.

In classical physics, observed systems have an existence independent of the mind that observes and probes them. In quantum physics, however, only through an act of observation does a physical quantity come to have an actual value. But the moment will come, and it is near, when man, overcome by horror, looks up and in a flash sees both pictures at once. The Old Testament affirms the reality of hostile seas, cosmic monsters, and evil spirits in the world, though it also affirms Yahweh's ability to vanquish them and preserve order in his creation. Aspects of the future are settled either by God's will or by present circumstances, and so God knows them as settled; but some of the future is not. Picture and sculpture are the celebrations and festivities of form, but true art is never fixed.

The mystical consciousness, as we have seen, belongs—from the psychological point of view—to that mobile or "unstable" type in which the artistic temperament also finds a place. It sways easily between the extremes of pleasure and pain. I have no pain or difficulty about my state, because I have no will but that of God. I see the rowan berries reddening and don’t know for a moment why they, of all things, should be depressing. Imagination is the faculty by which we form images of all absent and present things; and both it and the matter on which it works are contained in consciousness. By such a full intention wholly directed to God, a man may abide steadfast and unshaken in himself. Purity of heart is to will one thing. I have come from the city of Destruction, and am going to Mount Zion.

Friday, March 6, 2020

The Great Chain of Linking, Part 17

10 Buildings That Changed American Architecture - This is a good documentary overall, though I found parts 9 and 10 to be especially intriguing.

Why Study Negative Theology? - Tim O'Loughlin and Simon Oliver discuss one of the mystical approaches to theology. See also: apophatic theology, The Cloud of Unknowing, and Neoplatonism.

Harold Bloom on Poetry Slams - Edgy art isn't necessarily good.

On Mr. Rudyard Kipling and Making the World Small - Unpopular opinion: G. K. Chesterton > C. S. Lewis. (Also, am I the only one who thinks initials look better without the spaces? I feel obliged to include them, however, due to grammar rules.)

The Zen Photography of Thomas Merton - I like his photos of the wicker baskets.

A Negative Theological Critique of Postmodern Identity Politics - The technical jargon is a headache, but the main point is attractive.

Process Theology & Open Theism: What's the Difference? - I'm gonna guess the difference is that one is way more confusing than the other?

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Weird: I before E except after C?

My latest music project, released on Leap Day, is now available on Bandcamp for $1. You can also stream it on YouTube, as posted below. The digital discography is currently available for $3.80 (CAD) on Bandcamp; you get 19 releases for 80% off. If you like electronic music picnics, then I highly suggest visiting the page. However, should anyone want some tunes for free, I'm sure we could make an arrangement. 😉