Sunday, May 26, 2019

Let Yourself Go

No more thy meaning seek, thine anguish plead,
But leaving straining thought and stammering word,
Across the barren azure pass to God;
Shooting the void in silence, like a bird,
A bird that shuts his wings for better speed.

—Frederick Goddard Tuckerman, from “SONNET XXVIII”

Friday, May 10, 2019

Some Tender and Terrible Energy

Marie-Francois Firman-Girard, Autumn Market at Les Halles
"What does faith mean, finally, at this late date? I often feel that it means no more than, and no less than, faith in life—in the ongoingness of it, the indestructibility, some atom-by-atom intelligence that is and isn’t us, some day-by-day and death-by-death persistence insisting on a more-than-human hope, some tender and terrible energy that is, for those with the eyes to see it, love."
~Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss 

Monday, May 6, 2019

The Source of Moral Meaning

Rembrandt’s 1659 rendering of Moses with the Ten Commandments 
Do our great stories create moral meaning? Or do they actually detect and reveal it? 
"Good fiction does not create phenomena; it describes them. Like all art, fiction is a language for communicating a type of reality that can’t be communicated in any other way: the interplay of human consciousness with itself and the world. That experience can be delusional, as when we hear voices, mistake infatuation for love, or convince ourselves that slavery is moral. But the very fact that it can be delusional points to the fact that it can be healthy and accurate as well. When it is healthy, the “common imagination of human beings” can be regarded as an organ of perception, like the eye. Fiction merely describes the world of morality and meaning that that organ perceives."
~Andrew Klavan, "CAN WE BELIEVE?"

Sunday, April 28, 2019

On the Ending of the Odyssey

Stanley Kubrick: “The idea was supposed to be that he is taken in by god-like entities, creatures of pure energy and intelligence with no shape or form. They put him in what I suppose you could describe as a human zoo to study him, and his whole life passes from that point on in that room. And he has no sense of time. It just seems to happen as it does in the film. 
"They choose this room, which is a very inaccurate replica of French architecture — deliberately so, inaccurate — because one was suggesting that they had some idea of something that he might think was pretty, but wasn’t quite sure. Just as we’re not quite sure what do in zoos with animals to try to give them what we think is their natural environment.
"Anyway, when they get finished with him, as happens in so many myths of all cultures in the world, he is transformed into some kind of super being and sent back to Earth, transformed and made into some sort of Superrman. 
"We have to only guess what happens when he goes back. It is the pattern of a great deal of mythology, and that is what we were trying to suggest.”

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Faith

Theodor Kettelsen, 1900
"Faith is nothing more—but how much this is—than a motion of the soul toward God. It is not belief. Belief has objects—Christ was resurrected, God created the earth—faith does not. Even the motion of faith is mysterious and inexplicable: I say the soul moves “toward” God, but that is only the limitation of language. It may be God who moves, the soul that opens for him. Faith is faith in the soul. Faith is the word “faith” decaying into pure meaning." 
~Christian Wiman

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Nostalgia

A forgotten love
from the summers of my youth:
The constant cascading
chorus of cicadas. 
Simultaneously blissful and sad
The soundtrack of memory.