Wednesday, May 5, 2010

On giving... Unconditonal True Love...

The creative act is not hanging on, but yielding to a new creative movement. Awe is what moves us forward. ~Joseph Campbell

On the matter of Unconditional True Love of which love does not involve clinging, attachment or expectations I start to scratch on Life itself. Is Love my own reason for Life? This, to me, is the story told by in Tristan and Isolde... and echoed in Romeo and Juliet, and of the quote I give in earlier blog postings from Marilyn Monroe (or Norma Jeane Baker behind the mask).

Joseph Campbell said some very interesting things about art. I would like to say this same quote could be used to describe my own personal experience of Unconditional True Love. As you read this quote, think of Love instead of the word "art"...

For the reality to which the artist and the mystic are exposed is, in fact, the same. It is of their own inmost truth brought to consciousness: by the mystic, in direct confrontation, and by the artist, through reflection in the masterworks of his art. The fact that the nature of the artists (as the microcosm) and the nature of the universe (as the macrocosm) are two aspects of the same reality (respectively, as a minute part of the whole, experienced from within, and as the whole viewed from without -- equivalent, respectively, to Schopenhauer's "world as will" and "world as spectacle or idea") accounts sufficiently for the creative interplay of discovery and recognition which alerts the artist to the possibility of a revelatory composition in which outer and inner realities are recognized as the same.

In his early novel A Portrait of the Artists As a Young Man (written 1904-1914, published 1916), James Joyce quotes Thomas Aquinas to the effect that "beautiful things are those that please when seen" (pulcra sunt quae visa placent). Beauty is thus a value, a good, an end in itself. Ugliness depresses, beauty exhilarates, heightening the sense of life, which again is a good in to itself. Normally art aspires to beauty and thus to a sensuous glorification of life: so that Nietzsche could write of the aesthetics of art as "nothing but applied physiology." Whereas l'art pour l'art, in his view, was an aberration of the "Decadence" of his century: "the virtuosic croaking of cold-blooded frogs, despairing in their swamp."

Beauty we may regard, then, as a normal and proper intention as the Way of Art, affirmative in the sensuous glorification of life, thus grounded in physiology. To this degree, the Way of Art coincides with the Way of Beauty. However, there is another and further possible degree or range of the revelation of art that is beyond beauty, namely, the sublime, which has been defined as "that which arouses sentiments of awe and reverence and a sense of vastness and power outreaching human comprehension." Cosmic space and great distances experienced as sublime; also, detonations of prodigious power. If beauty so heightens our sense of life that aesthetics may be termed "applied physiology," the sublime, transcending physical definitions, suggests magnitudes exceeding life; not refuting, but augmenting life. And from this perspective, viewing art, the same Nietzsche declared: "Art is the proper tasks of life, art is life's metaphysical exercise....Art is more worth than truth."

For many... the Art of Life is the practice of Unconditional Never-ending Love...

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