Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Shooting Real Bullets at Invisible Targets

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. --Schopenhauer

But because we can't see it, we can confuse the genius with someone who just wildly misses the target, which pretty much explains most contemporary art and more than a little scholarshite. More on which later.

Speaking of invisible targets, this post was written from slightly beyond itself, from somewhere over the subjective horizon, so if it fails to hit the cʘʘnseye, please shoot the messenger and unknot the message. If you can see it, genius!

Frankly, I always try to bewrite from just over yonder, because that's the only way to ensure novelty and to laissez le bon timelessness roulé, pardon the English. (How does one say "timeless" in French, besides Jerry Lewis?)

Where's the bloody fun in repeating oneself? If I had wanted to do that, I would have become a Nietzschean and sought the eternal retenure of academia. Out of all the blogs out there, I believe only One Cosmos always cranks the ho-ho-holy blather up to elevenure, every day, 24/7/365/∞. Or it used to, before we stopped posting on weekends.

We left off yesterday with a comment about the need to develop that part of ourselves that is capable of perceiving beauty. Just as thoughts need a thinker, beauty needs the subtle eyes, ears, and hands of the soul to appreciate and create it.

And just as in thought, it is a circular -- or spiraling -- process, in which the end product feeds back and catalyzes the the whole innerprize.

It's autocatalytic, to use the technical term -- which, in a certain sense, is just another word for LIFE. And life without beauty wouldn't and couldn't be, for reasons we will explain. But first, Schuon (read deliberately -- don't be skimbag!):

"Art has a function that is both magical and spiritual: magical, it renders present principles, powers and also things that it attracts by virtue of a 'sympathetic magic'; spiritual, it exteriorizes truths and beauties in view of our interiorization, of our return to the 'kingdom of God that is within you.'

"The Principle becomes manifestation so that manifestation might rebecome the Principle, or so that the 'I' might return to the Self; or simply, so that the human soul might, through given phenomena, make contact with the heavenly archetypes, and thereby with its own archetype."

Do you see the circularity, the autocatalysis?

Circularity: The Principle becomes manifestation so that manifestation might rebecome the Principle.

Autocatalysis (which prevents it from being only a circle, but rather, a spiral): It exteriorizes truths and beauties in view of our interiorization, of our return to the kingdom of Godwithin.

Or, in schematic terms, God (↓) man. So that man might (↑) God. Or, even more simply, (↓↑).

In any event, how could such a sublime metacosmic process not be imbued with unutterable celestial beauty? That would make no sense at all.

In turn, this is why, as Eliot observed, our end precedes our beginning, and we may travel 'round the cosmos only to return to the beginning and know the place for the first time. And this blog aspires to be the area rug, or Big Chief Crazy Quilt, that pulls the cosmic room together.

Zero, point, line, circle, and repent as necessary.

Excuse me?

Just indulge, me okay? Play along with my theometry!

The Father is 〇.

The Son is •.

The Holy Ghost is (↓↑).

Please note that the black fire of the dot is written on the white fire of the unKnown Godhead, while the arrows are the smoke and flames, respectively. Where there is "holy smoke," the flames of agni cannot be far above. Thus the "agni and ecstasy" referred to on page 16 of the bʘʘk.

The involutionary movement from essence towards substance is also the movement of "the center toward the circumference" and "unity towards multiplicity" (Perry).

Nevertheless, the center is always there at the periphery -- hence God's immanence and the resultant sacredness of the world; and the unity is always in the multiplicity -- hence the possibility of the recollection of both union and unity, at anytime and anyplace. Except < fill in the blank -- create your own joke! >

Now, as our unKnown Friend writes, the self-beclowning materialist or scientistic jester are kinda'

"like the reader of a manuscript who, instead of reading and understanding the thought of the author, occupies himself with the letters and syllables. He believes that the letters wrote themselves and combined themselves into syllables, being moved by mutual attraction, which, in its turn, is the effect of chemical or molecular qualities of the ink as 'matter' common to all the letters, and of which the letters and syllables are epiphenomena."

Of this, we say: And you pay good money to have your children indoctrinated to this death cult? For that is a target one can only hit in one's sleep, and can never reach if one is awake.

[B]eauty stems from the Divine Love, this Love being the will to deploy itself and to give itself, to realize itself in 'another'; thus it is that 'God created the world by love'....

All terrestrial beauty is thus by reflection a mystery of love. It is, 'whether it likes it or not,' coagulated love or music turned to crystal, but it retains on its face the imprint of its internal fluidity, of its beatitude and of its liberality...

Swish! Nothing but neural net.


Verdiales said...

Points for style, too.

There was once a girl in college, you know the type, print sundress, unkempt hair, older sister smoker type taking art classes who somehow survived doper's hollow during high school and thus served as an older wiser muse for all the careening misfits usually male who'd show up at her off-campus apartment at three in the morning, dry mouthed and jonesing without the pathos of real orphans. She'd make them some sort of vegan stew because she'd been up reading a book about dada and trying to graduate. Posters on her walls were of all those 1950's smiling women with feminist slogans like "Sarcasm Served All Day." Kerouac on the shelf. She was talkative, curious, comforting, and cynical all at once.

That girl, right? You'd think she were a big modern art gal, and she played that part, but but one day as we looked at Warhol or some splashy sploshy thing together, she heaved a big sigh and said, "you know, once you get the joke of this stuff, it gets old. It's all the same joke."

So she looked to politicized art as the solution. More "content" to it (meh), and at least it was trying to *do* something.

She's still in that headspace. Only two dimensions need apply. Maybe that's why the political appeals to her: utopia and justice are always on the horizon. She doesn't need to challenge her theometry by looking up.

Gagdad Bob said...

Art School Babe?

Verdiales said...

Heh. Love me some Ray Davies.

No, way more granola than Juliette Greco. No make-up for one thing. Think Frida Kahlo as Jerry Garcia's girlfriend.

julie said...

So she looked to politicized art as the solution.

Oh, dear. I knew one of those, too. A girl I quite liked (reminded me a bit of my aunt), but she was a gay feminist, and unfortunately believed her art - and anyone's - always had to serve a political purpose.

So for a sculpture class where the assignment was to make a mold of a body part and incorporate that in a sculpture, she bought a dildo and made a wall of multicolored penises with M&Ms on the tips. I forget the exact rationale, but it was quite convoluted and deeply rooted in feminist theory, and she was utterly humorless about the whole thing. Which was too bad, because if it had just been something like "dicks are funny," everyone would have gotten the joke. Of course, if that had been all I doubt the teacher would have allowed the project, but for serious politics anything goes.

Gagdad Bob said...


Ah. Lola.

ge said...

PICAsso not the only great PICA- active in 1900s art!

one of Picabia's TRANSPARENCIES series

a major body of works the artist made between 1928-31

Mizz E said...

Yesterday was the anniversary of the death of Gabriela Mistral, Chilean poet and first Latin American Nobel Prize winner for literature.

Those not familiar with her Ten Commandments for artists, published as "Decalogue of the Artist", might like to read them. Each one is a mini meditation.

I. You shall love beauty, which is the shadow of God 
over the Universe. 

II.There is no godless art. Although you love not the 
Creator, you shall bear witness to Him creating His likeness. 

III.You shall create beauty not to excite the senses 
but to give sustenance to the soul. 

IV. You shall never use beauty as a pretext for luxury 
and vanity but as a spiritual devotion. 

V. You shall not seek beauty at carnival or fair 
or offer your work there, for beauty is virginal 
and is not to be found at carnival or fair. 

VI. Beauty shall rise from your heart in song, 
and you shall be the first to be purified. 

VII.The beauty you create shall be known 
as compassion and shall console the hearts of men. 

VIII.You shall bring forth your work as a mother 
brings forth her child: out of the blood of your heart. 

IX. Beauty shall not be an opiate that puts you 
to sleep but a strong wine that fires you to action, 
for if you fail to be a true man or a true woman, 
you will fail to be an artist. 

x. Each act of creation shall leave you humble, 
for it is never as great as your dream and always 
inferior to that most marvelous dream of God 
which is Nature.

julie said...

@Bob - Oh, my. When I saw "Lola," I was expecting this one, but yours is somehow much more, um, evocative.

Mizze, thanks.

mushroom said...

As an aside, I am stuck once again by the symbols used for the Holy Spirit. Those two arrows do a far better job of communicating the truth of who He is than any 10-part teaching series I ever did on the "person and work of the Holy Spirit". My fellow pentecostals, please take note.

Gagdad Bob said...

Mistral sounds like a disciple of Schuon, for her appreciation of the divine content of beauty.

Just looked her up, and she also said this:

We are guilty of many errors and many faults, but our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the fountain of life. Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made, and his senses are being developed. To him we cannot answer ‘Tomorrow,’ his name is today.”

Gagdad Bob said...


I always ask myself, "if this is true, then what could be the underlying principle that makes this truth possible?" Hence the symbols....

JP said...

I was expecting Lola Granola too when I looked at Bob's picture link.

Now I have a picture in my head that I really don't want there.

That will teach me to click on the blue linky thingies.

JP said...

"That girl, right? You'd think she were a big modern art gal, and she played that part, but but one day as we looked at Warhol or some splashy sploshy thing together, she heaved a big sigh and said, "you know, once you get the joke of this stuff, it gets old. It's all the same joke."

So she looked to politicized art as the solution. More "content" to it (meh), and at least it was trying to *do* something."

Well, one thing worse than bad modern art is bad politicized modern art. So that's kind of the opposition of a solution.

Gagdad Bob said...

As Andy Warhol said, art is what you can get away with.

Gagdad Bob said...

And he got away with millions. If I am not mistaken, his body of work might have the highest dollar value of any artist.

Mizz E said...

Bob, syncooning . . . I just posted that very quote from Mistral this morning……..I'm introducing Linoleum block print making to eleven children next week, hope it doesn't involve blood, what with all the gouging.

Gagdad Bob said...

"The highest price ever paid for a Warhol painting is US$100 million for a 1963 canvas titled Eight Elvises."

Mizz E said...

And for the folks who aren't aware of and following my tumblr blog,
Reflejos, and so may have missed the snippets of and links to this exemplary essay at City Journal, I highly recommend. G-o.o-d refreshment.

Gagdad Bob said...

It would be a lot cheaper to get one Elvis and a bottle of Jack Daniels. Soon enough you'll see eight.

Verdiales said...

A hundred mil for "Eight Elvises," eh?

Schuon distinguishes between sacred and profane art in lots of helpful ways, one of which is that sacred art has a sacramental function and value rather than the more modest provision of 'sensible consolations.' Profane art, he says, does have value in terms of the cosmic quality of its content, virtue and intelligence of the artist, and capacity to express personal and collective values.

But with "Eight Elvises," we have only the intelligence of Warhol to suggest by the repetitions that we live in an age of mechanical and semiotic reproduction. Copies of copies, etc. But this isn't an expression of value, or anything cosmic. One could make the same point by, erm, putting a Campbell's soup can on a pedestal in the MOMA.

So the 8mil seems to me to be just the age of mech reproduction congratulating itself on being ... itself. Warhol just supplies it with a variety of Narcissus pools in which it can see and congratulate itself for its spurious perspicacity.

Verdiales said...

Marvelous stuff, Mizz E!

katzxy said...

"But because we can't see it, we can confuse the genius with someone who just wildly misses the target ..."

I think you are being charitable.
Sounds more like the "Emperor's New Clothes" willfully failing to see.

julie said...

Katzxy, funny, I was thinking the same thing earlier.

JP said...

Warhol makes me think of managed to vaporize $300 million of investment capital through the business model of selling pet food for about a third of what it cost them to buy the pet food.

The sock puppet probably still exists somewhere.

John Lien said...

We'll make it up in volume!

John Lien said...

I was going to sit on my hands today because my idea of fine art are Hellboy comics.

mushroom said...

Mizz E, I visit Reflejos daily. I really appreciate it.

Rick said...

Mizz E,
What Mushroom said, entirely.

JP said...

The nice thing about comic book art is that it isn't pretending to be something that it isn't.

Mizz E said...

Thanks guys. I'm always pleased to hear there's value for you there.

ge said...

Warhol was a 'Geee!'-nius

-of concept, everyday art, hardworkingess, surface, boredom, anti-artifice. Check his book THE PHILOSOPHY OF AW for a great Pop-taoist-urban approach to life & art!

Maybe one has to have lived in the Apple to dig him as much as I...

One of his major followers in the controversial/big bux area is an old pal, Jeff Koons

ge said...

Mizz E---rightie-o
i can still see a V-shaped scar on my left index finger from a lino-cutter accident in what was it? --3rd grade?

ge said...

Taylor Mead was a memorable Warhol actor and is still alive --i think-- and drinking and kicking.
He is the close friend of a close friend...and he mentioned something to the effect that Andy just got successful at marketing his schizophrenia. [Bob may enjoy that]

I got a kick out of TM's unpublished autobiography Son Of Andy Warhol

SippicanCottage said...

And you pay good money to have your children indoctrinated to this death cult?

No. Thanks for asking.

Van said...

A truly awesOhm post.

Van said...

"The highest price ever paid for a Warhol painting is..."

... is by that unfortunate person who allowed their gaze to give it the longest accessolvent to their soul.

I've nothing nice or even amusingly patronizing to say about him, or any of the hell spawn of 'modern art'.

I can't help but put them all into the same category as those who'd put razor blades or draino into the candy of trusting trick or treat'rs.

Sure some of their candy might be more appealing than others, but that just ensures surer access to their poison.

Hate fits.

chris m said...

I like your tumblr site, Mizz E.

And the quotes from Mistral.

I'm working on a drawing right now that illustrates a scene from a story called the "Lady of the Fountain." The tree growing out of the rock from which the fountain is flowing is a Lignum Vitae, so the fountain would be the Fountain of Life.

That children would be the fountain of life is so appropriate.

chris m said...

Or maybe, children flow forth from the fountain of life?