Variation on the Word Sleep

Friday, November 19, 2004

Art=God?

There is a feeling you get when you hear certain songs, see certain films, read certain books. A spiritual feeling-- sheer beauty which threatens to overwhelm you. It feels like the lump in your throat before you cry -- except deeper and more subtle.
This feeling is at the root of a lot of religious experience, and it's easy to understand why. There was a long period of time when almost all art was religious hymns, paintings, calligraphy, etc. Combine that with the fact that aesthetic overload like that feels like being touched by god, and it is little wonder that for much of my childhood art was what I thought of when I thought of god -- that sense of beauty which takes you out of yourself.
Last night I couldn't sleep and was laying in bed listening to a live version of Lover's Spit by Broken Social Scene and it struck me -- its beauty, and the beauty of the whole world. For a moment I wanted to wake everyone I knew and force them to listen to it. To show them that beauty is alive and well.

Is it possible to proselytize for art?

s.

2 Comments:

  • Xtine said something really great after writing group last week about how amazing artists are (and I'm paraphrasing and adding on here, so I hope I do it justice) - the mark of a true artist is the evidence of the strength (and maybe even the responsibility, for that matter) to release and showcase their most personal experience and emotions for others to latch onto in solidarity, in beauty, in feeling that there is someone that not only understands you but is capable of creating...actualizing it. That you can identify with art or feel that lump in your throat when you see or hear or read something, and it's touched you without ever having had to "know" you at all, and it's different for everyone. Curious: do you think it NECESSARY to prosleytize for art?

    By Blogger Maria, at November 22, 2004 at 9:07 AM  

  • What about what is lost? Art is most intense at the moment of discovery. After that it begins to fade. The more familar a song, or landscape or poem becomes the more it moves toward the ordinary. What keeps it alive and beautiful is the continued discovery of new elements of its art as it becomes familar. As a person changes, the relationship to art changes with it. These moments of self discovery are essential and so intertwined in beauty and art that if you proselytize it, you run the risk of deadening the very inital intensity that you are seeking to acheive. It is true that one can be told to look for something beautiful, but it is so much more powerful if the discovery of beauty is made on one's own.

    By Blogger Oneof3steveS, at November 22, 2004 at 12:39 PM  

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