A few more thoughts

“Why is new always better? Why is smaller more desirable? Why is technology so soulless? Why should it not be fun and beautiful and individual? Why must it always look forwards, never backwards?”

HULGER | http://www.hulger.com

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Momus, etc

Momus was the Greek god of blame and mockery.

Horme (pronounced hor-mee) in Jungian psychology, is the fundamental, vital energy and impulse

“You are a fragment torn from God” – Epictetus

“Forgive. Men are men. They needs must err.” – Euripides

“A man that is born falls into a dream like a man who falls into the sea.” – Joseph Conrad

“Insignificant mortals, who are as leaves are, and now flourish and grow warm with life, and feed on what the ground gives, but then fade away and are dead.” Homer, IX BC

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” – Shakespeare, The Tempest

 

The Symbolists

Quoted from http://www.bc.edu

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“(Symbolism is) A strong recoil of the modern imagination toward the past, an enormous scientific inquiry and unfamiliar passions towards a vague and still unidentified supernatural, has urged us to incarnate our dreams and even our fear before the new unknown in a strange symbolism which translates the contemporary soul as antique symbolism did for the soul of ancient times.

Only it is not our faith and our beliefs that we put forward; on the contrary, it is our doubts, our fears, our boredoms, our vices, our despair and probably our agony.” (i)

– Emile Verhaeren in 1886.

 

“Symbolism was an idealistic movement, created by artists discontented with their culture. The style was refined, elegant, subtle, intellectual, and elitist.

If there is one central tenet held by Symbolist artists, it is that life is fundamentally mysterious, and the artist must respect and preserve this mystery. Thus they insisted on suggestion rather than explicitness, symbols or equivalents rather than description, in both painting and poetry. Choosing music as their model, Symbolists found the creation of a mood to be as important as the transmission of information, and sought to engage the entire mind and personality of the viewer by appealing to the viewer’s emotions and unconscious mind as well as intellect. The recognition that there was a major portion of mental activity that is closed to the conscious mind confirmed the Symbolists’ conviction that there was more to life than could be explained through positivist science.”

“… Fiction and reality became deliberately blurred,  (i)

“All that we see or seem

is but a dream within a dream.”

– Edgar Allan Poe

 

“The image of the artist as seer or priest was basic to nineteenth century art theory. Convinced that the unconscious was the source of both creativity and occult vision, certain artists now assumed the guise of medium and hypnotist.”(i)

(i)http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/fnart/symbolist/symbolist_intro.html

 

“Proponents of symbolist aesthetics rejected the notion that the purpose of the arts is to represent the world as it appears to one’s senses. They proposed instead to create works that would use suggestive (and often abstract) forms, images, or sounds to embody transcendent (and sometimes spiritual) ideas and would thus offer their readers, viewers, or listeners an experience of truth, beauty, or the idea beyond the material realm. Symbolism—be it in literature, music, or the visual arts—is thus characterized by a paradox: It relies on an emphasis on material form (decorative patterns in painting, repeated sounds, or arrangements of words on the page in the literary arts) as the vehicle for transcending the material or empirical world. This foregrounding of form links symbolism to the emergence of modernist abstraction in art and literature.

“Symbolism was embedded in wider cultural and political anxieties of the late nineteenth century. The dominant philosophies of positivism and Darwinism threatened to substitute empirical facts for the traditional religious explanations of the great mysteries of the world. Human activity was increasingly explained in mechanistic psychophysiological terms and human beings appeared to be less and less in control of their thoughts and behaviors. The development of capitalist economies led to an increasing commodification of daily life and an increasingly materialistic culture. Rather than situating symbolism in the rarified world of the aesthetic, scholars came to see the symbolist alternative to materialism—evocative abstraction, suggestion, mysticism, and dreamlike imagery—as an attempt to oppose the effects of materialism and capitalism.”

 

– http://www.encyclopedia.com/philosophy-and-religion/other-religious-beliefs-and-general-terms/miscellaneous-religion/symbolism

 

In the kingdom of bang and blab

“You will find no comfort here,
In the kingdom of bang and blab.”

– Theodore Roethke, The Flight

 

In the kingdom of bang and blab,

my dreams decay into half-remembered nightmares

the waking fear and fear of waking.

I saw a three legged dog in the road today:

theodicy with a severed limb.

A hadeda with ragged feathers

shambles into a heavy sky.

JOZI

I love and hate this strange and brutal place,

it’s smudged kentridge landscapes, ghosts and erased lives.

Angels shuffle on filthy streets

Art deco buildings decay like so many dreams,

and children peer through hopeless windows

I am a stranger, an interloper, a witness

I trace my life with splintered charcoal and a blackened finger.

This same dog-day (would you believe!)

a pigeon with diseased eyes

flapped blind circles.

What was I to do?

I bought a gift box from the gift shop

thinking of gifts to the Infant

and placed the bird inside.

I’m a bad ‘good samaritan’ to be sure:

Rage is blind.

Rage as blind as a bird in a box

rage at the dull absence of God.

at the dull presence of man.

(What if God dwells not in heaven above, nor in self-righteous hearts below,

but in little boxes?

 

IN THE TEMPLE COURTYARD

there is a madman in the temple courtyard,

cradling wounded turtledoves

and weeping over soon-to-be sacrificed goats

(and here I think of half-eaten smileys under a bridge).

Why does a distant, invisible Hebrew god crave the smell of burnt flesh?

Perhaps God himself is bewildered and lost

his maps obscured by blood and

the smoke of too many sacrifices.

The angry prophet has upturned overthrown and kicked the tables and broken the cages of our lives and strewn our sullied coins on the floor and scattered all lovers-of-money (who will not easily pass through the eye of a needle)

I watched the Prophet from a doorway

as narrow as the eye of a needle

“I am a cage looking for a bird”

The cages are all open now,

the birds fly up

into a hot jerusalem sky.

The madman runs

and runs,

to a green hill far away

without a city wall.