Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, September 25, 2008
If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate;
the Ode on a Grecian Urn is worth any number of old ladies.
- William Faulkner, author, born on this day, 1897,
in New Albany, Mississippi
I love quotes like this! I love wit! Especially coming from someone like William Faulkner, who had a lot of tragedy about him.
His point, of course, is that ART is critical to the health of any society. And I totally agree. Remember when the Taliban blew up the statue of the Buddha in Bamiyan? To me, it was a classic example of a group of people who had lost any essential sense of being maturely human. And we have a LOT of that in the World today. What causes this failure of the Imagination, this failure of parts of the human community to value the artistic expression of Life in all its aspects? Where does the hate and the intolerance and the narrowness of heart and spirit devolve from that causes a people to behave in this way? There are probably many factors. Self-righteousness is definitely one of them – and self-righteousness is a failure in human compassion and understanding.
Destroying art, religious, cultural, whatever, is a symbol - a symbol of a collapse of respect for human beings. It is one of the reasons that I have such a love-hate relationship with institutional religion, my own (Christian) or other. Christianity has destroyed the religious and cultural art of many a group of people they have dominated or conquered. And what that says to me is that a deep hatred for God’s people is embedded in many Christian communities throughout the millennia – contrary to what I understand to be God’s central command to love each other and to build a human community of love in which all are included.
If I had to choose between the destruction of Christianity or Islam or Judaism or Zoroastrianism or any other “Religion” and the destruction of the ART of the human spirit and soul, I would rather see the religions disappear. Great art I find to be truer and often more honouring of human beings. Which is what I think God desires.