Sunday, August 31, 2008

Faith/Art/The World Around Us

"I have found that some of my clearest and most apparently 'spiritual' writing has come when I've abandoned the big task of trying to say something profound and am just fooling around with words. This is because I then unconsciously draw on the reserves accumulated over years of knowing God. I'm more likely to come up with great insights while writing about a coffee mug or a cereal packet than if I contemplate la condition humaine." Steve Turner, Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts

"...There are things we do not see and things we cannot see and things we refuse to see, and there are also things we can't make out, puzzling things and sickening things that make us wince. There are things to boring to see, too normal or unremarkable to ever catch the eye, things that fall through the cracks of vision, things so odd we never figure them out, blurs, confusions, smudges, and smears. There are things emptied of meaning because they have no use, they answer to no desire, they cannot be owned or moved or enjoyed. There are flickering things we can't quite catch in the corner of our eye, movements that are gone when we turn our head. There are things too brilliant to see, that sear the retina...and things too dangerous to see, charged with frightening emotional power. There are sexual things we might love to see but can't make ourselves look at, and there are beautiful faces we would love to explore but propriety tells us we shouldn't. There are things we don't see because we don't know their names, things we overlook every day of our lives and will continue to miss as long as we live, things that try to get our attention and fail, and things that hide, camouflaged and secretive things, little things hidden and forgotten among other things..."

...Why do we continue to see so little even when we want to see so much? ...The field of vision appears to be seamless, but it is shot through with holes. I look at a naked body and I fail to see entire limgs. I look at a landscape and I do not notice whole mountains. Perhaps ordinary vision is less like a brightly lit sky with one blinding spot in it than like the night sky filled with stars. Maybe we see only little spots against a field of darkness. Once in a great while there may be a flash of lightning and we see everything, but then the darkness returns. My vision, even at its most acute, is probably not much better than the points of the stars against their invisible field of black." James Elkins, The Object Stares Back

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