Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The first thing I should say is that I realized I could change a setting allowing anyone to leave a comment not just those registered at So, feel free to click on comments and type away.

I am trying to locate an essay written by Archbishop Stafford that was published by Image magazine or journal a number of years ago. It is a really great piece worthy of consideration. Let's hope I can nail it down.

Allow me to continue with Tarkovsky's second chapter called "Art-yearning for the ideal".

"Art could be said to be a symbol of the universe, being linked with that absolute spiritual truth which is hidden from us in our positivistic, pragmatic activities. . ."
" Art is born and takes hold wherever there is a timeless and insatiable longing for the spiritual, for the ideal: that longing which draws people to art. Modern art has taken a wrong turn in abandoning the search for the meaning of existence in order to affirm the value of the individual for its own sake. What purports to be art begins to look like an eccentric occupation for suspect characters who maintain that any personalized action is of intrinsic value simply as a display of self-will. But in artistic creation the personality does not assert itself, it serves another, higher and communal idea. The artist is always a servant, and is perpetually trying to pay for the gift that has been given to him as if by a miracle. Modern man, however, does not want to make any sacrifice, even though true affirmation of self can only be expressed in sacrifice. We are gradually forgetting about this, and at the same time, inevitably, losing all sense of our human calling..." (p.38)

This paragraph is so powerful it is like a punch in the soloflex of all selfish art whatever soul it lurks in. I don't think it is going too far to say that this paragraph sums up THE main problem facing modern culture: that freedom sought after by the human family and expressed artistically is only attained in a Christian world view. Who else but Jesus Christ can stand before the human family and say 'follow me and follow my example and you will have life and life to the full.' He has proven that self donation and it alone is the key to happiness, freedom, joy, true spiritual vision. Artists, and the modern culture we represent, are doomed to frustration if we don't lift this flag of truth to remind us who we are and what our role is every time we pick up a brush, pen, camera or any other medium. In keeping with this theme of Tarkovsky's I am remembering one line from Cardinal Stafford's essay where he says that artists are like windows through which a vision of God passes through. Originality for its own sake can be a mirage for artists, myself included. Of course we are all truly original; as beings we are unrepeatable, it is only because the Spirit shares the gift of life and creativity that we are able to be creative. The ultimate question lies before each of us, "Who do I serve?" Each of our actions is an act of creation. And each action issues forth from the will it is either directed toward the good or directed toward a selfish end. Enough said. I can't get too deep into the discussion on the good as the object of the will or my cousin Jules will have me in a philosophical headlock!

Tarkovsky has much more to say. I want to let him speak...