May 20, 2007

"A different way to be indispensable"

(Thoughts for Sunday)

From Why you pretend to like modern art By Spengler

After I wrote Admit it - you really hate modern art (January 30), many readers assured me that I was quite mistaken about them. Especially among the educated elites there are many who will go to their graves proclaiming their love for modern art, and I owe them an explanation of sorts. At the cost of most of few remaining friends, I will provide it.

You pretend to like modern art because you want to be creative. In fact, you are not creative, not in the least. In all of human history we know of only a few hundred truly creative men and women. It saddens me to break the news, but you aren't one of them. By insisting that you are not creative, you think I am saying that you are not important. I do not mean that, but will have to return to the topic later.

You have your heart set on being creative because you want to worship yourself, your children, or some pretentious impostor, rather than the god of the Bible. Absence of faith has not made you more rational. On the contrary, it has made you ridiculous in your adoration of clownish little deities, of whom the silliest is yourself. G K Chesterton said that if you stop believing in God, you will believe in anything....
[....]
...To be an important person in this perverse scheme means to shake one's fist at God and define one's own little world, however dull, tawdry and pathetic it might be. To lack creativity is to despair. Hence the attraction of the myriad ideological movements in art that gives the despairing artists the illusion of creativity. If God is the Creator, then imitation of God is emulation of creation. But that is not quite true, for the Judeo-Christian god is more than a creator; God is a creator who loves his creatures.

In the world of faith there is quite a different way to be indispensable, and that is through acts of kindness and service. A mother is indispensable to her child, as are husbands, wives and friends to each other. If one dispenses with the ambition to remake the world according one's whim, and accepts rather that the world is God's creation, then imitatio Dei consists of acts of love.

In their urge toward self-worship, the artists of the 20th century descended to extreme levels of artlessness to persuade themselves that they were in fact creative. In their compulsion to worship themselves in the absence of God, they produced ideas far more ridiculous, and certainly a great deal uglier, than revealed religion in all its weaknesses ever contrived. The modern cult of individual self-expression is a poor substitute for the religion it strove to replace, and the delusion of personal creativity an even worse substitute for redemption....
Posted by John Weidner at May 20, 2007 5:42 AM
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