Sunday, May 29, 2005


I read this article by Spengler in Asia Times quickly, which is clearly not how it is meant to be absorbed. For any writer, musician or artist who is concerned about the impact of his or her work on the species--if indeed we aspire to having an impact--it raises some salient, stimulating and provocative points.

I don't agree with everything in "Why the Beautiful is not the Good" but I am grateful to Spengler for rasing the discussion--and particularly for this insightful paragraph:

"Of all the Catholic writers, J R R Tolkien understood this point perhaps the best. His high-Elven master smith Feanor created the Silmarils, three jewels of astonishing beauty, and went to war when they were stolen. His defect was exceeding pride in the work of his hands. The tragedy of the Elves to some extent is the tragedy of the artists. Ultimately it is the virtues of the humble Hobbits rather than the magnificence of the Elves that will prevail. Music, like science, offers mere potential for good; the good is sui generis. For art to serve the good, the artist must first be good. Benedict XVI, as noted, stated that "reverence, receptivity and humility" characterize the musician whose art exalts rather than confuses the listener. Religion can engage art as its servant only after it has converted the artist."


Leora Skolkin-Smith said...

I loved this. It gave me a lot of strength today for some reason. Thanks. I love the idea that "magnificience in the end doesn't prevail in art, but it's goodness, ie.humanity, that creates art's impact

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed a lot! » » »