Friday, June 06, 2008


Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Graham

Artistic creativity in Modernity and Post-modernity followed along the lines of what Paul Ricoeur the "Masters of Suspicion" - Marx, Nietzche, and Freud. All agreed that truth is ugly and, therefore, art to be truthful must also be ugly.

What has happened in the wake of this philosophical underpinning is western art as dragged through the gutter (with a few attempts at rebellion against this morbidity).

As proof that in human nature resides a spark of something far greater, we still find such masterpieces as The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings - in both book and film format - resoundingly popular and hailed by new generation after new generation.

Tolkien himself, Catholic and professional philologist, was singularly instrumental in helping C. S. Lewis, fellow Oxford don, come to a firm belief in Christ as the Son of God. Tolkien dedicated a poem, "Mythopoeia", to Lewis ('Philomyth to Misomyth') wherein he spoke of bringing Lewis to the realization that in the Gospels, "myth became fact" (as Lewis latter wrote in his book, God in the Dock), and by our very nature, we are "sub-creators" being made ourselves imago dei.

Below is a portion of "Mythopoeia". It may explain why that spark of creativity still flares up in moments of true beauty among us.

The heart of man is not compound of lies,
but draws some wisdom from the only Wise,
and still recalls Him. Though now long estranged,
Man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed.
Dis-graced he may be, yet is not de-throned,
and keeps the rags of lordship once he owned:
Man, Sub-creator, the refracted light
through whom is splintered from a single White
to many hues, and endlessly combined
in living shapes that move from mind to mind.
Though all the crannies of the world we filled
with Elves and Goblins, though we dared to build
Gods and their houses out of dark and light,
and sowed the seed of dragons - 'twas our right
(used or misused). That right has not decayed:
we make still by the law in which we're made.

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