Wednesday, November 28, 2007


We need to live first of all; to believe in what makes us live and that something makes us live—to believe that whatever is produced from the mysterious depths of ourselves need not forever haunt us as an exclusively digestive concern.

Antonin Artaud, The Theater and Its Double, Mary Caroline Richards, trans.

It is impossible to gain knowledge of the total cosmos or to have any understanding of the infinity transcending the cosmos. Consequently, beliefs about these matters are illusions, cherished for their utility in producing desired states of mind. . . . Nothing can transform man unless it operates in human life. Therefore, in human life, in the actual processes of human existence, must be found the saving and transforming power which religious inquiry seeks and which faith must apprehend.

Henry Nelson Wieman, Man’s Ultimate Commitment

Antonin Artaud and Henry Nelson Wieman both believed that creativity is divine. They also both believed that human beings create abstraction and live in the abstraction rather than living in the minutia of our lives. Stopping this process is the aim of poetry, of art, of prayer, contemplation, and meditation.

But why do we have to be so careful and serious about seeing the nose in front of our faces? It doesn’t seem fair. Or even logical, for that matter.

I like to ignore things I don’t like. Such as fixing a leaky tire. Fixing a leaky tire is boring. So I pretend it isn’t a problem; I procrastinate. Why do I do that?

We live in a time that Antonin Artaud called “the revenge of things.” That is, those things we have taken too little care of, as Shakespeare’s Lear would have it, take their revenge. If a tire we neglect goes flat eventually, we have ourselves to blame. How much more so the serious human errors—slavery, genocide, oppressions.

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