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Tuesday 8 January 2013

Prayers, please

Please pray for a special, serious intention, which needs immediate attention. Thank you.

From Today's Terce

Psalm 121 (122)
Jerusalem, the holy city

The mystery, which was hidden from earlier ages and generations, is now made clear.
They filled me with joy when they said,
  “We will go to the house of the Lord.”
Now our feet are standing
  within your gates, Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, built as a city,
  whole and self-contained:
there the tribes have gone up,
  the tribes of the Lord –
the witness of Israel,
  to praise the Lord’s name.
For there are the thrones of justice,
  the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
  “Safety for those who care for you,
peace inside your walls,
  security within your ramparts!”
For my brethren and those near to me I will say
  “Peace be upon you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
  I will call blessings upon you.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
  as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
  world without end.

And in the Monastic Diurnal of mine, for the days after Epiphany, I read that we live in Faith, until we come into the contemplation of the Beauty of God.

Very nice thought and possible experience.....

On the aesthetic experience; for Sarah and I am losing track of numbering

I read these books in my youth and they shaped my life, as all good books do. Along with Raissa's Diary, the influence of Jacques Maritain and his wife, Raissa, have been great among Catholic artists. I gave a talk years ago at the Royal College of Art in London, using his Creative Intuition in Art and Poetry, the Bollingen Series, a must for serious religious artists.

Art And Faith

Art And Poetry

Art And Scholasticism And The Frontiers Of Poetry

Creative Intuition In Art And Poetry

The Responsibility Of The Artist

The Situation Of Poetry 

The only reason the Maritains have not been canonized are the liberal, anti-neo-Scholastics in the Vatican.
Here is a long section of his ideas from the book Creative Intuition taken from the website linked here:

At The Single Root Of The Soul’s PowersI have given a few indications, general in nature, about the existence in us of a spiritual unconscious or preconscious, specifically distinct from the automatic or Freudian unconscious, though in vital intercommunication and interaction with it. I also suggested that it is in this translucid spiritual night that poetry and poetic inspiration have their primal source. And I referred to the views of Thomas Aquinas on the structure of the intellect and the preconscious intellectual activity on which the birth of ideas depends.
It is once again with some philosophical considerations borrowed from Thomas Aquinas that I shall preface our discussion of creative or poetic intuition. These considerations deal with the manner in which the powers of the soul, through which the various operations of life — biological, sensitive, intellective life — are performed, emanate from the soul. As soon as the human soul exists, the powers with which it is naturally endowed also exist, of course, though with regard to their exercise, the nutritive powers come first (they alone are in activity in the embryo); and then the sensitive powers, and then the intellective powers. But at the very instant of the creation of the soul, there is an order — with respect not to time but to nature — in the way in which they flow or emanate from the essence of the son.
At this point St. Thomas states that with respect to this order of natural priorities, the more perfect powers emanate before the others, and he goes on to say (here is the point in which I am interested) that in this ontological procession one power or faculty proceeds from the essence of the soul through the medium or instrumentality of another — which emanates beforehand. For the more perfect powers are the principle or raison d’être of others, both as being their end and as being their “active principle,” or the efficacious source of their existence, Intelligence does not exist for the senses, but the senses, which are, as he puts it, “a certain defective participation in intelligence,” exist for intelligence. Hence it is that in the order of natural origin the senses exist, as it were, from the intellect, in other words, proceed from the essence of the soul through the intellect.
Consequently, we must say that imagination proceeds or flows from the essence of the soul through the intellect, and that the external senses proceed from the essence of the soui through imagination. For they exist in man to serve imagination, and through imagination, intelligence.
I am fond of diagrams. I hope that the one I am offering here and which represents this order of emanation, will help me to clarify the matter, poor as it may be from the point of view of abstract drawing.
Maritain's Diagram
The point at the summit of the diagram represents the essence of the soul. The first — so to speak — cone represents the Intellect, or Reason, emanating first from the soul. The second, which emerges from the first, represents the Imagination, emanating from the soul through the Intellect, The third, which emerges from the second, represents the External Senses, emanating from the soul through the Imagination.
The first circle represents the world of Concepts and Ideas in a state of explicit formation, say, the conceptualized externals of Reason: the world of the working of conceptual, logical, discursive Reason, The second circle represents the world of the Images in a state of explicit and definite formation, say, the organized externals of Imagination. This is the world of the achievements of Imagination as stirred by, and centered upon, the actual exercise of External Senses and held in unity by it: in other words, as engaged in the process of sense perception and used for practical purposes in the current activities of man in the waking state.
The third circle represents the intuitive data afforded by external sensation (which is, of itself, almost unconscious, and becomes sense perception when it is interpreted and structured of the soul’s powers, and in the unconscious of the spirit, that poetry, I think, has its source. (We may observe at this point, in regard to Coleridge’s celebrated distinction between imagination and fancy, that what Coleridge called fancy relates to the “externals of imagination” (the second circle in our diagram) inasmuch as the streams and associations of images are released from the actual service of sense perception and man’s practical life (“Equally with the ordinary memory the Fancy must receive all its materials ready-made from the law of association.” Biographia Literaria, Chapter XIII).
What he called imagination relates to the imagination and the intuitive intellect together as vitally united in the preconscious life of the spirit.
In forging — or rather borrowing from Schelling, as Huntington Cairns observes (Invitation to Learning [New York: Random House, 1941], P. 244) — the expression esenplastic Imagination, “to shape into one”), Coleridge had in view the implied tendency toward creation and the unifying power involved.)
Poetry’s freedom resembles, thus, as Plato pointed out, the freedom of the child, and the freedom of play, and the freedom of dreams. It is none of these. It is the freedom of the creative spirit.
And because poetry is born in this root life where the powers of the soul are active in common, poetry implies an essential requirement of totality or integrity. Poetry is the fruit neither of the intellect alone, nor of imagination alone. Nay more, it proceeds from the totality of man, sense, imagination, intellect, love, desire, instinct, blood, and spirit together. And the first obligation imposed on the poet is to consent to be brought back to the hidden place, near the center of the soul, where this totality exists in a creative source.
Poetic IntuitionThus, when it comes to poetry, we must admit that in the spiritual unconscious of the intellect, at the single root of the soul’s powers, there is, apart from the process which tends to knowledge by means of concepts and abstract ideas, something which is pre-conceptual or non-conceptual and nevertheless in a state of definite intellectual actuation: not, therefore, a mere way to the concept, as was the “impressed pattern” I spoke of in the preceding chapter, but another kind of germ, which does not tend toward a concept to be formed, and which is already an intellective form or act fully determined though enveloped in the night of the spiritual unconscious. In other words, such a thing is knowledge in act, but non-conceptual knowledge.
The problem, then, that I should like to discuss now deals with that kind of knowledge which is involved in poetic activity.
Clearly, what we are considering at this point is not the previous (theoretical) knowledge, in any field whatever of human experience and culture, that is presupposed by art and poetry, and which provides them with external materials to be integrated in, and transformed by, the fire of creative virtues.
What we are considering is the kind of inherent knowledge that is immanent in and consubstantial with poetry, one with its very essence.
Here our first signpost is, I think — the notion, which I have previously pointed out, of the free creativity of the spirit. In the craftsman the creativity of the spirit is, as it were, bound or tied up to a particular aim, which is the satisfying of a particular need. In the poet it is free creativity, for it only tends to engender in beauty, which is a transcendental, and involves an infinity of possible realizations and possible choices. In this respect the poet is like a god. And in order to discover the first essentials of poetry there is nothing better for us to do than to look to the First Poet.
God’s creative Idea, from the very fact that it is creative, does not receive anything from things, since they do not yet exist. It is in no way formed by its creatable object, it is only and purely formative and forming. And that which will be expressed or manifested in the things made is nothing else than their Creator Himself, whose transcendent Essence is enigmatically signified in a diffused, dispersed, or parceled-out manner, by works which are deficient likenesses of and created participations in it. And God’s Intellect is determined or specified by nothing else than His own essence. It is by knowing Himself, in an act of intellection which is His very Essence and His very Existence, that He knows His works, which exist in time and have begun in time, but which He eternally is in the free act of creating.
Such is the supreme analogate (vocab: To make into an analogy) of poetry. Poetry is engaged in the free creativity of the spirit. And thus it implies an intellective act which is not formed by things but is, by its own essence, formative and forming. Well, it is too clear that the poet is a poor god. He does not know himself. And his creative insight miserably depends on the external world, and on the infinite heap of forms and beauties already made by men, and on the mass of things that generations have learned, and on the code of signs which is used by his fellow men and which he receives from a language he has not made. Yet, for all that he is condemned both to subdue to his own purpose all these extraneous elements and to manifest his own substance in his creation.
At this point we see how essential to poetry is the subjectivity of the poet. I do not mean the inexhaustible flux of superficial feelings in which the sentimental reader recognizes his own cheap longings, and with which the songs to the Darling and Faithless One of generations of poets have desperately fed us. I mean subjectivity in its deepest ontologic sense, that is, the substantial totality of the human person, a universe unto itself, which the spirituality of the soul makes capable of containing itself through its own immanent acts, and which, at the center of all the subjects that it knows as objects, grasps only itself as subject. In a way similar to that in which divine creation presupposes the knowledge God has of His own essence, poetic creation presupposes, as a primary requirement, a grasping, by the poet, of his own subjectivity, in order to create. The poet’s aim is not to know himself. He is not a guru. To attain, through the void, an intuitive experience of the existence of the Self, of the Atman, in its pure and full actuality, is the specific aim of natural mysticism. It is not the aim of poetry. The essential need of the poet is to create; but he cannot do so without passing through the door of the knowing, as obscure as it may be, of his own subjectivity. For poetry means first of all an intellective act which by its essence is creative, and forms something into being instead of being formed by things: and what can such an intellective act possibly express and manifest in producing the work if not the very being and substance of the one who creates? Thus it is that works of painting or sculpture or music or poetry the closer they come to the sources of poetry the more they reveal, one way or another, the subjectivity of their author.
But the substance of man is obscure to himself. He knows not his soul, except in the fluid multiplicity of passing phenomena which emerge from it and are more or less clearly attained by reflective consciousness, but only increase the enigma, and leave him more ignorant of the essence of his Self. He knows not his own subjectivity. Or, if he knows it, it is formlessly, by feeling it as a kind of propitious and enveloping night. Melville, I think, was aware of that when he observed that “no man can ever feel his own identity aright except his eyes be closed; as if darkness were indeed the proper element of our essences.” Subjectivity as subjectivity is inconceptualizable; it is an unknowable abyss. How, then, can it be revealed to the poet?
The poet does not know himself in the light of his own essence. Since man perceives himself only through a repercussion of his knowledge of the world of things, and remains empty to himself if he does not fill himself with the universe, the poet knows himself only on the condition that things resound in him, and that in him, at a single wakening, they and he come forth together out of sleep.  In other words, the primary requirement of poetry, which is the obscure knowing, by the poet, of his own subjectivity, is inseparable from, is one with another requirement — the grasping, by the poet, of the objective reality of the outer and inner world; not by means of concepts and conceptual knowledge, but by means of an obscure knowledge which I shall describe in a moment as knowledge through affective union.
Hence the perplexities of the poet’s condition. If he hears the passwords and the secrets that are stammering in things, if he perceives realities, correspondences, ciphered writings that are at the core of actual existence, if he captures those more things which are in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy, he does not do so by knowing all this in the ordinary sense of the word “to know,?’ but by receiving all this into the obscure recesses of his passion. (“This thing which is in me but which no efforts of mine can slay! “Wherefore time and again I stroke my empty bosom in pity for myself; so ignorant am I of what causes the opening and the barring of the door.” Lu Chi, Wen Pu, II, (o), 6-7, in The Art of Letters: Lu Chi’s “Wen Pu,” A.D. 302, trans. and ed. E. R. Hughes, Bollingen Series XXIX (New York: Pantheon Books, 1951). All that he discerns and divines in things, he discerns and divines not as something other than himself, according to the law of speculative knowledge, but, on the contrary, as inseparable from himself and from his emotion, and in truth as identified with himself.
His intuition, the creative intuition, is an obscure grasping of his own Self and of things in a knowledge through union or through con-naturality which is born in the spiritual unconscious, and which fructifies only in the work. So the germ of which I spoke some pages back, and which is contained in the spiritual night of the free life of the intellect, tends from the very start to a kind of revelation — not to the revelation of the ubermensch or of the omnipotency of man, as the Surrealists believe, but to the humble revelation, virtually contained in a small, lucid cloud of inescapable intuition, both of the Self of the poet and of some particular flash of reality in the God-made universe; a particular flash of reality bursting forth in its unforgettable individuality, but infinite in its meanings and echoing capacity –
To see a World in a Grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower.
Such is the answer of philosophical analysis to the problem which had imposed itself on our consideration at the end of the merely descriptive or inductive inquiry conducted in the first chapter of this book. At that moment we observed that Oriental art, only intent on Things, nevertheless reveals obscurely, together with Things (and to the very extent to which it truly succeeds in revealing Things), the creative subjectivity of the artist; and that, on the other hand, Occidental art, more and more intent on the artist’s Self, nevertheless reveals obscurely, together with this Self (and to the very extent to which it succeeds in revealing it), the transparent reality and secret significance of Things. And we concluded that at the root of the creative act there must be a quite particular intellectual process, a kind of experience or knowledge without parallel in logical reason, through which Things and the Self are obscurely grasped together.
Now, availing ourselves of the self-awareness which the progress of reflexivity has developed in modem art and poetry, and which causes poets to say with Pierre Reverdy that “the value of a work is proportional to the poignant contact of the poet with his own destiny,” (“To the modern poet,” Allen Tate wrote, “poetry is one of the ways that we have of knowing the world.” On the Limits of Poetry (New York: The Swallow Press and William Morrow, 1948), p. 117). We come to perceive in philosophical terms how and why the process in question takes place. A direct inquiry into the inner functioning of the intellect in its preconceptual life makes us realize that poetic intuition and poetic knowledge are both one of the basic manifestations of man’s spiritual nature, and a primary requirement of the creativity of the spirit steeped in imagination and emotion.
“Poetry, I think, must be much more ‘creative’ than science is, or at least much more spiritedly, incessantly so. It is such an eager cognitive impulse that it overreaches its object. That is its glory, and one of the causes of its delightfulness perhaps, and certainly the source of its bad reputation. It goes where science hardly cares to set foot.”John Crowe Ransom, The World’s Body
Nature Of Poetic KnowledgeI used a moment ago the expression “knowledge through con-naturality.” It refers to a basic distinction made by Thomas Aquinas,” when he explains that there are two different ways to judge of things pertaining to a moral virtue, say fortitude. On the one hand we can possess in our mind moral science, the conceptual and rational knowledge of virtues, which produces in us a merely intellectual conformity with the truths involved. Then, if we axe asked a question about fortitude, we will give the right answer by merely looking at and consulting the intelligible objects contained in our concepts. A moral philosopher may possibly not be a virtuous man and know everything about virtues.
On the other hand, we can possess the virtue in question in our own powers of will and desire, have it embodied in ourselves, and thus be in accordance with it or connatured with it in our very being. Then, if we are asked a question about fortitude, we will give the right answer, no longer through science, but through inclination, by looking at and consulting what we are an4 the inner bents or propensities of our own being. A virtuous man may possibly be utterly ignorant in moral philosophy, and know as well (probably better) everything about virtues — through con-naturality (vocab: The condition of being con-natural  or similar in nature).
In this knowledge through union or inclination, con-naturality or congeniality, the intellect is at play not alone, but together with affective inclinations and the dispositions of the will, and as guided and shaped by them. It is not rational knowledge, knowledge through the conceptual, logical, and discursive exercise of reason. But it is really and genuinely knowledge, though obscure and perhaps incapable of giving account of itself.
St. Thomas explains in this way the difference between the knowledge of divine reality acquired by theology and the knowledge of divine reality provided by mystical experience. For the spiritual man, he says, knows divine things through inclination or con-naturality: not only because he has learned them, but because he suffers them, as the Pseudo-Dionysius put it.
Knowledge through con-naturality plays an immense part in human life. Modern philosophers have thrown it into oblivion, but the ancient Doctors paid careful attention to it and established upon it all their theory of God-given contemplation. I think that we have to restore it, and to recognize its basic role and importance in such domains as moral practical knowledge and natural or supernatural mystical experience — and in the domain of art and poetry. Poetic knowledge, as I see it, is a specific kind of knowledge through inclination or con-naturality—let us say a knowledge through affective con-naturality which essentially relates to the creativity of the spirit and tends to express itself in a work. So that in such a knowledge it is the object created, the poem, the painting, the symphony, in its own existence as a world of its own, which plays the part played in ordinary knowledge by the concepts and judgments produced within the mind.
Hence it follows that poetic knowledge is fully expressed only in the work. In the mind of the poet, poetic knowledge arises in an unconscious or preconscious manner, and emerges into consciousness in a sometimes almost imperceptible though imperative and irrefragable way, through an impact both emotional and intellectual or through an unpredictable experiential insight, which gives notice of its existence, but does not express it.
This particular kind of knowledge through con-naturality comes about, I think, by means of emotion. That is why, at first glance, one believes, and often the poet himself believes, that he is like the Ahab of Moby Dick: “Here’s food for thought, had Ahab time to think; but Ahab never thinks; he only feels, feels, feels; that’s tingling enough for mortal man! to think’s audacity. God only has that right and privilege.”13 Well, in this people are mistaken. The poet also thinks. And poetic knowledge proceeds from the intellect in its most genuine and essential capacity as intellect, though through the indispensable instrumentality of feeling, feeling, feeling.
Must I quote at this point the testimony of painters? “Be guided by feeling alone,” Corot said. “We are only simple mortals, subject to error; so listen to the advice of others, but follow only what you understand and can unite in your own feeling…While 1 strive for a conscientious imitation, I yet never for an instant lose the emotion that has taken hold of me.”
Similarly van Gogh: “Is it not emotion, the sincerity of one’s feeling for nature, that draws us, and if the emotions are sometimes so strong that one works without knowing one works, when sometimes the strokes come with a sequence and a coherence like words in a speech or a letter, then one must remember that it has not always been so, and that in the time to come there will again be heavy days, empty of inspiration.”
And Braque: “Emotion…is the seed, the work is the flower.”
And Hopper: “I believe that the great painters, with their intellect as master, have attempted to force this unwilling medium of paint and canvas into
At this point I would wish to insist that a record of their emotions. I find any digression from this large aim leads me to boredom.”
And Matisse: “I am unable to distinguish between the feeling I have for life and my way of expressing it.”
It is in no way a merely emotional or a sentimentalist theory of poetry that I am suggesting. First, I am speaking of a certain kind of knowledge, and emotion does not know: the intellect knows, in this kind of knowledge as in any other. Second, the emotion of which I am speaking is in no way that “brute or merely subjective emotion” to which I alluded to in an earlier chapter, and which is extraneous to art. (See supra [Creative Intuition in Art and Poetry], pp. 6-7 and 8. As I put it in Art and Scholasticism (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1930):
“I will willingly suffer the domination of the object which the artist has conceived and which he puts before my eyes; I will then yield myself unreservedly to the emotion roused in him and me by one same beauty, one same transcendental in which we communicate. But I refuse to suffer the domination of an art which deliberately contrives means of suggestion to seduce my subconscious, J resist an emotion which the will of a man claims to impose upon me.” See also E, I. Watkin, A Philosophy of Form, revised edition (London and New York: Sheed & Ward, 1951), Chapter II, section IV. In his remarkable analysis of aesthetic contemplation, Mr. Watkin rightly points out both the intellectuality and objectivity of artistic intuition, and its essential difference from the emotion or vital pleasure which normally accompanies it. These pages afford us the most correct philosophical approach I have read on the matter — except for the lack of the key notion of intentional emotion, as contradistinguished to ordinary or “vital” emotion.
 It is not an emotion expressed or depicted by the poet, an emotion as thing which serves as a kind of matter or material in the making of the work, nor is it a thrill in the poet which the poem will “send down the spine” of the reader. It is an emotion as form, which, being one with the creative intuition, gives form to the poem, and which is intentional, as an idea is, or carries within itself infinitely more than itself. (I use the word “intentional” in the Thomistic sense, reintroduced by Brentano and Husserl into modern philosophy, which refers to the purely tendential existence through which a thing normally accompanies it. These pages afford us the most correct philosophical approach I have read on the matter — except for the lack of the key notion of intentional emotion, as contradistinguished to ordinary or “vital” emotion. — for instance, the object known — is present, in an immaterial or supra-subjective manner, in an “instrument” — an idea for instance, which, in so far as it determines the act of knowing, is a mere immaterial tendency or intentiotoward the object.)
The distinction made in the above paragraph is basically important, and it is relevant to discuss in this connection certain views expressed by T. S. Eliot in The Sacred Wood (London: Methuen, 1920). Eliot, in his essays on “The Perfect Critic” and on “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” points to valuable truths but at the price of serious equivocation, because he overlooks this distinction. He makes his point with regard to brute or merely subjective emotion (emotion as a simple psychological state), but glosses over what matters most: intentional or creative emotion (emotion as the proper medium of poetic knowledge). It is quite true that, as he puts it in “The Perfect Critic,” one who reads poets should not mistake for the poetry “an emotional state aroused in himself by the poetry, a state which may be merely an indulgence of his own emotions.” (This deals with brute or merely subjective emotion.) It is quite true that “the end of the enjoyment of poetry is a pure contemplation from which all the accidents of personal emotion are removed” — that is, all the accidents of brute or merely subjective emotion. But this pure contemplation itself is steeped in the creative emotion or poetic intuition conveyed by the poem.
The emotions and feelings of which Eliot speaks in “Tradition and the Individual Talent” are, too, only brute or merely subjective emotions and feelings. Such affective states are indeed merely matter or material, as I have said, which poetry must “digest” and “transmute.” “It is not the ‘greatness,’ the intensity, of the emotions, the components, but the intensity of the artistic process, the pressure, so to speak, under which the fusion takes place, that counts,” That is perfectly right, but it is through the creative, or intentional emotion that the fusion takes place. The pressure of the artistic process would be of no avail to poetry if it did not proceed from poetic intuition or creative emotion. “It is not in his personal emotions, the emotions provoked by particular events in his life, that the poet is in any way remarkable or interesting. His particular emotions may be simple, or crude, or fiat.
The emotion in his poetry will be a very complex thing, but not with the complexity of the emotions 0f people who have very complex or unusual emotions in life. One error, in fact, of eccentricity in poetry is to seek for new human emotions to express: and in this search for novelty in the wrong places it discovers the perverse. The business of the poet is not to find new emotions, but to use the ordinary ones and, in working them up into poetry, to express feelings which are not in actual fact emotions at all.” All this deals with emotion as material, with brute or merely subjective emotion. It would mislead us if we forgot the essential, necessary part played by that emotion which causes to express, emotion as formative, emotion as intentional vehicle of reality known through inclination and as proper medium of poetic intuition. This creative emotion, moreover, distinct as it is from the merely subjective emotions or feelings of the poet as a man, lives on them, so that, while being bound to transmute them, he cannot “escape from them” as simply as Eliot seems to suggest. It would be misunderstanding Eliot in a most unfortunate manner to believe that self-restraint is enough for this, and finally to mistake poetic discipline for artistic skill plus dessication of the heart. The escape of which he speaks cannot come about except through poetic knowledge and creative emotion, and in the very act of creating. And this is what he means.
“Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion.” An escape from brute or merely subjective emotion, yes! But, as I just said, through and in creative emotion!
One single sentence in this essay touches the core of the matter. “Very few,” Eliot writes, “know when there is expression of significant emotion, emotion which has its life in the poem and not in the history of the poet.” At last! At last we are told of the significant emotion, the intentional and creative emotion, without which there is no poetry. It deserved better than to be only alluded to in passing.
It seems also relevant to add at this point a few remarks about the indictment of Western art that Lionel de Fonseka offers us in the name of Eastern wisdom. The author has the merit of frankness in stating the issue in extreme terms. But he irremediably mistakes intentional emotion for brute emotion and the creative Self for the self-centered ego. In binding, moreover, art to utility, and making the artist an artisan at the service of human life, he simply disregards both the transcendental nature of beauty and the spiritual value of poetic knowledge and creative emotion.
“An obscene work to us [Orientals],” he writes, “is one wherein the artist lays bare his soul, and many of your modern artists we should consider spiritual prostitutes.” On the Truth of Decorative Art, A Dialogue between an Oriental and an Occidental (London: Greening and Go., 1912), p. 56. This sentence typifies the philosophy of those enemies of poetry who hold forth on art without recognizing its deepest life force, and who ignore the law of generosity proper to the spirit. For them, in the last analysis, any gift of oneself is prostitution. It is but natural that they regard as prostitution (which means no real gift hut only making oneself into an instrument of pleasure) the gift of himself through which the artist discloses in his work his soul and the world, so as to become a free creator (through the work) of joy and delectation — of the spiritual delectation by which men are liberated from their material ego and raised to experimental knowledge and love of what is better than human life.
When Baudelaire spoke in his own way of art as prostitution (Fusées, I, in Journaux intinies, ed. van Bever [Paris: Crés, 1919], p. 4), he made just the reverse error, in the opposite direction, and used a perverse image to humiliate what he revered and express the supreme law of the laying bare and giving of oneself which commands poetic creation.
How can emotion be thus raised to the level of the intellect and, as it were, take the place of the concept in becoming for the intellect a determining means or instrumental vehicle through which reality is grasped?
That’s a difficult question, as are all similar questions dealing with the application of the general concept of knowledge through con-naturality to the various particular fields in which this kind of knowledge is at play. I think that   in all these cases, where the soul “suffers things more than it learns them,” and experiences them through resonance in subjectivity, we have to find out a certain specific way in which the great notion developed by John of St. Thomas apropos of mystical knowledge — amor transit in conditionem objecti,love passes on to the sphere of the intentional means of objective grasping — has to be used analogically. Here I would say that in poetic knowledge emotion carries the reality which the soul suffers — a world in a grain of sand — into the depth of subjectivity, and of the spiritual unconscious of the intellect, because in the poet, contrary to other men (especially those involved in the business of civilized life), the soul remains, as it were, more available to itself, and keeps a reserve of spirituality which is not absorbed by its activity toward the outside and by the toil of its powers. And this deep unemployed reserve of the spirit, being unemployed, is like a sleep of the soul; but, being spiritual, is in a state of virtual vigilance and vital tension, owing to the virtual reversion of the spirit on itself and on everything in itself. The soul sleeps, but her heart is awake; allow her to sleep.
Well, let us suppose that in the density of such a secretly alert sleep and such a spiritual tension, emotion intervenes (whatever this emotion may be; what matters is where it is received). On the one hand it spreads into the entire soul, it imbues its very being, and thus certain particular aspects in things become con-natural to the soul affected in this way. On the other hand, emotion, falling into the living springs, is received in the vitality of intelligence, I mean intelligence permeated by the diffuse light of the Illuminating Intellect and virtually turned toward all the harvests of experience and memory preserved in the soul, all the universe of fluid images, recollections, associations, feelings, and desires latent, under pressure, in the subjectivity, and now stirred. And it suffices for emotion disposing or inclining, as I have said, the entire soul in a certain determinate manner to be thus received in the undetermined vitality and productivity of the spirit, where it is permeated by the light of the Illuminating Intellect: then, while remaining emotion, it is made — with respect to the. aspects in things which are connatural to, or like, the soul it imbues — into an instrument of intelligence judging through con-naturality, and plays, in the process of this knowledge through likeness between reality and subjectivity, the part of a non-conceptual intrinsic determination of intelligence in its preconscious activity. By this very fact it is transferred into the state of objective intentionality; it is spiritualized, it becomes intentional, that is to say, conveying, in a state of immateriality, things other than itself. In the case of mystical contemplation, love of charity (which is much more than an emotion) becomes a means 0f experiential knowledge for the virtue of faith which already tends toward and knows (though not experientially) the reality with which to be united. And a special inspiration of the divine Spirit is necessary, because a supernatural object is then to be experienced in a supernatural manner.
In the case of poetic knowledge, on the contrary, no previous virtue of the intellect is already in the act of knowing when emotion brings the enigmatic reality which moves the soul, the world which resounds in it and which it suffers, to the bosom of subjectivity and of the creativity of the spirit. And the entire process needs no inspiration whatever from the outside—no more than the knowledge a mother has of her child through affection or con-naturality –because the object as well as the mode of experience are simply natural.
It becomes for the intellect a determining means or instrumental vehicle through which the things which have impressed this emotion on the soul, and the deeper, invisible things that are contained in them or connected with them, and which have ineffable correspondence or coaptation with the soul thus affected, and which resound in it, are grasped and known obscurely.
It is by means of such a spiritualized emotion that poetic intuition, which in itself is an intellective flash, is born in the unconscious of the spirit. In one sense it is, as I said a moment ago, a privilege of those souls in which the margin of dreaming activity and introverted natural spirituality, unemployed for the business of human life, is particularly large. In another sense, because it emanates from a most natural capacity of the human mind, we must say that every human being is potentially capable of it: among those who do not know it, many, in point of fact, have repressed it or murdered it within themselves. Hence their instinctive resentment against the poet.
Of itself poetic intuition proceeds from the natural and supremely spontaneous movement of the soul which seeks itself by communicating with things in its capacity as a spirit endowed with senses and passions. And sometimes it is in mature age, when the spirit has been fed with experience and suffering, and turns back toward itself, that it best experiences the sapid sleep in which poetic intuition awakes — and which also exists, in another fashion, and with the acrid taste of greenness, in the child and the primitive. Poetic knowledge is as natural to the spirit of man as the return of the bird to his nest; and it is the universe which, together with the spirit, makes its way back to the mysterious nest of the soul. For the content of poetic intuition is both the reality of the things of the world and the subjectivity of the poet, both obscurely conveyed through an intentional or spiritualized emotion. The soul is known in the experience of the world and the world is known in the experience of the soul, through a knowledge which does not know itself. For such knowledge knows, not in order to know, but in order to produce. It is toward creation that it tends.
“Je est un autre,” Rimbaud said: “I is another.” In poetic intuition objective reality and subjectivity, the world and the whole of the soul, coexist inseparably. At that moment sense and sensation are brought back to the heart, blood to the spirit, passion to intuition. And through the vital though non-conceptual actuation of the intellect all the powers of the soul are also actuated in their roots. Thus it is through the notion and reality of poetic knowledge that the sentence of Novalis quoted in the preceding chapter [Creative Intuition in Art and Poetry, pp. 84-85] takes on philosophical sense, and appears not as a pure élan of lyricism, but as a justifiable statement: “The poet is literally out of his senses — in exchange, all comes about within him. He is, to the letter, subject and object at the same time, soul and universe.”
Among the pages which have been inserted in the volume as a kind of literary illustration, the ones pertaining to this chapter contain texts which seem to be significant for my present purpose. I think that by reading those collected under heading we can see better than through any philosophical arguments how the subjectivity of the poet is revealed (but together with things) in his poem; and by reading the texts collected under heading III, how the Another, the things of the world and of the intellect, and their meanings, are also (but together with the Self) revealed in the poem; and how, in this single and double revelation, everything derives from a primal creative intuition, born in the soul of the poet, under the impact of a definite emotion.
The direct, intuitive contact with any genuine work of painting, sculpture or architecture, or music, which has spiritual depth and conveys a message of its own, affords us the same evidence.

Ah, the French Again... Liberté, égalité, fraternité gone wild

This article on the Eldest Daughter of the Church in Europe is from the superb LifeSiteNews.

January 7, 2013 ( - As French Catholics prepare to mobilize on January 13 for a national march against the creation of homosexual “marriage,” the country’s education minister is warning Catholic schools against participating, claiming that it could cause “homophobia” against homosexual students.
National Education Minister Vincent Peillon has written a letter to all of the country’s 8,300 Catholic school principals, claiming that they have the responsibility to maintain “neutrality” regarding the debate over homosexual “marriage” in their institutions, according to reports by Le Monde and the French Press Agency.
Education Minister Vincent Peillon
“It is your responsibility in effect to ensure that the debates that are occurring in French society not be expressed, in the schools and establishments, by the phenomena of rejection and homophobic stigmatization,” wrote Peillon.
“I call you to the greatest vigilance regarding the conditions of the legitimate debate regarding marriage for all (...) notably in private establishments under contract,” he said. “It is therefore proper to call for restraint and neutrality within all of the institutions so that schools are not made the object of any manipulation.”
Click “like” if you want to defend true marriage. 
Peillon also asks principles to inform him “as quickly as possible regarding eventual incidents and regarding any initiative contrary to these principles, within the public institutions as well as the private institutions under contract.”
Most private Catholic schools are regarded as “under contract” with the national government, which pays the salaries of the teachers, although the schools maintain their autonomy as private institutions.
French president Francois Hollande has made clear that he supports his education minister’s controversial statements.
“Secularism is a principle of the Republic” that “each one must protect,” said the country’s socialist leader, claiming that “there is a principle that appeals to the neutrality of the government and notably within educational establishments under contract…”
The government’s reaction comes in response to a letter sent by the Catholic bishops’ secretary of education, Eric de Labarre, to all Catholic school principles in December, urging them to permit students the “freedom” to act in response to the government’s proposed homosexual “marriage” legislation.
“Each school, middle school or high school can undertake the initiatives that seems to it to be locally most appropriate to permit each one to exercise an enlightened freedom regarding the choice which is today envisaged by the public power,” wrote Labarre.
Eduation minister Peillon reacted to Labarre’s letter, calling it a “mistake.” “It doesn’t seem opportune to me to import into the school the debate regarding marriage for everyone,” he told the French press.
“This letter risks more to support certain partisan and sectarian operations than the proposition of enlightened debates, even if he doesn’t clearly appeal to that,” said Peillon.
The French government’s threatening language has galvanized the growing opposition to the ruling party’s proposed homosexual “marriage” legislation, and has evoked bitter memories over a previous attempt by socialists to take over private schools in the mid 1980s, according to French social commentators.

Christmas Day Attacks in Pakistan Not Covered by the Media

Persecution sites worth watching...

And, I subscribe to a magazine on line, which you can sign up for here from this site:

European vs. American Perspectives on the Preservation of Freedom

Americans, or at least about 52% of them, do not trust in governments. That is why the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were written and established. The ideal of each independent thinking American is that people on the ground, the grass-roots groups, know better what to do in their local areas and in a crisis than a bunch of guys in Washington.

This independent mind-set has changed, as the growth of the entitlement generations have voted for bloated government and more and more for far-left agendas. The tide has changed, but not entirely.

That Americans also take into their own hands, or at least some of them, their own destinies, is a strength of character. My own ancestors came and settled in Iowa and Oregon, making a great life for themselves and their descendants, using religious freedoms to set up Catholic schools, including a university, a monastery and two newspapers.

Busy, dedicated, freedom-loving people. Thinking people, who talked about religion and politics around the table and still do.

Some built up their own successful business, still going and handed down to the third and fourth generations.

And the men had and some still do have, guns.

My family is full of hunters and I grew up with bows and arrows and guns. We ate what was shot.

We also kept guns for defence as well as for sport. I learned how to shoot.

Irish, English and Maltese are obviously shocked when I mention that guns were and are a way of life in the MidWest.  The men in my family belonged to a gun club.

The European friends of mine cannot understand wanting to be in charge of your own space. They are think like socialists, even the Catholics.

What shocks me is their blind trust in their governments, and worse, the feeling of impotency, that they cannot do anything about change or that they do not need or cannot defend themselves.

What happened in Europe and in England, a land of fierce freedom loving peoples, the Anglo-Saxons?

One cannot have freedoms in complacency. The ballot box is the first line of defence and offence.

But, so many of my friends are apolitical.

If they do not take politics seriously, and if they do not get involved, those freedoms which they do have will disappear.

What happened in Malta, the great land of the Holy Order of St. John, the Knights of Malta? The strong blood has been diluted. Of course, most of them were celibate, or supposed to be. Maybe the gene pool did not get the benefit of Valletta or  Wignacourt.

Why do Catholics, sitting on the edge of persecution, trust their governments? What happened? Did all the brave ones leave and go to America? Did all the fighters die without issue?

It is interesting that one group of the Sons of the American Revolution use the Maltese Cross as part of their logo. This is not an accident. The history of religious freedom has been connected with defence for centuries.

I am not an advocate of war, no Christian is. But, defence is not only a duty, but legal and necessary.

We all love LOTR. We do not get squeamish when Aragorn fights, or when Gandalf defends Gondor. So, why are men and women in Europe scared or back away from defensive discussions?

Americans worst war experience was the Civil War. Brother fought against brother for real reasons of freedom and for different world views.

The possibility of a another civil war has been discussed on this blog since the beginning of last year. Why? We will not be pushed into slavery. And, folks, socialism and communism are slavery.

War is horrible. People, including women and children, die. But, has the West lost the will to die bravely, which is also the will to live bravely?

Pat Buchanan at his best

America’s Coming Gun War Tuesday - January 8, 2013 at 4:32 am By Patrick J. Buchanan Eight days after the massacre of 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary, where each child was shot with a Bushmaster .223, The Nation’s Gun Show, the biggest east of the Mississippi, opened. “A line already snaked around the building shortly after the three-day event began at 3 p.m., and the parking lot was jammed” at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Va., wrote Justin Jouvenal of The Washington Post: “With an AK-47 slung over one shoulder, Marco Hernandez offered one word when asked why he was in the overflow crowd at the gun show.” “Obama,” he said. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the possible gun ban.” And this is the story across America since Sandy Hook. The weapon most in demand at Chantilly? The AR-15 black rifle, a version of which was used to slaughter the innocents in Newtown. At Chantilly, their price doubled in hours to $1,800. Gun stores have sold out their inventory. Yet for weeks after Sandy Hook, journalists and politicians from the president to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who were making the case for a new assault weapons ban, dominated the airwaves. Those calling for reinstatement of the ban that was in effect from 1994 to 2004 had the national audience almost entirely to themselves. The National Rifle Association was largely silent. Not until nine days after Newtown did the NRA‘s Wayne LaPierre appear on “Meet the Press” to be subjected to hostile interrogation. Yet, from the record gun sales in December, and 2012 — there were 16.8 million calls to the FBI for background checks for gun purchases last year — the elites have lost the argument with the audience that counts. They have failed to convince those who buy guns. Just as East Berliners, before the Wall was built, voted with their feet, fleeing west, Americans are voting with their checkbooks, paying hundreds and thousands of dollars to buy the guns liberals loathe. The reflexive response of the gun controllers is to blame this on that malevolent force, the gun lobby, at whose apex is the NRA. But those crowds coming to gun shows in droves and buying semi-automatics are not there because the NRA issued some order. Today, we Americans are a far more heavily armed people than half a century ago. Forty-seven percent of adult males own a firearm. There are 270 million rifles, shotguns and pistols in private hands. Are they for hunting? Not according to the Financial Times. “The number of hunters fell from 16.6 million in 1975 to 12.5 million in 2006, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.” That number will continue to shrink as America’s suburbs further encroach on rural areas, limiting hunting grounds and reducing game. The FT notes that Freedom Group, owner of Bushmaster, has estimated that while “total sales of long guns to U.S. consumers rose at an annual rate of just 3 percent during 2007-2011, modern sporting rifles grew at an annual rate of 27 percent.” Last year, sporting rifle sales doubled. The number of rifles like the AR-15 in private hands has probably tripled since the assault weapons ban expired. The NRA‘s David Keene estimates the number now at above 3 million. Who owns these weapons? Half are owned by veterans and cops. Writes Keene: “Nearly 90 percent of those who own an AR-15 use it for recreational target shooting; 51 percent of AR owners are members of shooting clubs and visit the range regularly; the typical AR owner is not a crazed teenage psychopath, but a 35-plus-year-old, married and has some college education.” These figures suggest that a successful effort to restrict the sale and transfer of “assault rifles” will, as did the Volstead Act and Prohibition, drive the market underground, create lawbreakers out of folks who are law-abiding and send the AR-15 price further skyward. Many gun controllers not only do not understand what motivates those who disagree with them, they do not like them, reflexively calling them gun nuts, a reaction as foolish as it is arrogant and bigoted. For given the loosening of gun laws at the state level in recent years, the gun controllers no longer have the numbers to impose their will on the folks who have a love for, or feel a need for, guns. To most Americans, an armed guard in a school is a good idea in our too-violent nation. Most Americans realize that when shooting breaks out in a gun-free zone — a school, movie theater, mall — the first call goes to 911 to get cops with Glocks and a SWAT team with black rifles there as soon as possible. Most folks understand why air marshals on planes might have to be armed. Most folks know that the people running up the death toll in murder capitals like Chicago are not using AR-15s. And many Americans yet accept that in the last analysis it is a man’s duty to be the defender and protector of his wife and children. Human nature will ultimately triumph over ideology.

An argument based on observation and experience..

The Church labels, frequently, in liturgical usage and in theology, Original Sin as the Sin of Adam. Not Eve's sin. If Adam had not sinned, we would not have suffered the effects and reality of Original Sin. But, since day one, like Adam, men continue to blame women for their weakness and sins. This is sinful itself and we call this "passing the buck". I am beginning to see an alarming dislike and even hatred of women among some traditional men. I am beginning to wonder if this is one reason why so many of my single trad female friends cannot find trad husbands. I am concerned. This avoidance of female company may be the result of a fear of women, which is not a cause created by women, but men themselves. I am concerned at a subtle suspicion of females as predators on the part of men, which is psychological projection on their part. Men are increasingly incapable of love and sacrfice. Good Catholic women who understand the Church's need for strong leadership in men must stop blaming themselves or other women for weak men. Men are choosing weakness. It is easier to be weak and avoid responsibility than to decide to be strong. Adam blamed Eve. He had all he needed to be strong. He chose weakness.