…on “but now we are a mob”

What an astonishing video this is!

Its uncomplicated, emotive — and true! — message, which brings a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye: society oppresses the spark of creativity; for we exist submissive to that which we are inculcated to regard as our “responsibilities;” those things which are wonted of us: work, school, religion, norms, mores, etc.

We gaze not forward; however, back, and regard what we are instructed to honour with a disproportionate deference.

“The book, the college, the school of art, the institution of any kind, stop with some past utterance of genius.”

“…if the man create not…cinders and smoke there may be; but, not yet flame.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, The American Scholar

“It seemed strange that the people should come to church. It seemed as if their houses were very unentertaining, that they should prefer this thoughtless clamor. It shows that there is a commanding attraction in the moral sentiment that can lend a faint tint of light to dulness and ignorance, coming in its name and place.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, Divinity School Address

And here, this ingeniously compelling video; I admonished Gethyn if he does not weep tears of sadness then joy, he is not human.

Open yourself. Receive inspiration. Create.

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What better expression of creativity than a child’s drawing of a cat!

…oh dear; I swore I would never do this!

A exchange in which I found myself engrossed with a friend prompted some introspection; and this is where I oppose myself; for, I had heretofore sworn this forum would not be one for political discourse. Especially about Donald Trump. Ewww.

Both my friend and I read Emerson and delight in sharing his perceptivity with each other, applying his wisdom to life and our lives and even appreciating a diverting side, when we assign his sagacity to humourous events in both our histories and presents. I, as an Emerson devotee, have categorically refused to relegate his words to Donald Trump (ewww); for to do so — for me — would be to mar a genius which I treasure.

I am no admirer of Donald Trump (ewww); I loathe him, find him malevolent and toxic, and even entreated a friend, who is a Psychiatrist, to analyse him for me (she says she cannot ascribe a diagnosis to him; that he is just a f***wit). That notwithstanding, I am of the sentiment that Trump-bashing, merely for the sake of it — as opposed to legitimate criticism — is misplaced; his misdeeds are numberless enough: attacking free speech and freedom of the press, misogyny, ostracising entire groups and nations, disregard and disdain for the planet and the law; and these are infinitely more distressing than his physical appearance and want of gentility. I decry attacking for the mere sake of attacking.

And, onto Emerson: I concede there exist myriad observations appropriate for this individual (ewww) and his ilk; and I presently contradict myself again by disseminating three such sentiments here.

On the mechanics of arrival: “Power first, or no leading class. In politics and in trade, bruisers and pirates are of better promise than talkers and clerks.”  Manners

On a deficiency of any semblance of virtue; and the simple presence of what may be perceived as power: “It is a spontaneous fruit of talents and feelings of precisely that class who have most vigour, who take the lead in the world of this hour…”  Manners

And lastly, on megalomania: “Fear, when your friends say to you what you have done well, and say it through; but when they stand with uncertain timid looks of respect and half-dislike, and must suspend their judgment for years to come, you may begin to hope. Those who live to the future must always appear selfish to those who live to the present.”  Character

See? I do capitulate to congruence and pertinence; however, when I read Emerson, I discern kindness, decency, intellect and happiness and I connect with it; and I informed my friend that for me, attaching his genius to malevolence feels wrong.

I am satiated with politics; everyone wishes to deliberate politics and some are inordinately single-minded, they discuss little else. Trump-bashing (sans legitimate critique) is tedious, as it seems, presently, to be perpetrated merely for the sake of virtue signalling or because one has little else to say. I witnessed this unfettered hate for eight years directed toward President Obama and despised it; I detest that “my side” behaves similarly; we are finer than this and it is, besides, hypocritical, as we did not approve when it came for us.

And, we exist in our own upheaval and disquiet here in the UK, with a government I oppose as much as their policies (Brexit and austerity to name but two); and whilst I don’t bury my head in the sand about world politics, I maintain this business should not roll from my tongue with every utterance, as there are more meaningful and lofty dialogues to be experienced.

And lastly, on Emerson: he contemplated of religion (the same is true of politics; in fact, replace the former with the latter): “What low, poor, paltry, hypocritical people an argument on religion (insert “politics”) will make of the pure and chosen souls!…”  Prudence

This is the last I will say on the subject…

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Cato, Cicero and Caesar: Roman politics are not nearly so abhorrent to me

…on: are we not cats?


“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion…”

— RWE, Self Reliance

To wit: we’d be most content to take ourselves; if we knew what the hell we are supposed to be!

…on my audience with Raphael

“The creation of beauty is art.” I love art: both as a beholder and a creator; and this is not a discourse as would be adduced by an Art Historian; rather, my affecting reaction to the exquisite Raphael exhibition at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum.

I stood transfixed by these incomparable pictures in the company of Mel (we did our Masters together), who is a dear friend, and also an art lover.

The drawings are unequivocally stirring, and and the observer is swept up in love, tenderness, terror and compassion in equal measure when existing, for a mere few hours, in the Renaissance world of this Master.

The raw terror suffered by the subjects of Massacre of the Innocents, equally poignant to me; this observation: “…the baby’s eyes are little dots and it lolls as if dead in her arms…” augmented the terror, in the knowing of the inevitable conclusion; and it is important to note that Raphael, purely through delineation of affectivity, related violence and cruelty sans glorification.

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Terror and fierce protectiveness: “Massacre of the Innocents”

Raphael’s own gentleness is divulged in his mothers and children; which have been said to be his most demonstrative, and it has been hypothesised that this was a manifestation of his being orphaned young.

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Love between mothers and children: “Study for the Madonna of Francis”

Touching synergy is perceptible in A Man Carrying An Older Man on His Back, where the interchange is witnessed not in facial countenance; rather, posture: the older man surrenders himself — and his life — unconditionally, in trust, to the command of the younger.

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Tenderness and interaction:
“A Man Carrying An Older Man on His Back”

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Envy (the good kind):
my own rendering of “Study of the Heads of Two Apostles and of Their Hands”

Infinite wonder is is realised via both perceptual discernment and virtuosity on the part of Raphael.

“Every artist was first an amateur.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, Progress of Culture

Perhaps so; but, not Raphael…