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Thursday, October 30, 2003

Artists as mystics.

A great passage, sent by Julie L. to the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship e-mail list, written by the Universalist minister Kenneth Patton in Man's Hidden Search: An Inquiry into Naturalistic Mysticism (1954):

But there is yet another kind of experience which I would call mystical . . . It comes in many forms, but has the common property of etching experience in a new clarity, a greater significance, a further penetration of meaning than we have known before . . . It is as if we had seen but one side of a statue, and then, seeing it in the round, discover unexpected magnificence in its thousand viewpoints. It is as if we had heard one phrase of a symphony, and then hear the phrase within the whole composition, to have it enlarged and enflowered in its full relationship . . . We have an expanded sense of reality.

The arts, in their serious and creative manifestations, are mystical endeavors. In them imagination, intuition, beauty, subtle and suggestive meanings, the fullness of immediate and concrete experience, the outreaches into the devious and unknown are explored. In the arts [we] live breathlessly on the thresholds of awareness and consciousness . . . The artist feels that his [or her] mystical intuitions and . . . expression of them carry universal significance, and [so the artist] seeks an avenue of communication that will lend his [or her] voice authority. The artist and the mystic of the past had this in the church. The artist of today is an orphan in a wilderness of materialism and antagonism, and the church, no longer emplying the artists and mystics, has grown shallow and prosaic.

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 30 October 2003 at 5:23 PM

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