Whisper #298

A: How do I best appreciate the arts?

B: Whatever you do, you must not look into an artist’s soul or dig at their motives in respect to an artwork. You must savour it independent from the artist’s personality and motives. You must allow it to draw you out and lead you to project on it your biggest dreams, hopes, wishes, fears, rage … let it draw out your soul, or even its soul. But, by all means do not let it coax you into resolving to draw out her soul, the artist’s soul.

A: I do not follow. Why is the artist’s intention not important in appreciating an artwork?

B: You should distinguish their intention from their motive. It may be — and I say it must be — the artist’s intention to conceal what motivates them.

A: Explain.

B: Seeing the human all too human in an artist will disappoint and deter you from an artwork. Seeing how their personal circumstances, their political viewpoints, their character flaws feature in the work will give you some pleasure — of the variety you get when you solve a puzzle. But, in so doing, you sacrifice an ever bigger pleasure — that which is borne of beholding something uncanny, mysterious, divine, beautiful without reason, fearsome without explanation.

A: I think I see what you mean.

B: It is all about how you approach the work; what stance you take in relation to it, which determines the sort of pleasure you acquire from it and the extent of that pleasure. Many artists know the previous. Many of them know all too well the effect of honesty about the basis or source of their work. The best among them have very few friends who might, accidentally, reveal the inner content of their souls, which might betray the previous basis and source. They are lonely people, these artists — and with good reason for an even better effect. The best among them know all too well the value of hiding from the limelight, of deception and lies. They know how to pepper their deception with a little bit of self-confidence, a bit of impudence, daring and high-mindedness — even a little bit of moral superiority and holiness. The best of artists are alchemists of the soul that know all too well the value of the mysterious. Those among them who fail to create such a veil of mystery around them and their work, fail to give that work the best chance in life. They are like parents who fail to provide an avenue into life for their children —

Whisper #296

You could learn much about someone by how they answer the following question; provided you know how to interpret their answer irrespective of whether or not they understood the question.

Do you think egoism is immoral or morally worthless — and, do you understand the difference?

Whisper #295

Depending on how you relate to your representatives or leaders, it is daunting or disappointing (or a bit of both) to find that even after they won they continue to act as losers.

Sometimes, people who pursue power become so accustomed to victimisation that they learn how to play the victim to win. They learn to re-appropriate their victimisation towards the end of reclaiming power and thus rising above their victimiser — and this is just the natural trajectory of power relations between a victim and their victimiser. It is also a reason for not establishing power relations on such foundations.

Even if we agree that it is a victim’s right to rise above their victimiser — who wouldn’t agree? — we cannot help but recoil at the sight of how they often behave after they’ve risen above their victimiser: They do not stop behaving as the victim.

We recoil over how they continue to seek ways in which they are victimised, even if those ways are imaginary.

We feel outright disdain when we see them claim victimhood precisely when they err in how they wield their power, because we know that they do so to fuel their lust for power and to justify their worth.

We despise them because our expectations that the victim is a better, moral and caring person who would make the best leader or representative by virtue of her experience of being victimised, they soon turn into an indirect victimiser.

We know that in that moment that the victim embodies the victimiser and this changes entirely our worldview, to our discomfort. We question whether they were victims in the first place or just losers in a bitter battle of their choosing and volition, a battle they themselves instigated, but which they kept losing.

You do not truly overcome your victimiser until you’ve rendered him or her unnecessary — until then, you are doomed to become them in an indirect and unconscious manner. They are your fuel and so, like all fuel, they permeate you. 

— A word on reactive sentiments that are allowed to inflate beyond the limits of reason.

Whisper #294

The man or woman of genuine faith, for whom God is the ultimate and only stimulant they need for life and without whom their life would mean nothing, religion is a mere convenience — something they do to enjoy God with others.

To this man or woman, God trumps religion.

Where their religion has failed them, most often because of the people who, like weeds, have consolidated around the beautiful flower of faith it expresses and sapped it of life force, they do not throw or forgo their faith.

They understand what has happened to their religion as God testing their faith — as his preparing to uplift them into life eternal through the burning pathos of their longing for him in human form or for his messenger. They direct their longing towards the conditions for God’s appearance in life and their faith is fuel for that longing.

The beautiful mind of the man or woman or faith shows resolve beyond the sympathy of the many — it actively resists such a sympathy. To be pitied for your faith, your longing, for your love is an affront!

Where do we faithless, loveless, lost and wandering ones chasing our own tails stand by comparison to such beautiful minds — and one can be faithless etc. and religious at the same time? 

Are we bigger or smaller than those who can stand alone holding firm to the pillar of faith that apparently connects them to eternal life and rejuvenates them in this life?

Whisper #293

People do not always say what they mean or mean what they say, just like they do not always express what they need or need what they express.

There is a very simple, but uncomfortable reason for this: they do not know themselves, their intentions and their needs as clearly as it would be convenient for others.

Sometimes, all they know is that they need something, but haven’t got the faintest clue what that is.

We should be glad, because this opens up avenues for intimacy and sociability beyond our wildest dreams.

Whisper #292

A: Tell me, what is this mood I am picking up from you?

B: I left her and everything we’d built, because I didn’t know how to tell her that I missed her and that she meant the world to me. I ruined what we had, because, instead of admitting what she meant to me, I resented her for not being there for me when I needed her the most.

I feel strangely peaceful, but at the same time deeply sad. I am saturated by the solemnity befitting of a loss that was both my doing and at the same time beyond my fault. Is this what it means to become an adult in body and spirit? Is it to know that readiness is something that arrives to me as a result of my effort, but no set amount of effort guarantees it?

This is what the life of the spirit is about, is it not? We try and do in hope of attaining something that will fulfill us, but it seemingly comes to us when it wants, not when we plan. It demands of us a surrender of soul without the surrender of effort — it demands that we give everything we have, even if, or precisely when, it gives nothing in return.