Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Evolving Role of the Artist

Rupert Spira, twenty first century mystic and teacher of nonduality, sees the “mystic’s job is to explore the nature of reality, but more is required of the artist. He or she has to simultaneously make manifest the ongoing results of this enquiry in form. So the role of the artist is to provide a way that this presence can be approached and experienced through the senses. The artist has to re-present our world of conceptualised objects, separated and extended in space and time, as it really is. He has to reinterpret our model of reality in line with direct experience and to convey this ‘taste of eternity’. We could call this twofold activity contemplation and creativity. Contemplation is the passive aspect; creativity is the dynamic aspect. These are two inseparable aspects of consciousness.”

The fourteenth century German mystic, Meister Eckhart, believed that “God dwells within you - as you,” or “I can only be fully known by becoming God.”  Eckhart wrote prolifically on the subject and was charged but never convicted of heresy for his writings.  His direct identification with the divine can also be seen in the works of Shankara, James, Blake, Rumi and many great saints and sages of the wisdom traditions.  Author Aldous Huxley  believed that most enlightened beings also practice this philosophy. Within the God space in us peace can be found, and here, mystical and aesthetic experiences and transformational events can unfold.

The nineteenth century artist and philosopher, Benedetto Croce, believed this peaceful God space to be the spirit within us from which we draw our inspiration.  He tells us that the externalization of intuition is secondary to its appearance in the consciousness of the artist, and that the expression of intuition is meaningful apart from the projection or form it takes in a work of art.  With art as the embodiment of spirit through intuition, we symbolize feelings, Nature, soul, God.

The role of the artist, then, is to bring the other, or viewer, to that place in consciousness through the form presented – into Nature, soul, feelings, God, where we can be, ourselves, inspired, and feel ourselves a complete microcosm of life’s macrocosm.  In this way, we connect with and become our own aesthetic holon, nesting with all others in unity consciousness.

What do YOU think?

Artwork by Ron Isom  Many thanks.