Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sacred and Profane

The enduring dichotomies for me, that under which nearly every work of art, visual and non-visual (or written and non-written), seeks to unite itself in my mind under the specter of a single vision or idea may receive some revelation by consideration of these ideas:

- The Monk and The Gangster

- The Monastery and The Mean Streets

- The Late-12th Century and The Early-20th Century

These are not complete, but they are momentary abstractions which serve as adaptations or manifestations of what I Always Mean. They represent my fundamental tension, my curiosity and my cynicism, my sendintariness and my violence, my ideas of vita contemplativa and vita activa.

The late-1100's of course were more rational than the early-1900's. For in the 1100's you had monks who were also Crusaders, i.e., knights. In the Middle Ages it was not "decided once and for all" that type-A is type-A and type-B is type-B. That is to say, in the Middle Ages, the human race had a better knowledge of itself, because it had a better knowledge of Original Sin, a better knowledge of the Pauline observation that the Spirit is willing but the Flesh is weak, that, in spite of our more holy aspirations, we are still fallen creatures; that it would be better for us to take up the habit and pray, but, if we must, let us fight, and fight for Truth.

I think this is one of the reasons I always come back to the notion of the Detective, who seems to reconcile these contraries in his person. Or rather, he is the only modern archetype who recognizes the reality of Original Sin, the only man who will acknowledge that he is a house divided against itself.

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