Friday, March 21, 2008


T E Hulme said romanticism was “spilled religion.”
Similarly, Rebecca West (I think) once observed
that the romantic way of thinking started exactly
when the religious way of thinking stopped—so
maybe all our modern “love” feelings are merely
misplaced spiritual impulses. Maybe the entire
throbbing engine of modern materialism is a
misplaced spiritual impulse. Discuss “misplaced.”

John Carey, in What Good Are the Arts?, locates
the shift more specifically, when he writes: “With
the Enlightenment, and the invention of aesthetics
in the 18th century, the idea that works of art
improve their recipients morally, emotionally and
spiritually became part of Western intellectual
orthodoxy…this development coincided with a
decline in religious belief among the educated. It
represented a transfer of spiritual values from the
sacred sphere to the secular. Art galleries came to
resemble temples…”

Don't we know it. You virtually have to light a candle
and murmur three Hail Marys in those places before
you dare to look at the actual art.

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