Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The Act Of Creation

"Every face is a palimpsest."

Just finished reading this book by Koestler. It is an inspiring, fine toothed examination of a slippery subject, and humorous throughout. Strikes me as a forerunner of McKenna in terms of novelty/habit balance and idea of a historical attractor somewhere in time. Brilliant critique of dry academic writing (in all fields) and 'science as a bore' as inflating the artificial margins between science, art and religion.

"The mystic believes in an unknown God, the thinker and scientist in an unknown order; it is hard to say which surpasses the other in nonrational devotion."- L.L Whyte

“I must, before I die, find some way to say the essential thing that is in me, that I have never said yet -- a thing that is not love or hate or pity or scorn, but the very breath of life, fierce and coming from far away, bringing into human life the vastness and the fearful passionless force of non-human things.”- Bertrand Russell

"The aesthetic satisfaction derived from an elegant mathematical demonstration, a cosmological theory, a map of the human brain, or an ingenious chess problem, may equal that of any artistic ex- perience — given a certain connoisseurship. But connoisseurship is equally required for the true appreciation of any but the most vulgar forms of art; and particularly for ancient, alien, and 'modern' art. 

However, the absurd division of our society into 'two cultures' pro- duced the paradoxical phenomenon that the average educated person will be reluctant to admit that a work of art is beyond the level of his comprehension; but he will in the same breath and with a certain pride confess his complete ignorance of the principles which make his radio work, the forces which make the stars go round, the factors which determine the heredity of his children, and the location of his own viscera and glands."

"By being  entirely dependent on science, yet closing his mind to it, he leads the life of an urban barbarian."

Levy Bruhl: "The need of participation remains something more imperious and intense, even among people like ourselves, than the thirst for knowledge and the desire for conformity with the claims of reason."

"Disorder is the condition of the mind's fertility."

(On Victorian novels..) "Here, as a pre-Raphaelite painting, we find emphasis sans economy at work- a safe criterion of bad art."

"Art originates in sympathetic magic."

"There is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics."- G.H. Hardy

"The artist values, or overvalues, the theoretical discipline which controls his intuition."
"The history of art could be written in terms of the artist's struggle against the deadening cumulative effect of saturation."

The blending of the tragic and trivial planes in art and religion. Jonah and the crisis/awakening model.

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