Posts tagged ‘music’

May 2, 2018

true beauty is not the idea of the beautiful

David Bentley Hart (The Beauty of the Infinite, pp. 176-177):

The harmony of Father and Son is not the absolute music of an undifferentiated noise, but the open, diverse, and complete polyphony of Father, Son, and Spirit.

…The most elemental statement of theological aesthetics is that God is beautiful: not only that God is beauty or the essence and archetype of beauty, nor even only that God is the highest beauty, but that, as Gregory the Theologian says, “God is beauty and also beautiful, whose radiance shines upon and is reflected in his creatures” (Oration 28.30-31).

…God’s beauty is delight and the object of delight, the shared gaze of love that belongs to the persons of the Trinity; it is what God beholds, what the Father sees and rejoices in the Son, in the sweetness of the Spirit, what Son and Spirit find delightful in one another, because as Son and Spirit of the Father they share his knowledge and love as persons. This cannot be emphasized enough: the Christian God, who is infinite, is also infinitely formosus, the supereminent fullness of all form, transcendently determinate, always possessed of his Logos. True beauty is not the idea of the beautiful, a static archetype in the “mind” of God, but is an infinite “music,” drama, art, completed in–but never “bounded” by–the termless dynamism of the Trinity’s life; God is boundless, and so is never a boundary; his music possesses the richness of every transition, interval, measure variation–all dancing and delight. And because he is beautiful, being abounds with difference: shape, variety, manifold relation. Beauty is the distinction of the different, the otherness of the other, the true form of distance. And the Holy Spirit who perfects the divine love, so that it is not only reflective but also evocative–calling out to yet another as pure delight, outgoing, both uncompelled and unlimited–also makes the divine joy open to the otherness of what is not divine, of creation, without estranging it from its divine “logic”; and the Spirit communicates difference as primordially the gift of the beauty, because his difference within the Trinity is the happiness that perfects desire, the fulfillment of love; for the Spirit comes to rest in the Son, there finding all the joy he seeks, reinflecting the distance between Father and Son not just as bare cognizance, but as delight, the whole rapture of the divine essence.

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November 22, 2014

the unimpeded movement of the most perfect impulse towards the most perfect object

From “Imagination and Thought in the Middle Ages” by C.S. Lewis, first delivered as a lecture in 1956, the piece was published posthumously in the 1966 collection of essays called Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature:

Go out on any starry night and walk alone for half an hour, resolutely assuming that pre-Copernican astronomy is true. Look up at the sky with that assumption in mind. The real difference between living in that universe and living in ours will, I predict, begin to dawn on you.

…You will be looking at a world unimaginably large but quite definitely finite. At no speed possible to man, in no lifetime possible to man, could you ever reach its frontier, but the frontier is there; hard, clear, sudden as a national frontier.

…We find (not now by analogy but in strictest fact) that in every sphere there is a rational creature called an Intelligence which is compelled to move, and therefore to keep his sphere moving, by his incessant desire for God.

…The motions of the universe are to be conceived not as those of a machine or even an army, but rather as a dance, a festival, a symphony, a ritual, a carnival, or all these in one. They are the unimpeded movement of the most perfect impulse towards the most perfect object.

November 4, 2014

your struggle and your suffering is the same as everyone else’s

On Old Ideas, Cohen sang of wanting to write “a manual for living with defeat.” Cohen says:

I wish I could really come up with something ’cos we are all really living with defeat and failure and disappointment and bewilderment, these dark forces that modify our lives. Everyone is engaged in a mighty struggle for self-respect, meaning and significance. The first step would be to recognise that your struggle and your suffering is the same as everyone else’s. I think that’s the beginning of a responsible life. Otherwise we are in a continual savage battle with each other with no possible solution, political, social or spiritual.

From this interview with Neil McCormick.

August 22, 2011

broken Hallelujah

A couple lines from Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” I heard it recently from a friend and teacher. With several versions during Cohen’s long career and recordings by some 50 artists, the lyrics seem to vary slightly each time.

It’s not the laughter of someone who claims to have seen the light
No, it’s a cold, and it’s a very broken Hallelujah

…There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

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July 29, 2011

sounds of the harp

Beowulf, translated by Frederick Rebsamen, lines 99 to 107:

They lived brightly   on the benches of Heorot
caught up in laughter   till a creature brought them
fear in the night   an infernal hall-guest.
Grendel circled   sounds of the harp
prowled the marshes   moors and ice-streams
forests and fens.   He found his home
with misshapen monsters   in misery and greed.
The Shaper banished him   unshriven away
with the kin of Cain   killer of his blood.

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