Post #259 • April 20, 2004, 11:18 AM • 2 Comments
Hardu Keck taught at my alma mater, the Rhode Island School of Design, for nearly forty years before he passed away last August. RISD Views quoted some of his convocation addresses.
What history teaches us - ancient and modern - is that human values, the values of civilization, are fragile ones, and the very place that may have first spawned those values can deny and denigrate them sometime later. There are no guarantees.
The creative act is an encounter, and because it is also a process that brings something new into being (not unlike the gods who create), the artist courts the wrath of the gods. ... Today the artist need not fear the gods of mythology so much as the actual gods of our society - the gods of conformity, of apathy, arrogance, material success and exploitative power. These are the "idols" of our society. They do not announce themselves with the fanfare of the Olympians; they enter our lives deferential, quotidian, insidious and banal.
However we characterize creativity, the consensus has it that ideas seem to be less one's own than flying out there in thin air. And wishing and willing after them with a butterfly net often frustrates access to them. Try to have insight, imagination or talent by just willing it. You can't.
We take turns, unwittingly, being the agents of one another's revelations. We are our own numinous beings. All the wonders of the transcendent experience are within us, provided we call upon our own resources, provided we nurture those resources to transform the everyday into the miraculous, so that we can find the miraculous in the everyday, where it always is.