Saturday, August 21, 2004

A few weeks ago I started to read 'The Aesthetic Adventure' by William Gaunt. Another Pelican book from the 1950s and it is excellently written, you could compare it to 'God's Funeral' by A.N. Wilson in that the chapters are well written, they are page turners. Each chapter is about one of the individuals in the aesthetic movement. That group of artists in the 19th Century who stated 'art for arts sake'. Although incredibly elitist and now a much degraded ideal these people just got on enjoyed their work, worked hard and did some marvelous things.

The impressionists came out of the aesthetics, 'impressionist' was just a nickname. To me they were really started a new trend, they started to look away from nature, from realist art and really started to say 'we can do better than nature' and with this radical thought they started to create pictures that were hated but have now become masterpieces. It is quite admirable that they could be so individualistic and yet still work as a group.

One of the problems, as seen from today is that when you practice 'art for arts sake' it becomes your experiment and open to the criticism of none but you. I think the aesthetics have shown that theirs was a valid approach and they just ignored the criticism and moved on. The book goes behind the pictures, looks at the characters, the social scene. Whistler and the original group of bohemians were the original hippies in the 1860s. When Whistler was living in Paris, he lived in a bare room and painted his furniture on the wall, once he was asked 'have you eaten?' he replied 'I have just eaten my wash stand!'

Friday, August 20, 2004

"I mean by a picture, a beautiful romantic dream of something that never was, never will be - in a better light than any light that ever shone - in a land that no-one can define or remember, only desire - and the forms divinely beautiful" - Edward Coley Burne-Jones

Sunday, August 08, 2004

"You don't need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows."

That's the anarchist in me. I realised I was getting a little bit too right wing. I don't like being too political, my basic position is that whatever happens it always help if it is properly thought out and not merely done because it is thought to be the best or what somebody else has told you to do.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Perhaps I was a bit harsh when I criticised large organisations today. I can see that not everything was perfect in NASA in the 1960s. What I was trying to say was that we have gone too far in trying to make the decision making process objective. We need to be able to make personal decisions, use intuition, use personal persuasive powers. We need to take risks. Facts are very deceptive, very few 'facts' are actually objective. They are usually controlled by the person who made them

It does happen sometimes but it is more difficult when you work in a large organisation and there are lots of rules for everything.

Equality of course is a good thing but I would suspect it has lost some if its meaning because it has been overused.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Last week I started to read a commentary on Genesis by Deitrich Bonhoeffer. It was quite unusual and difficult but it got me thinking that I had always intended to study the Old Testament. I immediately thought of Chris Wright because his books on the Old Testament were brilliant. No matter how routine or mundane you might think the old testament is - such as the laws, he manages to make it sparkle and become fascinating. He has now written two new books - a commentary on Deuteronomy (I haven't read) and a commentary on Exekiel.

Ezekiel is a book mostly ignored. I had a read at it, it was full of bizarre visions and angry rants. I became intrigued and bought the commentary on Ezekiel. I feel sure that it is going to be a fascinating read. If you remember Pulp Fiction, Ezekiel 25:17 is the verse used by Jules, before he kills people:

"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you."