Sunday, April 20, 2014

Resurrection 2014 With Walt Disney, Charles Taylor and Pope Francis

    Christ rises from the dead, and becomes the meaning of man. He does not do this by dropping like a meteor from heaven, but by living out the reality of who He is – Son of the Eternal Father – by taking all sin on himself and killing it with love to death. He becomes the meaning of man not by the mimesis of statically being one divine Person with two ontologically distinct natures as the Council of Chalcedon said it, but by being a divine Person and willing the Will of the Father to death – as the Council of Constantinople III said it. You become yourself by the going out of yourself.

Walt Disney:     

Walt Disney got this. A blurb introducing the following letter to Don Graham in 1935 read: “Walt encouraged his artists to study human and animal movement – not to duplicate reality, but to use it as a foundation for convincing fantasy.”  He wrote: “The point must be made clear to the men that our study of the actual is not so that we may be able to accomplish the actual, but so that we may have a basis upon which to go into the fantastic, the unreal, the imaginative – and yet to let it have a foundation of fact, in order that it may more richly possess sincerity and contact with the public.
                “A good many of the men misinterpret the idea of studying the actual motion. They think it is  our purpose merely to duplicate these things. This misconception should be cleared up for all. I definitely feel that we cannot do the fantastic things, based on the real, unless we first know the real.” He wanted his artists to study the actual movements of animals, not to reproduce those movements, but so that they could humanize them such that people could re-cognize themselves as subjects in them. That is, the real is the human self in motion, the “I” in exodus from itself. And since every man is created in the image and likeness of the Son (Who is: “I am” Jn. 8, 24,  28, 58) Who is personal motion toward the Father, he becomes real when he escapes from himself.

Charles Taylor:

                Charles Taylor writes that “The notion that each one of us has an original way of being human entails that each of us has to discover what it is to be ourselves. But the discovery can’t be made by consulting pre-existing models, by hypothesis. So it can be made only by articulating it afresh. We discover what we have it in us to be, by becoming that mode of life, by giving expression in our speech and action to what is original in us. The notion that revelation comes through expression is what I want to capture in speaking of the ‘expressivism’ of the modern notion of the individual.
                “This suggests right away a close analogy, even a connection, between self-discovery and artistic creation. With Herder, and the expressivist understanding of human life, the relation becomes very intimate. Artistic creation becomes the paradigm mode in which people can come to self-definition[1]. The artist becomes in some way the paradigm case of the human being, as agent of original self-definition. Since about 1800, to see in his or her life the essence of the human condition, and to venerate him or her as a seer, the creator of cultural values.
                “But of course, along with this has gone a new understanding of art. No longer defined mainly by imitation, by mimesis of reality, art is understood now more in terms of creation. These two ideas go together. If we become ourselves by expressing what we’re about, and if what we become is by hypothesis original, not based on the pre-existing, then what we express is not an imitation of the pre-existing either, but a new creation. We think of the imagination as creative…. My self-discovery passes through a creation, the making of something original and new. I forge a new artistic language – a new way of painting, new metre or form of poetry, new way of writing a novel – and through this and this alone I become what I have it in me to be. Self-discovery requires poises, making. That will play a crucial role in one of the directions this idea of authenticity has evolved in.”[2]

Pope Francis:

“We must not focus on occupying the spaces where power is exercised, but rather on starting long-run historical processes. We must initiate processes rather than occupy spaces. God manifests himself in time and is present in the processes of history. This gives priority to actions that give birth to new historical dynamics. And it requires patience, waiting.”
-- From “A Big Heart Open to God,” America magazine Sept. 19, 2013.

Blogger: In ordinary secular activity, we must master self to make the gift of self. This inserts Christ - personally - into the warp and woof of secular history and the historical processes begins again - and again. The one who does this becomes Another Christ in work and family life. The drum beat of the Resurrection begins with the instantiation of Christ in history by every action of self-gift in work.

[1] I am thinking of Walker Percy here. His entire conceptual/philosophic oeuvre and literary output is his attempt to find himself and give definition to himself. And this, so as not to commit suicide as the rest of his family.  
[2] Charles Taylor, “The Ethics of Authenticity,” Harvard University Press (1991) 61-62.

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