Under The Sun

Wednesday, April 09, 2003



"To explain the curious fact that the Middle Ages valued the ancients enough to keep their works copied but did not breed Humanists calls for a Theory of Aspect. It would state that an object or idea is rarely seen in the round. Like a mountain, it presents a variety of faces. Moved by an ulterior purpose, observers take a few of these for the whole. This is a cultural generality. It accounts for the surprising differences in the value put on the same artist or thinker at different times and for the different pasts depicted by different historians. This partiality should not be surprising; it is a familiar face of life: each individual "takes" only some elements of experience, and that spontaneous choice governs tastes, career, estimates of worth, and the feel of life itself."

--Barzun

This is precisely why some form of mysticism is essential to a correct view of reality: mysticism infers the faces that our eyes--even aided by the instruments of science--can't see.


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