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Showing posts from December, 2017

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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This is to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year with a painting, a poem and a lesson: all discovered this year. Nazareth by George Rouault.  This is a bit chronologically late for Christmas because it is the Holy Family back in Nazareth, growing up, after an adventurous birth and flight into exile but a reminder that of the whole of Jesus' life the vast majority of it was spent in what St. Charles de Foucauld called, 'the hidden life of Jesus at Nazareth' - daily, domestic, vulnerable, growing in learning and leaning into the life of things and their reality; and, suffused by the kind of love that the poet, U.A. Fanthorpe, captures, so beautifully and well, here in my favourite poetic discovery of the year. Atlas There is a kind of love called maintenance
Which stores the WD40 and knows when to use it; Which checks the insurance, and doesn’t forget
The milkman; which remembers to plant bulbs; Which answers letters; which knows the way
The money goes; which deal…

Lost Knowledge of the Imagination

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When Goethe was a student in Strasbourg, he became fascinated by the cathedral which, for two centuries from its ‘completion’, had been the tallest building in the world. He would climb it as an opportunity to overcome vertigo (sic) and studied it in detail especially as it shifted its appearances in differing patterns of light. He became convinced that its tower was incomplete and before leaving the city sketched for his friends how it ought to look if it followed its ‘right form’. Unbeknownst to him, it had been left uncompleted and his drawing beautifully captured the architect’s original intention. Goethe’s practiced imagination had discerned the cathedral’s uncompleted potential.
Imagination in this compact, erudite and thoughtful book is not as the Merriam-Webster dictionary would have it, ‘the ability to imagine things that are not real’ but as the writer, Colin Wilson, put it, ‘the ability to grasp realities that are not immediately present’ and as a way of deeper engagement wi…