Saturday, July 23, 2005

Moore talks about the beauty in the ordinary

These resources touch on Thomas Moore’s interest in soul and beauty. The London Christian Meditation Centre sponsored a talk in March 2005 about the roots of Christian mysticism in the Renaissance which mentions Moore’s The Planets Within since it discusses Marsilio Ficino’s role during this time.

Alexandra Hartman talks about Ficino’s studies and their value today, mentioning Moore’s work.

Here's an exchange between Thomas Moore and Suzi Gablik from her book Conversations Before the End of Time (1997) in the article "The Nature of Beauty in Contemporary Art":
"Gablik: As I understand your sense of the soulful life, it would mean bringing art back into a more vernacular, everyday world, and taking it out of the more rarefied sphere of professionalism. You mentioned in the letter you wrote to me that you are very interested in the role of the arts in the world today. Do you see art as being an important vehicle for the return of soul?

Moore: Probably its most important vehicle.

Gablik: Do you want to elaborate on this?

Moore: Yes, there’s so much to say here. First, though, I’d like to pick up on this point of yours about everyday life. There are a number of ways in which we could bring the artist back into everyday life, so that we don’t just have this fringe art world that doesn’t really touch on the values of the way we live, essentially. One way would be for the artist truly to feel a sense of conviviality in the society, in being part of that community, so that there’s a responsibility, and a pleasure, in going into the world and being part of, say, actually designing the city... We can’t suddenly begin living a more artful life, which is the avenue to soul, if in the public life around us, and in everything we see and inhabit, art is invisible.

Gablik: And so, in your thinking, that could be a whole new paradigm for a socially relevant kind of art—not precisely in the sense that’s being talked about in the art world now of "political correctness" and social critique, but rather a kind of art that celebrates and participates robustly in the life-world.

Moore: Exactly. And here’s another point about soul.., soul enters life through pleasure. It’s an erotic activity: psyche and eros going together, rather than principle and responsibility. Responsibility suggests a kind of outward superego coming in and saying, "You know, this is what you should be doing." That is not a new paradigm; we’re not moving out of the modernistic world then. We’re just feeling we should do something different and more responsible.

Gablik: "If we are going to care for the soul," you say in your book, "and if we know that the soul is nurtured by beauty, then we will have to understand beauty more deeply and give it a more relevant place in life. It’s not only pleasure and conviviality, but also beauty that is necessary for the return of soul..." It’s interesting, don’t you think, that archetypal psychologists are the ones who seem to be taking the lead for a renaissance of beauty in our lives, even more than artists or aestheticians?"
Gablik includes a snippet of conversation with James Hillman on the same page.