Saturday, October 11, 2008

Art and Literature in our Culture

God’s grace passes through the Gothic cathedrals (stain glass) and is reflected in the Byzantine mosaics. With the fall of Constantinople, science, art, and literature flourished. “Don Quixote”, Michael Angelo's “David”, and “Mona Lisa” are all great examples of that age and a reflection of a society with a belief that is greater than them. Prior to the Renaissance, there was a break in the Dark Ages where such greats as "The Divine Comedy" and the "Decameron" were written. Even when much of the world did not believe in the one true God, the beliefs in their gods drove their devotion to produce great works of art; some of which are still hailed today.

Where are we now? What sorts of great works that are produced in honor of a deity of this age? We now live in an age of individualism, Andy Warhol’s “15 minutes of fame”, and self-aggrandizing motives. While I relish my freedoms and self-expression, I also recognize that what this culture has produced is sloppy, ego-centric works where everyone is his own “grand master”.

It may seem like a bleak commentary on where we are now, and actually I think it is, but pendulums swing, and when we are all dead, it won't be the POD novels that will be hailed as the masters of our current age. Although, my fear is that it will be Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I'm not saying their books don't have their place and they're not enjoyable to read. On the contrary, but the literary has been replaced by the fast-paced read (a sign of our times) and the prolific. Much of our music, art, and movies are unfortunately in the same sad state as our books. How does an artist or writer that truly wants to celebrate that which is greater than self make his work palatable to the fast-food lit masses of those whose greatest appeal is “Twilight”? “Harry Potter” is starting to look like a great master piece.

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