Repression Lift


We can find ways to lift the repression and invite the return of beauty. Lifting the repression can not be done directly, as if solely by making a beautiful thing, he writes. To escape from this dilemma — that the repressor of beauty in its attempt to make beauty will only cause more repression — we must move indirectly. The road to beauty means for the ego to enter conditions like those of beauty, he says. Hustlers of the world, there is one mark you cannot beat: the mark inside.

In the U.S. you have to be a deviant or die of boredom. There is nothing more provocative than minding your own business. There is no great reward for being emotionally distant, no pity prize for suppressing your anger. No one is coming to congratulate you on your long-term self-control. It’s possible that by opening up, you’ll annoy some people. Perhaps you’ll cause a squabble. It’s possible that you’ll be rejected, criticized, and judged. Everything has a cost, and everything has a remuneration. Then you’ll have to overcome some of the defenses we saw against like: wit and parody, appeal to the mind before the senses, sentimental literalism, sweetness, slickness without complexity, surface without depth.

So what can I do?

  1. One is the willingness to let go of irony.
  2. There’s also the courage to be scared. If beauty is defined as that which causes the soul to “shrink within itself, deny the thing, turn away from it, resentful and alienated from it,” then there will be
  3. A third road comes from Plotinus. Seek the ugly (i.6.2). He defined the ugly as that which causes the soul to “shrink within itself, deny the thing, turn away from it. Terrifying masks and distorted sculpture, toward old chairs and old shoes, toward machines, toward rusty steel and plastic, toward slabs of dead meat and dismembered human bodies, toward ordinary manufactured objects, warplanes, celebrity cheapness, toward crude matter of mud, barbed wire, and broken glass, and with such success that we can hardly imagine. Consider what Constable did for the disapproved topos of landscape, what Goya did for images of war’s horror, what Toulouse-Lautrec, George Grosz, and Otto Dix did for society’s ruined discards, and what Mapplethorpe did for the sexually outcast. Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.
  4. Another requirement I recommend is to take a chance on gorgeous or exquisite intensity, that is, to take a chance on excess. There is no intensity of love or feeling that does not involve the risk of crippling hurt. It is a duty to take this risk, to love and feel without defense or reserve. You can decide whether this is a baroque, romantic, or eccentric prejudice of mine, but let us remember the value of prejudices is, if we allow prejudices to become excessive, then they may reveal their ultimate intention. Perhaps it was their violent prejudices, not their search for idealized beauty, that drove Blake, Mondrian, and Cezanne to their extremes.
  5. The Hellenic world’s most important commandment was to not overlook or dismiss the gods. Perhaps art, like everything else we do as humans, remembers nonhuman and immortal powers, he writes. Ritual halts the forward motion of the will and ego toward a fixed goal in favor of a dedication to the ritual’s powers. Then, by anchoring the mind in nonhuman values, we could lift repression from beauty, he says.

The humanist program, without a doubt, is insufficient: social protest and political concern, exploration of self-expression and full exploitation of materials, reaction of one school or movement to another, not to mention the desire for fame, career, and money, are insufficient anchors of the mind’s intention in the creation of art. If there’s time for one last thought, make it this. Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact.

The gasp I mentioned comes from the chest, which is where the heart chakra is located in Kundalini Yoga. We won’t be able to live until this chakra awakens, until the heart opens. In time, your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer. Knowing you might not make it… in that knowledge courage is born. The best way to keep something bad from happening is to see it ahead of time… and you can’t see it if you refuse to face the possibility. Open your mind and let the pictures out.