Archive for the Philosophy Category
“You work out your own salvation in the way you see fit and keep your advice to yourself.”
–from Life with Picasso by Françoise Gilot
–photo by Lucien Clergue, 1956
Loïc Sécheresse via
L’art dit non figuratif n’a pas plus de sens que l’école non enseignante, que la cuisine non alimentaire, etc.
Il n’y a pas de choix : pas d’art sans la vie.
Le Surréalisme, c’est la connaissance immédiate du réel.
Être surréaliste, c’est bannir de l’esprit le « déjà vu » et rechercher le pas encore vu.
Le monde et son mystère ne se refait jamais, il n’est pas un modèle qu’il suffit de copier.
L’objet de la poésie deviendrait une connaissance des secrets de l’univers qui nous permettrait d’agir sur les éléments.
La poésie écrite est invisible, la poésie peinte a une apparence visible.
La valeur réelle de l’art est en fonction de son pouvoir de révélation libératrice.
La grande force de défense, c’est l’amour qui engage les amants dans un monde enchanté fait exactement à leur mesure et qui est défendu admirablement par l’isolement.
La révolte est un réflexe de l’homme vivant.
La liberté, c’est la possibilité d’être et non l’obligation d’être.
Mon seul désir est de m’enrichir de nouvelles pensées exaltantes.
Il est difficile de penser en ne pensant à rien.
“….what really matters is not to change our life, dreaming another one more interesting, what matters is to make this life speak for itself, the way it was given to us, the everyday life , the humble, the human, the one in which everything that could be sought must therefore exist .”
This one has been doing the rounds of atheist media and both Jerry Coyne and Sam Harris have posted it. I’ve never been a fan of Sinatra’s music but he is impressively articulate here and one has to admire his integrity. As he points out at the end of this excerpt, such opinions could have seriously damaged his career at that time.
Playboy: All right, let’s start with the most basic question there is: Are you a religious man? Do you believe in God?
Sinatra: Well, that’ll do for openers. I think I can sum up my religious feelings in a couple of paragraphs. First: I believe in you and me. I’m like Albert Schweitzer and Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein in that I have a respect for life—in any form. I believe in nature, in the birds, the sea, the sky, in everything I can see or that there is real evidence for. If these things are what you mean by God, then I believe in God. But I don’t believe in a personal God to whom I look for comfort or for a natural on the next roll of the dice. I’m not unmindful of man’s seeming need for faith; I’m for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. But to me religion is a deeply personal thing in which man and God go it alone together, without the witch doctor in the middle. The witch doctor tries to convince us that we have to ask God for help, to spell out to him what we need, even to bribe him with prayer or cash on the line. Well, I believe that God knows what each of us wants and needs. It’s not necessary for us to make it to church on Sunday to reach Him. You can find Him anyplace. And if that sounds heretical, my source is pretty good: Matthew, Five to Seven, The Sermon on the Mount.
Playboy: You haven’t found any answers for yourself in organized religion?
Sinatra: There are things about organized religion which I resent. Christ is revered as the Prince of Peace, but more blood has been shed in His name than any other figure in history. You show me one step forward in the name of religion and I’ll show you a hundred retrogressions. Remember, they were men of God who destroyed the educational treasures at Alexandria, who perpetrated the Inquisition in Spain, who burned the witches at Salem. Over 25,000 organized religions flourish on this planet, but the followers of each think all the others are miserably misguided and probably evil as well. In India they worship white cows, monkeys and a dip in the Ganges. The Moslems accept slavery and prepare for Allah, who promises wine and revirginated women. And witch doctors aren’t just in Africa. If you look in the L.A. papers of a Sunday morning, you’ll see the local variety advertising their wares like suits with two pairs of pants.
Playboy: Hasn’t religious faith just as often served as a civilizing influence?
Sinatra: Remember that leering, cursing lynch mob in Little Rock reviling a meek, innocent little 12-year-old Negro girl as she tried to enroll in public school? Weren’t they—or most of them—devout churchgoers? I detest the two-faced who pretend liberality but are practiced bigots in their own mean little spheres. I didn’t tell my daughter whom to marry, but I’d have broken her back if she had had big eyes for a bigot. As I see it, man is a product of his conditioning, and the social forces which mold his morality and conduct—including racial prejudice—are influenced more by material things like food and economic necessities than by the fear and awe and bigotry generated by the high priests of commercialized superstition. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m for decency—period. I’m for anything and everything that bodes love and consideration for my fellow man. But when lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday—cash me out.
Playboy: But aren’t such spiritual hypocrites in a minority? Aren’t most Americans fairly consistent in their conduct within the precepts of religious doctrine?
Sinatra: I’ve got no quarrel with men of decency at any level. But I can’t believe that decency stems only from religion. And I can’t help wondering how many public figures make avowals of religious faith to maintain an aura of respectability. Our civilization, such as it is, was shaped by religion, and the men who aspire to public office anyplace in the free world must make obeisance to God or risk immediate opprobrium. Our press accurately reflects the religious nature of our society, but you’ll notice that it also carries the articles and advertisements of astrology and hokey Elmer Gantry revivalists. We in America pride ourselves on freedom of the press, but every day I see, and so do you, this kind of dishonesty and distortion not only in this area but in reporting—about guys like me, for instance, which is of minor importance except to me; but also in reporting world news. How can a free people make decisions without facts? If the press reports world news as they report about me, we’re in trouble.
Playboy: Are you saying that…
Sinatra: No, wait, let me finish. Have you thought of the chance I’m taking by speaking out this way? Can you imagine the deluge of crank letters, curses, threats and obscenities I’ll receive after these remarks gain general circulation? Worse, the boycott of my records, my films, maybe a picket line at my opening at the Sands. Why? Because I’ve dared to say that love and decency are not necessarily concomitants of religious fervor.
A traveler in thirteenth-century France met three men pushing wheelbarrows along the road. He asked them what manner of work they were doing and received the following three answers: The first said, “I toil from sunup to sundown and all I get for my pains is a few pennies each day.” The second said, “I am glad enough to push this barrow for I have been long out of work and have a family to feed.” The third said, “I am building the cathedral of Chartres!”
Slightly adapted from Ben Shahn, The Shape of Content
Painting by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot