The Difference Between Here and There

Ophelia, by John William Waterhouse. 1894

And so I thought . . .

That Art which appears as a foreign nation over the sea, with a language all its own, with signs that point to something just hidden, just out of reach. For now.

It has an edge to it. It calls to us, but is never pretty. It must be followed. We must take the leap, take the voyage, depart for the other side. Its foreignness draws us like a sublime magnet, a masked pied piper who tugs at us like a thief of love. We go anyway.

Never pretty, never sweet, never soothing, it strikes at us, slaps us in the face, stuns us with a kind of delayed violence, both intellectual and physical, cerebral and primitive. Lightning is its host and impresario. Thunder its PR campaign.

I search for it like a religious experience, the kind Kierkegaard talked about when he said religion gets in its way. Meaning, the Holy Other, not the pedestrian or the bureaucratically sanctioned. Revolutionary, off the charts, kick-ass, unforgettably rare . . .

Its rarity brings nobility. Its uniqueness restores our faith. For those of us who believe in an egalitarian Republic of the Arts, an anarchic, full-on, supercharged democracy, these blasts, these volcanic eruptions of genius are necessary for our sustainability. Set the table for everyone to share the fruits of equality, and individuals will flourish beyond anything our current status quo can imagine.

The Other will come home.


—by Douglas Pinson


The Difference Between Here and There
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