As an artist and a student of philosophy, an honest perspective is essential. If there is no counter balance to my self-referencing subjectivity, I end up gravitationally locked into my own orbit – which makes for a pretty small universe. Both the artist and the philosopher are tasked with getting outside of the box enough so as to observe and interpret what’s happening in the box. So is this even possible – can we actually remove ourselves from the center of our own universe? This is precisely what I believe my Christian faith calls me to do – the act of worshipping God, forces me to recalibrate my perspective, to loosen my grip enough on my own universe to recognize the larger universe within which God has placed me.
Some may find this beyond counter-intuitive and downright antithetical to having an open mind. The idea of being tethered to an ego maniacal deity that requires praise is considered the very epitome of narrow mindedness. But more often than not, this is the conclusion of someone who is unaware of just how self-referencing their atheistic perspective truly is – filtering everything through the egocentric assumption that they are being open-minded by ironically dismissing something outside of their paradigm.
God doesn’t need our praise. It is in fact, we who require the clarity that comes from discovering that we are not God. In praising God we are given the gift of surrendering the little fiefdoms we’ve constructed around our opinions, of thinking our existential assessments are anything more than self-serving explanations. Rather, it is the transcendence found in God that becomes the fulcrum on which all else turns, by which all understanding is contextualized . . . because if a creator God actually does exist – then logic dictates that in order to truly understand creation one must first attempt some understanding of God.
So with my compass finally fixed on the true north of reality, I begin to see others, no longer through the limitations of my own evaluation, but as God sees them. They are the beloved of God, made in his image, given an immeasurable value. I am no longer free to steal from them dignity, or place myself in judgement of them – we are all equally in need of God’s grace . . . a transcendent appraisal of equality.
In contrast, the self-referencing person assumes that because they choose not to judge – that they are somehow non-judgmental. But that’s not the same thing as realizing that they aren’t actually qualified or entitled to be such an arbiter. Arguably, existential assessments of equality are by their very arbitrary nature inequitable – lacking an immutable foundation.
So if my perspective is to ever be set free, it will not occur by feigning objectivity, it will require something (someone) larger than myself to expand it for me. And like all artists, it is my resident desire to widen my perspective, to see what isn’t being seen, to be able to see differently what is in plain sight. This is likely why artists are so eclectic—always looking for new influences, a different take, another way around . . . to experience a new reaction – to unlock a new response.
This is from my Chiaroscuro Collection
Longing for a New Response
I chase my last thought back to a Pavlovian predetermined response
Kept under lock and key where I work this circle
Imagination is finite like the glimmer of a firefly
Against the star-flung beauty of the night
The light of a billion suns burning for a million years
To the forced perspective of my foolish eye, appears similar
Earth-bound dust of God’s breath
I capture light and peer into this mysterious black
Holding out my candle—longing for a new response.