Art Making is not an answer, it is a question.
Since antiquity humankind has asked, “Who am I, why am I here?” What is being? What is idea, truth, beauty, goodness, soul, matter, energy, consciousness, the One...eternity? How does it all work, what does it all mean? Experiencing Art asks us all of this at once, and in an instant.
Religion asks us to have Faith and to believe in Meaning. Science seeks to discover Meaning. Whether it is introduced through through vision or audition, whether literal, abstract or any combination, when we experience Art it instantly connects us to our existence. We are jolted and in one transcendental moment an experience of Art reminds us once again that we here, we exist, while simultaneously reminding us we do not fully understand the Meaning of that fact.
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"Being is desirable because it is identical with Beauty, and Beauty is loved because it is Being. We ourselves possess Beauty when we are true to our own being; ugliness is in going over to another order; knowing ourselves, we are beautiful; in self-ignorance, we are ugly."
Man is situated ontologically at the juncture of two universes, 'like a horizon of the corporeal and of the spiritual.'
- from the thinking of St. Thomas Aquinas
"The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle. It was the experience of mystery — even if mixed with fear — that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms-it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvelous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavor to comprehend a portion, be it never so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature."
- Albert Einstein
"The revelation of art is not ethics, nor a judgment, nor even humanity as one generally thinks of it. Rather, the revelation is a marveling recognition of the radiant Form of forms that shines through all things. In the simplest terms, I think we might say that when a situation or phenomenon evokes in us a sense of existence (instead of some reference to the possibility of an assurance of meaning) we have had an experience of this kind. The sense of existence evoked may be shallow or profound, more or less intense, according to our capacity or readiness; but even a brief shock (say for example, when discovering the moon over the city roofs or hearing a sharp bird cry at night) can yield an experience of the order of no-mind: that is to say, the poetical order, the order of art. When this occurs, our own reality-beyond-meaning is awakened (or perhaps better: we are awakened to our own reality beyond meaning) and we experience an affect that is neither thought nor feeling but an interior impact. The phenomenon, disengaged from cosmic references, has disengaged ourselves, by the principle, well known to magic by which like conjures like. In fact both magic of art and the art of magic derive from and are addressed to experiences of this order. Hence the power of the meaningless syllables, the mumbo-jumbo of magic and the meaningless verbalization's of metaphysics, lyric poetry and art interpretation function evocatively, not referentially; like the beat of the shaman’s drum, not like a formula of Einstein. One moment later and we have classified the experience and may be having utterable feelings that are in the public domain and they will be either sentimental or profound, according to our education. But according to our life, we have had, for an instant, a sense of existence: a moment of unevaluated, unimpeded, lyric life, antecedent to both thought and feeling; such can never be communicated by means of empirically verifiable propositions, but only suggested by art."
- Joseph Campbell