With Eyes Wide Open   Leave a comment

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Image: “Angel Novus” — Paul Klee

With Eye”s Wide Open,
It’s Hard To Believe the Situation We Are In.

Today’s leaders continue to justify yesterday’s mistakes. Five years ago we began what has become “. . . a nightmare of spiraling violence, sectarian warfare, insurgency, roadside bombing and ghastly executions.” (NY Times, March 20, 2008) Over 4,000 American military have died, and 160,000 are daily in harm’s way. In addition to the US troops, over 180,000 contract civilians and several thousand civilian government employees are stationed in Iraq. It is difficult to obtained exact numbers, but it’s
estimated that the total number killed, wounded, and displaced is in the millions. All these five years after we invaded Iraq.

The administration and many in Congress continue to create their own “facts” for its “war on terror” as they continue their work in the “dark side,” to use Cheney’s words.

“A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies, if we’re going to be
successful. That’s the world these folks operate in, and so it’s going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective.” — Meet the Press, 9/16/2001

Normally, I spend a lot of time trying to learn more to better understand the human existence. But, every now and then I turn to what I already know and have experienced, from which there is still much to learn. Just taking the time to listen to the music, art and books I have -– taking the time to internalize the magic of the music, carefully read the depth of the words and looking anew at that which makes the “visible” visible. Why seek more before making use of what I already have. Plus, what good is life without making complete use of what we already have, because life is given only once?

When I do turn to my already gathered knowledge and experience, especially in times unspeakable destruction that impales our future, I frequently turn to one of the most creative minds of the 20th century, Paul Klee. Among Klee’s paintings are a series of angels.

Like in one of his most famous, “Angelus Novus,” Klee’s angels are very fragmented creatures, appearing very elusive. Walter Benjamin was so taken by Angelus Novus that he bought the painting. In his interpretation of the painting, Benjamin seems to see in the angel the despair many of us feel in our not being able to help the victims of yet another unjust war. Benjamin wrote:

“A Klee painting named “Angelus Novus” shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned towards the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling up ruin upon ruin and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which its back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.”

“Art does not reproduce the visible, rather it makes visible.”

—Paul Klee

“Listen to what you see
You are blind to what you hear
Listen to what you see
Do not fear the truth beneath
Reach for roots beneath the trees
Listen to the words you seek
Don’t listen to a word they say
Do NOT listen to a word you’ve heard
Do not listen to a word you’ve heard
People are people we live for our own
Live how you think not by what you’ve been told. . .”
— Justin Nozuka – Don’t Listen to a Word You’ve Heard

 


— kenne

Posted May 30, 2009 by kenneturner in 360 Revisited

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