Writing has never been “difficult” for me. Perhaps sometimes seemingly pointless and self-defeating in a practical, “real world” sense, but never difficult. No, not in the slightest. It has, however, certainly been “challenging” at times, though a more apt term is probably “uncomfortable” – particularly when I’m in over my head in seas far too deep and treacherous for my current level of literary prowess to manage, of which I feel has been the state of my seas for at least the last three weeks. If nothing else, my language feels impossibly circuitous and needlessly wordy, such fatness of speech which I hope to trim and dress through the editing process which, as I’ve said time and again, is that particular stage in the creative process which, though tedious, separates great writers from good and is, in fact, that which makes one “a writer” in the first place and not merely a person “talks with words”. This discomfort, of which I am feeling this very moment, is probably an indicator I have found the right pitch, tenor, and musicality for whatever it is I am trying to convey, the likes of which is always kept from me until I complete a work, and only seldom then.
In the domain of Reason, all is art and nothing more. Some art is, however, more beautiful and captivating than others, or to say another way, “truer”, as in “closer in alignment to the transcendent plumbline of actual Truth”.
Reason only has the capacity to deal in that which might or might not be “true”, not in Truth itself which is necessarily eternal, immutable, and not subject to the distractions of time. That which Reason acclaims to be true can only be arrived at by the consensual approval of the consensus itself insofar as such trueness is expressed and repeatedly validated through the justification(s) of time. As such, some things that Reason expresses – like art – can naturally be truer or more endurable and resistant to change than others. Poetry, for example, as the most emphatic art of language, typically expresses that which is truer and more enduring than anything that can be expressed by the trimmed-down, directness of prose, even if that prose attempts to mimic the poetry of poetry. All the same, fictional narrations will always be truer, more beautiful, powerful, and lasting than actual history, as will certain paintings be truer and more captivating than any vista taken in by man’s sight, and so on and so forth. For an actual vista has not the power in and of itself to convey anything beyond “what it is (or appears)”, which is to say, simply “a vista”.
Art’s ability to confound, excite, allure, fascinate, and bewitch the senses and thus befuddle the machinations of Reason is that which grants it a certain transcendent power over and above “what is”. Mystery has a similar, though not identical effect, as do miracles, signs, wonders, and paradoxes to include any other phenomenon that might arrest the normal narrative flow of language and by it, the internal unfoldment of time. Mystery, however, appears to originate outside the will of man and thus – like a vista – cannot express anything beyond what it “appears to be”. Art, however, insofar as it originates in man, does have transcendental power – both in its communication by the artist and sublimation by the recipient.
Art, therefore, as it pertains to the possible apprehension and elucidation of what might be “truest” of our lived experience, has a far higher and greater value than “nature” or what might be considered “natural phenomenon”, principally because, insofar as art originates in man, it can be expressed in a way that it apparently “is not”. The power of art “to not be” what it apparently “is” that which plants it firmly in the shadowlands between Faith and Reason and allows it to be a potential vehicle to ferry a man between “what is” and “what is not” so that neither domain gains primacy over the other; primacy which would eventually cause both domains to collapse and lose their structural purpose and function, those which can only be known in the light of the apparent deficiencies of the other.
Devil walks into bar. Orders drink. Asks Philosopher sitting next to him: “And what do you do?”