One can learn something from everyone. Everyone has a story. For artists, those stories are often told as confessions. Confessions of the past, of the present, of the future. Confessions of reality, and of fantasy.
The value or the quality of a story has little to do with its truthfulness, and much to do with its believability. Vantage point determines perception. Perception determines belief. Belief determines reality.
It is not proof, proof of anything, that artists offer. Proof is highly overrated. Artists place your fingers upon the pulse of their lives, not to prove they are living, but simply that you might feel, feel, from your fingertips to your heart, from your heart to your head, what they feel.
Confessions are meant to be heard; secrets are best kept silent.
If it is not broken, don’t fix it. If you can’t fix it, don’t break it. Patriarchal religion has shattered the benignity, the harmony of earlier matricentral spiritualities. The church has bastardised Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant. American fundamentalist evangelicals have adulterated it again into a camouflaged version of fascism. The Communist Party wasted Communism. Democrats and Republicans in the United States have made a mockery of democracy. The United Nations, and globalisation, in general, is but a parody of unification. The European Union serves only the socio-economic interests of those already at socio-economic advantage; to hell with the smaller woman and man. The Jews, and their god of war, inspire the same in their neighbours. And philosophers rave on about how to fix it all.
The difference between religion and spirituality is simple. Instead of the self-glorifying temples and churches of religion, spirituality offers communion with the divine within the mind and heart alone. In place of the dogma of religion there are the precepts of spirituality. Replacing the hard-edged wounding reins of religious ideology, spirituality meditates upon that force, or power, outside of and greater than oneself, owing to its universality and eternality, through intellectual contemplation and cultivation of the mystical.
The mind is a pathological liar that insists either that things are better than they really are, or worse than they really are. Emotions are the contrivances of the mind falsely devised to embellish the lies, to intensify, to deepen, to heighten, to extend the delusion. The emotion predominant in the fallacies of the mind is fear, the response to an imagined threat, the most fundamental implement of tyranny in the subjugation of the masses.
Pagan is merely pre-Christian. Only amongst Christians does it have a censorious, condemnatory, derogatory meaning. There may be born-again Christians, but born-again pagans? Why borrow an appellation from the religion that has sought for centuries to deny and to destroy the validity of all pagan spirituality? Is that not tantamount to the small family-owned organic farm buying genetically modified seed and toxic chemical fertiliser from government subsidised industrial agriculture, then decrying the pollution of its fields?
All of this conveyed, Anthony Kronman’s ‘Confessions of a Born-Again Pagan’ is thoroughly admirable in its analysis of the problem, noble in its motivation of compromise. Many great minds and hearts have endeavoured to fix all that their antecedents broke. It is surely broken. Can it be fixed, though, through philosophy, through the mind at all? I would argue, no, it cannot.
Interest, fascination, infatuation, obsession, all lie in mystery rather than identity. Within the realm of mystery, love, true love, exists at that moment, that place, where truth and magic collide.