Speaking of Arts

From the book Insearch: psychology and religion by James Hillman

“A solution that keeps the intentionality of consciousness yet forgoes its active thrust has been called the art of listening. This art has perhaps fallen into decline along with that of conversation.”

The Kindle edition I am reading was last updated in 1994. Bringing the statement forward and making it as if written in 2014 I ask, “Do you think”

A projection of sort. In 1994 I listened little. Today I feel I do more, but not enough. Still, as I project onto the world my own failings, I claim progress.

Can the world claim the same, even if a little? I think not.

Conversation on a public stage is in remission. My readings tell me that humans do worse in groups. Whatever darkness we have individually are disproportionally multiplied when ever two or more gather as one.

I propose we make listening a graduate degree. I bet those who earn it will become more valuable to corporations than lawyers.

Dancing in The Shadows

In Owning Your Own Shadow, author Robert Johnson writes, “Narrow creativity always brings a narrow shadow, while broader talents call up a greater portion of the dark.”

Most of my life I thought that avoiding my shadow meant success. Now I am distressed to learn how totally untrue this is. It is incredible to me that I have found in my writing a willingness to do just the opposite. More than a willingness, I have an almost panicky desire to dance in the shadows. I can’t get there fast enough.

I hope you learned to dance before I did.

Follow Your Dream Ponderings

I once was taught that the mindset of following one’s dream is a good way to go broke.  I know many close to me who would ask ( and not necessarily complimentary) when have I not followed my dream.

There is truth in this, but I kind of did it half heartedly. I think I looked for ways to have fun, but anything deeper was not a requirement. I dared not to dream. Not really.

I am fascinated with people who as part of their dream fought for a cause. My latest fascination continues to be Robinson Jeffers.

Dr. Peter Quigley in his book Housing the Environmental Imagination writes, “Five years after moving to Carmel, California in 1919, Jeffers bought 16 lots for $200 apiece, eventually owning 36 lots, none with a purchase price any higher than $3,000.” This over a ten year span.

Jeffers’s son Donnan reported that in 1977 these lots had a value of $200,000. We can only imagine what Jeffers’s dream is worth today. “Dreams, a good way to go broke.” Can I blame it on my mother?

The Sun

The Sun

What if it missed,

Held back,

Didn’t rise?

Darkness stayed

Breaths held

Disappointment palpable.



©2014, Robert B. Ritchie

All rights reserved


Last night I watched American Idol and was ready to watch Nature. This last is as dark as I want to get. It is at least real. But dark for dark’s sake I don’t like, no matter if it is reading or viewing.

After Idol my wife opted to watch Fargo and I said go ahead I am going to read and then go to bed. Asleep by 9, a good thing because the dog woke me up at 3.

In A Religion of One’s Own, Thomas Moore writes about art, ” We need paintings and other art around us that will shatter our comfort with reality as we understand it. Good art moves us along and keeps us from being complacent….Bad art, especially bad spiritual art, takes us nowhere.”

My observations of art, whether it be a TV show, an Internet blog, a book or a painting is becoming more discerning. I look for purpose. If its meant to be entertainment, then I want to be entertained and I don’t want dark. If it is to move me along, then show me the polluted air, the drug dealers with full profanities in Baltimore, or dead elephants in India.

But violence in Fargo? I don’t get its purpose and for me it is not entertaining.

American Idol? Pure entertainment and a few of the 99% get richer. I like that.