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State of Mankind

Chapter Eleven: Desecrating the Arts

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How the Specter of Communism Is Ruling Our World

Chapter Eleven: Desecrating the Arts

Table of Contents

1. Art: A Gift From the Divine

2. Art’s Immense Influence on Humanity

3. Communism’s Sabotage and Abuse of Art
a. Art in Communist Countries
b. Communist Elements Behind the Avant-Garde
c. The Inversion of Traditional Aesthetics: The Ugly as Art
d. The Perversion of Literature


1. Art: A Gift From the Divine

Human civilization has produced countless books on what constitute true beauty. Theists know that all the wonders in the world come from Heaven. Profound art is an attempt to emulate and display the beauty of Heaven in the human world. An artist’s inspiration comes from the gods.

If artists receive the enlightenment and blessings from gods, they can become outstanding figures in their fields.

With strong faith and devotion to the divine, great artists during the Renaissance plumbed their ingenuity to create works in praise of gods. Their righteous thoughts and benevolent acts received divine affirmation and blessing. Artists in the mid-Renaissance period, including Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Rafael, grasped techniques that far exceeded their predecessors and their peers, as if by miracle. Their works — including paintings, statues, and architecture — became the timeless classics of the art world.

For centuries, these works set a noble example for humanity. By appreciating these works, not only can the artists of later generations study pure artistic technique, but members of the public are also able to truly feel and see the divine presence. When these works, the techniques that created them, and the spirit that infused the artists, are all preserved, human society is able to maintain a connection with the divine. Then, even as human society goes through its period of decadence and decline, there will be hope for a return to tradition and a path to salvation.

The same principles prevail in the sphere of music. As the saying, reportedly from a German opera house, goes: “Bach gave us God’s word. Mozart gave us God’s laughter. Beethoven gave us God’s fire. God gave us music that we might pray without words.” For his entire life, Johann Sebastian Bach considered the praise, worship, and devotion to God the highest principle in the creation of his music. On all of his important musical scores, the letters SDG can be seen — an abbreviation of “Soli Deo gloria,” meaning “Glory to God alone.”

This is the highest realm an artist can attain — the materialization of heavenly objects in the human realm through revelation from God. The great paintings and statues, the most sublime scores in the early, baroque, and classical canon, were all the work of religious believers and represent the pinnacle of artistic work man can attain.

The three most important elements in artistic creation are representation, creation, and communication. All artistic creations contain a theme, that is, the message the author seeks to communicate regardless of the art form, whether poem, painting, statue, photography, novel, play, dance, or film. The artist delivers the theme into the hearts of the reader, listener, or viewer. This process is the communication — the transmission to the recipient of the artist’s mind.

To achieve the goal of communication, artists must possess a superb ability to imitate and re-present — with the object of imitation being the world of gods or of man, or even the underworld. On the basis of their target of representation, artists began their creation — a process of refining the deeper or more essential elements of the object, and the strengthening of their own expressiveness or ability to communicate and reach into the heart of their audience. If the artist possesses a righteous faith in the divine and in morality, the divine will endow him with the inspiration of creation. Such works will then be divine, pure, and benevolent — beneficial to both the artist and society.

On the other hand, when the artist abandons moral standards, negative elements hijack the creative process, with evil forces exerting influence and using the artist to depict hideous creations and grotesqueries from the underworld. Works of this kind harm their author and the wider society.

The value of the orthodox, traditional arts thus becomes clear. Divine culture and art in the East and the West were connections woven between the gods and human civilization, and were meant to bring them into contact. The ideas and messages transmitted through this art are beauty, benevolence, light, and hope. On the other hand, corrupt arts are created by those under the control of evil elements. They drive a wedge between man and God and drag man closer to evil.

2. Art’s Immense Influence on Humanity

Great works of art transmit heritage, disseminate knowledge and wisdom, and fortify character. They hold exalted positions in the great civilizations of the East and West.

The ancient Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras believed that the secret of music is in its imitation of the harmony of the heavenly bodies, which itself reflects the harmony of the universe. The Chinese held similar views. The Chinese classics Records of the Grand Historian and the Classic of Music both discuss music’s correspondence with the five elements, and how musical instruments ought to represent and emulate the patterns of heaven and earth. Only in this way can “music of the grandest style” exhibit “the same harmony that prevails between heaven and earth.” [10] In ancient Chinese stories, this music is able to attract the crane and phoenix, and even summon celestial beings.

Confucius once said, “The Zhou dynasty has before it the two Ages. How rich in culture! I follow the Zhou.” [2] He admired how the Zhou emperor ruled with ritual and music: “The Sage-Emperor Shun invented a five-stringed musical instrument, which he called qin, sang to its tune about the gentle summer breeze from the south, and lo and behold, his empire was well-regulated [under the benign influence of his music].” [3]

The Music of Prince of Qin Breaking Up the Enemy’s Front, composed by the first emperor of the Tang Dynasty, Li Shimin, was respected by the surrounding ethnic minorities. The New Book of Tang recorded that on the journey to seek Buddhist scriptures from the West, monk Xuanzang was told by a king in one of the principalities, “Your Emperor must be a saint, for he composed Music of Prince of Qin Breaking Up the Enemy’s Front.” [4]

During the reign of Louis XIV, the French royal court displayed high elegance through dance and art. Dance contains not only the techniques of movement, but also social etiquette and norms. Louis XIV inspired Europe through the art and culture of his court and was emulated by other courts and the population at large in Europe.

Not only was Frederick the Great of Prussia an outstanding king, but he was also an accomplished musician, composer, and flutist. He ordered the construction of the Berlin Opera House, personally supervised the opera, and opened it to a wider set of social classes. To this day, opera remains an important part of German culture. These few examples make clear the long-lasting influence that orthodox art can exert on society.

Orthodox art conforms to natural law, imitates divine wisdom, and brings with it special energy and effects. It has a beneficial impact on people, both physically and spiritually. Orthodox artists work not only at the physical, technical level, but also, more importantly, at the spiritual level, in their communion with the theme of the work. Such artists sometimes express a sense of experiencing a higher force beyond this physical world. The effect is similar to that of singing an ode to God — a solemn and divine experience that transcends human language.

For those who appreciate fine art, it is a special vehicle for communion with the divine. Behind art lies the accumulated wisdom of a people, their creativity, and inspiration. There are often profound meanings that go far beyond what is seen on the surface. Some works transmit a special kind of spiritual energy. All of this has an effect on viewers at a deep, spiritual level. The effect is singular and irreplaceable by any other means.

A good artist can influence the morality of society by instilling values into people’s hearts through touching stories and images. Even those without deep learning or education can gain insight, inspiration, and the moral lessons that traditional art conveys. In traditional societies, consider how many learned right from wrong, good from evil, through the medium of folk tales such as “The Little Mermaid” and “Snow White.” How many Chinese learned from the four masterpiece novels of Chinese history and from the traditional arts of storytelling and drama? Such works display heavenly principles to man, allow man to feel divine greatness, and make him yearn to assimilate to heavenly principles.

Degenerate values also exert an invisible influence through art. Professor Robert McKee wrote in his book Story: “Every effective story sends a charged idea out to us, in effect compelling the idea into us, so that we must believe. In fact, the persuasive power of a story is so great that we may believe its meaning even if we find it morally repellent.” [5]

In both positive and negative terms, art can have a tremendous impact on human morality, thought, and behavior. This is no exaggeration. Modern society bears many examples for study.

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