Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Parables of Søren Kierkegaard

When I get lost, sometimes this brings me home...
The Two Artists

What is the difference between requiring love of the neighbor and finding lovableness in the neighbor?

…Suppose there were two artists, and the one said, I have travelled much and seen much in the world, but I have sought in vain to find a man worth painting. I have found no face with such perfection of beauty that I could make up in my mind to paint it. In every face I have seen one or another little fault. Therefore I seek in vain.” Would this indicate that this artist was a great artist?

On the other hand, the second one said, “Well, I do not pretend to be a real artist: neither have I travelled in foreign lands. But remaining in the little circle of men who are closest to me, I have not found a face so insignificant or so full of faults that I still could not discern in it a more beautiful side and discover something glorious. Therefore I am happy in the art I practice. It satisfies me without my making any claim to being an artist.” Would this not indicate that precisely this one was the artist, one who by bringing a certain something with him found then and there what the much travelled artist did not find anywhere in the world, perhaps because he did not bring a certain something with him!

Consequently the second of the two was the artist. Would it not be sad, too, if what is intended to beautify life could only be a curse upon it, so that art, instead of making life beautiful for us, only fastidiously discovers that not one of us is beautiful. Would it not be sadder still, and still more confusing, if love also should only be a curse because its demand could only make it evident that none of us is worth loving, instead of love’s being recognized by precisely by its loving enough to be able to find lovableness in all of us, consequently loving enough to be able to love all of us.

–Søren Kierkegaard

Works of Love, pp. 156-57

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