ADDING YET ANOTHER MOUTHFUL to the Internet’s already immoderate digital feast begs explanation. Mine is this: we have all forgotten what we really are. These words of G.K. Chesterton have given cohesion to many conversations and thoughts that I have had on the subject of creativity in modern life.
The modern world specializes in mastering our material needs, but lacks the breadth to serve our immaterial ones. I am daily grateful for the devices and discoveries that ease modern existence. Yet, the pragmatism that contrives innovations can dull our sensitivity to the Romance that conceives them. The dishwasher is no less the product of technical skill than of the wild fantasy that dishes might wash themselves. Do we ever spend the hours that these marvelous machines spare us on the act of marveling? Or do we simply press on to the next task, ever more bent on satisfying our practical concerns?
Chesterton continues, “All that we call common sense and rationality and practicality and positivism only means that for certain dead levels of our life we forget that we have forgotten”. When we carry on a little too calmly, when we cease to take offense at mediocrity, or delight in beauty, we become oblivious to our failure to live fully human lives. The elation of creativity awakens us to the reality that we thirst for wonder as much as water. In Chesterton’s words, “All that we call spirit and art and ecstasy only means that for one awful instant we remember that we forget“.
The project of The Remembered Arts Journal is to provoke the “awful instants” that startle us into recollecting what we really are: erring, astonishing, human persons. Art is the intersection of our limited abilities and our limitless aspirations. In whatever form it takes, creativity both humbles and elevates us. It is my hope that readers and contributors will find, in this obscure corner of the Internet, a space in which to pause and remember what they really are.
Photograph by Jean Matich