Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Most Fundamental Form of Passion

Charles Burchfield
"November Sun Emerging"
Watercolor on paper
37 3/4 x 31 7/8 inches
"[How] can we account for that irresistible instinct in our hearts which leads us towards unity whenever and in whatever direction our passions are stirred? A sense of the universe, a sense of the all, the nostalgia which seizes us when confronted by nature, beauty, music - these seem to be an expectation and awareness of a Great Presence. [...] Resonance to the All - the keynote of pure poetry and pure religion. Once again: what does this phenomenon, which is born with thought and grows with it, reveal if not a deep accord between two realities which seek each other; the severed particle which trembles at the approach of 'the rest'?

We are often inclined to think that we have exhausted the various natural forms of love with a man's love for his wife, his children, his friends and to a certain extent for his country. Yet precisely the most fundamental form of passion is missing from this list, the one which, under the pressure of an involuting universe, precipitates the elements one upon the other in the Whole cosmic affinity and hence cosmic sense. A universal love is not only psychologically possible; it is the only complete and final way in which we are able to love."

- excerpt from The Phenomenon of Man, by paleontologist, geologist, philosopher, and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Image credit:Burchfield image ripped from Mark Harden's Artchive

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