Thursday, March 19, 2009

That's Right, Pop Never Did Eat Itself ... Or Its Gods

Fig. 1. Andy Warhol - Christ 112 Times (detail), 1986

'Mortal men ask God for good things every day, but never pray that they may make good use of them. They want fortune to wait upon their desires, but they are not concerned that desire should wait upon reason. They would like all their household furniture down to the last article to be made as beautiful as possible, but they are hardly ever concerned that the soul should become beautiful. They diligently seek out remedies for bodily diseases, but neglect the diseases of the soul. They think they can be at peace with others, yet they continually wage war with themselves. For there is a constant battle between body and soul, between the sense and reason. They believe they can find themselves a faithful friend in others, but not one of them keeps faith with himself. What they have praised, they reject; what they have desired, they do not want; and contrariwise. They lay out the parts of the buildings to a measure, and tune strings on a lyre to a hair's breadth, but they never attempt to harmonise the parts and movements of the soul. They make stone into the likeness of living men, and they make living men into stones; they despise wise men themselves, but they honour the statues and names of the wise. They claim to know about everyone else's affairs, although they do not know about their own ...

What a sorry state! We seek the greatest in the least, the high in the low, good in evil, rest in activity, peace in dissension, plenty in penury; in short, life in death.

I beg you, my friends, let us seek the same ends that we are already seeking, but let us not continue to seek them in the same place. The man who believes he will find a thing in its opposite is mad and miserable.


Marcilio Ficino (from The Folly and Misery of Men, c. 1463)