REFLECTION: Foul! PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 August 2011 13:27

That firestorm caused by the blasphemous “Kulo” exhibit at the CCP showed among other things that even artists in the exercise of their freedom of expression and creativity can commit a foul that can merit a red card. They can overstep their limits.

They should be most careful in their work. Since their work is often pioneering, since it is often breaking new frontiers, artists have to expect to raise eyebrows, to be open to misunderstanding among ordinary mortals, and be ready for it.

Obviously, they can do a lot of good since with their artistry which is a great gift, dubbed in the Catechism as “a freely given superabundance of the human being’s inner riches,” they can offer glimpses of sublime truth, goodness and beauty to the rest of humanity who are otherwise stuck in the banalities of daily life.

Artists often provide alternative beautiful ways of conveying truth and beauty that otherwise cannot be captured in words. They have the gift to enter into people’s mind and heart in ways that go beyond logic and rhetoric.

They therefore have to be aware of their privileged position in society and of the delicate responsibility attached to it. The first thing they have to realize is that their artistry and creativity are a gift of God. These have to be acknowledged as such, and not just a human or natural phenomenon with no deeper foundation.

Failing in that fundamental duty would lead artists to drift to nowhere. They would open themselves to the slavery of their passions and prejudices, and to mere external factors—fads and popular practices and customs, etc. These can pull subtle strings that can deceive us with their supposed advantages while hiding their dangers.

That’s why we can have such exhibit as “Kulo” that was packaged as a way to question and to enter into dialogue and debate about faith and religion. I was just wondering that if that was the purpose, then why would those behind it start that dialogue by offending the sensibilities of their supposed target audience? And why bring it to the general public and not to some controlled environment yet?

It’s amazing that many artists think that they can only be most expressive and creative when they do not have to think about God. This is a very dangerous situation, since they deny the truth that God is the source of creativity. Their creativity is, in fact, always a sharing of the creativity of God.

They fail to realize that their talent is always a gift, something given and received, and that therefore it is not completely theirs. It is not self-generated, nor something that once given entitles them to forget the giver.

Obviously this incident is a manifestation of a world gone secularized, where God is banished away. Many people are just depending on their own ideas to know what is good or bad, right or wrong.

I was mortified the other day, for example, while in taxi and the driver was listening to a radio commentary on some political issue. The commentator, who was supposed to be a prominent media man, was dripping with self-righteousness, speaking as if all his pronouncements are dogmas that cannot be questioned by anyone.

He sounded as if he had the monopoly of truth and justice, the exclusive owner if not the very creator of what true and good in this world. With very weak basis for his statements, he flew into a rage, making below-the-belt blows to his target politician at that time. It was a clear case of character assassination.

It made me think that with the way some journalists are, killing them would come as no surprise. Of course, it is not good. It should never be done. But with the way they comment, done with the air of impunity, I believe that they can invite their own assassination.

This is what happens when God is not at the center of our lives and of our affairs. This is what happens when we would just depend on ourselves. We would just be left to our own devices. We could not see the big picture nor listen and consider the positions of others. And we easily could degenerate to chaos.

This was what some observers said about the violent riots that erupted in London recently. They said it is not so much about politics and economics as it is about Godless people who have abandoned God and taken the law into their hands.

We have to shout, “Foul!” --FR. ROY CIMAGALA