Saturday, October 1


Of course, it is impossible to state objectively that everyone can find this transcendence in certain specific works of art. It suffices to note that the level exists and it is possible to experience it in some works of art. One of us will find it in a landscape by Leonardo or a poem by Goethe; another will find it elsewhere. But in any event we may say that this experience can be gained... only by those who are open and prepared for it. For even when the highest form of artistic reality has achieved objective existence in a work, it must be reborn in subjective human experience.

And it seems to us that one of the principal functions of all art is precisely... to bring the individual himself to transcendence -- that is, to raise him above time and epoch and also above the limited eternity realized in any limited archetypal form -- to lead him to the timeless radiant dynamic that is at the heart of the world.

In this sense the greatest art is a learning to see in the way described by Rabbi Nachman of Bratislava: "Just as a hand held before the eyes conceals the greatest mountain, so does petty earthly life conceal from view the vast lights and mysteries of which the world is full, and he who can withdraw it from his eyes, as one withdraws a hand, will behold the great light of the innermost world."

-- Erich Neumann Art and the Creative Unconscious
Translated by Ralph Manheim