Howardism Musings from my Awakening Dementia
My collected thoughts flamed by hubris
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Another quote I have from Phil Cousineau's book, "Creativity belongs to the mythic world because it involves a struggle with the gods."


Not sure if you knew this or not, but the story of Faust was actually inspired by the life and times (and death) of Dr. Johann Faust, a German psychic and magician who died with such mystery that people began to explain his life and subsequent disappearance with a story of him making a pact with the Devil…

And the rest, they say, is history.

Faustian Fascination

In reading the introduction to Once and Future Myths by Phil Cousineau, he makes the statement that "the everyday mind can't seem to reconcile mortal souls with immortal acts."

This would explain our tendency to legendize great people. It bothers us deeply when some scholar reveals that Jefferson had affairs with his slaves, or that JFK had prostitutes sent to his room. We don't like that. We prefer the legend to the reality.

And if we lack details… well, we'll just make them up. We especially love those "Stories of Promise" we invent about the childhood of our heroes. Granted, that story about Washington and his cherry tree are as lame as those stories invented during the Middle Ages about the childhood of Jesus.

I concur with Cousineau's conclusion that this tendency may explain our "rhapsodies on a theme from Faust" that shows up over and over… two choices: like Mozart, God gives you a gift, or like Robert Johnson, you make a pact with the devil. Same thing. I think we have a word for this… prodigy.

However, I think we can accept these "immortal acts" more easily in others than we can in ourselves… and even less from members of our family.

This seems very illogical. But we all have stories from our childhood of unsupportive parents or siblings that couldn't accept greatness from a person who peed on the floor when they were two years old. But I believe that enlightenment and salvation is inside every person.

I've got another idea as well… I think the devil, God, or a muse only visits you a few times in your life. Cousineau quoted Albert Camus, who said, "A man's work is nothing but the slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened."

The road of art is littered with the graves of men who's life's struggle was to surpass a single moment of greatness when they were younger. And yet, there are others who struggle for years and get their moment of gift on their death-bed. Yes, the gods enjoy their game of dice.

My point? Ah, you should know me by now. I simply prefer contemplation.

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