Worship is an act of awe. Artists who have detached themselves from a religious grounding, don’t fly but merely float away. Their creativity has no reference point. They try to be original. They try to be different. They try to shock. But endless shock merely makes us senseless. We have lost our true appreciation of surprise because we have the purpose of creativity precisely backwards. “The function of imagination,” says Chesterton, “is not to make strange things settled, so much as to make settled things strange; not so much to make wonders facts as to make facts wonders.
–Dale Ahlquist, G.K. Chesterton and the Use of the Imagination
Artwork: Toil Today Dream Tonight, by Vincent Van Gogh
Iain McGilchrist in his famous book The Master and his Emissary. McGilchrist, both a brain scientist and a literary critic . . . argues that modern western culture has exhibited large-scale symptoms that correspond to the schizophrenia in which the brain’s left hemisphere dominates and the right hemisphere is under-used or screened out altogether. He insists that this is deeply unhealthy, since the right hemisphere, which handles metaphor, music, imagination, poetry and indeed faith, is designed to take the lead (‘the Master’), and the left hemisphere, which crunches the numbers and works out the details, is designed to back it up (‘the Emissary’). The take-over bid by the left brain produces, in a culture, the same effect as when the bean-counters take over the business. That’s not their job. The beans need to be counted, of course. But that must serve the larger purpose, which can never be glimpsed by merely counting beans.