creators of beauty themselves, seekers and tellers of truth. you will meet them and we will find out why they are here in town and we will talk about a range of things in the world of kav catholic arts, learning and culture. so after this right, meet some catholic artists here to talk about catholic arts.
hello and welcome back to mosaic. our guest today are intellectuals and visiting us from out of town. one from south dakota and the other from philadelphia. to my left is james matthew wilson. you are a professor at villanova university. a well-known poet and wildly published. and you are a professor at dakota state university. and joseph, you are also a poet and a widely published essayist. and your current work at dakota state university is directing a think tank for cyber ethics. you are both poets and writers and you are here for a conference that we have on catholic art to.
i am going to hold up this book and hopefully we can get a close-up of this. reni girard was at stanford for many years and has written several books about human nature, desires and human behavior. what does his work have to do with the work of catholic artists such as yourself. inspect the first of all, he was a great model of what he catholic intellectual should be. he drew all things together. he thought of everything. and he left his little out as possible for any modern thinker to do, despite the complexity of he seemed to have wandered
into the second half of the 20th century from 19th century thinkers. and all of that language, like victim hood and scapegoating. he was a pioneer of these words. he was a great thinker. he said it came from a single insight he had in 1959. he said he just chipped away at it until what emerged with catholicism. >> didn't he become a renewed catholic? >> i am sure that these mystical moments in the late 50s brought him back. but that is not the only reason he came back to the church. leader in life he realized the theological content of what
started out as literary criticism and had become an argument with freud and entered cultural anthropology. it blossomed into this huge theory that we catch desire like a disease. >> like it is contagious. >> that's right. we learn what we want and what we want to compete for by watching what other people want and want to compete for. and gerard is an interesting model for us to think about and what it is to be a catholic artist and catholic intellectual. what is it to be invested with your mind. in a faith that reaches the most immediate emotional behaviors all the way the artist works of
catholicism. >> one of his great insights was that religious violence goes deep down into human civilization. and the scapegoating or the slaughter of an innocent person serves historically a social function. in the question of -- cries christ by his self sacrificed taught us a number of things to get over this desire and to recognize this act of scapegoating and sacrifice is no good for society. it is rather the great evil that we commit and that we need
to send. >> now i understand from the conference that i intended with you sometimes girard's understanding exploded the theory of scapegoating. >> that's right. and many current problems come from this. we used to have this old evil but effective way of founding culture. we pick a scapegoat and then everybody is all friends again. that worked. we can found civilization that way. the problem is, christ exposed how that worked we don't like it anymore. it took thousands of years for that lesson to penetrate but we all understand that the victim is likely to be innocent. we understand how victimhood works.
gerard talks about the real problems with how we found culture. >> or how we refound that. how do we restore that innocence and goodness is that we were intended for. >> girard ended his life a pessimistic man. >> in his last book he says that he has become more and more convinced that history has a meaning of that the meaning is terrifying. >> on that tier
hello and welcome back. we are talking about catholic arts and catholic artists. we were looking into rene girard and his contributions to understanding our weaknesses. now, we are going to look at something a little more positive. this is the benedict 16 institute. it is under the auspices of this institute, that these gentlemen are in town today. it is under that which the rene girard conference was started . the benedict institute says they are opening the door to god and energizing the catholic culture of the arts. so, gentlemen you were brought
into town for the conference. i want to talk to about the culture of catholic art and energizing people. you are both creators of beauty. that is no question. where is catholic art today. how is it going? >> i have a sense that we are at the beginning of a renewal. joseph made a comment about shivering in terror and that is not a bad response to contemporary history. it is safe to say that in the last six years, many writers and artists within the church are starting to realize not cos beauty and the arts play a vital role in humanizing and spiritualizing the soul and it is something that the church has to support and be engaged
in if a truly catholic civilization is going to continue. >> it does seem that -- are we moving back or towards something beautifying. >> i think the word is profound. >> i think this is the line to take. this is a really quick story. there was a science fiction writer i knew. and i asked him at lunch one day, i asked him who is the best science fiction writer those days. and he said jean wolf. jean wolf writes these thick catholic novels. and i asked why and he said
because he is connecting to the deepest stuff. and i asked him why he did not do that and he said because he would have to go back to being catholic. and there was a revelation there that the artistic mind, we recognize that if you're going to write the best stuff you have to reach beyond cleverness and towards the deep stuff of being. what the universe is made of and how we run with the grain of it or fire away across the grain. that is the kind of opportunity for that kind of art. it is offered only to the religious. >> you were forcibly required to become spiritual if you want to become an artist. >> you have to. you have to gain the spirit if you don't have it. >> i don't think that's
entirely true. but if you don't, you will not complete the highest level of art. you need to have a certain depth to you. people look at paintings because they want to be changed and they open books because they want to be changed. they want every moment to be intensely transformed. you need to know something about reality and its depths if you are going to change people. >> it is interesting because i common slam on the kaplan catholic church is that it is a fairytale. how is this road into the depths of human life? >> when the scientist begins looking at the phenomenon of nature, he begins to see patterns and order. we did not need the modern science is to discover this. the arts have always played a role of further revealing the order already in the world.
and that is why poets were thought to be such a problem. >> it is also why girard critic. he is starting to perceive patterns of desire and human behavior. he says at one point that novelists are the best psychologist. >> yes. and that is really true. there is depth available in literature. and that leads to the question, is anybody reading that? >> when you are in a moment of renewal, the answer is yes and no. >> and people will always discover in themselves a hunger for the serious. we can cut it all down to everything is about x, y and z political argument.
but somewhere, someone will pick up dickens or shakespeare and realize that there is literature that reaches down into the deep stuff. and it is fundamentally more satisfying because it is connected to the holy. >> for centuries civilization survived as a book in a monastery. it is invisible until it manifests itself inside of a church or a building. it is carried within individual minds and so, there is never actually cause for despair. it is always there percolating. we just prefer to be shaping our whole life and not just to see the interior of a monastery. >> and at some point we have to open it up and let it percolate.
thank you caught for that. we have a break now and then one more segment. ♪ boss: it's a big responsibility. employee: oh, it's huge. i know, it's huge. boss: and the salary... employee: oh my god, yes. i was literally about to move in with my parents and right before... yeah, so this saved me. boss: i really believe in you. you know? employee: thank you. it's nice to hear that from someone.
matthew bottom. we were talking about civilization and where it exists. there are civilizations that have exploded onto the world wide web and that is where people seem to be living. can you explain to us your institute as a think tank for cyber ethics? >> the state computer --. we are 40 years into the personal computer revolution. it has brought sociological changes it has altered every profession. and i don't getting enough actual
philosophical analysis of what that means. we keep seeing ethical problems emerging as a result of our connectivity and being reduced to numbers and data. and emerging from the fact that inner-city kids now are spending an average of 14-16 hours per day staring at a screen. these are created from addiction. we are creating problems of lack of contact with reality. and i want to use this new institute to explore what it would mean to say something at the most serious level like the virtual is not the real. >> it seems to me that your biggest thing about touching the permanent and not the ephemeral all the time. how do
we avoid that. >> the tactile has faded in a number of ways. they keep trying to intrude and draw in our intention and that is, that is a wonderful thing. i am a fan but i think can only be a true fan if you allow the technological opportunities that are brought to us. these did not come to us without a cost. one of the costs is because an additional fading of the permanent things of reality, at a moment in which we could least afford it because they were already pretty tattered. >> that is right. now jamie, you mentioned the poem in your latest book. >> that's right. this is from permanent things.
it is for olivia grace. one night i was sitting in my office when she was a newborn and it was also her bedroom so the crib was pushed up against the desk. and i was just asking myself, what do i want for this little girl. i wanted a life that is lasting in the sense that it has permanent worth or value. and contemporary technology gives us the thrill of the ephemeral and i wanted to draw her out of that. so i wrote this home, prayer for olivia >> there is little room left in the world for poetry or any lasting language. the managers and sales reps are log foard the our highways
liquor. they care not for a young girl. but near me sleeps a daughter. eyelids dropped in the promise of sleep. it charms her and she knows nothing of language. nor did i when i was childless and preoccupied with filling another office during fatherhood. now, this empty room set childless. when child language was just a word. now that she is bored we have little time for liquor. my desk crammed in a corner of the office. i am sure i wrote a different kind of poetry when all of my hours were filled even though i was childless. the tv news shows that because monarch consumers live a life
of poetry. there only daughter are an ipod and technological neighborhood. i pray that my daughter live in a different world. though they find no room for it at the office, you crowd your small corridors. may i have more of this child and less poetry. >> your transition from non- father into father and all that opens up. it is a beautiful palm and i'm guessing you won't be buying her a cell phone just epki tho that cte deuff e universe.zatit
game. this is where we realize that the fullness that we have in this life is not something that we can just laugh off. >> that is right. >> irony has its limits. and autonomy has its limits as well. we have one minute left. i want to thank you for bringing in town. these gentlemen have a website with their name. full of interesting stuff and links to these well published and worth reading gentlemen. thank you for being with us. this was great. >> am thank you, kpix, anr isodmosa. ♪ ♪
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live from the cbs bay area studios. this is kpix5 news. now, the extensive search for a woman buried in the collapse of a cliff. and she may now be lost at sea. friends and colleagues are remembering san francisco public defender jeff adachi. good morning. i am devon field and i am melissa kane. let's start off with a look at the forecast. we have more rain heading our way.