Visions Too Strong for Our Nerves

“People do not paint, in rapture, the rise of the dollar on the world money market. There is no Bach to compose a fugue like a waterfall, joyously heralding the advent of some political hack, the joy of man’s desiring. No one will travel over half the world to look at a mural dedicated to Collaborative Learning, or Development of Social Skills. The ancient Hebrews dared not sculpt the Lord God, because they had been warned that any representation of him would be an idol, a lie – such was the awe wherein they were to hold the craftsman who sowed the skies with stars thick as a field of grain. We now must take the commandment given to the Hebrews and twist it inside out. We will not sculpt anything that has to do with the Lord God, because we do not wish to feel the awe that makes all our efforts seem puny. We do not want to say, with Dante, that to describe what we have seen, our words are no better than a baby’s ‘who wets his tongue still at his mother’s breast.’ Such visions are too strong for our nerves. They probably would not do our economy any good, either.”

– Anthony Esolen, Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (p. 231)

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