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THE COURAGE TO BE

Acrylic on canvas
111.5 x 141.5 cm

In this painting we see a modern young girl torn between romance and knowledge, trying to find the right balance in this mental whirlpool of possibilities. It feels like judgement day, time for her to run the gauntlet. Life needs art, philosophy, anthropology, politics, but it needs romance too. Yes, without the passions there would be no life. One-dimensional art, flattened philosophy,  asystolic politics or even anaemic revolutions would have graced our history books. Have the courage to find the dionysian power in yourself and act in the face of fear. This painting defines courage as the self-affirmation of one's being in spite of a threat of nonbeing. Courage relates to anxiety, anxiety being the threat of non-being and the courage to be what we use to combat that threat. Maybe it is an Anxiety of Guilt and Condemnation? Maybe this anxiety afflicts our moral self-affirmation. Please, remember, that we as humans are responsible for our moral being, and when asked by a metaphorical judge. We display courage when we first identify whatever is causing us guilt or afflicting condemnation. We then rely on the idea that we are accepted regardless. The courage to be is the courage to accept oneself as accepted in spite of being unacceptable. Well our student is one step further. However, not yet there. The next stage is the anxiety of Meaninglessness and Emptiness which attacks our being as a whole. We worry about the loss of an ultimate concern or goal. Casablanca in the long run might not be the preferred choice after all, right? This anxiety is also brought on by a loss of spirituality, or the tapestry of illusion if you are a cynic. The student as a being feels the threat of non-being when she feels that  we have no place or purpose in her world.  She should display the courage to be when facing this anxiety by displaying true faith, and by again, self-affirming oneself. We draw from the "power of being" whether it is God, a form of energy or another totem, and use that faith to in turn affirm herself and negate her non-being. Well, the ultimate source of the courage to be is the energy above force, which transcends the theistic idea of God and is the content of absolute faith. It’s not easy navigating our world, full of abyss’, the depth of the will, a will that is tormenting existence, the heart of darkness. Will she be free to choose? Or is she by necessity of the laws of nature to relinquish a bit of her original freedom? Passage or drift? Well, good luck to our student. I am sure she will strike a hard bargain, because it is so difficult to navigate life without guidelines and blueprints.


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