Saturday, January 2, 2016

Saturday commute cxix: Persia without end

The building of Alexandria 
proceeded, and copied or mag-
nified forms from the perish-
ing peninsula overseas. Dino-
crates planned Greek temples
and market places, and they
were constructed not slavish-
ly but with intelligence, for
the Greek spirit still lived.

But it lived consciously, not
unconsciously as in the past.
It had a mission, and no mis-
sionary shall ever create.

And Alexander, the heroic
chaos of whose heart surged
with desire for all that
can and can not be, turned
away from his Hellenic town-
planning and his narrow lit-
tle antiquarian crusade, and
flung himself again, but in
a new spirit, against the
might of Persia.

He fought her as a lover now. 
He wanted not to convert but 
to harmonize, and conceived 
himself as the divine and im-
partial ruler beneath whom 
harmony shall proceed.

That way lies madness. Per-
sia fell. Then it was the
turn of India. Then the turn
of Rome would have come and
then he could have sailed
westward (such was his ex-
pressed intention) until he
conquered the Day. He was
never - despite the tuition
of Aristotle - a balanced
young man, and his old 
friends complained that in
this latter period he some-
times killed them.

                But to us, who cannot have the peril-
                ous honour of his acquaintance, he
                grows more lovable now than before.
                He has caught, by the unintellectual
                way, a glimpse of something great, 
                if dangerous.. He had tried to lead
                Greece, then he had tried to lead 
                mankind. He had succeeded in both.
                But was the universe also friendly,
                was it also in trouble, was it call-
                ing on him, on him, for his help and
                his love?


The artistic progress 
in the works of David
Hockney and Morgan For-
ster displays a natural 
resemblance in their 
gathering confidence 
to test their nemesis,
their resistant Persia.
The site offers no tri-
umph, except in their
residual refusal to be
drawn into conflict
with their art. Resis-
tance without end lays
a cornerstone of West-
ern art, and it follows,
of sanity as we know it.
Let us see how we may
thrive by this constraint.

E.M. Forster
Pharos and Pharillon
  The Return from Siwa
Creative Arts Book Co., 1980©

David Hockney
Nude, Santa Monica
Sur la terrasse
Peter Schlesinger

Michael Beck
Walter Hill
The Warriors

Andrés Nieto Porras
Sea, Iceland



  1. Thank you, if you read this, for a very inspiring read and photo supplement. I enjoyed it.
    Best to you, Jonatan, 18, Denmark.

    1. Thank you, if you read this, for the kindness of taking one back to one's abiding gratitude for these artists.