Monday, January 28, 2013

Terrance Lindall: Report on "Satan's Peculiar Grace"


The artist Terrance Lindall, who illustrated my novella, The Bottomless Bottle of Beer (available here), gave a lecture Saturday at the opening reception of the WAH Center's 14th Annual Salon Art Club Show and thereby offered his rather unorthodox hermeneutic thoughts on the figure of Satan in John Milton's epic poem, Paradise Lost, after some initial, introductory words:
I followed [the introductory remarks] with an extempore lecture on why Satan has graces, id est, he is God's hoe, weeding out the unfit, and because of him there was the "fortunate fall." He actually loved God and wanted God's love so much he became angered at being replaced by the Son. He is loyal to his followers and so much admired in Heaven that he took 1/3 of the angels with him against God Himself. I spoke of Satan's discovery of a greater depth in his own self after he was vanquished to find on the flaming pool of fire that he still possessed a remarkable "unconquerable will" and was through that able to rise up and rally his troops. I spoke of Bien's concept of Satan giving color to the world, inspiring artists and writers of all generations. And more. I threw in a lot of quotes from Paradise Lost describing the war in heaven, the rout, and Satan's meeting with his progeny at the gates of Hell. And I spoke of Milton's defense of free speech.
I'd like to have heard that lecture, and perhaps I still can, for Terrance seems to imply the possibility:
We will have more photos and a video soon.
And in the tradition of provocateur sponsoring provocateur, Terrance introduced the artist Bien, who apparently also possesses musical talent:
A fabulous evening! Bien started off with an intriguing and hair-raising Satanic Piano Free Rhapsody . . . . Afterward Bien played an even more exotic and inspiring Satanic Free Rhapsody while speaking out phrases and words like "666 . . . we are born into the world, we live, we die . . . Satan, etc."
Here's a photo of Bien from one of those two performances.


Concerning Bien's views on "Satan giving color to the world, inspiring artists and writers of all generations" . . . there's an ironic aspect of the Romantic Movement in the arts that sees itself as sharing something in common with the Devil, namely, his status as rebel, an irony in that human creativity in the arts is often considered a reflection of God's creativity. The resolution of these two diametrically opposed views lies in recognizing that Satan himself is an artist who mimics divine creativity even in his rebellion. Every little rebel borrows from whatever is being rebelled against, but those little eddies of resistance swirling against the tide refract and reflect the light in ways that do add color to the world, as Bien maintains . . .

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18 Comments:

At 8:00 AM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

Thank God for Satan, eh?

 
At 8:59 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

That's the felix culpa!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:12 AM, Blogger James Baldwin Cohen said...

Blake’s surrealist attacks on conventional religion were shocking in his own day, as were Breton’s in the 20th century. In his poem called the Proverbs of Hell he says, as a true Surrealist would,
“Prisons are built with stones of Law,
Brothels with bricks of Religion and
As the caterpillar chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs on,
so the priest lays his curse

You can read Lindall's essay called "Darkness Amidst the Light" here: https://sites.google.com/site/internationalsurrealism/home/new-international-surrealists-of-the-21st-century/the-dark-amidst-the-light-of-19th-surrealism-by-terrance-lindall

 
At 1:48 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

I'll say this for Bien's views:

They are disturbing.

Meanwhile, I just can't accept the notion that in Milton's poem Satan is in any way shape or form "heroic". He is an arrogant, destructive, evil, insane monster. If he appears like a Greek general, a revolutionary, a martyr, etc., well, that's Milton's point.

Shelley chose Prometheus over Satan as the "hero" of Prometheus Unbound, and a look at his introduction is instructive.

 
At 2:38 AM, Blogger Terrance Lindall said...

My God! Bien has started a revolution and I got caught up in it.

Meanwhile, Carter has taken God's side in the battle for Man's redemption! Bless him! Man needs all the help he can get in these troubling times!

 
At 6:35 AM, Blogger peter dizozza said...

my issues are with organized religion in general... my knee jerk response to Milton's Satan is that Blake took it beyond the political...
for general religious observation see latest entry here
http://888.blogspot.com/

 
At 6:37 AM, Blogger peter dizozza said...

888

 
At 6:46 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JBC, let me hotlink that for you: "Darkness Amidst the Light."

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:51 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Of Satan, Carter Kaplan wrote:

"If he appears like a Greek general, a revolutionary, a martyr, etc., well, that's Milton's point."

Right. Which means that Satan is heroic in human terms -- even superhuman terms -- but Milton intends for us to see through and ultimately reject our human concept of the hero as we grow disillusioned with Satan in the story, much as Stanley Fish argues.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:01 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

PD, let me link that for you: The Mysteries of Eight.

Intended is the blog entry for Sunday, January 27, 2013.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Bienvenido Bones Banez, Jr. said...

Well everybody Satanic inspired! Correction please look at the 666-Wild Beast-Gigantic Political, 666-Monstrous Leeches-World Business, and the 666-Harlot-World False Religions! these are inspired from Satan's principle!
And we are in 666 Intellectual Inspired!

*Bones*

 
At 10:43 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I take it that the point Bones makes is that Satan is a bad-boy rebel who happens to bring color to the world, i.e., a felix culpa fellow.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:49 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

"If he appears like a Greek general, a revolutionary, a martyr, etc., well, that's Milton's point."

Right. Which means that Satan is heroic in human terms -- even superhuman terms -- but Milton intends for us to see through and ultimately reject our human concept of the hero as we grow disillusioned with Satan in the story, much as Stanley Fish argues.

Jeffery Hodges


Does Fish then argue the Son is the "hero"?

Also, "grow disillusioned"? I should say Satan is a monster from the beginning; compare Agamemnon or some other "hero" in Homer. And that is not Fish's point, but Milton's. Along these lines there is bigger game to be had. Milton's project is analytic, mythographic and analytic. "Superhuman", for example., is a barbaric mytho-linguistic construction, and so with much of the other mythological, philosophical, and psychological freaks Mitlon trots out for inspection, exposure, and satiric fun and games.

 
At 5:46 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

"Does Fish then argue the Son is the 'hero'?"

I don't recall. But I do read Satan as having heroic qualities and initially gaining my sympathy in Milton's tale.

But I grow disillusioned with him -- precisely as Fish argues.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:42 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

I was never fond of Satan. First time I read PL, at 23, I found Satan overbearing, loud, and forceful--intuitively, perhaps, I did not trust him. Then when I read PL in my thirties, I was indifferent--I was watching Milton transform the meaning/significance of his various mythological constructions. Then in my 40s--when I could REALLY read the poem as a story, a satire, and as an analytic game--I saw (or more importantly knew) that Satan had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. None. Nada. Zilch. The REAL revolutionary in the poem, the figure who actually makes a difference in the world, is the Son. Whether a figure representing political savvy, an exponent of modern reason, or something much much more, he is up and down the hero of that poem.

 
At 1:49 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Interesting . . . did you happen to read my post on re-reading?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:50 AM, Blogger Terrance Lindall said...

I love Carter's counterpoint to my contention that Satan has redeeming graces and serves God's plan. That Satan is a hoe in God's mighty hands weeding out the unfit is Martin Luther's idea I think. Satan is man's trial. To be great, one must overcome, rise up against seemingly impossible odds...kinda like promoting our books (heh, heh). Anyway, Man's duty is not to be tempted, as the naif was in BBB. One must not be naive. One's duty is to "know," and do the right thing. It is another "peculiar grace" in our predicament that we have disobeyed God by eating of the Tree of Knowledge and subsequently are required to use knowledge about what is good in order to avoid further disobedience. That's the road that God has opened for us. Wisely, God knew all of this and that ultimately His Son's sacrifice would wash away the sin of the first disobedience so we could follow the true path and find ultimate grace and full redemption.

Herein lies true contentment and ultimate happiness. By knowing what is good and doing the right thing (following the "Good" ) we no longer need fear Satan. We can recognize Satan's worth and purpose in the GRAND SCHEME, accept Satan as God's very purposeful idea and see that Bienvenido's revolutionary idea is right on the mark.

 
At 3:37 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

The consequence of the apple is that our knowledge of good and evil is not purely theoretical but mixed with experience, and that is our fallen state . . . a bit like falling in love, too much like falling into hate.

Jeffery Hodges

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