Words are always qualifications and limitations.
There’s something inside you that knows when you’re in the center, that knows when you’re on the beam or off the beam. And if you get off the beam to earn money, you’ve lost your life. And if you stay in the center and don’t get any money, you still have your bliss.
What we are trying to do in a certain way is to get the being of our subject rendered through the partial way we have of expressing it.
There is an image in the Upanishads of the original, concentrated energy which was the big bang of creation that set forth the world, consigning all things to the fragmentation of time. But to see through the fragments of time to the full power of original being—that is a function of art.
…the whole question of life revolves around being versus becoming.
There’s another emotion associated with art, which is not of the beautiful but of the sublime. What we call monsters can be experienced as sublime. They represent powers too vast for the normal forms of life to contain them. An immense expanse of space is sublime.
Joyce says that you put a frame around it and see it first as one thing, and that, in seeing it as one thing, you then become aware of the relationship of part to part, each part to the whole, and the whole to each of its parts. This is the essential, aesthetic factor—rhythm, the harmonious rhythm of relationships. And when a fortunate rhythm has been struck by the artist, you experience a radiance. You are held in aesthetic arrest. That is the epiphany.
Joyce’s formula for the aesthetic experience is that it does not move you to want to possess the object. A work of art that moves you to possess the object depicted, he calls pornography.
The peak experience refers to actual moments of your life when you experience your relationship to the harmony of being. My own peak experiences, the ones that I knew were peak experiences after I had them, all came in athletics.
When I started teaching comparative mythology, I was afraid I might destroy my students’ religious beliefs, but what I found was just the opposite. Religious traditions, which didn’t mean very much to them, but which were the ones their parents had given them, suddenly became illuminated in a new way when we compared them with other traditions, where similar images had been given a more inward or spiritual interpretation.