The Shadows of our Illusions

If time is not real, then the dividing line between this world and eternity, between suffering and bliss, between good and evil, is also an illusion.
Herman Hesse

Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing.
George Orwell

DSC02241
(a western setting sun reflected from one of the many skyscrapers on the Nashville skyline / Nashville, TN / Julie Cook / 2015)

DSC02245
(Nashville skyline at dusk / Nashville, TN / Julie Cook / 2015)

Man creates, builds and constructs.
Why?
Because he can.
Always bigger, always taller, always grander. . .
Why?
Because he wants to be bigger, taller and grander than the next guy. . .
Endlessly seeking that which is exquisite, beautiful and spectacular. . .
Why?
Because he looks to fulfill a longing. . .
For what is it that man so longs. . .?
Man longs to fill a void. . .
An emptiness of that which is greater than man himself. . .
A void of that which is Divine
Why is that?
Could it because man longs for that part within his being that is open, unfulfilled and yearning for something which he simply cannot recognize as greater than himself. . .
and so he makes, he creates, he builds, he looks, he longs. . .

The Great Disturbance of Our Illusion
The idea that there is something eternal and infinite makes our souls anxious in their mortality.
They want to reach beyond themselves to immortality;
they themselves want to be immortal but know not where to begin. . .
Out of this disquiet of the soul have come the mighty works of philosophy and art:
The systems of Plato and Hegel, the Adam of Michelangelo,
the quartets and symphonies of Beethoven, the Gothic cathedrals,
the paintings of Rembrandt, and the Faust and Prometheus of Goethe.
They were all overpowered by the idea of something eternal and immortal. . .
At the same time, the most grandiose and delicate of all human
attempts to strive for the eternal out of the heart’s anxiety and restlessness is religion. . .
Human beings have found the way to light, to joy, to eternity.
The human race could proudly point to the flourishing of its spirit,
were it not for one thing namely, that God is God and grace is grace (Romans 11:6).
Here comes the great disturbance of our illusions and our blessed culture, the disturbance that God himself causes and that is made graphic in the old myth of the tower of Babel. Our way to the eternal was interrupted, and with our philosophy and art, our morality and religion, we fall into the depths from which we came. For another way had penned up, the way of God to humanity.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Barcelona, Berlin, Amerika 1928-1931
I Want to Live These Days with You

4 comments on “The Shadows of our Illusions

  1. ColorStorm says:

    Bigger taller, better. Yep, the great void must be filled! Babel lives again.

    And your artists expressed the Divine, in ways that we do with pens. It is so blatantly obvious to me that all men know there is One with whom we all have to do, and men fill lives with knowledge, pursuits, (internet) sports, you name it, to try to silence the voice of the living God.

    The illusion of no God is a lie bought by far too many. Emptiness is sold as the real McCoy.

    Good stuff jewels. And grace be to you. 😉

  2. Nicodemas says:

    Wonderful words.

  3. Wow, you and Bonhoeffer make a dynamic duo, my friend. You both hit the nail squarely on the head. Man and his continual and perpetual drive towards the grandiose! Hugs, N 🙂 ❤

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