Saturday, June 12, 2010

Extremes

My wife is currently finding endless entertainment looking at some of the bizarre styles that are hitting the runways these days. One website is called "Thursday on Friday, What the hell was that?" We've been employing our creative minds to label the outfits such things as "camouflage to hunt a yeti," and "penguin in a fur bikini." Nobody in their right minds would actually purchase this stuff or, even less, wear it in public unless they're somewhat less than balanced. So why do we create it? Is it art in the form of clothing--for the sake of art alone? Are these women's bodies the canvass and material, color and texture the medium? Or is this another example of our tendency to always push the envelope? Perhaps some of both, or perhaps there is no significant difference between these two ideas?

We push the envelope beyond the real into the surreal, or the impressionist, or, if our art is realist, we make it like poetry--we push it into hyper-drive to make a multivalenced point. Either way, we reach for what we do not have, something that humans have been doing since we created the first tools. After all, Adam and Eve pushed the envelope with the apple. What is it in the human psyche that pushes for extremes, even at the risk of breaking the whole endeavour apart? Is it part of what is broken in creation, or is it part of what is divine?

I think it's broken when we push for extremes for the sake of extremes, with no thought about it. But when we push for excellence beyond what we've known, even when the results don't look like it, we're pushing for something we intuit, something we can reach but cannot grasp. Ultimately, knowingly or unknowingly, we are reaching for that great mystery at the core of existence. That mystery has a name, the only one that could possibly fit: God.