2 March, 2009
‘The artist has breathed in the world to breathe it out again; the philosopher has the world outside him and he has to absorb it.’ — Otto Weininger, Sex And Character
This artist, this philosopher, Gilad Atzmon, watched the world outside him: stark TV images of death and destruction in Gaza. He did his best to absorb it.
And failed. He flicked off the screen and was silent. Gilad Atzmon finds it hard to be silent.
“We always thought if they came with tanks to kill children we would stop them. They do that now and we can’t stop them. These are hard questions and I do not know the answer.”
Human kind cannot bear very much reality, as TS Eliot noted. And philosopher Otto Weininger, whom Atzmon studied for his Phd, concurs. If more knottily.
“…madness is the outcome of the insupportability of suffering attached to all consciousness.”
Presented with the reality of the horror in, for example, Gaza, we look away. Else that way madness lies. But for Atzmon, his music, his art, his philosophy, his ethics, whether you agree with them or not, constantly return you by the paths of beauty, humour and passion to the world that is outside us. To look into the art of Gilad Atzmon is to look out at the world, whether we like that world or not. To cite Weininger again, “in art self exploration is exploration of the world.”
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