Wandering the savage garden…

Self-Control and Art

Michael Moorcock (who wrote the Elric books) counterbalanced Law and Chaos in his books. In Elric’s universe, Law was total order, and was in itself complete stasis. In the world of Law, nothing changed.

In the world of Chaos, on the other hand, nothing was predictable (except unpredictability, I suppose.) Everything was corrupted; black was white, straight lines were bent, a circle had an ending, triangles had four sides, and so forth and so on.

Mankind, in the Elric universe, was caught in the middle of a cycle of Law and Chaos, being a representative of a balance: the act of creation was of a chaotic mode, constricted and restrained by Law to give it constant form and meaning.

I can’t say that Moorcock’s representation is anything more than entertaining fiction (which it is), and I can’t imagine Moorcock himself would see it as anything more than that, but the concept is actually pretty valid.

Sunday, our pastor was speaking on Galatians 5:16-24, which talks about walking in the Spirit and not gratifying the desires of the flesh, and how those two are opposed and held in tension.

The critical verses were verses 22 and 23:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

With Elric in mind, self-control stuck out to me.

We’re created in the image of God, to be able to create, yet we’re required to be controlled.

The process of creating art is to introduce structure to something new, such that the new thing gains meaning through the structure – or to introduce something new to a structure such that the structure is redefined.

The challenge is to create art that isn’t unbalanced, art that’s not so constrained by the structure that it loses any new meaning it might have had, or art that’s so unconstrained that any meaning it has is lost.

One Response to “Self-Control and Art

  1. Pingback: Art and Noise

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