re: precipitation of violence and art's duty to lead by providing ideals

Prevention on the earthly level, on the horizontal plane, is dealing with symptoms. It’s not dealing with the source of pathology. The source of our pathology is mind. That is earlier than the body. So, we need to ask ourselves, how does the mind work?

If I drive a car and I’m teaching my son to drive, and I say to my son, “You keep your eye on that guardrail because I don’t want you to hit it,” what do you think would happen?

He would hit the guard rail. We know when we’re driving we go where we look. This is the way the mind works. That’s why they is repeat behavior in abusive relationships…

If we’re looking at this, we’re recording it, recycling it. All we see are versions of the past. What we can look at, where we can drive to, to keep from hitting guard rail. War, bang, disease, bang, we keep hitting the guard rail.

…The artist is looking towards something else. Art is totally ideal. Otherwise it has no function. Then we are no longer legislators of the world…If you want to call it ideal, call it ideal. I would like to think of it as the primary reality. We’ve mistaken this [cycles of violence] for primary reality.

“Look at this” and after years of this it dawned on me that I can’t be looking at this because the more I look at it, the more I repeat it. If a future is possible for my kids, I can’t keep looking at this.”

Li-Young Lee, p. 92-94 of Breaking the Alabaster Jar

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