The Word Foundation



Vol. 15 APRIL, 1912. No. 1

Copyright, 1912, by H. W. PERCIVAL.


(Continued from Vol. 14.)

TO further illustrate that the form and structure and organism and thinking entity and divinity making up the organization called man is not really living, that the attitude of mind and his interests in the exterior life cuts man off from the floodtide of life and thus prevent him from real living, other lives or types than those already given may be looked at as well as the average life of mankind.

The merchant is a man of exchange. What, when, how and where to buy and what, when, how and where to sell are what he must learn and do. By practice and experience he acquires the sense of these things. To do them to his best advantage is his secret of success. His skill in trade is to get what he buys for as little as he can and to show those from whom he buys that he has paid a liberal price; to get all he can for what he sells and satisfy his customers that the price at which they buy is low. He must do business, and with its increase he has a reputation to sustain. He will be honest if he can, but he must make money. He looks for profits; his business is for profits; he must have profits. Ever must he keep a watchful eye on expenses and receipts. He must minimize the cost, and maximize his gains from sales. The loss of yesterday must be made up for by the profits of today. The profits of tomorrow must show an increase over the profits of today. As merchant, his attitude of mind, his work, his life, are for the increase of profits. Though unknowingly, his life, instead of gaining him the fullness of its source, is exchanged for the seeming getting of that which he must inevitably lose.

The artist makes perceptible to the senses or to the mind, that which they had not perceived; he is the interpreter of the ideal to the world of sense, a worker in the sensuous world, and the transformer and transmuter of the sensuous into the ideal world. The artist is represented by the types of the actor, the sculptor, the painter, the musician and the poet.

The poet is a lover of beauty and delights in the contemplation of the beautiful. Through him breathes the spirit of the emotions. He melts with sympathy, laughs for joy, sings in praise, weeps with sorrow and distress, is weighed down by grief, wrung by agony, bitter with remorse, or he is eager for ambition, fame and glory. He rises to the ecstasies of joy or sinks into the depths of despair; he broods over the past, enjoys or suffers in the present; and, through melancholy or hope looks into the future. Keenly feeling these emotions he tunes them into meter, rhythm and rhyme, gives color to their contrasts and pictures them to the sense. He is strangely affected by persons; he feels intensely and is swayed by the passion of desire; he reaches upward in aspiration to the ideal, and perchance he has a prescience of immortality and the divinity in man. As poet, he is excited and stimulated by and excites and stimulates the sentiments, imagination and fancy. The currents of his life are by his sentiments and fancies turned from their source and the contemplation of supernal beauty into a whirlpool of life and a delirium of the senses.

Music is the life of the emotions. The musician hears the flow of life through the emotions and gives voice to these in discord, note, time, melody and harmony. The waves of emotions sweep over him. He pictures to the senses through the color of his tones, calls the opposing forces into form and brings divergent values into harmony with his theme. He arouses and calls into activity the slumbering desires from their depths, rises on the wings of ecstacy or calls down in benediction the ideals of the overworld. As musician, he seeks the harmony of life; but, following it through the emotions, he is by their ever-changing currents led away from the main stream of life and is by them usually engulfed into sensuous delights.

The painter is a worshipper of beauty in form. He is affected by the lights and shades of nature, conceives an ideal and endeavors to express that ideal by color and figure. He images that which is ordinarily unseen or reproduces that which is apparent. By color and figure, he blends the phases of the emotions into form; he uses pigments to clothe the form which he conceives. As painter, he conceives beauty in ideal form, but he pursues it in the senses; there it eludes him; instead, he finds its shadows; obscured, confused, by these he is shut off from and cannot perceive the source of his inspiration and life; he loses through the senses what in the ideal he had conceived.

Sculpture is the embodiment of the emotions. Through the emotions the sculptor adores the abstract forms of beauty and strength. He breathes with the pathos of poetry, lives in the harmonies of music, is thrilled by the atmosphere of painting, and would put these into solid shape. Enraptured he gazes at noble character or grace or movement, or types the reverse of these, and attempts to give a body to the abstract form perceived. He moulds with plastic stuff or cuts away and leaves in solid stone the grace, the movement, the passion, the character, the particular mood and type, which he has caught and there crystallizes or causes the embodied form to appear to live. As sculptor, he perceives the ideal body; instead of drawing on the mainstream of his life to create it he, by being a worker of the emotions, becomes the victim of his senses, which draw away his life from his ideal; and, these he loses or forgets.

An actor is the player of a part. He is an actor best when he suppresses his identity in acting the part he plays. He must give free reign to the spirit of his part and let its emotions play through him. He becomes the embodiment of cruelty, avarice, or hate; depicts cupidity, selfishness and guile; must express love, ambition, weakness, power; is eaten by envy, withered by fear, scorched by jealousy; burned with anger; is consumed with passion, or overcome by grief and despair, as his part requires him to show. As actor in the parts he plays, his life and thoughts and acts are to reproduce and live over the life and thoughts and acts of others; and, this removes him from the real sources of his life and the real identity in his living.

The actor, sculptor, painter, musician, poet, are specialists in art; the artist combines them and is the embodiment of them all. Each is related to and is represented in the other, similarly as each sense is represented in and complemented by the others. The arts are branches from the main stream of art. Those usually called artists work outward in the branches. He who works on through the ages in the many branches of art but always returning to their source, he who becomes master of them all, he only is a real artist. Then, though he may not work outwardly through the senses, he creates with true art in the worlds of the ideal and the real.

(To be continued)