As I was rollerblading the other day, I was thinking about artistic geniuses (stop laughing). It seems that every unbelieving artistic genius is also a bit insane—or a lot insane! I always thought it was because they just had too much talent to handle, but I came to a different conclusion about halfway down Sudley Lane. The arts are all about beauty. And beauty is all about truth. Here is a definition of beauty from
The Free Dictionary:
The quality that gives pleasure to the mind or senses and is associated with such properties as harmony of form or color, excellence of artistry, truthfulness and originality.
If excellence of artistry is in the business of finding beauty, creating beauty, and interpreting beauty, it is also in the pursuit of truth. This can be a real problem for the unbelieving artistic genius. I can’t imagine being so gifted, so richly able to express creation, all the while hating the Creator. An artist has an eye for beauty, and yet, the unbelieving artist struggles with the truth associated with it. Basically, they become obsessed with something they can’t have, even though they are so abundantly blessed with their artistic gift.
But they don’t know Author of Beauty, and they won’t glorify him in their work. How frustrating! It’s enough to drive you truly crazy. These artistic geniuses come so close to Truth. But they hate it. They pursue beauty, but will never be in it. Beauty is eschatological.
It was a quote by Anias Nin that got me thinking about all this. She was liberally gifted as a writer. Unfortunately, this bohemian, French-Cuban author squandered much of her talent on erotic literature. Her life pretty much mirrored her writing. She was married to two men, living a supposed secret life on the side with her second husband, who was sixteen years her junior. But she didn’t let two measly marriages stop her from indulging in other affairs. So I don’t support much of her writing, and I certainly don’t endorse her lifestyle, but I do acknowledge her gifts as an artist.
Her life sounds a little crazy, doesn’t it? But maybe that’s because Anias Nin had some beautiful glimpses of Truth, but suppressed them in unrighteousness. Here is a famous quote of hers that reveals both profound insight, and utter rejection of the source of strength:
I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.
I prefer a man like this as well. But I want even more. I can look for a man that compels my strength, but I can’t look to him ultimately for to compel my strength or all I’ll find is weakness. There is one Man, who really can do this right because he also provides my strength, courage, and toughness. He does make enormous demands on me, but only because he has already secured my victory. He doesn’t believe me naïve or innocent, so he sacrificed his own perfect life for mine, taking the curse for my sin and accrediting his own righteousness to my account.
In praising her own strength, Anais Nin is actually exposing her weakness. That’s why she had to keep looking to another man. She knew the value in strength, but wanted to find it in herself. I want something more than her feigned strength. With an even deeper instinct, I choose a Man who humbles me to depend on his incredible strength. He is the only Man who can truly satisfy. And he has the courage to treat me like the woman he created me to be.
*Originally published on September 5, 2012.