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It is of this sort of divine service I used the expression that, in comparison with the Christianity of the New Testament, it is playing Christianity. The expression is essentially true and characterizes the thing perfectly. For what does it mean to play, when one reflects how the word must be understood in this connection? It means to imitate, to counterfeit, a danger when there is no danger, and to do it in such a way that the more art is applied to it, the more delusive the pretense is that the danger is present.
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
So - here I am in the dark alone, There's nobody here to see; I think to myself, I play to myself, And nobody knows what I say to myself; Here I am in the dark alone, What is it going to be? I can think whatever I like to think, I can play whatever I like to play, I can laugh whatever I like to laugh, There's nobody here but me.
Lastly, there are Idols which have immigrated into men's minds from the various dogmas of philosophies, and also from wrong laws of demonstration. These I call Idols of the Theater, because in my judgment all the received systems are but so many stage plays, representing worlds of their own creation after an unreal and scenic fashion.
You are a tiny little girl, Electra. Other little girls dreamed of being the richest or the most beautiful women of all. And you, fascinated by the horrid destiny of your people, you wished to become the most pained and the most criminal … At your age, children still play with dolls and they play hopscotch. You, poor child, without toys or playmates, you played murder, because it is a game that one can play alone.
A school of artistic experimentation is invented, which is said to be the definition of freedom; but this experimentation has its limits, imperceptible until there is a clash, that is, until the real problems of individual alienation arise. Meaningless anguish or vulgar amusement thus become convenient safety valves for human anxiety. The idea of using art as a weapon of protest is combated. Those who play by the rules of the game are showered with honors — such honors as a monkey might get for performing pirouettes. The condition is that one does not try to escape from the invisible cage.
To understand oneself in existence is the Christian principle, except that this self has received much richer and much more profound qualifications that are even more difficult to understand together with existing. The believer is a subjective thinker, and the difference, is only between the simple person and the simple wise person. Here again the oneself is not humanity in general, subjectivity in general, and other such things, whereas everything becomes easy inasmuch as the difficulty is removed and the whole matter is shifted over into the shadow play of abstraction.
If a man approaches a work of art with any desire to exercise authority over it and the artist, he approaches it in such a spirit that he cannot receive any artistic impression from it at all. The work of art is to dominate the spectator: the spectator is not to dominate the work of art. The spectator is to be receptive. He is to be the violin on which the master is to play. And the more completely he can suppress his own silly views, his own foolish prejudices, his own absurd ideas of what Art should be, or should not be, the more likely he is to understand and appreciate the work of art in question.