Monday, January 03, 2011


Art and Ethics

I spent some time last night talking about art-- specifically, about the lecture I used to give for PR, where I used paintings to make points about ethics. Some of you remember that lecture, probably. I loved giving it, and miss working with those paintings. I'm thinking of working something like that up for the first day of Criminal Law this Spring.

We pass art all the time and fail to see it. For example, look at the photo above (click to enlarge it.. no, really, do that!)-- not such a great photo of me (I'm no model). Still, what really is fascinating, if we care to notice, is the painting of the guy over my left shoulder. He is intense, brooding-- and staring directly into the camera from a long-ago time and far-off place. His presence remains, though he is long gone.

Artists know more about immortality that the theologians do, I think. Like true experts, they explain by showing rather than telling. When we see those pictures of Detroit, for example, we might say that the photographer is "immortalizing" the decay, and that is literally true. Those images will live on, and define how people think of that place and time. That guy looking over my shoulder... that is the only physical presence he has left in the world.

One hundred years after you are gone, what will an internet search reveal about you? Will a trace remain, an image, a link to something you wrote? Will you still exist in this world?

I believe a piece of us will always remain. When we touch another persons life, either positively or negatively, those actions have a rippling effect.

My brother died when he was only 19, yet his presence is still felt today. When I think of him I smile, share wonderful stories and the love we shared as a family. My child and many friends know of his goodness. I am warmed by his memories and that warmth is given to others.

Recently I met a former fourth grade student. She was so excited in our meeting. I could see in her eyes the reflection of what I tried to give to her as a child. She will soon have a child of her own. I hope the kindness and tenderness I showed her as a child will be passed on to her daughter.

I pray my actions will have an overall positive effect on the world.
Plant Trees, shrubs and flowers.
I certainly do remember the first day of PR. It was like going in for a root canal and winding up in a day spa. It reminded me of everything that was beautiful (and worthwhile) outside of PC. That may sound silly to anyone who has not experienced PC, but it meant the world to me.

As to your questions, I don't like pictures of me, so one hundred years from now, the only trace of me that I hope will remain will be the love and kindness that I try (and far too often fail) to share. In my family, in my friends, in whatever tiny part I play in making the world and Texas a better place. That is enough.
I will command a statute to be built in my honor, and it shall read, "Look on my works, ye mighty, and tremble."
i don't need any laws passed in my honor, but i will command a statue to be built in my honor, and it shall read, "fear not."
Can we work it so the Lane and Woody statues can fight one another?
Also, as this blog is sometimes about the law, I think we should comment on the House of Representatives preempting all future rational basis challenges.
It's because artists seek beauty and theologians often strive for the truth to the exclusion of beauty- the legacy of Augustine.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?