In the midst of Things

  • Painting: oil on canvas
  • Size: 56Hx42Wx2 inches

“Of man’s first disobedience, and the taste of that forbidden fruit… Sing Heavenly Muse!” Milton started his Paradise Lost “in medeas res,” or in the midst of things, where the beauty of the world has already been established and the defiance of man and his angles challenging the power of God. As a man of politics, Milton knew the reality of the story, not of its creation, but of its defiance to a utopian, flawless world. Humanity is not made for Heaven, or heaven for humanity. The world we know, every creation, challenges any creator of a sanitized world and its gifted promise. Defiance is the natural order of humanity, to put hell above heaven, to witness the vision it portrays - to struggle and prevail. To reverse this desirable and irresistible logic, if only to beckon a view of the counterfactuals that bind us within this corporeal world, is unthinkable: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” But it cannot do without either. 

In the Midst of Things
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