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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Pizza and The Way to Paradise


- my dinner tonight, pesto/pepper pizza. I was going to put Gauguin's painting, D'où venons nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous?, here, but I thought the pizza prettier.

I'm still reading Timothy Radcliffe's book, What is the Point of Being a Christian?, and here's a bit more from it ......

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The question is, of course, do these journeys [pilgrimages] lead anywhere? Do we find that for which we are looking? Or are we just wandering around in circles, like the Israelites, in the wilderness? The Way to Paradise by the Peruvian author, Mario Vargas Llosa, is about two people who are looking for Paradise: Paul Gauguin and his improbable grandmother, Flora Tristán. Gauguin looked for it in a tropical paradise not yet ruined by Western industrial society; the grandmother looked for it in a transformation of that society, a future just world in which all human beings would be equal, especially men and women. He looked for Paradise in a survival of the past, and she looked for it in an anticipation of the future. Both of them were disappointed.

Gauguin's most famous painting was called D'où venons nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous? 'From where do we come? What are we? Where are we going?' It was painted in 1897, and it was Gauguin's last testament before he tried to commit suicide the next year. He had fled from the West in search of a paradise in Tahiti, but found it already ruined. He moved in 1891 to the even more remote Marquesas, but the colonial administration and the missionaries had got there first. Paradise was no more, and he despaired.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Liam said...

Well, if paradise is lost, at least there's still pizza.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

Was it Gauguin, who was inspired by Balinese art and masks, or am I thinking of someone else?

10:51 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Liam, pizza is paradise :)

10:59 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Jeff,

He did those paintings of Tahiti and French Polynesia but not Bali, I think. I hadn't realized that he had lived in Peru as a child - that influenced his art too, wikipedia says.

11:05 AM  
Blogger cowboyangel said...

The question is, of course, do these journeys [pilgrimages] lead anywhere? Do we find that for which we are looking? Or are we just wandering around in circles, like the Israelites, in the wilderness?

When we did the Camino de Santiago, we heard many times along the way that the Camino continues your whole life. And I think that's a great way to look at it. Sometimes, I feel it in my every day life, walking down a hallway at work. "I'm still on the Camino." The pilgrimage is never over.

And, of course, there are some Buddhists who do pilgrimages that go nowhere in particular to begin with - they just wander. That's also a powerful image.

It's not how fast you get there, but the journey along the way.

And . . . . sometimes there is pizza on that journey!

1:36 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

William,

Yes, I think that's what Fr. Radcliffe gets at in this part of chapter one - he talks a lot about pilgimages and their value and even mentions The Lord of the Rings as an example of such a journey :)

1:47 PM  

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