Sunday, January 25, 2009

sun it will rise, soon enough, and other truisms

i just read this morning about an artist named jenny holzer, whose display at the museum of contemporary art in chicago right now consists of 253 LED installations, curving bands that flash the words of of her 'truisms'

reading about her exhibit made me think of a few different things. i was listening to the song 'sun it rises' when i read the article, from which the title line of this post is derived--sun it will rise, soon enough. that line, in turn, reminded me of the philosopher David Hume, who formulated this argument that would seem to oppose the fleet foxes. that the sun has risen every morning in recorded history, he would say, does mean that it necessarily follows that it will rise tomorrow morning. we cannot know until it happens, we cannot fall back on our experience of the past to dictate the content of our future.

this, in turns, reminds me of g.k. chesterton's orthodoxy, in which he produces the less philosophically sound but perhaps even more compelling idea of God's delight in bringing the sun up morning by morning, and paints a picture of the God of imagination taking a childlike pleasure in revealing the beauty of the world to us all:

Is it possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes the daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never gotten tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

interesting, too, that both Hume and Chesterton can be right on this one. perhaps it is not out of absolute necessity that the sun rises, they both say. the sun rises, and it rises soon enough, and it lights the way for all of us from millions of miles away--but as soon as we expect to see it every day and take its presence for granted, we have grown old and lost our collective imagination and our spirits are grated rather than grateful. for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

that is one of the most apt truisms i know. but so is this, and i believe it with all of my heart:

sun it will rise, soon enough.

1 comment:

rachel said...

hmm...not the blog that i was expecting (requesting?), but i enjoyed it nonetheless. it included "a few of my favorite things," in the words of sound of music. that chesterton quote has always been striking to me, and i think the parallel that he draws to children who never tire of playing a game or being spun around, but rather delight in the repetition of something so joyous is also quite telling. leave it to me to relate to the small children...