Politics itself is grand theatre. What suspends our own selfish behavior better than the promise of life and death through money and might?
Authentic community shares our flames in cycles of wildfire, bringing ash and fertility. This is emotive theatre, where catharsis is sacred rather than manipulative.
Art is primarily concerned with where the sacred and profane converge and diverge. Punching a wormhole into reality; finding the mysterious in the known; declaring the disturbing against the reassuring; penetrating the spiritual orifice, et cetera.
So when art is looked at in relationship to civilization—which I define civilization as magnitudes of cruelty, if we are honest with ourselves—art’s relationship to it is intrinsic and complicit. Cruelty is always what we know of ourselves and others, and act regardless. To know is the realm of the mundane, or the profane.
Therefore art begins where civilization ends. What is the relationship of politics to civilization? It must be the authentic precedents of cruelty that expand civilization? No no—politics do not have ingenuity outside of maneuvering—so they expand civilization literally, but not abstractly. Besides, precedents are for the sacred.
So politics is the maintenance of civility; we already know as much: a janitorial service. Politics is the grand theatre, and it works best if it clears the crap. The petit theatre—or esoteric theatre—of art, must start with the crap. Either the contemplation of crap, or the medium of crap, but it must be crap.
Catharsis then, in the petit theatre, is not clearing the crap, but reconstituting it. Lead into gold perhaps. The sacred scarab rolls the dung, day after day, by the daylight, and brings fertility to the soil.
The scarab is sacred among creatures because it does such an odd task, be it mundane.
The ideal of where cruelty begins and ends is the Möbius strip relating communism and the crown, but in both cases there is a self-deceit or conceit as to what civilization is.
Our consciousness is a magnificent manifold refractor of the divine, into the multivalent levels of time. Our terrifying human power is the denial of love, and the will to cruelty. We apply it to ourselves or to others in a pursuit of ideals. Our great human vulnerability is the embrace of compassion, returning us to all that is, and delivering us from ourselves.