Stewart K. Lundy: the gatekeepers of religion and poetry are the same

Gate Keeper

Is the critic’s knowledge false? Stewart K. Lundy writes:

The ?gate keepers? of religion and of poetry are one and the same.  The pedantic critic is blind, leading others into a pit of his own creation. The pedant (since he cannot see) ensures that no one else can see. The critic gouges out the eyes of the other. Similarly, Jesus condemned the false knowledge of the Pharisees: ?But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.?

Followers soften the ferocious words of the ones they follow into palatable household sayings ? comfortable, no longer feral, no longer dangerous, no longer potent.  Civilized critics attempt to tame the God/Beast in the poet, saint, or prophet. It is the domestication of the saints which gnaws at the heart of this household idolatry. Their vitiated words may be present in a home, but their spirit is long absent.  No longer appalled, we are encouraged. By making these words ordinary and robbing them of all strangeness, we are robbed of actually encountering those words at all.

Brilliant. The critic’s taming words are not so much false knowledge, I think, but a circumscribed knowledge. Knowledge as a tool or instrument, like a whip on a beast of burden.

Theirs is the implement of the Expert (in Susanne Cook-Greuter’s terminology) and the archetype of the Analyst. By putting the tool down, we can truly encounter the words of poetry and religion with a fierce immediacy.

Passing through the gates of knowledge, past language, we encounter of our own True Self.

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