Friday, April 11, 2008

New Blogzine Announced: World of Forms

My name is James Hoskins and I've created a new blogzine called "World of Forms." It combines two things that I, and I'm sure several of you, are quite passionate about: Art and Philosophy. Anyone who is a fan of music, art, film, literature, and/or philosophy will, I think, enjoy the articles at

I'm also an avid lover of G.K. Chesterton and frequently quote him (or blatantly rip him off) in my articles. The reason I'm sending this email is because I want to build relationships with other like-minded people and associations. I would love for anyone at the American Chesterton Society Blog to link to, or maybe even mention it in a blog. It would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks James


  1. I checked out the website, didn't see Chesterton's name mentioned anywhere, no even in the links section.

    Other than a group of painted neo-savages named as sponsors of this "art" site, (an idea Chesterton might find intriguing), and some rambling about C. S. Lewis' philosophy of science, (certainly not Lewis' strongest area of expertise), there is nothing Chestertonian abut this site.

  2. Anonymous, I beg to differ. Search for the word "Chesterton" and the 2 articles, in addition to mentioning him (and once quoting him), also have a chestertonian tone.

    It's a new blog - let's hope it lasts.

  3. Hi, this is James from World of Forms. Anonymous, I'm afraid tzard is right. If you had actually read the "rambling" about C.S. Lewis you would have noticed that I quote Chesterton at the end of the article. In another article I make mention of him as well.

    As for the articles having a "Chestertonian tone," I take that as a compliment of the highest order. Thank you tzard! And thanks to both of you for checking out the site.

    I will be writing an article in the coming weeks on the chapter in Orthodoxy titled "The Flag of the World." So stay tuned.

  4. tzard & James,

    I found the two Chesterton references, and I even listened to some songs from the Elevator album.

    You say that "anyone who claims that poetry is meaningless needs to open up their mind a little bit", so please put some meaning for me into the words of your lyrics, if you don't mind:

    We create and then put to death.
    We fit the crime with the punishment.
    It keeps happening. It keeps happening.

    And, BTW, what's the meaning of the painted neo-savages?

  5. Anonymous, I replied to you on my site:

    As for the neo-savages, that is a picture of a band called State Bird. Their record label, which is called The Record Machine, is a "Featured Sponsor." Which means they are advertising on my site. If you click on the image of the neo-savages it will take you to Record Machine's website.

  6. James, thanks for your clarification, (see below). Your reply does prove that poetry by its nature is cryptical and vague, since I don't think anybody could have guessed what you really meant. (That would be my criticism of "bad" poetry, but don't take it personally, I am critical of most poets and of most poetry.)

    I have decided to post my rebuttal here, because my reply is related to one of the deepest insights in Chesterton's Orthodoxy and perhaps other Chestertonians may decide to comment, especially since it is the Orthodoxy's 100 anniversary which this blog celebrates.

    The reason I asked was to clarify your usage of the word "creation." There is a common misconception that humans "create". Strictly and logically speaking, only God can "create" and we humans can only "make" things from the substrate and ideas already created by God. Thus some translations of the Creed which call God the Father a "Maker" are incorrect. (And should be changed to avoid this sort of confusion among the people.) Also, it isn't logical to say that we humans "create" children or life, we don't.

    Also, in the absolute sense of the word, we cannot put anybody to death, only God can.

    As for your good insight that, in a (poetical) way, new technology can be seen as mankind's destruction, I do get your point. And so did Chesterton, his criticism of machinery within the context of Distributism is quite clear. However, I am afraid that many "optimists", even among Chestertonians, do not get the point.

    This idea of "creation" is also at the root of the evolution/creation controversy, and if there are still any doubts about whether a Christian should call himself an evolutionist or a creationist, this deepest insight from Chesterton Orthodoxy clarifies this modern conundrum in no uncertain terms:

    "I shall indicate only briefly this great metaphysical suggestion. All descriptions of the creating or sustaining principle in things must be metaphorical, because they must be verbal. Thus the pantheist is forced to speak of God in all things as if he were in a box. Thus the evolutionist has, in his very name, the idea of being unrolled like a carpet. All terms, religious and irreligious, are open to this charge. The only question is whether all terms are useless, or whether one can, with such a phrase, cover a distinct idea about the origin of things. I think one can, and so evidently does the evolutionist, or he would not talk about evolution. And the root phrase for all Christian theism was this, that God was a creator, as an artist is a creator. A poet is so separate from his poem that he himself speaks of it as a little thing he has "thrown off." Even in giving it forth he has flung it away. This principle that all creation and procreation is a breaking off is at least as consistent through the cosmos as the evolutionary principle that all growth is a branching out. A woman loses a child even in having a child. All creation is separation. Birth is as solemn a parting as death." (Chapter 5, Orthodoxy)


    James on April 15th, 2008 at 1:15 pm:

    My pleasure. The line “We create and then put to death” touches on the sad reality that we humans have a self-destructive nature. How many people produce children (creating life) only to end up abusing them (’killing’ them emotionally, spritually, etc.)? How often has humanity invented a new technology (creation) only to use it for destruction (death)? You get the point.

    The line “We fit the crime with the punishment” refers to our often backward approach to justice. The common phrase is “Let the punishment fit the crime.” By reversing the phrase “fit the crime with the punishment” I meant to represent a backward, or wrong, kind of justice in which evil is rewarded and good is punished.

    The line “It keeps happening” speaks for itself. Hope that helps!

  7. Anonymous,

    I take no offense at your criticism of my lyrics, primarily because I do not think myself a very good lyricist. I was surprised however that you would criticize my using the word "create" outside of its literal and absolute meaning. It seems to me that part of the beauty of poetry is that it usually speaks of things using figurative terms, not literal terms.

    Furthermore, I hate to point this out, but isn't Chesterton 'misusing' the word "create" in the very passage you cited, when he says, "God was a creator, as an artist is a creator."?

  8. James, I am glad you are a good sport. It is important for humans to be creative, even if most of such artistic creations turn out to be "bad" or "not-so-good" art.

    However, it is also important to be creative in a creative and constructive way, that's where reason, logic and philosophy comes in. So good art and poetry also have to be subject to some thought and meaning. I think that is what Chesterton meant about art and creativity. A great example can be found in Aristotle's analysis of peotry in his Poetics, for example where he explains to Greeks what Homer really meant. Aristotle was also quite critical about the poetry of "scientists" and naturalists like Empedocles. This is where it gets tricky in the modern scientific context.

    Chesterton's "God was a creator, as an artist is a creator." — a great multidimensional paradox by the greatest of all paradox masters! One could write an essay on this statement alone.

    With respect to humans as artists, notice that Chesterton says: "This principle that all creation and procreation is a breaking off...", so he makes a distinction between artistic creation and procreation. The "breaking off" or "throwing off" is also an important attribute of creative art proper...

    In the context of your poem ("we humans have a self-destructive nature. How many people produce children (creating life) only to end up abusing them (’killing’ them emotionally, spritually, etc.?"),
    it would be the procreation of children and not their creation by humans — a woman looses a child, child is separate, but she did not create it or evolve it.

    And one could also try to compare what you said about parents emotionally killing their children, with what Chesterton implied about birth and death. It is good to be born, and it is impossible to kill life, (as Chesterton agreed with a statement of a spiritualistic medium in one of his essays), despite all the stupid things parents may do to their kids, like exposing them to bad books and movies.

  9. Anonymous, you said, "it is also important to be creative in a creative and constructive way, that's where reason, logic and philosophy comes in. So good art and poetry also have to be subject to some thought and meaning."

    I absolutely agree with you. I'm not a relativist. I do not believe that the meaning of a poem is whatever each person interprets it as. The meaning of a poem is the meaning the artist intended.

    However, if you are proposing that a "good" poem must use words in their literal meaning, then I couldn't disagree more. A poem that is completely literal is not a poem.


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