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Art and Truth

Samuel Laeuchli argues that "art threatens individuals because it tends to unveil experiences which they have not been able to digest." Put more directly, art takes the lid off the horror of censored experiences. In this sense, art is prophetic to the core. It reveals what seeks to remain hidden, especially those sinister powers of deception, prejudice, resentment, grievances, racism, sexism, etc., which require darkness and anonymity in order to remain viable.

Dorothee Soelle reports that the first time she heard Bach's St. Matthew Passion in 1946, just after the Nazi collapse, the chorus, "His Blood Be Ours and on Our Children" was omitted. Why? The "final solution" carried out in the Holocaust was so close to the populace ... that they could not bear to hear Bach's art. ... Art tipped the lid off the horror of censored experience. Modify the art. Maintain a peace that is no peace. Do to the art what has always been done to the prophets: kill it, distort it, exile it.

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