In fact, were it given to our human eye to see into the consciences of others, we would judge a man much more surely from what he dreams than from what he thinks. There is will in the thought, there is none in the dream. Even in the gigantic and the ideal, the dream, which is completely spontaneous, takes and keeps the form of our mind. Nothing springs more directly and more sincerely from our innermost souls than our unreflected and indefinite aspirations, much more than in ideas, which are structured, studied, and compared, can we find the true character of each man.
~Victor Hugo, from Les Misérables
What do you want? That’s the hardest question you will ever answer and you must ask yourself everyday. The answer will vary from person to person but one thing is sure: it’s never obvious. The simple things we think we want like money or fame are not the ends but the means, and they are often the wrong ones. They are not the true dream but rather a way of getting there – or so we think.
No, what you long for is more profound.
We are made in God’s image, after His likeness. We are only fulfilled by the eternal.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Art: The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh 1889
Van Gogh’s night sky is a field of roiling energy. Below the exploding stars, the village is a place of quiet order. Connecting earth and sky is the flamelike cypress, a tree traditionally associated with graveyards and mourning. But death was not ominous for van Gogh. “Looking at the stars always makes me dream,” he said, “Why, I ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France? Just as we take the train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star.”
The artist wrote of his experience to his brother Theo: “This morning I saw the country from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big.” This morning star, or Venus, may be the large white star just left of center in The Starry Night. The hamlet, on the other hand, is invented, and the church spire evokes van Gogh’s native land, the Netherlands.
The painting, like its daytime companion, The Olive Trees, is rooted in imagination and memory. Leaving behind the Impressionist doctrine of truth to nature in favor of restless feeling and intense color, as in this highly charged picture, van Gogh made his work a touchstone for all subsequent Expressionist painting.
Literature and Liturgy – Les Misérables
VICTOR HUGO, 1802–1885
FIRST PUBLISHED 1862
ORIGINAL PUBLISHER: A. LACROIX, VERBOECKHOVEN & CE., PARIS
• THE 1998 MOVIE STARRED LIAM NEESON AND UMA THURMAN
• The longest-running musical ever in LONDON’S WEST END