|Why New Ethos?|
The New Ethos Advantage: An Ever New Perspective on Entertainment
"Hollywood is a gift from God though with limitations – It can touch the heart but cannot fill it. Today, there can be a tendency of entertainment media actually working in the reverse – “emptying hearts.” New Ethos can help Hollywood to realize its full God given potential of not only touching hearts but connecting it to that which will fill it. And it is in this realization that entertainment media consumers will not be able to get enough."
- Fr. Don Woznicki
DIAGNOSIS of the Current Entertainment Environment: Generally Toxic
“Anything below God that the soul desires is less than its true goal.”
– Hugh of St. Victor
- Current and prevalent ethos of society and culture tends to a way of relating to the world that is concerned excessively with sensual pleasure (e.g., money, control, fame, power, or even in human relationships).
- The problem is that such primary concerns seek fulfillment in that which terminates in the created world – wealth is unstable – fame is futile – success is insecure – and humans are mortal.
- A distorted importance is given to finite goods, giving more weight to them that they can bear.
“To aim lower than God is the first cause of all disorder”
- Jacque Maritian
PROGNOSIS of the Current Entertainment Environment: Spiritual Disease
“As the body without food loses its strength, beauty, and health,
so the soul without knowledge of truth becomes darkened and infirm,
deformed and unstable in all things. It needs to be nourished.”
– St. Bonaventure
“If man remains in the world of their sense needs and of their sentimental
egos, in vain do they tell their stories to one another, they do not
understand each other, each one of them infinitely alone, even
though work or sense pleasures bind them together.”
- Flannery O’Connor
REMEDY - What the Church Through New Ethos has to Offer Entertainment:
1. A perspective that provides a natural & healthy link with the audience: Awakens us to divine goodness.
- It breathes soul into art and provides a visible link with the invisible. It is the soul of the human person with its destiny of happiness.
- It helps to find concrete expressions of the human soul yearning for the infinite. These expressions represent ever new hopes, new fears to overcome, and other things of the deepest concern to the life and soul of humankind.
- It provides transcendental value through truth, beauty, and goodness that helps souls to communicate. We are really only united by the spirit, whose light brings us together.
2. A perspective that ensures freedom, rather than restrict it.
“The chief difference between the (filmmaker) with
faith and one who is merely a naturalist is that the
man of faith lives in a larger universe (includes sin).”
- Flannery O’Connor
“Rather than put parameters around the artist as
they venture to create, New Ethos seeks to walk
with the artist outside the box as they create.”
-Fr. Don Woznicki
- Offers a perspective that reaches beyond the limitations of the intellect, beyond any mere theory that a writer (artists) may entertain, and suggest an image of ultimate reality that can be glimpsed at in some aspect of the human situation.
- Frees one to see – to observe – to have respect for “mystery” from which comes the confidence to penetrate the surface of reality and to find what holds it all together.
- Limits of Dogma: There is no reason fixed dogma should fix anything the writer sees in the world. Dogma is an instrument for penetrating reality (guards and respects mystery). ART has no right against God (its source).
- If art produces objects which men cannot use without sinning (leading to disordered behaviors), then the artist has crossed the line of irresponsibility.
- Art that can be put to good or bad use is permissible, but if its used mostly for bad, then it warrants responsible restrictions.
“Art is always the result of some constraint. To
hold that it rises higher the freer it is, is to hold
that what keeps the kite from climbing is the
string to which it is attached.”
– Andre Gide
3. A perspective to help make artists better: Truer to their nature rooted in judgment & vision; nature & grace; reason & imagination.
“An artist is an observer, first, last, and always,
but cannot be an adequate observer unless free
from the uncertainty about what he/she sees.”
- Flannery O’Connor
- It helps them bring a "prophetic vision" and be a realist in distances that depend on the imaginative, rather than a moral faculty.
- It helps them to see with “two eyes,” one his/her own view of reality, and the other, the divinely revealed. This isn’t to say that the artist should decide what would be good for people of faith and deliver, rather to be true to his/her vision while at the same time realizing that vision is limited and needs the “eyes of the Church” to help “fine tune” and focus on the divinely revealed realities.
“Like Jacob (in Sacred Scriptures), [the artist]
confronts what stands in his path and wonders
if he will come out of the struggle at all.”
– Flannery O’Connor
4. A perspective that challenges both the artist in their responsibility for the good of the audience, and the audience for the good of art.
“Does not require an educated mind, rather the kind
of mind that is willing to have its sense of mystery
deepened by contact with reality, and its sense of
reality deepened by contact with mystery.”
– Flannery O’Connor
For the sake of the artist and audience, New Ethos brings a rich tradition of theo-philosophical WISDOM of the Catholic Church to combine the virtues of “prudence” and “art” into an equation of judging what is true, good, and beautiful in entertainment media.
A PRUDENT man judges a work of art as it concerns morality (defends the good of man – superior to ART in relation to man), but has no right to judge it as a work of art.
ART is superior metaphysically to PRUDENCE in that it defends the good of beauty.
New Ethos considers that “what is vision and truth” to the artist can very possibly be temptation and sin to the audience.
New Ethos brings a WISDOM which alone can perfectly reconcile ART and PRUDENCE, protecting the good of the audience, and the demands of the artist in his/her attention to Order – Proportion – Radiance.
“Religious insight is the grasp of this truth - that order of the world,
[that is] the depth of reality of the world, the value of the world in
its whole and in its parts, the beauty of the world, the zest of life,
the peace of life, and the mastery of evil, are all bound together.”
–Alfred North Whitehead, Philosopher
The audience is not to be viewed as a democratic influence, because what if a majority in the audience were unformed in the principle elements of what makes art true, good, and beautiful? The audience must be challenged in its shallow demands for “positive art” (moralizing art) that possibly comes about from a weak faith.
“May your art help to affirm that true beauty which, as
a glimmer of the Spirit of God, will transfigure matter,
opening the human soul to the sense of the eternal”
- Pope John Paul II (Letter to Artists – 16)