MattAndJojang's Blog

God. Life. Spirituality.

The Longing For Spiritual Freedom

with 2 comments

Paul Gauguin's "Who Are We? Where Did We Come From? Where Are We Going?"

Paul Gauguin’s “Who Are We? Where Did We Come From? Where Are We Going?”

There is within us–in even the blithest, most light hearted among us—a fundamental dis-ease. It acts like an unquenchable fire that renders the vast majority of us incapable in this life of ever coming to full peace. This desire lies in the marrow of our bones and the deep regions of our souls.

All great literature, poetry, art, philosophy, psychology, and religion tries to name and analyze this longing. We are seldom in direct touch with it, and indeed the modern world seems set on preventing us from getting in touch with it by covering it with an unending phantasmagoria of entertainments, obsessions, addictions, and distractions of every sort. But the longing is there, built into us like a jack-in-the-box that presses for release.

Two great paintings suggest this longing in their titles—Gauguin’s “Who Are We? Where Did We Come From? Where Are We Going?” and de Chirico’s “Nostalgia for the Infinite”—but I must work with words. Whether we realize it or not, simply to be human is to long for release from mundane existence, with its confining walls of finitude and mortality.

–Huston Smith

Written by MattAndJojang

January 14, 2017 at 5:40 pm

2 Responses

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  1. A case could be put forth that the closest we come to a peace within us is in childhood, when we are without preconceptions. Though even a happy childhood is by chance, And the happiest of these can be interrupted at the end of each day with Gauguin’s last question: “Where are we going? Like it or not, “To bed!”.

    John Twomey

    January 15, 2017 at 1:17 am

  2. Hi, Tito Jack!

    I agree. No wonder Jesus said: “Unless you become like a little child you can’t enter the kingdom of God.” But it’s quite challenge, though, for us adults to recover the innocence, simplicity and carefree attitude of a child. Besides, as you said not all of us had happy childhoods.

    Well, at the end of the day a good night’s rest always does wonder for the stressful days we have.

    Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog.



    January 15, 2017 at 7:14 pm

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