Foreword to Eyes of the Soul by Philip Rubinov Jacobson
The following foreword was written by Ken Wilber for Philip Rubinov-Jacobson's upcoming
book, Eyes of the Soul. The culmination of three years of research, this monumental book
explores sources of artistic inspiration. Philip Rubinov Jacobson offers an evocative book on
an art that expresses multidimensional states of creative experience. He surveys the great
constellation of inspiration through varied artistic styles and processes: from the erotic to
nature to dreams, from dreams to myth to drugs, from visions to visitations. He introduces us
to a spectrum of imagery that includes styles and genres of the Naïve, Abstract,
Expressionistic and Fantastic, Sacred Geometry, Collage and Mixed Media, Digital, Outsider,
Tantric, Visionary and more. It explores the wilderness of a contemporary art that delves into
the mysterious forces of life and the creation of an 'Integral Art', an art of the Spirit that is
comprehensible to the soul.
Foreword to Philip Rubinov-Jacobson’s Eyes of the Soul
by Ken Wilber
It is always daunting to make a statement, any statement, about art, especially in today’s
world, where a firm statement about anything can always be interpreted as marginalizing its
opposite. In such a deconstructive climate, many scholars have despaired of being able to
define art, let alone comment on it. How can we even recognize art?
Very simply, I believe. As with pornography—and all the other equally important things in
life—I know art when I see it. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is a book of art, a book of very
Throughout the ages, and in different cultures, art has served many functions—crafts and
skills, representations of value, mimesis, social bonding, sacred invocation, self-expression,
deconstruction, reconstruction, revelation. And we, as viewers of art, have always been
allowed to muse on what it means—on what art means—to us, to the artist, and to those who
also view it. What is art? Why is art? How is art? And why should it even matter?
To those unafraid of distinctions, art has always represented something more, better, deeper,
truer, finer… perhaps something even more real, more sacred, than other endeavors. Art in the
highest or deepest sense has always been here to remind us, in a hundred ways and through as
many mediums, that there are realities that are higher, deeper, truer—realities that tell us
something incredibly important about ourselves, about nature, about God. When science,
business, commerce, technology, morality, and conventional consciousness have finished with
their busy, bright and bustling days, art is here to remind us of those clandestine, sacred,
sanctified spaces that the mundane world forgot, those radiant spaces where depth and height
and glory reside, spaces that sometimes whisper (and sometimes shout) those secrets which
the soul has forgotten in all its industriously scrubbed and sanctioned sanity.
Eyes of the soul—and ears of the soul, and hands and feet and tongue and voice. Surely that is
one of the most precious functions and services of art—to help us see more, feel more, know
more, love more, express more, than we thought possible. If the word “soul” represents,
among other things, the best part of the personality, then art as the evocative display of the
soul is the best part of art.
This is a book of such art.
In that regard, there are a few items worth mentioning. Although traditionally the “soul” was
often taken to mean a mental entity divorced from a material body, more sophisticated notions
view the soul as the integrative function of the personality wherever it might appear. That is,
“soul” no longer means merely that which transcends, but that which transcends and includes.
The highest, deepest, widest art is therefore integrative art, or integral art. Integral art takes as
its terrain body, mind, and spirit in self, culture, and nature.
It is this comprehensive comprehension that is a hallmark of the integral. Some integral art
might focus temporarily on only one of those domains—body or mind or spirit or self or
culture or nature—but art to be integral necessarily includes in its potential scope all of those
dimensions. Art that is merely fantastic, or merely realistic, or merely abstract, or merely
visionary, is not integral art.
If an artwork does happen to focus on one of those dimensions—perhaps surrealistic, or
fantastical, or natural, or abstract expressionistic, or transpersonal impressionistic, or
realistic—how can we tell if that art is actually integral?
The primary criterion of integral art is the consciousness of the artist producing it. That is,
integral artwork is an artwork produced by integral consciousness. How well the artwork
succeeds or not in other categories—technical execution, coherency, clarity, range, style, and
so on—are items to be considered in their own right. But whether an artwork is integral is
primarily determined by the consciousness that produced it. Not everything that integral
consciousness produces is integral art, but all integral art is produced by an integral
How do we recognize integral consciousness? Well, like we were saying: we know it when
we see it, as long as we are integral as well. And this leads to the delicate and difficult issue of
the development of integral consciousness itself. Because integral art is the product of integral
consciousness, then the nature and development of integral consciousness becomes a crucial
component in our understanding (and creation) of integral art.
There are two basic ways that higher or deeper dimensions of consciousness are made
available to individuals: as states and as stages. States of consciousness represent temporary,
brief, but still often profound experiences, including altered states and peak experiences.
Common ordinary states of consciousness include waking, dreaming, sleeping, and reverie.
Common exogenously induced (“drugged”) states of consciousness include drunken, stoned,
and psychedelic. Common endogenously induced (“self-induced”) states include meditative
states and states of flow. What they all have in common is that they shift the perceived world
profoundly, and they are all temporary.
Stages of consciousness, on the other hand, are enduring, permanent acquisitions, which
unfold or develop in a generally sequential fashion. Typical examples of stages are: atoms to
molecules to cells to organisms; or letters, words, sentences, paragraphs. The reason that true
stages are sequential is that each succeeding stage builds upon and includes its predecessor.
You can’t have words without letters, nor cells without molecules—hence the directionality or
sequential nature of evolution. From acorns to oaks and from embryos to apes, much of
nature’s growth and flowering occurs in stages or waves.
Psychologists recognize that human beings possess multiple intelligences (including cognitive
intelligence, emotional intelligence, kinesthetic intelligence, mathematical, musical,
interpersonal, and so on). How many different intelligences are there? Cross-cultural evidence
suggests at least a dozen. But guess what? They all break down into variations on the Good,
the True, and the Beautiful. (That is, most intelligences or human capacities fall into the basic
categories of self and self-expression; interpersonal or moral; and cognitive or objective.)
Moreover, these intelligences or capacities all show growth or development. In fact, most of
these intelligences, like most processes in nature, unfold through a series of stages or waves of
increasing capacity, which is what allows them to be permanent acquisitions. Learning a
language, learning to play the piano, learning how to play baseball—these are all slow growth
processes, but once the competence is in place, it is essentially permanent. But this is also
what makes stages of growth rather slow and laborious, unlike states or peak experiences,
which are often available more or less immediately with the right stimulus. You can indeed
have a peak experience of being one with nature while you are watching a sunset or making
love; you cannot have a peak experience of being a concert pianist without years of practice.
As psychologists say, states are free, stages are earned.
Important stages of consciousness include cognitive development, affective development, ego
development, and moral development. Cross-cultural research shows that moral development,
for example, proceeds from preconventional (or egocentric) stages, to conventional (or
conformist) stages, to postconventional (or worldcentric) stages, to integrative (or inclusive)
stages. Carol Gilligan, for example, calls these stages as they appear in female moral
development: selfish, care, universal care, and integrated. (There might be higher stages, but,
as is often the case with higher anything, there are fewer examples of them and so relevant
research is harder to come by, and is complicated by the fact that researchers themselves have
to be at higher stages in order to see and acknowledge adequate data.)
Notice that you can be at any stage of development and still have an almost unlimited access
to a variety of altered states. You can be at Carol Gilligan’s selfish stage, for example, and
still get drunk, or have a shamanic experience, take psychedelics, or get into a flow state. In
other words, states of consciousness are available at virtually every stage of consciousness.
You can have very high state experiences at even the lowest of stages….
Here is the point. There are higher stages of consciousness, and there are higher states of
consciousness—and integral consciousness has access to both. That’s the very definition of
integral or inclusive.
Integral development—and integral consciousness—means that I have developed to my own
highest potentials in terms of stages of development, and that I also have access to a wide
variety of higher states. When my stage development is at or around what Gilligan calls
integrative, and when I have gained access to a variety of higher states (through meditation,
peak experiences, or other means), then the combined result is an integral consciousness that
continues to unfold in its ever-expanding embrace. That is, integral consciousness is not a
fixed, finished, or definite state or stage, but an ever-ongoing atmosphere of inclusivity. But
for just that reason, integral consciousness is touching bases with as many higher states and
stages as is reasonably possible at this time in human evolution.
On the other hand, for evidence that higher states can be accessed at not-very-high stages, one
need only look at the history of art. Many artists who are at rather undeveloped stages in
many capacities (such as moral, interpersonal, or psychosexual), nonetheless have access to
profound nonordinary states, visionary experiences, psychedelic experiences, or peak
experiences. The result is a gifted artist who in most other respects has unbalanced or even
dysfunctional development. The art might be great, but the human being is not.
This is also why art in itself is not necessarily a means of transformation or integral
development. In fact, relying on art by itself for transformation often results in unbalanced
development (for example, along the self-expressive lines to the detriment of the interpersonal
lines and the objective lines, which is why great artists are sometimes poorly developed in
interpersonal capacities, though they need not be). But, by the same token, this is exactly why
art in the broadest sense must be a part of any truly integral development and integral
transformative practice. (I’ll return to these points in a moment.)
Note that art—the subject matter of art—can come from (or be informed by) virtually any
state or stage of development. Art can express or depict events in the world and/or events in
the consciousness of the artist, but there are levels of consciousness (states and stages of
consciousness), and artists can depict, express, or evoke occasions in any of those states or
stages. (See, for example, “To See a World,” written for an exhibit of Anselm Kiefer, in
Wilber, K., One Taste.)
We said that the “soul” is the best part of the personality wherever it appears. In other words,
the soul is the personality in the highest states and stages at this time in human evolution. We
also said that the soul is the integrative function of the personality—or, at any rate, it should
be. Unfortunately, higher development can also have its own dysfunctions and pathologies,
and therefore the soul is not necessarily integrated as it develops.
Putting those items together, we can say that “soul art” is art that comes from any higher state
or stage (whether integrated or not); and “integral art” is any art that comes from a
comprehensive, balanced, or integrated consciousness in touch with both the highest states
and highest stages of its own being. Put somewhat crudely, soul art is art from a higher realm;
integral art is art from a healthy higher realm (which means, integrated with itself and with its
We said that integral art might focus on merely one dimension of the totality available to it.
Integral art, for example, might include the abstract painting of a single bamboo stalk. The
defining hallmark of integral art is not the nature of the object depicted but that the
consciousness that produced it is integral (or integrally informed). The subject matter of the
artwork itself might be very specific, very particular, very “not comprehensive.” An integral
artwork might be a single piano concerto, a sprawling 800-page novel, a painting of an apple,
a Wagnerian-sized opera, a Zen landscape, a rock-and-roll song, a fantastical painting, a
architecture project, a haiku poem. What all of those artworks would have in common—if
they were integral artworks—is that the consciousness of the artist that created them was
integral. Which means, the artist was in touch with, and had generally integrated, his or her
highest states and stages of being-in-world.
The subject matter of the artwork itself might merely a particular, single object, or it might be
a sprawling, encompassing, totalistic type of artwork. Likewise, the artwork might succeed or
fail in various categories—technical finesse, creative novelty, balance and composition,
narrative flair, harmonic boldness, visual acuity, and so on. But in all those cases, the artwork
qualifies as integral artwork if its creator is operating in the space of an integral awareness at
the time of its composition (and, indeed, it can judged specifically on how well it does that).
Does that really matter, and by looking at an artwork can you really tell the nature of the
consciousness that produced it? Yes and yes, I believe. This is not very different from, say,
Zen calligraphy, where a painting consisting of only a single brush stroke can reveal the
degree of enlightenment of its creator—if we ourselves are enlightened enough to be able to
tell in the first place.
Exactly that is a distinguishing hallmark of all soul art and all integral art: its actual subject
matter can only be “seen” from the correspondingly high state or stage that produced the
artwork. Anybody can see the calligraphy brush stroke on the piece of paper, but only those
with some degree of enlightenment can tell whether that brush stroke was produced by an
enlightened Hakuin or a run-of-mill calligrapher. It’s the identical subject matter in both
artworks, but an entirely different subject of consciousness producing each—and yes, you can
definitely tell the difference, if you have the appropriate eyes to see….
What, then, can soul art and integral art—that is, art from any higher realm—do for the
typical audience? In my opinion, all great soul art and integral art does at least two
incredibly important things.
First, it can evoke in virtually anybody a temporary state experience of the higher realm.
As we were saying, you can be at Carol Gilligan’s stage 1 in moral development and still have
a profound peak experience of a higher realm. Great soul and integral art can do just that, can
hit you with such profound presence that it takes your breath away, takes time itself away,
takes space and flings it to eternity, opens you to the deepest and highest and most radiantly
shimmering spaces of your own soul, all at once and just like that. You come away from such
art just a little bit better than you were a moment ago, you see a little bit more, you feel a little
bit more, you know yourself a little bit better, you touch others a little more intimately, you
awaken a fraction more toward your own infinity….
There is a general rule of thumb that developmental psychologists have slowly learned
from their research: the more you experience profound states of consciousness, the more
rapidly you develop through the stages of consciousness. You cannot skip stages, but you
can accelerate your development through them. And one of the means of doing so is by
experiencing some of the higher realms as peak experiences, as nonordinary states—
perhaps as meditative states, contemplative states, flow experiences, visionary
experiences, “aha” experiences, or experiences evoked and induced by great soul and
integral art. For example, research indicates that somebody at Gilligan’s stage 2 (the care
stage), by practicing meditation (and meditative states) will move into stage 3 (universal care)
more rapidly than somebody who does not (Wilber, K., The Eye of Spirit).
Likewise, although the effects are not as pronounced, those exposed to great soul and integral
art will more quickly evolve to their own higher potentials. We have always known—
known!—that great art can make us better people (and we knew this until the
deconstructionists attempted—and almost succeeded—in convincing us otherwise). And this
is the likely psychological mechanism (discovered through sophisticated research) by which
such betterment occurs, namely: repeated exposure to higher states of consciousness and peak
experiences and “aha” experiences (evoked by higher art) accelerates development through
the stages of our own growth.
And that is the second thing that contemplating great soul and integral art can do. The
evocation of a higher state might be temporary, but the cumulative effect is not. We
come away from great, great art just a little, little bit better….
So let us say that part with the bluntness it deserves: contemplating a great van Gogh,
expanding into a Hakuin landscape, reading a Thomas Mann novel, contemplating a Gehry
building, studying an essay by Jurgen Habermas, flowing with a poem of Lady Tsogyal,
watching Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, resonating with a plea from Sojourner
Truth, contemplating a Tibetan tankgha of Avalokitesvara, can make you just a little bit better
If we ourselves happen to be fortunate enough to already be in touch with the higher and
deeper realms evoked by a great artwork, we can always learn some nuance, some new
delicate curve, some new glorious notes in the song of our own soul, conveyed now by the
inspired artist in whose presence we are honored to be. In this and so many other ways, great
art is the servant of the soul in its gentle unfolding.
And what of the artist? What does the production of soul or integral art do for the artist? Can
such artistic endeavor be a vehicle of growth for its creator?
Well, certainly. But as we were saying, even higher development can be fraught with turmoil,
dysfunction, pathology, miscarriages. It is often the case that an individual who is extremely
gifted in one of the dozen or so intelligences becomes increasingly unbalanced by focusing on
his or her gift to the exclusion of other dimensions that, although they will likely never shine
as brightly (nor do they need to), nonetheless cannot be merely ignored, denied, or repressed.
Such a person may become a great soul artist, but never a great integral artist, by definition.
When an artist reaches deeply and highly into herself or himself, and brings forth a soul
domain, a domain just a little bit higher or deeper than their own selves are at that moment,
then their art is indeed acting to transform them, to move them into those higher and wider
spaces. I, as an artist, might glimpse a deeper or higher realm, and every time I do so, I
glimpse myself as I might be in my own betterment: I see myself as I might be tomorrow if I
live up to my own art.
Soul art can have a micro-transformative effect on an audience—and on the artist, the creator
of the artwork, as well. But, as we were saying, although this might help the artist to grow in
one respect—namely, the getting-in-touch with a higher, deeper, wider realm of
consciousness—it might not be integrated into the rest of the personality. This is why the
practice of art ought ideally be part of an Integral Transformative Practice, a practice
that exercises body, mind, and spirit in self, culture, and nature. (For a further
explanation of ITP, which is beyond the scope of this simple introduction, please see K.
Wilber, One Taste.) In this way, great soul art can become great integral art, as the artist
who is evoking the higher soul realms is also integrating them with the other realms and
dimension of his or her own being-in-the-world. And, for the same reason, anybody who is
undertaking a truly Integral Transformative Practice ought to exercise the artistic/aesthetic
dimension to some degree, lest that dimension become not over- but under-developed. And
every time we dip into the greater beauty of our own tomorrow, we are developing more of
our own greater potential, brief but glorious glimpses of which speak to us in soul and integral
I am sitting quietly in front of the computer, typing mundane words into a mundane keyboard
on a mundane Monday morning. Slowly I begin to notice something unusual in the air, in the
atmosphere around me, a soft, incredibly fine flickering of rain, a gold-dust twinkling, a
wistful mist sprinkling and shining everywhere, a quiet riot of psychedelic platinum
enlivening every direction I look, the world becomes alive with the articulate beating souls of
every single raindrop, each being a small opening, all of them small apertures, into a radiant
infinity that slowly invades my mind and soul as well, my heart begins to fill with that
radiance, to spill gratefully out of itself and gracefully back into the world, an ecstatic painful
radiant bliss that touches each with wonderment, the yearning of love and the dreadful tears of
tender embrace, each shimmering raindrop a hidden soul reaching out to me and then,
suddenly, a collective cacophony of Gods and Goddesses all singing as loud as they possibly
can, looking at me and calling to me and urging me louder and louder, more and more
thunderous, and me to them, and then spontaneously, uncontrollably, we all start shouting and
crying and singing in unison, lord what a sound, what a thunder there was, as we all sobbed
and we all shouted: is not this simple, present moment the very face of spirit itself? And a
total revelation that could never be improved in any way at all?
And with that, with the utter obviousness of it all, the rain simply stopped. I type the next
mundane word into the mundane keyboard on this mundane Monday morning. But then,
somehow, just a little, the world will never be the same.
Forewords to Drinking Lightning and Promethean Flames
by Philip Rubinov Jacobson
Foreword to Drinking Lightning by Philip Rubinov Jacobson
written by Ken Wilber
Art. Its definitions are legion, its meanings multiple, its importance often debated. But amid
the many contradictory definitions of art, one has always stood the test of time, from the
Upanishads in the East to Michelangelo in the West: art is the perception and depiction of
the Sublime, the Transcendent, the Beautiful, the Spiritual. Art is a window to God, an
opening to the Goddess, a portal through which you and I, with the help of the artist, may
discover depths and heights of our soul undreamt of by the vulgar world. Art is the eye of
Spirit, through which the Sublime can reach down to us, and we up to It, and be
transfigured and transformed in the process. Art, at its best, is the representation of
your very own soul, a reminder of who and what you truly are, and therefore can
Philip Rubinov-Jacobson is a true artist, one in whom the Sublime is at work. But, as Phil
explains in this book, the spiritual impulse—the artistic impulse—is at work in every act of
creativity. Art can be a way to awaken that creative and spiritual process, and hone it to a fine
degree. That is what Phil has done in his own life, and what he shows the reader how to do in
the following pages.
This is a wonderful book, ripe with the wisdom of an artist in whom the creative fire is alive,
touched by the Gods and Goddesses of a realm that the conventional mind too often fails to
see, enraptured by the vision of a beauty too painful to pronounce. Art, as the eye of Spirit, is
the royal road to your own soul, and this book is nothing less than a road map for that
Foreword to Promethean Flames by Philip Rubinov Jacobson
written by Michael Schwartz
Promethean Flames, the second in Philip Rubinov Jacobson’s trilogy of books on art and
spirituality, is a groundbreaking theoretical and impassioned reflection on the highest calling
of the visual arts. Jacobson, a practicing painter and spiritual adept, picks up and develops the
best of post-Romantic views on the spiritual in art while laying to the side all the non-sense
that circulates today as commonsensical truth about art and artists. This is not only a wise and
compassionate book – it is singular.
Seen from one angle, the book’s argument turns on a novel account of art’s history. In this
presentation there are two levels of being each with distinctive forms of historical time: (1)
developments within the everyday gross-realm that, since the time of the Judaic tale of the
Golden Calf, have periodically dulled the full glory of visual art (as with repeated
iconoclasms); and (2) a stream of art-making drawing upon and expressing more subtle
realms of being, this unfolding less unidirectional, more “cyclical,” and involving a trans-
generational community of artist-shamans and – sages communicating with each other across
the ages. While visual artists necessarily participate explicitly in the first stream of art history,
not all do so in the second. And while the latter’s dimensions are deeper and more significant,
gross-realm developments are more fundamental and as such condition the possibility and
effectiveness of the making and reception of any art aspiring to express the transpersonal.
Continuing this account we see that beginning in the Renaissance, taking off with
Romanticism, and flowering with Modernism, art has been called upon with a new directness
to express and engage our ultimate concern with spirit. This increased call for art to serve
developmental and spiritual ends is one of the many dignities of post/modernity -- achieved,
in the main, through the unprecedented growth through what Max Weber, Jürgen Habermas,
and Ken Wilber have called the “differentiation of value spheres”: the state, religion, the
economy, science, and other domains becoming differentiated from one another, each
developing distinct practices, methods, theories, languages, institutions, and enhanced
capacities. Art, once embedded in non-art contexts such as religion and politics, also became
its own socio-cultural domain through the institutions of exhibition art, spectatorial
performance music, and literature. Coupled with (1) the rise in the overall stage development
of the populous into more rational and post-rational waves, (2) the differentiation and de-
centering of religious institutions from state apparatuses, and (3) declining belief in a pre-
modern sky God, ultimate concern became refracted and dispersed throughout the various
value-spheres: secular politics as the means of creating a more just society; scientific progress
as a vehicle of human self-determination; art as a means for healing our souls and pointing us
to spirit. In sum, historical developments since the Renaissance have provided the conditions
for growing number of artists to explore with depth and directness higher spiritual states.
For all its dignity, post/modernity has had its down side, largely due to the non-integration of
the newly differentiated values spheres, leading to specific domains – in particular, the
economy, administrative apparatuses, and scientific research aimed towards unending
technological upgrades – growing disproportionately in relation to the others, acting as if they
were the organizing whole, dominating and “colonizing” the other domains, collapsing
healthy public spheres of rational-ethical reflection as well as marginalizing advanced art and
aesthetic experience, the resultant imbalances and dissociations engendering pathological
modes of historically-constituted experience that always already, behind our backs, invest our
ways of life.
Attuned to these historical pathologies, early modern philosophers and theorists regularly
turned to art and aesthetic experience as the means for re-harmonizing the form of experience.
Wilber, however, has argued astutely that art as a differentiated domain could no more
accomplish this re-integration than any of the respective value spheres, as it too is only a part
of the whole. But what advanced art can do – as we learn in this book – is create worlds that
show us what more integrated forms of life can look like. Art, as embedded in a specific value
domain and institutional matrices (and primarily engendering aesthetic inquiry as opposed to
moral reflection or scientific research), cannot itself perform the integration; but art, in its
showing us worlds that shine with the True, the Good, and the Beautiful, can model and
inspire what more integrated forms of life might look like. Thus, not only is advanced art
today called to point us to the direct experience of higher spiritual states and realms, but it can
offer models of healthy, integrated ways of being in the world: the twin-challenge of integral
Jacobson is not only keenly attuned to and brilliantly articulate about the extraordinary
possibilities for art today, he also sees clearly how art has by no means simply side-stepped
post/modernity’s pathologies. He distinguishes three principle modes of visual art: (1)
postmodern exhibition art of the gallery and museum; (2) the spectacular displays of mass
culture; and (3) a growing domain, on the margins and dispersed (so perhaps not quite yet a
social sub-system), of integral art and artists. (It is instructive in this regard to compare this
tri-fold scheme to the three modern spheres of music discussed by Theodor Adorno is his
remarkable 1938 essay “On the Fetish-Character of Music and the Regression of Listening.”)
Today the two predominant spheres of art – that of the mainstream postmodern
museum or gallery (advanced exhibition art) and that of a spectacular mass culture (the
entertainment industry) – are both, in the author’s estimation, lacking in consistent
expressions of depth, even much of the work in the leading New York galleries
downright deadening, distracting, or worse. In this light, the emerging sphere of integral
art holds great promise while at the same time being in need of its own institutions –
institutions not only for training integral artists but also to sustain forms of community (yet to
be invented) that re-embed artists and audience in common world-spaces, overcoming the
post/modern isolated-alienated artist making for a random and anonymous public. A resource
for such initiatives can be perhaps be found in some of the more fecund projects of early
postmodernism, for instance in the art of Joseph Beuys, who richly explored the re-integration
of art and life, artist and audience, soul and body, nature and culture, all woven as a complex
and deeply compassionate gesture of bringing to light and initiating the healing process of the
collective trauma that was the holocaust.
To be sure, becoming an integral artist is not easy, requiring sustained practice and
commitment: an aesthetic-spiritual path of art-making that would do well, Jacobson
persuades, for artists to train in higher states of being. For it is through accessing these
deepest states that true creativity more readily flows, empowering great art (as Schelling and
Heidegger knew) to point back towards this creativity as the very source of manifestation.
Further, such creativity is inseparable from a profound sense of generosity – Jacobson calling
integral artists to recollect that they are always already responsibility for All. (We hear little in
this book of post/modern declarations such as “self-expression” and “my artistic rights” –
themes that, while important in their own way, all too easily decay in our post-Warholian age
into the narcissism of celebrity.) Likewise, Jacobson’s vision of integral art avoids the
post/modern confounding of means and ends – where the means (tool, instrument, technique)
comes to compete with and even displace in significance the ends (purpose, meaning, depth)
which it is to serve – the creation of means even becoming its own end: as with the ever
increasing obsession with technology. Jacobson never for a moment slips into valorizing
art for its own sake, but always keeps in view art’s service to Love.
Integral art can be an enormous gift to this waking-world of suffering sentient beings – such is
the extraordinary lesson of Promethean Flames.