The Purpose of Amplification

[aras-image:5Ga.070,,8,,,Figure 8 'Creation of Man' by Michelangelo.]

Recognizing a wider amplitude in the vibrancy of a numinous image may lead one outside the conventional norms. Stories have it that Michelangelo locked the doors of the Sistine Chapel to papal inspection because of reports to him that Pope Julian was troubled by naked figures being painted on the ceiling of that holy place. The question of possible homosexual content in Michelangelo's work has been addressed from time to time. Renaissance paintings of the Martyrdom of St Sebastian are cited as examples of the homosexual vision of the make figure being treated in a context culturally acceptable to the times. We have referred earlier to interpretations of the Zeus-Ganymede image. Relating to a homosexual vision and treatment of a symbol may extend the comprehension of inner experience into unknown dimensions of the psyche and open up a wider emotive vocabulary of expression, so to speak. For a man, loving the inner child as a male child (children are not asexual) may help him integrate young male energy as an operational function of the psyche. Loving the inner child as a female child may help relate a man to a youthful aspect of his anima. Since inner images are polyvalent, it may be one aspect at one time, and another on a different occasion. Susan Sontag once argued that we did not need another hermeneutics of art; what we need is an erotics of art; we need to fall in love with it.17 When one acknowledges an inner feeling, one need not automatically externalize it in outer events.
Perceptions shared between subcultures expand our horizons, but an enormous leap of understanding comes when we can move, even slightly, outside our own frames of reference. Cross-cultural amplification takes us outside the biases of the culture which have been a formative influence for us individually. Such imaginative acts challenge basic cultural assumptions of which we are unconscious because the culture at large is unconscious of the assumptions on which its life is predicated.