FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 111 A look at the BEATLES as featured in 7th episode of Francis Schaeffer film “How should we then live?” MAKING NATURE THE MEASURE OF GOODNESS (Featured artist is Dorothea Rockburne )

Although MAXWELL’S SILVER HAMMER was just a comical song about a person that was going around killing people with his hammer, it did bring up an interesting question that many in the 1960’s were starting to focus on: DOES MIGHT MAKE RIGHT? Science was being taken over by the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST mentality  and some people were looking to nature for our code of conduct. This also was tied into the GOD IS DEAD movement where a new source of morality was being sought. Would that source of morality be from nature and is there such a thing as a NOBEL SAVAGE?
In episode 7 of HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Francis Schaeffer asserts:  
Jean-Jacques Rousseau philosopher from Geneva, he lived in the 18th century, he thought that primitive man, the noble savage to be superior to civilized man. He felt that the enlightenment with its emphasis on reason, the arts and the sciences caused man to lose more than he gained.
Rousseau saw the restraints of civilization as evils.
“Man was born free but everywhere he is in chains!” He demanded not just freedom from God or the Bible but freedom from any kind of restraint, freedom from culture, freedom from authority, absolute freedom for the individual with the individual at the center of the universe. When applied to the individual his concept led to the bohemian ideal where the hero was the man who fought all standards, all values and all restraints of society.
When Rousseau applied his concept of autonomous freedom to society his concept would not function. “Whosoever refuses to obey the general shall be compelled to do so by the whole body.” Rousseau wrote this in 1762. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free. In other words tyranny. A tyranny that carried its position to its logical conclusion in the reign of terror in the French Revolution. Robespierre, the king of the terror, saw himself putting Rousseau‘s ideas into practice.
Paul Gauguin was a follower of jean Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In his hunt for total freedom he deserted his family.  He went to Tahiti hoping to find there the noble savage. There he found the idea of the noble savage to be an illusion.
As he worked in this painting “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?” (1897),  he also wrote about it. He called it a philosophic work comparable to the gospel, but what a gospel. Gauguin himself said, “Close to the death of an old woman a strange stupid bird concludes, ‘Wince, What, Wither. Oh sorrow thou art my master. Fate how cruel thou art and always vanquished I revolt.‘”
What he found in Tahiti was death and cruelty.
That man is good by nature as Rousseau claimed is no more true of primitive man than of civilized man. When Gauguin finished this painting he tried to commit suicide but he did not succeed.
There is one man who well understood the logical conclusion of the deification of nature, Marquis de Sade. “If nature is all then ‘what is’ is right and nothing more can be said….As nature has made us (the men) the strongest we can do with her (the woman) whatever we please.” The inevitable result was his cruelty to women. Thus there was no basis for either morals or law.
Let me dwell for a moment on the Dutch Reformation Painters who so rejoice fully painted the simple things of life. They knew that nature was created by a personal and a good God, but they also knew because of the fall, man’s revolt against God, that nature as it is now is abnormal. That is a very different thing than taking nature as it is now and making it the measure of goodness because when this is done there is no difference between cruelty and non-cruelty.

The Beatles Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (Let It Be sessions)

Here is comical look at the world look like if MIGHT MADE RIGHT!!!!

“Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”

Joan was quizzical, studied pataphysical
Science in the home
Late nights all alone with a test-tube ohh oh oh oh
Maxwell Edison majoring in medicine
Calls her on the phone
Can I take you out to the pictures, Joan?
But as she’s getting ready to go
A knock comes on the doorBang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer
Came down upon her head
Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer
Made sure that she was deadBack in school again Maxwell plays the fool again
Teacher gets annoyed
Wishing to avoid an unpleasant scene
She tells Max to stay when the class has gone away
So he waits behind
Writing 50 times “I must not be so” oh oh oh
But when she turns her back on the boy
He creeps up from behindBang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer
Came down upon her head
Do do do do do
Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer
Made sure that she was deadP.C. Thirty-One said “We caught a dirty one”
Maxwell stands alone
Painting testimonial pictures ohh oh oh oh
Rose and Valerie screaming from the gallery
Say he must go free (Maxwell must go free)
The judge does not agree and he tells them so oh oh oh
But as the words are leaving his lips
A noise comes from behind

Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer
Came down upon his head
Do do do do do
Bang, Bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer
Made sure that he was dead
Wow wow wow oh!
Do do do do do

Silver hammer Max


Francis Schaeffer noted, “This record,  Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings.” 

How Should We then Live Episode 7 small

I have gone back and forth and back and forth with many liberals on the Arkansas Times Blog on many issues such as abortionhuman rightswelfarepovertygun control  and issues dealing with popular culture . This time around I have discussed morality with the Ark Times Bloggers and have used the examples given in Woody Allen’s movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” to do so. With out God in the picture to punish the evildoers  in an afterlife, then can people do anything they want because “might makes right.”

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1

Without the infinite-personal God of the Bible to reveal moral absolutes then man is left to embrace moral relativism. In a time plus chance universe man is reduced to a machine and can not find a place for values such as love. Both of Francis Schaeffer’s film series have tackled these subjects and he shows how this is reflected in the arts.

Here are some posts I have done on the series “HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? : Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices” episode 9 “The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence”episode 8 “The Age of Fragmentation”episode 7 “The Age of Non-Reason” episode 6 “The Scientific Age”  episode 5 “The Revolutionary Age” episode 4 “The Reformation” episode 3 “The Renaissance”episode 2 “The Middle Ages,”, and  episode 1 “The Roman Age,” .

In the film series “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?” the arguments are presented  against abortion (Episode 1),  infanticide (Episode 2),   euthenasia (Episode 3), and then there is a discussion of the Christian versus Humanist worldview concerning the issue of “the basis for human dignity” in Episode 4 and then in the last episode a close look at the truth claims of the Bible.

In July of 2013 I got into this discussion about morality and the meaning of life with the Arkansas Times Bloggers:

I asserted:

The debate on youtube of atheists and theists concerning the meaning of life included Richard Dawkins and William Lane Craig. Dawkins says that trying to find a lasting meaning to life is “silly.” Without God in the picture I would have to agree with him there. That was the view of King Solomon when he wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes 3000 years ago and it is the view of many of the modern philosophers today. Modern man has tried to come up with a lasting meaning for life without God in the picture (life under the sun), but it is not possible. Without the infinite-personal God of the Bible to reveal moral absolutes then man is left to embrace moral relativism. In a time plus chance universe man is reduced to a machine and can not find a place for values such as love. Both of Francis Schaeffer’s film series have tackled these subjects and he shows how this is reflected in the arts.…

It is a long session but you go to these points in the discussion for in my the best parts of the debate.

Richard Dawkins TIMES:

William Lane Craig TIMES:


Then Verla Sweere responded:

Saline–your reality depends on believing in something we cannot see, hear or smell, thus faith. Or delusion. Many of us want something more. When Senator Pryor says he’s unsure that our world is older than 6000 years, that means he has not studied the issue. Small wonder that we don’t trust him.


I responded:

Verla if you accept Darwinism then why not Social Darwinism?
Verla, this is where we are without the infinite personal God to provide written revealed truth to us in the Bible.

— A.J. Ayer in “Language, Truth and Logic” wrote this:

“We can now see why it is impossible to find a criterion for determining the validity of ethical judgments. It is not because they have an absolute validity which is mysteriously independent of ordinary sense experience, but because they have no objective validity whatsoever. If a sentence makes no statement at all, there is obviously no sense in asking whether what it says is true or false.”

Jean-Paul Sartre in “Existentialism Is Humanism” wrote this:

“The existentialist, on the contrary, thinks it is very distressing that God does not exist, because all possibility of finding values in a heaven of ideas disappears along with Him; there can no longer be an objective Good, since there is no infinite and perfect consciousness to think it. Nowhere is it written that the Good exists, that we must be honest, that we must not lie; because the fact is we are on a plane where there are only men. Dostoevsky said, ‘If God didn’t exist, everything would be possible.’” —


Steven E, I also believe in freedom like you do and don’t think that giving the government more money to waste is the solution but Hitler did believe in the survival of the fittest and he thought his race was going to be the last one standing. I still have not had heard any answers telling on what moral basis what he did was wrong. In an universe without a lasting meaning or the presence of an infinite personal God how can anyone said what he did was wrong in an impersonal world of time and chance?

In the film “Crimes and Misdemeanors” speaking to Judah, Rabbi Ben states the two key moral positions of the movie: “It’s a fundamental difference in the way we view the world. You see it as harsh and empty of values and pitiless. And I couldn’t go on living if I didn’t feel it with all my heart a moral structure, with real meaning, and forgiveness, and a higher power, otherwise there’s no basis to live.”

There is no middle ground. Either you embrace the chance universe or you realize that God put us here for a reason!!!!!!


The Outlier wrote:

Saline uses Sartre like he uses the bible—picking and choosing, leaving out the parts that are inconvenient. Here are some more quotes from the lecture he cited.

“And when we say that man takes responsibility for himself, we say more than that – he is in his choices responsible for all men. All our acts of creating ourselves create at the same time an image of man such as we believe he must be. Thus, our personal responsibility is vast, because it engages all humanity.”


I responded:

What Sartre is saying is very simple here. He believed that people should take responsibility for their own moral choices but that is not the case if the world is just a mindless time plus chance universe.

The perfect example is the agnostic Woody Allen and the lead character in the movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Judah is caught in a hard position because his mistress is about to turn him in for his past illegal business dealings and tell his wife about their 2 year affair. Instead of going to jail he has his underworld brother have the mistress killed. Here is how Judah put it:


And after the awful deed is done, he finds that he’s plagued by deep-rooted guilt. Little sparks of his religious background, which he’d rejected, are suddenly stirred up. He hears his father’s voice. He imagines that God is watching his every move. Suddenly, it’s not an empty universe at all, but a just and moral one, and he’s violated it. Now, he’s panic-stricken. He’s on the verge of a mental collapse, an inch away from confessing the whole thing to the police. And then one morning, he awakens. The sun is shining, his family is around him and mysteriously, the crisis has lifted. He takes his family on a vacation to Europe and as the months pass, he finds he’s not punished. In fact, he prospers. The killing gets attributed to another person — a drifter who has a number of other murders to his credit, so I mean, what the hell? One more doesn’t even matter. Now he’s scott-free. His life is completely back to normal. Back to his protected world of wealth and privilege.


Solomon discovered that life under the sun without God in the picture is a life where chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future. (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.”)

Solomon also discovered that if God is not in the picture that power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced.(Eccl 4:1; “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
and they have no comforter; po wer was on the side of their oppressors— and they have no comforter.” 7:15 “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness, and the wicked living long in their wickedness. ).

Can anyone dispute these conclusions?


Featured artist today is Dorothea Rockburne

Dorothea Rockburne
(With Joel Oppenheimer, poet)

Dorothea Rockburne interview

Published on Aug 22, 2012

More interviews and artists at:
Please, also visit our main website:

An interview with abstract painter Dorothea Rockburne by Lyn Kienholz and Rohini Talalla for Netropolitan: Museum without walls. ©2003

Canadian artist Dorothea Rockburne grounds her practice in mathematical theories that she first encountered while studying with Max Dehn at the legendary Black Mountain College. This exhibition includes a selection of key works since the 1970s, featuring one of Rockburne’s most recent drawings, The Mathematical Edges of Maine, a response to her travel to the state in the summer of 2014.


April 21, 2015 | 4:30 p.m. | BCMA

Gallery Conversation: “Art, Mathematics, and the Legacy of Black Mountain College”

Dorothea Rockburne, Ph.D, artist, and Dave Peifer, chair and professor of Mathematics, University of North Carolina-Asheville, discuss the mathematical theories behind Rockburne’s artistic work. They further explain how her art reflects the interdisciplinary education provided by the legendary Black Mountain College. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition A Gift of Knowing: The Art of Dorothea Rockburne.

Dorothea Rockburne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dorothea Rockburne
Born October 18, 1932
Montreal, Canada
Education Black Mountain College
Known for Mathematics, Astronomy, Abstract Art, Mannerism

Dorothea Rockburne (born c.1932 in Montreal, Canada) is an abstract painter drawing inspiration primarily from her deep interest in mathematics and astronomy. Rockburne’s attraction to Mannerism has also influenced her work.[1] In 1950 she moved to the United States to attend Black Mountain College,[2] where she studied with mathematician Max Dehn, a lifelong influence on her work. In addition to Dehn, she studied with Franz Kline, Philip Guston, John Cage, and Merce Cunningham. She also met fellow student Robert Rauschenberg.

In 1955, Rockburne moved to New York City where she met many of the leading artists and poets of the time. Rockburne is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, National Academy of Design, and The Century Association.

Awards and Honors[edit]

External links[edit]

the women of black mountain college

Francine Du Plessix
(With Joel Oppenheimer, poet)

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