When hope and optimism are waning, hope and optimism are often found and renewed through art, music, and poetry. As Bertrand Russell argued, art is the transformation of pain into pleasure. Moreover, pleasure and meaning can be found even in the most minute details and fragments of art and poetry if one were to dig deep and to think deep. Moreover, all poetic meaning and symbolism is universal, despite our cultural and linguistic differences. And in turn, poetry is the language of self-transcendence and the language of a higher realm of intelligence and understanding.
For instance, one should consider the meaning and symbolism of a “grape” in universal poetic language. What a “grape” stands for in universal poetic language is a beautiful woman, often young, who has the potential to have the charming and intoxicating effect of an older woman, given that wine, which is both intoxicating and sweet, is made out of grapes. In turn, wine is used as a symbol for an older woman who has developed such charm and intoxication as a result of experience and wisdom.
Thus, the bitterness and sourness of the young woman – and thus, the bitterness and sourness of a grape – comes as a result of an unconscious concealment and repression of her true sexual appeal and sexual magnetism which she possesses from head to toe. And as a result of the concealment and repression, ironically, the young woman is made unaware that she actually possesses such sexual appeal and sexual magnetism. As Rumi wrote in a poem titled “A Grape”:
“I come with excuses. You plug your ears.
So I accept every difficulty.
If you would say I do not exist,
I would be grateful.
When this longing makes me disreputable,
then I have a little self-respect.
This vine begins to become wine
when you say, Pressure is necessary
for you to burst open under my foot.“
And in the intellectual and spiritual circles of various religious communities and traditions, the transcendent nature of poetry is made possible through musical gatherings and assemblies. This musical experience which is made possible through a gathering or assembly in Sufi culture is known as “sama’” or “sema.” Moreover, one can hold “sema” or “sama” individually or collectively, depending on the experience which the individual is seeking.
Hence, despite the corruption, decay and degeneration, a rebirth or renewal is always possible if one undertakes an aesthetic, ascetic, and self-chastising journey through art, music, and poetry. In turn, this rebirth and renewal is called for and is possible on a national scale in the United States, given its diverse and rich social fabric. And as Henry Kissinger argued, past American presidents were able to spur both rebirth and renewal on a number of occasions through the combination of diplomacy and the discovery of an “appropriate balance between power and legitimacy” during their term in office.
The challenges to a full American rebirth and renewal at this point in time are immense, given decades of corruption and war. Also, Congress usually switches parties during the midterm election of a president’s first term in office. But world history and the life of a nation does not end at one midterm election. Hence, it is better that the road ahead be long and filled with chances and opportunities rather than short and risk-ridden as a result of a stinted and stifled national consciousness.