Manifesto: Prophetic Activist Art: A Handbook for a Spiritual Revolution to be published

News Date 
Thu, 2013-02-28
news image

The Center for Human Ecology (Glasgow, Scotland) is sponsoring the publication of my activist art manifesto, due out sometime during the summer.  Alastair McIntosh, Fellow and former director of the Center, stated: "Tom's message is itself prophetic and needs to be widely heard, because it gives life and weaves the pathways of hope for the future." 

Prophetic Activist Art brings together medieval conceptions of prophecy, art's historic purpose to raise the human gaze to our highest spirit and our contemporary "cult of the individual," to propose a mysticism of action, with art as the regenerating force.  This theory moves beyond using activist art simply to shock the audience or raise awareness of social issues, to providing specific and quantifiable social change.  As I note in the introduction:

"In this short treatise, part manifesto, part handbook, I give an honest assessment of what specific prophetic impetus an artist can hope to provide to the general society, and how they can do so. The chapters outline a vision of how artists can use their talents to infuse a moral center into the public worlds of politics, the media and advertising, thereby introducing prophetic inspiration into the general society.  I outline specific manners of using art to inspire quantifiable positive social change, believing that contemporary mysticism must be expressed as action.  This defines the rejuvenation of creativity’s historic purpose, for our era.  This book is based in the belief that art has had a historic role in helping humankind reach our greatest spiritual potential, and that Prophetic Activist Art provides a manner of reconsidering that role for our era."

A series of social and political leaders have offered their support for the project:

Tom Block is a visionary at the intersection of art and conscience.   His vivid representations and sagacious convictions merge to form a coherent, cogent and compelling world-view.  Written with style and conviction, his new work is a “must read” for those searching for an ethical fulcrum from which to nurture equity, justice and human security. 

Major General (USAF, Ret.) Charles Tucker

Meticulous historian, playwright, essayist, novelist, visual art impresario, painter of vivid, sui generis portraits, and street smart political philosopher/activist, Tom Block is the only true Renaissance man I know.  His "Prophetic Activist Art: A Handbook for a Spiritual Revolution," mobilizes Nelson Mandela and Niccolo Machiavelli, among others, for strategic guidance on how to recruit businessmen, state legislators, college administrators, members of Congress and media to help mount art in the service of peace in the world community.  The new book, like Tom, is truly unique.

Joseph V. Montville        

Director, Program on Healing Historical Memory

School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution

George Mason University

 

At once idealist and realist, Tom Block opens up an array of pathways of thought for those who love art and have hopes for the future of our world.  His intriguing and intelligent work, as both manifesto and handbook, combines two very important elements.  It offers a plea to artists and the community that appreciates them not to forget the long and important history of art’s relationship to spirituality and  beauty.  Additionally, it offers a practical guide for how the artist—as prophet and mystic—can use art as successful prophets and mystics have always used the esoteric knowledge that they gain through contact with the sacred: to help heal the world of its diverse social illnesses.  Block recognizes both the historical relationship between art and spirituality on the one hand and politics and economics on the other, and how to utilize that dynamic toward a positive end.  One comes away inspired—and invigorated to engage actively in both principles and projects that can improve the world for our children and grandchildren.

Ori Z Soltes, Georgetown University, author of Mysticism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Searching for Oneness.

The vision here is excellent: prophecy and art flowing together into contemporary mysticism and mysticism flowing into activism. Tom tells us “The responsibility of today’s artist/prophet is clear: to echo the harmony and beauty of the universe, and thereby point the way toward a new era of ‘secular’ spirituality.”  I particularly like the way Tom’s mind roams freely through historical periods and religious traditions to discover and illuminate the “golden thread” (Aldous Huxley’s phrase) that connects all human hearts.  Tom’s Prophetic Activist Artists are meant to change the world rather than mirroring and/or complaining about it. Tom is a general in an army of Prophetic Activist Artists. He directs the building of bridges between cultures, hearts and minds. He invokes the prophets of old to give credence to the prophets of new. He challenges us to use our creative powers to manifest the world all of us desire, about which we dream and for which we pray. His manifesto is a roadmap toward that end.

Lewis Elbinger, Foreign Service Office (ret.)