Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The End Of Pilgrimage

Everything around the image is part of its meaning. Its uniqueness is part of the uniqueness of the single place where it is. Everything around it confirms and consolidates its meaning. The extreme example is the icon. Worshippers converge upon it. Behind its image is God. Before it believers close their eyes. They do not need to go on looking at it. They know that it marks the place of meaning. 
Now, it belongs to no place, and you can see such an icon in your home. The images come to you; you do not go to them. The days of pilgrimage are over. 
- John Berger, Ways of Seeing (1972)


  1. This is lovely writing, but very wrong, as 53degrees.wordpress.com will demonstrate :)

  2. I wouldn't dismiss it completely. The video (I'll leave a link below) reminded me of an essay from Cavanaugh's Migrations of the Holy where he talks about tourism and pilgrimage. I will have to revisit that essay to see if there is any substance to that reminder. Perhaps the aesthetic shift that Berger is talking about feeds into the shift from pilgrim to tourist? Or if Facebook is anything to go by, from missionary to tourist? I don't know. But as you say, it is if nothing else a lovely collection of sentences!

    Anyway, I will have to check that blog out.