The artist is a shaman. The artist’s role, especially in the West, has always been to alter the state of consciousness of the viewer, and to force the big Other, the capital “O” Other, the collective superego, to face its own shadow—as well as to face the super-consciousness, the One that is beyond the Other, that it denies.
The collective superego denies that there is any power greater than itself. That is why powerful nations, identifying with the big Other, can appropriate the right to invade smaller countries or otherwise determine the destiny of our planet. But this hubris, whether played out on the scene of international politics or within a family system or even within a single individual mind, can never be successful.
The power of karma will eventually restore justice and balance to the world. One of the most potent instruments of that power is the artist. The artist reveals the higher Truth to an arrogant establishment that claims hegemony over the world. And it is that revelation that then moves the conscience of the world toward reconciliation of the great powers with the greatest Power of all. This archetypal battle of vision between the artist and the political establishment has created much of the tension that has formed the trajectory of history. In this context, even religions can be considered as works of art. Religions begin as visions of Truth, and become refuges within which the arts can flourish. But the religious establishments soon become battlegrounds themselves, being appropriated in time by the big Other, and the artist is soon cast out once again into exile.