I’m sitting on the deck of my first cruise ship, looking out at the big, blue sea, listening to its lush loudness, sucking on a Coffee Nip and reading “Just Kids” by Patti Smith. It seems like she is saying that her god is art. On page 11, she has almost a religious experience during her first visit to the Museum of Art in Philadelphia, saying, “I knew I was transformed, moved by the revelation that human beings create art, that to be an artist was to see what others could not.” On page 13, she describes her boyfriend, Robert Mapplethorpe, “having broken from his father, leaving his Catholic, commercial and military options behind in the wake of LSD and a commitment to live for art alone.” On page 48, she says, “His service was to art, not to church or country.”

It sounds strangely like the New Age–human secularist philosophy, “man is god.”

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