As someone who uses art as a means for contemplation (and often times, therapy), I would have to allow myself to be quite passive in order to not be affected by the art we’ve seen in Europe.
My favorite movement in art history is probably Impressionism, because of their creative innovations that break away from the rules and structure of art’s establishment. It is interesting to think how new worlds can open up once you bend the rules a little! Should art be given formulaic constraints? The Impressionists saw that art should roam free.
Aside from being inspired by great art and great minds, I am also impacted in other ways through our experiences. I have been shaken, as well. I will never forget walking through the Dachau concentration camp and suddenly feeling no sense of morality, losing any grasp of good and evil. Nietzsche was right, God is dead and everything is permissible; my mind went to chaos. I then realized the spiritual element to this. I realized that I was impacted so much precisely because of the inherent worth that exists in all of human kind, a type of value that is indeed God-given. When you enter a place where people have experienced suffering through extreme oppression, a place where their inherent value has been utterly rejected, you cannot leave without feeling something.
Our journey through Europe ends soon! And I will not leave it an unchanged man.