What is your Aesthetic Philosophy?
I promised to make this thread, so here goes. Whew, gotta admit I am bit a worn out by the energy all those replies on the The Road thread have worn me out, but I think I have enough to make my point well here.
Basically this is a thread that sort of cuts down to the central issue that every discussion and debate had here centers around: what do you believe art is, what do you think it should do, and why do you think that. Cutting away all the silly extraneous discussions that get lost in simply arguing styles such as post-modernism or minimalism or romanticism or modernism of all these extraneous, and frankly meaningless trappings.
So how do I start...perhaps I will start by getting a bit Faulknerian, as he often made a statement with a similar gist: I believe the point of the writer is to lie, and do it so convincingly the reader doesn't know or care really that he's being lied to.
This is where Umberto Eco falls flat when he says, "You cannot say 'I love you madly', but you can say, 'According to Barbara Streisand I love you madly.' You certainly can, that's what writing is.
Art is solely about lying, lying to the reader that you came up with what he is reading and didn't just assemble it from a montage of randomness in your own life. You are lying to the reader that some basic element of your plot is new, or is your own, you are lying to them that a character is something you made up and not just some interpretation of yourself or rewriting of a character that struck either in fiction or real life. Without the lie there is no art, only science, so frankly what Eco and post-modernists do, for me, threatens the very purity and existence of art itself by trying to remove the lie from art and to focus on removing the lie and writing to let the reader know along the way that the whole thing is a lie, that it is always a lie.
But it's also about destroying reality. A French New Novelist, Robbe-Grillet I believe, was obsessed with the fact that if he used the word mountain, he couldn't use it to give a specific meaning, that each reader would see it differently. He could not fundamentally get over the fact that the word "mountain" is not a mountain and never will be, (in a way it is just part of the lie).
In doing so he missed what is really beautiful about it; that it is not a mountain, but a basic packet of information, a basic bit of programming that cannot be simplified anymore, it is a deconstruction of a mountain, a mountain is destroyed in the eye of the writer into the word and the recreated in the eye of the reader in infinitesimal different ways which is so beautiful because the word is unbound, unzipped, the basic information unfolded and it becomes a billion different combination's, this is what makes art so vast, so infinite in its depth. Art is, through the lie, destruction and then creation again, creation in so many ways, countless ways, ways that don't really matter, (and this is the really cool thing). This is something that truly touches me on personal level about art and what art does, so of course you should have no trouble understand why I am passionate in attacking any mode of thought that threatens it.
Art is destruction, very importantly it is destruction. To quote the Apostle Paul, "Life is meaningless" and I am using that quote for differing reasons than the original context. Life is a somewhat base, simplistic, and monotonous exercise in futility, art is just something we've created to help us cope with the fact that as we go along there is no ultimate beauty in reality, in what can be quantified, that there is no happiness in understanding everything or anything. I always declare quite proudly that I want to know everything but understand nothing at all.
Art is something that inserts a temporary feeling of meaning, a temporary collection of chaos into organized patterns. It doesn't matter what that feeling is, how it's done, what the interpretation of it, just so long as it does it, beyond that nothing else is important within it. It's so important to be reminded that we are human, to, in this increasingly desensitized age make us feel alive to help us once more join Icarus and transcend the world before falling back to it, to help us transcend not only ourselves, but the ordinary limitations of our normal feelings and experiences.
Life is a box, the purpose of art is postulate what is outside of that box and help us cope with being stuck in it.
Therefore I don't need writing that fails this transcendental task, this elevating task. I read to find some real people, people in some way idealized, made to transcend their petty day to day versions, and find some plot where action has meaning where place has meaning. I write for much the same purpose; to try to create this, find some new pocket of this, make a personal exploration into trying to find something greater than what is on the surface of our daily lives. And again, to return to the central theme, thus the lie.
Literature will only come to be more important I feel, because as Religion slowly dies literature will replace it as a means of coping. Literature will be a venue for people to find something that gives them hope their lives mean something, that they will accomplish something universal with their lives, that their solitary existence can have an impact and elevate them above the masses of people that surround them. So that man will not cry to an empty and cold universe of gravity and stars and space and energy locked in a unending passionless cycle, a lone voice crying in the depths to unhearing ears and echoing in the everlasting darkness of being.
So to try to stop wandering along with my thoughts, I am a hopeless romantic in my view of art. Therefore I am very antagonistic to whatever movements I view as avant garde, as more interested in ulterior aspects rather than the end result, the creation of something meaningful, something that makes the viewer feel more alive, feel refreshed and ready again to turn his eye to the vast horizon of reality in all its many shades of gray.
This philosophy is very important to me, so I do argue it passionately where I feel it is threatened. Indeed I wrote an entire bildungsroman when I was an high school dealing pretty much with defining an artistic outlook I could not grasp at the time.
Perhaps this stringent and militant romanticism is hopelessly out of place in a modern age of skepticism, restraint, and rationality. It seems odd, or maybe it is the reason, that a person like me, for whom the rationality of an opinion or a debate is the absolute key to its validity and existence, should view art as an escape valve for that, art as something purely beautiful, purely emotion and feeling and displaying universal human truths. Something to know but not have the slightest clue where to begin understanding.
All this philosophy requires of art is that it be in good intentions, as long as it doesn't fail to bring about that honest emotion and feeling of life, or doesn't fail to mock the very institution it is, it is fine by me, even if it's not a piece I enjoyed I have no problem with it. I think this is the distinction that wasn't clear in the several recent discussions had on the issue.
Because literature should be this:
"I turn on my side and look at the ocean look into its waters. It’s black, liquid ink filled the pens of countless imaginations, of a million wonderful dreams of adventure and escape dreams of a true reality a reality where the monotony of the understood could be lost within danger and mystery, fodder for a million fantasies, once...when there was such thing as mystery."
I will leave it at this, not perfect but it covers the basic extent of it, the rest can be more thoroughly discussed in future discussion if there is any. I'm interested to here about your philosophies on art, how they compare, how you would agree or disagree, etc. Because the only way we can ever more past really, I think, just saying, "Okay, you're wrong and you're wrong" etc, and trying to find ubermeinung is to break down the innermost feelings of literature and simply come to terms of understanding with the differing personalities here, otherwise it really is just beating around the bush and it can only be dealt, I feel, through this sort of thing...sorry, it is too late and I'm really having trouble keeping this all together for a worthy conclusion, so I'm just gonna cut it here, good as any place, shouldn't keep rambling....
So, your thoughts?
"I am not young enough to know everything" -Oscar Wilde
"The best way to protect your place in this world is to do nothing at all." -From Ikiru