Monday, August 22, 2011

philosophie de l'art

If I remember my art philosophy course correctly,  Plato described art as a copy of a copy. He was worried that the harder one tries to portray an object's beauty the more one would destroy it. Dishonesty was of great concern. For those who couldn't see a flower, but could see a painting of one, would be stripped of the original beauty of being in the flower's presence. But the viewer, nonetheless would still see a flower and still see beauty in that flower.
Today, we not only  have museums chock-full of this dishonesty but everyone has a moving picture box in their home to provide continual, dishonest, imperfect beauty. Enter television. I can only say this in so many ways before I even get tired of it but our generation is living through this ruined world that Plato was worried about.
We watch the lives that go by on television as if they were our own. Meanwhile, hardly anyone takes the chance to try to live anymore. I will take time, here and now, to admit that I am a hypocrite. While I know these are the things destroying our generation and I try to heed against them, I take part knowingly and willingly. I'm not brainwashed into thinking that I'm doing anything more with my life than the next. I admit that I am the same "undifferentiated nothingness" that I was when "my peepholes first opened" (thank you Vonnegut).
Still, as the hypocrite that I am, I would like to point out that even Disney/Pixar people know what's happening. Those hypocrites playing on our hypocracy. They see it happening and they mock us for it, knowing that we're still going to love it, still going to love them. Still going to beg for more when it's over. We know we're getting lazy and we know we're only living through the screen but that's what we like, its what we want. Entertainment, in this era, has entered under those categories of survival it seems. Along with shelter, water and food, we need to be entertained.
I would like to say that I think it is "good" (but only to the extent that learning our lessons through tv can be) that there are movies like Wall-E that show kids where our laziness will get us. Kids may not see the underlying themes like adults may but hopefully it settles in their minds on at least some sub-conscious level that we do need to stop trashing our earth, our minds and our bodies.
I still enjoy a movie from time to time, those copies of copies of copies but I try to appreciate beauty in it's purest available form as well. I still enjoy walks amongst what nature is left. I still dig my feet in the sand or stop to watch a dragonfly flutter on by.
I know Plato would describe books the same way, copies of copies.Though my interpretation of these copies of copies, and the thoughts that follow, could to some level be dishonest and impure- yet another set of copies- I appreciate that I feel slightly more knowledgeable for having read/learned them.
As Palahniuk would touch on, in Lullaby, some people still view knowledge as power. And life is just a battle of power. Maybe once I have enough "power", I will actually do something with it. Or maybe I won't be an exception to the rule, though. I could just forever remain what I always was, what I still am, undifferentiated nothingness. Uninspired. Uninspiring. Copied. Copying.
No matter the outcome, I will probably always feed off of and into what Plato would have called a copied world. This is how we've evolved. Words = Knowledge. Knowledge = Power. We are born to be entertaining. We are needing to be entertained. We are hungry for power. So learn something.

"The natural world destroyed, we're left with this clutter world of language." -CP

Sunday, August 7, 2011

la vie en film

I've been thinking for a while now, maybe a couple years or so, about trying to pinpoint beautiful experiences and trying to capture them in memory and trying to pass them on to the world. In sketches. In stories. In some sort of artistic expression. I have been searching for the right blend of experiences and related descriptions to deem worthy of one's reading. Years later, I am ashamed to admit that I have realized or perhaps been convinced that even the best of descriptions for the best of moments are still just copies of copies.
Thank you Chuck Palahniuk for taking my beauty, my insight, my loves, my memories straight out of my hippocampus and throwing them all into the metaphorical trash. Nothing that has happened to me hasn't happened to everyone else. No experience is unique.
I think back to the time when a boyfriend of mine would surprise me by dancing to nothing but the beat of our own footsteps. At the moment, I was mystified and surprised. I was so sure that the story of our love could be summed up in the few short minutes we spent closer to each other than the rest of the world had ever been. Closer to each other than anyone in the rest of the world could ever try to be. It made me feel beautiful and unique. Loved and special enough to spend the time and spontaneity on. And then I saw the same scene re-enacted for the world to see in a movie. Only it was different characters and it was in the middle of a road somewhere. And you could see her smile and you could see the passion in his eyes. And, although they were dancing to silence, there was a soundtrack for us to hear because it was after-all a movie.
The thing about movies though, is that you can see all the characters and even when the characters have a flashback, the scene includes all of them even the one whose mind is supposedly having the flashback. You get to see just how beautiful, just how in love all of the characters are/were. You get to see how the love in their eyes makes them that much more beautiful for just that moment. But the thing about real life is you are never going to be able to see what everyone else sees in the way that you feel. The love you held in your eyes only counts to the one who saw it and it only counts for that moment. You can never recreate that beauty or that moment because you couldn't see it from all angles.
And why would you want to? We say we want special and unique experiences but we're addicted to happiness the way a masochist is addicted to suffering. After having that one glorified, defining moment we can't wait for the next to come along. After all, if we were only due that one glorified, defining moment, what reason would we have to live for after it? So we try again.
We keep dancing in the silence hoping to feel that passion, hoping to recreate that moment. Little do we realize that the moment was 'special' because it was spontaneous and unprecedented. But, with the limited creative potential this modern world holds, it is hard, maybe impossible even, to continue creating spontaneous moments so we get sucked in to the hum-drum daily grind of real life. And we start living in movies and books because those copies of copies are unique to us and make us feel alive.