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

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