What is Art?

I recently found myself discussing, or perhaps rather brainstorming, this question with a bunch of friends of mine and I can honestly say that I don’t think anyone listening in on our conversation would have emerged on the other side any wiser. We threw around concepts such as ‘beauty’, ‘imagination’, ‘creativity’, ‘aesthetics’, ‘provocation’, ‘avant garde’ and many, many, more and ended up somewhere in between the albeit true yet essentially nonsensical statement that what is considered art is unique to each and every individual and that art stems from us as humans having a need to express ourselves and connect with the world on an emotional level. And there we left it as we moved on to other subjects.

But I have since found myself pondering the subject and if you allow me to indulge in some philosophical explication I believe I have managed to drill down to the core of what I believe art to be, on a fundamental level:

Art is its own point. Art exists in and of itself. The element of art in something is that which makes you have the instinctive reaction of ‘That didn’t need to exist. No one would ever have noticed if that never existed, but the world is undoubtedly a better place now that it does and now that I have experienced it, the world could no longer seem complete without it’.

That’s it. That’s my definition of art. And, interestingly, since I got this definition down I’ve found myself able to make some rather remarkable deductions from it, ultimately leading up to that

Life itself is art, on a level that scales the universe.

And this in turn actually allows for deductively answering the, according to some, ultimate question of
What is the meaning of life?
And the answer is that the question can’t be answered because the question itself approaches things the entirely wrong way around, because

Life has no meaning. Life never needed to exist in the first place, but in the moment it came to be life itself became and now forever is the meaning of everything.

So there we have it.
Art is its own point and life is the meaning of everything.
Or, you know, something like that.
I’m only passing the time on a train journey here after all.

10 thoughts on “What is Art?

  1. Art’s the exploration of the human condition – filling in while science remains incapable of doing it. You’re gonna have to be a little more efficient with words if you’re gonna be a poet *wink*


    • Yeah, I’m familiar with the textbook definitions, and I don’t agree with that particular one. ‘Filling in while science remains incapable’ suggests that science could someday make art irrelevant if it just becomes good enough. That’s nonsensical, and I also believe art to be about more than ‘exploring the human condition’. Thanks for the input though


      • Oh come on. If we can precisely control the human mind, we can develop stimulations far more impactful and intricate than any song or visual art. Though instill ideas, as with words, may be difficult. Probably not though.

        Infact, I’m sure many fields of science would be devoted exclusively for producing the current results that art focuses on. They’d probably be termed “art” at that point.


      • I have no doubt there will be fields of science dedicated to producing such stimulations, and it will be about as exciting as artificial food flavours.

        Also, science already had its own beauty. The genuine experience of fully understanding how the human brain works would be more valuable than anything we could induce artificially


      • Meh, science is boring details to me. Tools. Prefer the wild mystery of art.

        And screw that, imagine direct stimulation of the pleasure centers of the brain. We’ll, eventually, find a way to make it extremely influential.


      • Direct stimulation of the pleasure centers of the brain would for sure we a wild and incredible experience but I doubt we’ll ever be able to move significantly beyond momentary effects, and it will thus pretty much be a similar experience to what you already can get with certain chemical substances, just safer and more controlled.

        The way art can plant seeds of ideas and emotions in your mind that linger and grow is an entirely different ball park


      • You’re certainly right about that. I guess we mainly have different ideas about to what extent those toys will be able to substitute for genuine experiences


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