What is Art?

by cwviderkull

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…

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Three little words

Three little words
I Don’t Know

To embrace them
is ignorant
To fear them
just the same

To stigmatize them
is the act
of
a fanatic

To accept them
is often
difficult
To admit them
is sometimes
brave

Respecting them
is always
fundamental
To take them
as a challenge
is what it means
to be
progressive

Language Barrier Reef

One of the things I love the most
about being abroad is being surrounded
by people speaking foreign languages,
languages that I don’t understand.
Every conversation seems intriguing.
There’s an endless array
of possibilities
for what is being talked about.
People seem so very interesting
when you don’t understand
what they are actually saying…

Peace of Mind. Do we want it? Should we?

The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is ‘No’. Peace of mind is one of those things that most people assume they want but never really think about what it means, and most probably wouldn’t want if they did. Or so I have come to believe. Hear me out.

I, like most people, have casually believed myself to seek peace of mind, or at least pictured it as something worthy of aspiring towards. Many a time have I wished to be sure enough of myself and my convictions to never have to doubt my own judgement or decisions. But this, I have realized, is an error of thought. An exercise in vanity.

Peace of mind is reserved for the fanatic.
Doubt, regret, guilt and shame are the burdens we bear in exchange
for free will, free thought and reason.

To seek peace of mind is to welcome indoctrination
and few of us would do that if aware.

And this is important, not least for the reason that we live in a society that acknowledge and respect our convictions more the stronger we hold them, where we are taken more seriously the surer we seem of ourselves and the louder we shout, where doubt is almost always perceived as a weakness. The result of this can never be anything other than polarization and fanatics in positions of power.

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.