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    Jonathan Smith
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  1. "Blank mind"? Hmmm. So, I use the exact same method that Rand used in interpreting the abstract art forms that she liked (architecture, music, dance, etc.), and her observations and interpretations are rated as being purely "objective" and praiseworthy, but mine are the "fancies" of a "stoned" and "black mind." And meanwhile, Tony and all other Rand-followers can't identify any "artist's meaning" in any work of art, and yet they've convinced themselves that others are to be ridiculed for being capable of experiencing and describing meaning? You say "meaningless" as if you're hoping that we've forgotten that you haven't identified any "artist's meaning" in any work of art, ever, including -- most emphatically including -- representational realist works. And you doubtless wouldn't find any meaning in anything, including representational realist paintings. Fortunately, not all people share your personal limitations. Rand found her own subjective meaning in the abstract (non-representational) forms of architecture, music and dance, as well as in works of representational realism. If the method is good enough for her, it's good enough for me. No, I'm not faking anything, but just genuinely giving descriptions of what I see and experience, just as Rand did in regard to the art forms which affected her. J
  2. Hahahaha! Dopey, did you not look at the images that I described?!!! Can you seriously not see the vibrant concentric circles expanding like waves, and modulating as they go? They are visible things, which, as you just said, “don’t need proof.” There is no “secret code” in abstract art, just as there isn’t one in representational realism. Intense colors in representational realist paintings which have the characteristics of heat, passion and energy also have the same characteristics of heat, passion and energy in abstract paintings! Rough textures which convey ruggedness in representational realist paintings also convey ruggedness in abstract paintings! Flowing curves which convey motion and weightlessness in representational realist paintings also convey motion and weightlessness in abstract paintings! Heh. WTF? I really can’t make any sense of the muddled, twisted “thinking” that you’re using here. Um, the essence of my criticism of Rand and her followers in the field of aesthetics is really quite simple: The same criteria and standards should apply to all art works. If fans of abstract art can’t just state what they see and experience in a work of art, but must prove that they are actually identifying “artists’ meanings,” then the same should apply to Rand and her followers — they also can’t just state what they see and experience in a work of art, but must prove that they have actually identified “artists’ meanings.” Anyway, thanks for your attempted “input.” You’ve done an excellent job of illustrating the total irrationality, double standards, contradictions and mind-boggling nonsense that Rand’s followers indulge in when it comes to the field of aesthetics. You’ve given a demonstration of why the Objectivist Esthetics isn’t just dead, but is seriously mangled/rotted dead. Again, thanks for "trying.” I’m still hoping that some of Rand’s brighter followers will step up and address the substance of my criticisms. Some of them are capable of being quite intelligent, and I’d love to see them redeem themselves intellectually by displaying the courage to deal with the challenges that I’ve placed before them rather than evading, pouting and leaving the argument to lesser defenders, like you, who do much more damage to Objectivism than good. J
  3. Thank you! J
  4. You're lying. I just provided a link and a quote in which you demanded a test. Heh, you should read Rand's puffed-up comments on the paintings that she liked! They're way more pompous and pretentious than anything in a "hi-brow Art mag," especially since its so clear that she doesn't really know anything about the technical aspects of visual art, but pretends to. Her bluffs are transparent and awkward. And her reviews of visual art are very singularly Ayn-Randish -- no one else on the planet would read into the artworks what she did. No, the Objectivist Esthetics doesn't "deal with and in reality." It only deals with what Rand and her visually incompetent followers are limited to experiencing in art. Reality is not limited to their limitations just because they say so. You're inventing and fighting those imaginary opponents in your kooky head again! What it shows to whom? I and others are not limited to your limitations. As predicted, you're going to evade identifying "artists' meanings" in the representational realist paintings that I posted. Nothing still qualifies as art by the Objectivist Esthetics. Your failure to apply the criteria is just one more confirmation of the death of the Objectivist Esthetics. J
  5. In one of her recent online art tantrums, Kamhi had a fit about a painting by Alex Garant. Kamhi wrote, Here’s a jpeg of the painting: Hmmm. First of all, why does Kamhi use scare quotes around the word “art”? Is she suggesting that the piece does not meet her "objective" criteria? If so, WTF?!!! It presents an easily identifiable likeness of an entity from reality, does it not? So, on what grounds would Kamhi judge it to not qualify as art? Is she just making up criteria again as she goes along? What, she just doesn't like it, so it's therefore NOT ART!™? Anyway, more importantly, I think that Objectivists should borrow the image, and use it as representing the Objectivist Esthetics! First of all, much like Garant’s quoted aims, the Objectivist Esthetics creates “an aesthetically pleasing optical illusion.” The Objectivist Esthetics pretends to be objective, rational, and intellectually serious, but in reality has nothing to back it up. It’s merely a (poor) illusion of a serious philosophy of aesthetics. Second, like the image, the Objectivist Esthetics is a dizzying mess of double standards and self-contradictions. Most of us have seen images of people bent into weird positions to visually convey the notion of someone intellectually “twisting themselves into pretzels” in order to avoid accepting reality. Those images can be effective, but they’re too physical, in my personal opinion. The Garant image, I think, better signifies the type of mental state, rather than physical, behind the Objectivist Esthetics. J
  6. It's hilarious that, when anyone says that abstract visual art qualifies as art, you demand that they empirically prove their claims, via scientific, double-blind experiments, but when you or any other Rand-follower is simply asked to do the same in regard to the works which you baldly assert meet your criteria, then suddenly the method that you proposed is evil "empiricism." Here's the link and the relevant quote and the method that you proposed to test abstract art: Hahahahaha!!!!!!!! Try to pay attention, Tony. NO Objectivist has ever demonstrated that they have complied with the Objectivist Esthetics and identified any subject or any "artist's meaning"in ANY work of art. Complying with the Objectivist Esthetics would mean that a viewer must identify the "artist's meaning" based only on the content of the work, and allowing no outside considerations, just as you suggested above in the method that you proposed for testing abstract visual art. And no, the images are not "border-line, Impressionist pictures," but realist representational ones. Some were even almost photorealistic in their painting style. There are exceptions, but, in general, Objectivists and similar Rand-followers are visually unaware and unobservant, or what I like to call "visually incompetent." I'll take on the questions. Who is proposing the idea that "everything" made by man is art? Even if someone were taking that position, why is it upsetting to you, and something that you immediately, emotionally oppose? Is there something scary to you about the idea that mankind is aesthetically sensitive and active, and therefore may put art into everything he does to one degree or another? Why must we draw a "cut-off point"between art and non-art? Knowledge is often tentative and incomplete. Your personal discomfort with that fact doesn't drive philosophy. The proper answer in such situations is, "I don't know yet," because the silly desire to impose an artificial "cut-off point" only results in the comically irrational double standards and contradictions that are so glaringly obvious in the Objectivist Esthetics. Additionally, you've often repeated the silly statement that "If everything is art, then nothing is." Non sequitur. Does not logically follow. Do us all a favor, and take a course in logic. What I can see and understand is significantly more than what you can, including in both realist representational art and abstract art. You, Tony, are not the universal limit of human cognitive function. You are unaware and unobservant, not to mention unintelligent and illogical. Why use the word "one" in the above, when you're actually referring to you? There is much that you, Tony, can't make sense of. They same is not true of all people. Once again, as always, you are trying to smuggle in your own personal limitations as the universal standard of all mankind. Human cognitive function is not limited to your personal limits of cognitive function. False. That's only the silly narrative that you and other Rand-followers invent as an attempted means of rejecting others' aesthetic responses. They report what they experience, and then you assert, without proof, that they do not actually experience what they say, but are pretending to in order to impress authorities. No one has made that argument. You're back to building straw men again. Man, you really enjoy arguing with the imaginary enemies who live in your head! You're lying. I've very specifically identified subjects and meanings in many abstract images. I've repeatedly posted my descriptions multiple times in discussion in which you participated. You're dishonest as hell. You're still lying. I've explained precisely why the emotions that I've experience in abstract works were tied directly to the identity of the colors, forms and textures. I don't accept your arbitrary, double-standard dictates about what does or does not "count," because you don't either (when dealing with music, or dance, or architecture, or any other abstract art form that Objectivism accepts as valid, emotions DO count!). But I'll gladly give my responses. Let's start with the first three, and then you can evade taking a turn at indentifying "artist's meanings" in works of representational realism. Image 1: I see vibrant, energetic action, with individual “virtual entities” (as His Royal Published Majesty refers to the non-representational means of music) acting and affecting each other through their environment. The concentric circles are like waves expanding and modulating as they go. Simplified to an Objectivist-style “essence," I would say that its meaning/emotional affect on me is like a public discussion, with ideas being exchange, reflected, modified and honed. I see it as a valuing of interaction and exchange. Image 2: I see fiery warm hues behind a gauzy transparent barrier which diffracts and both blurs and sharpens the image behind it. To me, it has the feeling of the awareness of time/distance of a memory. Its like fondly looking back without wanting to return there. Image 3: This image is similar to Image 1, but less compositionally impactful to me. It doesn’t have the self-consistency of Image 1. The “virtual entities” feel more local and isolated. They feel more individualistic and independent, but also as if they haven’t benefitted from being exposed to others who differ. The image feels like a tradeoff: Are you willing to miss out on some great human discoveries and exchanges on a grand scale in order to maintain self and originality but on a small scale? Your turn. Identify the thematic subjects and meanings in the following works in the left hand column. Identify the “intelligible subjects and meanings.” Identify the “artists’ meanings.” When you've completed this test, we'll move on to others that I've posted in various O-fora, which include more than still lifes or landscapes, and which no Rand-follower has ever been able to identify "artists' meanings." J
  7. Great, then objectively demonstrate that anything has ever met the Objectivist Esthetics' criteria and qualified as what the Objectivist Esthetics asserts is the "identity" of "art." J
  8. The "artist knows best" is actually your position. The artist Ayn Rand made arbitrary, subjective and self-contradictory declarations about what is or is not art, without proof, and in regard to art forms about which she knew practically nothing, and you obediently follow and repeat her ignorance and irrationality. And yet you, and all other Rand-followers, can't answer my challenges (copied at the end of this thread's initial post) that you objectively prove that artists and viewers have ever successfully "tangoed" according to your own criteria. The only people who have anointed themselves are Rand and her followers. They pose as authorities while being unable to answer the the most basic and fundamental of challenges. The actual "unquestioning" followers are those who adoringly buy into Rand's theory of Objectivist Esthetics while not being able demonstrate that any work has ever qualified as art by their own criteria. False. They are called "art fascists" when they can't objectively prove that anything qualifies as art by their own standards, but yet they arbitrarily want to tell others what is not art -- they resent the same "objective standards" being applied to their favorite art, the same standards that they used to try to invalidate abstract visual art. In effect, they try to sneak in the idea that the art that they accept as valid actually meets their criteria; they seem to hope that everyone will take them at their word, at that no one will expect to see proof that those works have been objectively shown to meet their criteria. I haven't merely demanded that proof, but I've also tested Objectivists/Rand-followers with realist-representational paintings. They have been unable to comply with Rand's and her followers' "objective standards" and "objective criteria." Nothing qualifies as art by the Objectivist Esthetics. You're the most irrational, illogical person ever. Um, when someone says that they think that something qualifies as art, they are not telling you that you must also experience it as art. They're simply recognizing and reporting that they and others get enough out of it to classify it as art. See, conceptually, the way that it works is that people, like you, who who don't experience anything in a work of art don't get to veto the experiences of others. Your personal lack of response doesn't cancel out others' depth of response. Understand? I've often mentioned that I don't get much, if anything, out of a lot of operatic works. Other people say that they get great depth and meaning out of the genre. It would be really mentally fucked up for me to accuse them of being art fascists and authoritarians because they won't accept my lack of response as trumping their depth of response. See how looney the thinking is behind your position? If I, as someone who is aesthetically numb to most opera, insist that opera fans are "art fascists" if they categorize opera as a valid art form despite my telling them that it does nothing for me, I would hope that someone would help me to find some good psychological counseling. It is very fascinating observing you, though, Tony. Someone is a "fascist" if they don't deny their own experiences and accept your personal limits as the limits of all mankind. J
  9. Nothing IS art under the Objectivist Esthetics: Nothing, ever, has been objectively proven to meet the Objectivist Esthetics' criteria for art. Nothing!!! Ever!!! J
  10. Not to supporters of the Objectivist Esthetics. They don't comply with their own definitions, but make exceptions and selectively accept glaring contradictions and double standards. Art is a "selective re-creation of reality," except for the things which Objectivists want to qualify as art which don't "re-create reality." Art must present intelligible subjects and meanings, except in art works that Objectivist want to accept as art but in which Objectivists themselves cannot identify intelligible subjects and meanings. Definitions mean absolutely nothing to supporters of the Objectivist Esthetics. Nothing is art by the Objectivist Esthetics. Nothing has ever been objectively proven to comply with the Objectvist Esthetcs' arbitrary criteria. That's your goal, isn't it? The destruction of art, the denial of art! Nihilists!!! That's why so many of you love screaming "NOT ART!" at everyone. You Rand-followers can't communicate via ANY art! When tested, you and Rand's other followers can't identify artists' subjects and meanings! Even in the most overtly narrative works of representational realism, Rand's followers fail to meet her criteria for art. But you're right about the problems of muddled concepts, and you're also proof of it! You and Rand's other followers have subjective, whimsical, inconsistent and "changeable" notions of "re-creation of reality." The term means a few different contradictory things to you. Sloppy, irrational thinking. The above is a perfect desription of the irrational, contradictory mess known as the Objectivist Esthetics. J
  11. The act of identifying tastes and preferences as being subjective is an objective act, that's how. A truly objective theory of aesthetics would simply recognize the objective reality that the field of aesthetics is subjective. J
  12. Take note, Rand-followers. The above is how to do it. Notice that Jon described his feelings, responses and mindset as precisely that -- his! He did not try to universalize them, impose them as the objective cognitive standard and limit of all mankind, and he did not deny the validity of others' differing views. He's man enough to be comfortable admitting that he's "not very esthetic," and that certain art forms don't do much for him. He doesn't need to feel insulted and attacked if someone experiences what he doesn't. He's not angry about others having a different take, but instead a little curious about what might be strange to him but not to others. Reasonable, calm, not frantically accusatory or insecure. J
  13. There could be a truly Objectivist aesthetics if someone were to philosophize about the field of aesthetics from an actual objective mindset, rather than from the mindset that Rand and her followers use. J
  14. No, it's dead. None of you have answers to the questions that I've challenged you with. Worse than that, you're not even trying to grasp the relevance of the questions or trying to contemplate how you might go about answering them after a lot of work in the future. Instead, you're just trying to wish them out of existence, deny reality, evade, squirm, pout and distract. You're not offering even the slightest sign of life for the Objectivist Esthetics. J
  15. Indeed, and the issue of falsifiability is another set of problems that the Objectivist Esthetics runs into when Rand's followers are challenged in reality. They allow for no possible outcomes which would falsify their positions. They use a variety of tactics to smuggle in nonfalsifiability, such as declaring that they know the artists' minds and motivations better than the artists know them, or that others who interpret artworks differently than the Rand-follower authorities are not interpreting the art's "true, objective meaning" due to their interpretations being distorted by their inferior "senses of life." The fun part comes in when two pompous, posing Rand-follower authorities have differing interpretations of a work of art, and they're both trying to out sense of life each other and out know the other's mind and motivations. It's just a total abandonment of Objectivist epistemological principles. J