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Storm in the cosm




2 hours ago, Thorn said:

So it is not a certainty to be the same emotion someone else has in the same circumstance.

Agreed, What does that matter?

I can't imagine what this guy is feeling, but I am stirred emotionally a bit.  I can almost describe the feeling I had when I first saw the image.  I had been looking on Google Image for similar images to one which was used as illustration of the Romantic/Sublime arty-farty heyday. Google Images returns, most often, a similar colour-range (the illustration was blue) and quite often a contextual/conceptual similitude: the Google Image results for 'search for this image' gave "like" mountains, peaks, horizons.  Some kind of artificial intelligence was able to assess a sort of magnitude of the image and thus returned renderings of dimensional space. Some returns were photographs, some were Romantic paintings of European 'top of the world' genre. Several were 'modern art' that was tied to the original by a conceptual link likely to be terror/wasteland -- arctic scenes, and one arctic scene illustrating Frankenstein. 

Google Image is a tool of cognition, and thoroughly infused with a Kantian emotional-collective-behavioural AI programme. But that is beside the point:  using Randian philosophy of the arts we can look forward to an Objectivism-heavy AI programme that stresses the rational approach to cognition. Key findings from the Randian project will probably ultimately allow humankind to infuse robotic-mind/AI/cloud-computing with emotion -- which will make robot cognitions much more useful.

Anyhow, drift.   Here is that image returned from Google Image that gave me an initial thrill..  A bodily thrill.  Beyond 'thrill' I find it hard to identify the subsequent emotion 'melody' and 'chord.'  By imagining, I can evoke a simulacra, and compare it to the thrill-and-subsequent 'song in my heart' that this image still can help evoke. 

In my cognitions since, I was able to conjure up a memory of my first remembered emotion-memory, the only thing that survived infantile amnesia. It was my first flight in an airplane over mountains and sea when I was two and half.



In Sublimity, I guess this one you describe would fall under "pleasurable terror", of the imagined possibility of harm while knowing you're safe. Not "dynamic" sublime, more like the "mathematical" sublime of vast space. That feeling, everyone has known at some stage, is of 'discombobulation', a temporary 'disembodiment' and mental hiatus from briefly being unable to take in the scale of the height and view, which your sight is not accustomed to.

Maybe that's what you would feel, but I certainly did not. Yes, it would fall under "pleasurable terror", but hardly safe. It was a certain kind of exaltation.

It is tricky to give another person the 'reality' of emotion felt.  The basics are easy as pie (fear, anger, disgust, surprise, anticipation, joy, acceptance, sadness) and in most cases we can invoke an empathic understanding with a narrative.  We can also perform the emotion with face, tone, gesture, etc, so the other guy more or less can invoke a conceptual gestalt. 

Whoa. I drift in and out of consciousness. What am I getting at?  Let me try with Yoda-ish voice, rooted in Rand, but flowering, flowering.

Emotions are five-dimensional it seems (he said passively) if not more. In the body are they rooted. In the body they are felt. In the mind they are 'felt' as of the body. In the dimension of 'depth' or 'intensity' each of the basics can be understood conceptually as a scale, and of an obliquity measured as percentage/mix/color. And then the dimension of time, which gives the symphonic quality to emotional life:  its recursions, harmonies, discords, quietudes and storms of great complexity.

Here I look for another image that the Kantian Google delivered up from a fresh search using the mountaineer on the rock-needle.  This is the one that my emotions tag most strongly, in several dimensions. I can only imagine what might be my cognitions were I  there in front the massif. I will never be there in that microcosm.


But, fair enough, these images are not Art, only commodity. And everyone except psychopaths and autists and so on are perfectly able to model and interpret emotions. It is in almost everyone's toolkit if only in primitive form (as with developmentally disordered people, or those with severe cognitive deficits). 

And this is not art, but it gives me a thrill of remembrance of a thrill that is kin to the ''thrill of it all" that we humans feel from time to time. If not a 'peak experience' ... Starting at  5:06. I know I have posted this before, but this post is twice as boring as the last time. Bonus!

Say Yoda does:  I wish we would talk about items or types of art that individually thrill us -- with that meta "thrill of it all" ... if the tone or tenor of this thread has gotten bogged in a swamp of dudgeon, lances, contempt and furious misinterpretation and pique, surely we avatars of Reason can get our emotions under control and inspection.  

From this point forward I will view this thread as Objectivish Humour, subsection Wildly Intemperate Arty Farts.  Here we interpret the farts of people whose rational digestive system we suspect is clogged and struggling. Here I witness the thrill of Objectivish Arguendo.  It is all about the put-down, and the moralistic mustard. Without which there would be no O'vishes, passively, aggressively. 

Drift, everyone. Drift back to fun.  Fun wielding the Tools.





More precisely, this means we must proceed like an anthropologist, using Rand’s concept of “art” as our guide; we must trace the full hierarchy of concepts that validly link “selective recreations of reality according to the artist’s metaphysical value-judgments” into the overall category of “human instruments” or “tools.”

I suggest we begin, in other words, with the anthropological presumption that art and the concepts it implements are specific kinds of tools, namely, what Rand refers to as “tools of cognition.”{13} The rationale for this presumption is twofold: (1) Rand (1965) noted some fundamental parallels between language and art;{14} and (2) Rand (1966) refers to language and the concepts it implements as “tools of cognition.”{15} It is reasonable to conclude, then, that art is, on Rand’s view, a tool of cognition in the same general manner as language. In particular, I w ill argue, art is what Peikoff and others have referred to as a kind of “microcosm,” specifically, an imaginary world-in-miniature in which the artist embodies and conveys basic abstractions about man and the world—and that the way in which it concretizes these abstractions is the way in which it functions as a cognitive tool. After defining the concept of “tool” and distinguishing tools of cognition from physical tools, I w ill then proceed, step by step, with progressively finer distinctions, and indicate exactly what kinds of tools of cognition they are. I am confident that, by this manner of exposition, the reader will readily see the plausibility of the view of art as microcosm.

Most broadly, in discussing art, we are talking about a certain kind of action and its attributes. Human action in general has two basic attributes: the purpose or end of that action, and the means of that action. In the case of art, as Rand (1965) explains, the action involved is holding one’s metaphysical abstractions in full focus (19), the end is being able to view “a concretized image of man’s existence and his place in the universe” (22), and the means is art.{16}

A tool, then, in the broadest sense of the term, is anything that serves as a means or instrument for the performance of some action, i.e., anything that serves similarly to, or in the manner of, a mechanical tool. In this latter respect, one’s feet and hands, for instance, can also be thought of as tools. As Aristotle said, in On the Parts of Animals, “the hand is not to be looked on as one organ but as many; for it is, as it were, an instrument for further instruments” (1952b; 687a). It is thus very Aristotelian of Rand to refer to concepts as “tools of cognition,” for a concept serves not only as a means for the cognitive processing of information about the world (i.e., the material of cognition) but also, like one’s hand, as a means for expanding the power and range of man’s actions and as “an instrument for further instruments” (namely, language and art).

The next step in tracing the conceptual hierarchy of the concept of “art” is to note the distinction between primary cognitive tool and secondary tool. A primary tool is a basic way of grasping and dealing with reality, and a secondary tool is an extension of a primary tool. A secondary tool amplifies or refines what a primary tool does and extends the range of what is possible to us without it. Our primary physical tools include our hands and feet; and our secondary physical tools include hammers, foot pedals, etc., which serve to implement or facilitate the functioning of our hands and feet.

Our primary cognitive tool is a conceptual abstraction or concept (as well as integrations of concepts into propositions, arguments, theories, etc.), which provides us with our basic means of cognitively grasping and dealing with reality. Just as we grasp or apprehend reality in a physical manner with our hands, so too we cognitively apprehend reality with conceptual abstractions. (In this respect, both physical and cognitive primary tools are intraorganismic tools, tools that are inherent in the structure and function of an organism.) Our secondary cognitive tools, which include language and art, are symbols, i.e., physical objects, sounds, etc., external to our organisms, that stand for and thus physically implement or facilitate the functioning of our concepts.{17} (In this respect, both physical and cognitive secondary tools are extraorganismic tools.) In each case, both physical and cognitive, secondary tools are man-made objects. (This last point is important in light of the common understanding, which Rand emphasizes, that artworks are man-made objects.)


On 5/30/2016 at 6:10 AM, anthony said:

Nature to be commanded ("re-created") must be obeyed (studied, identified) by an artist.  A picture, a concrete image which focuses a person's abstractions, is fundamentally what art does for us. No, it does not gainsay the value and appreciation of beauty - 'beauty' and 'content' coexist in that image, in varying proportions from one artwork to the next.

If anyone claims he is dedicated to reality, then he is dedicated to reason, and reason applied to art - boiled down to its essence - is what Rand was on about. And why should art receive a different treatment? Is it so Platonic, mystical and that unknowable? Or the preserve of experts? It has its basic identity of being man made, which should make it ever more 'knowable'. (Except for artists who revolt against that).

In three ways I can see wedges being driven: between beauty and substance; emotions and cognition; subconscious and consciousness ... as if the former states denote an individual who occupies some higher plane of human spirituality, (or something like). Neo-mysticism enters everything it is evident. The Sublimists and Kant made their fallacious efforts to connect man closer to Nature by initially side-stepping identification and reason (which -Objectively- begins with senses and identification) and posing emotions as the starting point ... to finally be overcome - or explained, transcended, etc.- with HIS and their ideas, of "reason". i.e. "Reason" as after the fact, a posteriori, I suppose.

All of it a damaging causal reversal, since -objectively- one knows that an emotion can ONLY be a result of something perceived and identified and integrated - i.e. reason - first. As fleeting as that process often is, we first have to know what something IS. Emotions don't spring out of fresh air. How the Sublimists' horrible error has insidiously crept into not only man's perception of art, but into much of his thinking and eventually most of his politics, can be easily observable by simply looking around at its results. Art is like the soft underbelly of existents, as I see it: dictate men's perception of it - and you dictate ("universalize") men's minds.

Like it or not, and I think we know this is what's really at stake here, man is both *of* nature but forever *apart* from it - and all the wishful thinking and reverent mystification of art to "find our way back to Nature" won't change that fact.



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