Do We Learn To Love Bad Art?


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Beauty is perceived when what is outside corresponds with what is inside.

Those who love ugly art have that very same ugliness within them.

I like that thought, and sure seems that way introspectively. But for instance I never know what my friends and collectors will like of my work. There seems to be unknown elements that can touch a viewer, it could be a flower that had meaning to them, one collector commented on the female subject matter reminded him of one of his earliest relationships.

I remember a lecture about music by Perigo in New Zealand, and he was using an audio clip of some rap song to illustrate of how bad music had descended, his colleague hosting the event obviously enjoyed its beat and she was jiving in the back oblivious to she ought not to (as sermoned by Piergo). I thought then he would have been better off having a John Cage screech of breaking glass, or record something like a fingernail on a blackboard, to guarantee the result he wanted.

On the other hand some art works are so moving that masses of people feel empathy for them such Munch's The Scream, Starry Night, or Wyeth's Christina's World. That would be a fun kind of polling, find out the highest percentages of similar thoughts and feelings people have about these works.

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Art, like mythology to which it contributes, is worth what you put into it. Art can never be comprehensive, and would lose its effect if it tried to be. The ambiguities and susceptibility to interpretation are what give them their great psychological power. They become symbols and parables that we can cognitively reframe our life and our abstractions in. Certain pieces of art will contain elements that provoke a given person more, but art and mythology are not defined by consistency or 'message' necessarily; these can be used to good or bad effect. I'd recommend Walter Kaufmann's A Critique of Religion and Philosophy and some of Nietzsche's work on the heroism of tragedy for examples at odds with some Objectivist views.

This isn't to say that there aren't literal or intended thematic elements in artistic work that we can detect. Ayn Rand is obviously invoking promethean individualism and depicting some versimilitude of the 'forgotten man' of capital and industry. Yet the fact that it can easily be appealed to by market anarchists, something probably not consciously intended by Rand, shows that even a work which evokes deliberate values and visions of individual virtue can become more useful by its ambiguities and symbolic attributes than it would by being written in a completely consistent narrative; and sometimes the original intent of the work's originator may be irrelevant to its uses for us.

Wow. That is a wonderful analysis.

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Those are just intellectual facts.

I'm referring to the truth that has the power to change a world view which can only come through the reality of personal consequences of ones own actions.

Now that's a real education. :wink:

I guess teaching math and logic is not real education. Right?

Well, there's one kind of learning from sitting inert in school while being talked at... :sleep:

...and then there's a whole other kind of learning out in the real world with the just and deserved consequences of your own actions teaching you how to live. :smile:

Ha, I enjoyed that.

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"Character expressed in the face" is so meaningless without context, that I cannot believe anyone except the young Ayn Rand could have believed in it.

The philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, believed in physiognomy, the art of face reading. Schopenhauer wrote a whole essay on physiognomy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physiognomy

http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/22567/

There is a story about Socrates. I don't know where I got it from and I don't know if it's true. It goes something like this.

There was a man in Ancient Greece who claimed he could tell character from the face. The friends of Socrates had a plan to show him up as a fraud. They invited the face reader to look at Socrates and tell them the character of Socrates. The face reader did not know Socrates. The friends of Socrates 'knew' that Socrates was of saintly character but he was homely looking. The appointed day came and the face reader said:

"Socrates is a glutton."

"Socrates is lazy."

"Socrates is lustful."

"Socrates has a bad temper."

The friends of Socrates laughed loud and long, with the laugher of the gods of Olympus. They 'knew' Socrates was a man of saintly character and they figured they had proof that the face reader was a fraud.

After all the laughter quieted down, Socrates said:

"His art is no sham. Those are exactly the enemies I fight against every day."

Brilliant!

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Interesting. Particles with delusions and opinions. :laugh:

Ellen, Ellen, Ellen...

You're not seeing the big picture.

OL is a place for working through ideas, whether the process is slow or fast.

In Bob's case, the progress has been at a snail's pace, but monumental.

Give the poor guy credit.

"Particles with delusions and opinions" is huge compared to his previous "slabs of meat."

:smile:

Michael

Got a good chuckle from that.

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"Beauty" is objective in that it exists. Each sees it in different forms and degrees, that's all.

Claiming authority on which form or degree, or even on its measurability, is actually not subjectivity/ism - but intrinsicism. It serves as reminder that Objectivism is opposed by both those philosophies.

I remember an interview with Sophia Loren, and she was asked about her beauty. She acted quite naturally and took it as a given that she was indeed beautiful, and went on to say that by contemporary standards of models and actors she shouldn't be beautiful, as her eyes, nose, and lips were too big for her face, and then went on to say there was something about the balance or harmonies of those features that made it so. Her manner wasn't egotistical or humble she was stating it as just the way it was.

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