Art for Life’s sake.

‘with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.’                       Wordsworth.

Then there are the times we all experience, when the conscious mind is subdued and anxieties or concerns of the everyday are chased away . The unconscious mind takes over, time becomes suspended and our own personal sense of self is in harmony with its surroundings, so much so that it too is less clamorous, and the feelings of abandonment and joy take precedence. Such times cannot be willed, only encouraged by submerging the self in the context that helps to create those moments, and only history can tell the individual what the context is, it being specific to themselves. I have learnt over many years where my moments of limerence occur, and they emerge when I am amongst the ancient comforts of rock, sea, landscape. That is the reason I will return to Skye, to allow
my self to be quietened, hushed and to allow the mystery to work its magic.

What results from these moments is the drive to communicate with others some sense of the experience, and this must be an echo of the same drive that motivated artists of all genre throughout  our history. It is a fascinating facet of all our lives that in some way we approach life through the experience of art, or more accurately , through the experience of what Ellen Dissanayake calls ‘ making special’. ‘If something extraordinary can promote emotions of delight, we can recreate it as something “special” and pleasurable. It might be removed from the mundane aspects of life, but the mundane may become art.'(Dennis Dutton on Dissonayake) To me then, the act of making a digital picture from my experience of loving my time in Skye elevates my life, gives meaning to it. This is important to me, since I often struggle with understanding our brief sojourn on earth, non-believer that I am. Thus Nietzsche recently started to make sense to me, on account of his understanding that man’s struggle is to make art of his own life. This is hard to do in a very Western modern capitalist society, where the rational has reigned supreme over the last century and a half.  I am boldly asserting that we may be having to involve ourselves in some sort of mindset change , in order to adapt and to survive .

-“we’re developing a revolution in consciousness. And when you synthesize it all, it’s giving us a new view of human nature. And far from being a coldly materialistic view of nature, it’s a new humanism, it’s a new enchantment. And I think when you synthesize this research, you start with three key insights.”   David Brooks The Social Animal

Those three insights include the understanding that the unconscious is a major player,doing most of the work. The amazing circuitry of the brain is handling millions of pieces of information a minute, of which it can be consciously aware of about 40.

The second insight David refers to is emotion, emotion is essential to the foundation of reason because emotions tell us what to value. Alasdair MacIntyre, the philosopher, said that, “We have the concepts of the ancient morality of virtue, honor, goodness, but we no longer have a system by which to connect them.” which  has led to a shallow path in a whole range of human endeavors.We are beginning to confuse synthesizing real experience with the actuality of experience. There are no shortcuts in the understanding and acquisiton of knowledge and wisdom. Technologies can progress and offer new methods that speed up and deliver a fuller breadth of information, but individually we all have to work to assimilate and find meaning in that information.

The third insight is how we are social animals, as the  poet John Donne wrote “No man is an island”. The truth remains that we are not just rational creatures, like The Hounyhyms in Gullivers Travels. We try to rationalise our positions, but we are influenced by our passions and our sentiments, being deeply entwined with others for good and bad.

(David’s)”work corrects that bias in our culture, that dehumanizing bias. It gives us a deeper sense of what it actually takes for us to thrive in this life. When we think about human capital we think about the things we can measure easily — things like grades, SAT’s, degrees, the number of years in schooling. What it really takes to do well, to lead a meaningful life are things that are deeper, things we don’t really even have words for.’

 

…limerence is not an ability, it’s a drive and a motivation. The conscious mind hungers for success and prestige. The unconscious mind hungers for those moments of transcendence, when the skull line disappears and we are lost in a challenge or a task — when a craftsman feels lost in his craft, when a naturalist feels at one with nature, when a believer feels at one with God’s love. That is what the unconscious mind hungers for. And many of us feel it in love when lovers feel fused.  ‘  The Social Animal

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One thought on “Art for Life’s sake.

  1. Pingback: social animals and cultural evolution of herds « power of language blog: partnering with reality by JR Fibonacci

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