Friday, March 13, 2015

Any Idiot Can Pulverize a Statue, but It Takes a Real Genius to Create Ugly Art

How do we attain knowledge of something, anyway? How is it even possible? It is possible because "the soul recognize[s] in material objects a harmony identical with its own structure..." (Eco, in Taylor). But as we've been saying, it also works the other way around -- or in the other direction, rather.

That is, the objects of the world both illuminate, and are illuminated by, the soul. That's a very weird way to run a cosmos, but I wouldn't want to have it any other way, because I am convinced that this is an echo of the Trinity. You are free to call it something other than trinitarian if you like, but you must face the fact that knowledge is an endless perichoretic samba.

Perichoresis is pretty much my new favorite word -- lots of provocative stuff in the wiki article. Through a spontaneous series of clicks, I was just now led to an observation by theologian David Schindler:

"If you would understand yourself, open your mind to the Creator whose first gift to you is your existence. Then testify to what you see." That would be the ultimate instance -- or the very ground -- of recognizing the swirling harmony between being, existence, and knowledge.

Beauty can never be separated from this process. Taylor cites the example of a medieval village, which does not conform "to an imposed grid planned by a city engineer," but rather, to the "spontaneous impulse of builders in relation to the different sizes of the shops and houses.... along the rising and falling rural roads that yielded to the contours of the countryside..."

That brings back memories of Christopher Alexander. A memoir of the future to go along with Alexander's vertical recollection.

Such vertical re-cognition is "the genesis of aesthetic pleasure" (Eco). Moreover, it is "the connection between sense and intellect that precedes scientific knowledge." It is where we start our journey into world and self.

Both science and poetry begin in aesthetic arrest. Which can be taken in two ways, because some aesthetic sensibilities are more developmentally arrested than others, e.g., atheistic materialism, an ugly metaphysic to complement an unattractive soul. Beautiful souls -- expansive, open, fluid, grateful, bewondered -- spontaneously enquire elsewhy for their idiom.

But no matter how complicated you try to make things, It's always in the first place you look!

This is why, as Eco says, art may "simultaneously instruct and delight" -- except that I would say "must," since this is the sufficient reason of art. Unless you are one of those people who think the purpose of art is to produce things that are ugly and make us more stupid, e.g., a college dean or TV executive.

When I say that it's always in the first place we look, I think I mean this: that the cosmos is "a whole and living reality, significant and mysterious" (Taylor).

Note that this is the basis, the fundamental mindset, of the scientific attitude, for if the world weren't both significant and mysterious, why bother? And if the soul weren't equally significant and mysterious, why bother²?

If you really want to get to the bottamuvital, just say Creation: what is it, and how is it possible?

Again, who wants to create ugly? Doesn't ugly happen by itself? No, it takes a great deal of effort -- it's not as easy as pulverizing statues, for Modern man destroys more when he constructs than when he destroys (Don Colacho's aphorisms). It's much harder to be a performance artist than an Islamist barbarian. That's the work of an instant, whereas Madonna is the work of a lifetime.

It's orthoparadoxicality², in that so much beauty just happens by itself. Man has always recognized this: the moment there was a man, there was a soul noticing the beauty of the sky, the mountains, the sea, that cute girl over there. And The laws of biology alone do not have fingers delicate enough to fashion the beauty of a face (Don Colacho). But the wife can try to capture it with her delicate new camera:

Here's another one I like. The laws of biology alone do not have fingers delicate enough to fashion another Johnny Bench, but at least he can try:

More recent:

21 Comments:

Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"This is why, as Eco says, art may "simultaneously instruct and delight" -- except that I would say "must," since this is the sufficient reason of art. Unless you are one of those people who think the purpose of art is to produce things that are ugly and make us more stupid, e.g., a college dean or TV executive."

This entire post simultaneously instructs and delights.
Speaking of which, Great pic by Mrs. G.!

3/13/2015 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Lovely capture; she sums up the post perfectly.

3/13/2015 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

She's getting really good at capturing people. I just added another one of the boy from last baseball season.

3/13/2015 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"This is why, as Eco says, art may "simultaneously instruct and delight" -- except that I would say "must," since this is the sufficient reason of art. Unless you are one of those people who think the purpose of art is to produce things that are ugly and make us more stupid, e.g., a college dean or TV executive."

It is positively disorienting the number of times I come across a thought like that and think "Ah, well of course", and then recall that there are numerous deans and execs who really do deny it... and I am just stopped dead in my tracks wondering how they could deny that?

How must they be oriented in order to see such, not just nonsense, but anti-sense, as being sensible? And then realize "Ah. Well of course. "

And add you look around at the world that finds it sensible to put such people into positions of college dean's and TV executives... and glance at the news, and think "Ah, well of course. "

It's a realization that invites you to join in, to bathe in its despair... and you've got to seek some beauty so that you can once again simply open your eyes and wonderingly say "Ah. Well of course. "

3/13/2015 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Those are great photos, too. It's been fun starting our boy with t-ball this spring. He liked football last fall, but I think baseball really speaks to him. Not a great group for action photos - ages 3 & 4, so most of the time they don't really know what's happening - but they are fun to watch.

3/13/2015 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Van - I was just reading this morning about a Miami art show they do every year. A couple years back I was at the park near the entrance, where they had a fantastically ugly giant inflatable woman on display.

Anyway, apparently at a more recent show one of the exhibits was a performance art piece where a woman was offering her vagina as a cell phone charging station.

3/13/2015 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Youth baseball has been one of the most rewarding things in my life. We just recently joined a more competitive league in nearby Simi Valley. Interestingly, we live in a very liberal area, whereas Simi Valley is one of the few conservative spots in SoCal. The difference has been night and day! No spoiled, crying, and entitled kids in Simi. Likewise the players.

3/13/2015 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

It's a bit hard to tell at this age, but so far it seems like there hasn't been too much coddling by the parents, and definitely not by the coach. I think we're in a relatively conservative part of Florida, so that probably helps.

3/13/2015 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

You don't want TOO competitive either, but boys especially profit from male energy that helps them handle their bidness and tighten up that loose shit. If I tried to coach that way in Calabasas, I'd be turned into the Child Protection Agency.

3/13/2015 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Julie said "...a performance art piece where a woman was offering her vagina as a cell phone charging station."

The mind reels with possible replies as to plugging in and ability to hear now.

OTW, you might want to direct them to Mexico for the ultimate in diversity training:

"Experts: Chief shaman Enrique Verdon, who wears a dead anteater on his head, said: 'Our black magic stems from Native American Olmeca culture, and we are experts in calling upon the devil and his dark power'"

, and relationship building,

"'Our marriage is failing, and this is something we both have faith in', said Alejandro Montes, shortly before he and his wife smeared the blood of a sacrificed goat over their faces in an attempt to save their relationship.

The pair had travelled to Catemaco from Monterrey in northern Mexico in order to pledge their souls to Satan in return for a happy marriage."

Talk about truth in performance art.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2986101/The-blood-pumped-beating-heart-purest-form-energy-Inside-horrific-Mexican-satanist-Black-Mass-shocked-disgusted-tourists-witnessing-dark-deals-devil.html

3/13/2015 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

..."OTH"...

3/13/2015 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

"Anyway, apparently at a more recent show one of the exhibits was a performance art piece where a woman was offering her vagina as a cell phone charging station."

W.T.F.? Gah!

3/13/2015 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Van,
The devil worshipper was wearing a dead anteater?
Was it Johnny Depp?

3/13/2015 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

My grandson is a catcher, too. I told him that the catcher is usually the smartest guy on the field.

3/13/2015 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I think I mean this: that the cosmos is "a whole and living reality, significant and mysterious"

Taking care of isness.

3/13/2015 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

My son seems to be a natural switch hitter. Catcher + switch hitter = fastest way to the big leagues!

3/13/2015 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Helping coach little league was my favorite with the boys, there's a two way, inclusive, connection that baseball opens up, which the other sports don't have. Soccer... well that's just poop to start with. Football... is more regimented, the coaches and the team are separate, mgmt/workers.

Baseball... field of American dreams.

3/13/2015 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

Baseball is Americas's way to grow men.
Ted Simmons-catcher switch hitter, should be ball of famer.

3/13/2015 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Oh wow! That photo of Future Leader against the blue is a keeper. The contra-posto stance, the dust, the boy at play foreshadowing of a man at work.

Yep. Art.

3/14/2015 05:37:00 AM  
Blogger Leslie Godwin said...

Thanks so much for the kind words re. my latest photos. Your feedback means a lot to me.

I haven't found my own style yet, but I love trying to capture boys being boys and the spirit of children. I think I am trying to discover God in everyday life. It's half spiritual exercise and half technical learning process.

And, to be fair, Tristan and Sophia make me look good!

3/14/2015 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Just gonna leave this here.

3/15/2015 12:30:00 PM  

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