Continued from page 1
Roberto: Admittedly, if we mix that powerful imagination, anarchy, with a superior order, then we surely will encounter superior works of art: Shakespeare, Cervantes, Velazquez, Goya, Beethoven, Ernst Junger, Borges, Goethe, Leonardo, Brunelleschi. But it is not a necessary condition.
Art does not depend on anything. It has nothing to do with order or anarchy, with politics, with technical conditions, with perfection... with nothing. None of all this affects Art. It deals with deepest reality. With sense that is hidden beyond Wall of Time. With secret of human beings, their inextricable condition of being in middle between matter and energy. That is what touches our heart like a knife when we see a superior work of Art: itís a promise, a shared secret. It is View of Something, that artist, going up Wall of Time , sharing this with us. It doesn't have to do with "mundane", itís just its opposite, other side of coin. Itís view which transcends "materia".
You said that feeling is incommunicable, but there is a kind of collective memory- aka Jungian archetypes. This seems quite correct. And, of course, itís a plastic land, with degrees. But there are leaps - for instance, genius. There exist some basic points: mystical, religious, feeling of art. This is reason for all persecutions: Christians, Albigenese, Eleusians, Jews, Buddhists, Palestinians, Macedonians, etc... Here, sadly, cold alienated facts contravene you. Mystic questions are very near line that separates human beings and causes massacres.
When you talk about drugs, you talk from mundane side of things. You can talk about drug-addicts, their problems, you can talk about effects of drugs on humans but you should never talk about drugs. The Shuīar men, commonly known as Jibaros, or head-shrinkers, experience time completely differently from Western people. It is impossible to explain it in brief, it has to do with a change in direction of flow of time, with dreams and future-past. But, one of consequences is that they donít know meaning of luck. And, if we believe anthropologists, it seems to be impossible for them to understand its meaning. Same goes for drugs, or mystical experience.
Art can make possible this miracle, to search deeper inside us to meet these unknown feelings provoked by artist. To look below our surface, to take stock of childhood and its innocent anarchy, to access collective memories and dreams, where material is already indivisible.
This, and no other thing is, if we may say so, what defines Art. The capability of getting trough matter to show us what is behind it. Here, there is no possible agreement. Not to see Art that way is not to see Art, period. Itís like music, if you donít dig what it is about, that inextricable thing: "the real thing", then, itís like eating only skin of a banana, letting go of its flesh. Here lies my fanaticism, inasmuch as we all are fanatics: I do believe in Art.
Sam: This was a long dissertation in favour of possibility to communicate from vantage points of private languages. On one hand, you admit that we are all trapped in our private hells, unable to communicate with each other except through massacres motivated by atavistic collective archetypes. You say that some experiences (drugs, for one) can not be communicated to uninitiated. Than, in a magnificent reversal, you say that Art is communicative bridge. It is through it that we, poor, isolated, humans can march to meeting points where a deeper sort of information is provoked by artist in art consumer. Moreover, you seem to claim that Art contains both a functional sample of world and rules of language (of connecting objects to its idiom). In other words, you seem to be saying that art is monovalent, it will provoke same emotional reactions in its consumers regardless of their identity. This is to say that Art is a universal language. Wittgenstein said as much about natural languages. He denied possibility that private languages with privileged access exist. He wrote that even speaker of a private language will not be able to understand it. Your version is softer: we all do have semi-private languages and a modicum of privileged access. But Art is great dictionary which contains vocabulary of human condition. Trapped as we are between spirit and flesh, between energy and matter, angels and demons, heaven and hell which is our lives Ė Art comes to our help. It bandages our wounds, it talks to us in ancient, unintelligible sounds of our collective archetypes, it soothes us as our mothers did. It then continues to offer to us possibility to communicate with each other through its objects, really through person (or shall I say, persona?) of artist. Art, therefore, to you, is a liberating act. It breaks through glass containers of our very private existence which otherwise cannot be communicated benignly. I must say that I share your views with one modification, introduced by ďscientistĒ in me: there is no way of ascertaining that Art works.
That Art provokes emotions is undeniable. That it, therefore, must be connected to our private languages (=largely, our emotions) follows. To interact with our private languages it must gain access to what hitherto has been a shrine accessed by a priesthood order of one, ourselves. Art demolishes privileged access maxim. Still, can we be sure that it MEANS same to all its worshippers? Of course not. Rather it would be safer to assume that an object of art would mean different things to different people. Art resonates with our private languages precisely because it is a private language (of artist). The affinity provokes empathy and latter is misinterpreted as understanding. Art is as unintelligible as any other private language. Its relationship to emotions that it evokes in its beholder Ė is equal to relationship between a trigger pulled and a wounded, aching soldier. It resounds, it reverberates through us, in process wounding us because it reminds us how IMPOSSIBLE it is to communicate, how absurd our existence is, how LONELY we are, how privileged our access is to a language which even we do not fully grasp or understand. Yes, we are sealed off from ourselves as well. This is what we discover through Art. The echoes of our very own languages perishing in caverns of our minds.
Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, United Press International (UPI) and eBookWeb and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.