Saturday, February 17, 2018

… But now we have another problem.
What is that?
What if we find out what makes each of us internally consistent? What if I find your proper name, that thing which describes exactly what you are?
Than I will always be honest, or predictable at least. And you will be able to interpret everything I say and never be wrong. And of course I’ll know your name as well.
No dishonesty, no subterfuge, no Freud, no art… Then we can all be logical positivists.
But it doesn’t matter. That dream’s irrelevant.
I want unification.
It’s an illusion.
I want the illusion.
Do you want the illusion or do you want the illusion to be real?
What’s the difference?
One means that you have an appreciation of the arts. The other means that you’re a fascist.
still writing this shit...
I thought the above was obvious when I wrote it, and I ignore the fact that people never get the joke, or laugh but are unwilling to admit what it means. I have to turn a paragraph of dialogue into a book for people to take it seriously and think. And even that won't do any good.

The fact is that every artist knows that they're the god of their imaginary world, and knows also that that world exists only as the result of craft, a world in words or paint or stone. Art as craft is the communication of sensation, it's not sensation itself. All artists admit to this ironic understanding and are no less committed. A work of art squares the circle for its maker/s and no one else.

Art is the creation and recreation of this world as a richer one, of animate and inanimate objects suffused with meaning. It's the construction of a moral world, where every aspect manifests the unity of the whole. That world could be a Hell, but it will have the integrity of a hell beyond any hell that could ever exist outside human imagination.

It is a hell crafted out of a medium: language, paint, stone, or silver halide, and it cannot exist outside the material. A successful work of art is an artifice that pulls us into an illusion and reminds us that it is one. A writer of hells is a writer, not a hell-maker. "A Holbein portrait is first a painting, second a Holbein, third a portrait, and fourth a portrait of.  Art is first artifice and the medium carries the weight and the responsibility of presence." Art is a lie that tells us it is a lie and still makes us want to believe. And it is a work of craft that reminds us it is a work of craft and asks for our acknowledgment and respect. The pleasure of art comes from the tension between the two.

A culture, or a period in any culture will manifest its ethos, and contradictions, in its art. Art history is comparative. We don't share the fantasies of people of the past, but we can read the records, and we experience the sensibilities, the ethea -having looked up the plural of ethos- in art. The work we value of the past and the work of the present that will be valued in the future, describe, and make manifest, desires and contradictions that we, in reading, or looking, can still feel. We study and re-study art because we continue individually to experience it, even as we're taking it apart and examining it. In studying the  art of the past or present, we learn about ourselves, but we remember that people in the future will be better judges  of our art, and of us than we are. The value of art is the value of the honesty that can come with drunkenness. But the people who make it are reminding us and themselves, constantly, that in fact we're all still sober, and also that we are never sober.

The modern invention, kitsch, is the ideal of a fantasy world without mediation, without craft or medium. It's a dream that the dreamer asks or demands to be taken as reality.

Fascism is living life as art, believing your own lies, and mandating that others believe them too: it's the weakling with a gun, the pederast from Opus Dei. Offering a drag queen the courtesy of the female pronoun is an acknowledgement of art, a compliment for an artful lie. His demand to be called a woman is fascist.

Art is a lie that reminds us that it's a lie, even as it temps us. It's how we learn about our hopes and temptations and ourselves. Fascism is the choice to follow the lie and demand that others follow.

a new draft of something. I'm still writing the post.

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