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quinta-feira, 13 de dezembro de 2012

Paper on The philosophy of art



THE PHILOSOPHY OF ART:

Without the artistic truth the world would be defeated by money
 

 

Pedro Samuel de Moura Torres


Abstract

 

This article offers an analysis about the philosophy of art, trying to express the polemic and controversial concepts with many varieties of definitions to the word art. It aims to demonstrate some common conceptions of art. The article arouses reflections about the essential nature and truth of the art, its significance and relevance in human society in its contexts. It explores as many meanings as possible by presenting it in an efficient and accessible speech. It has a philosophical tone approach, showing some theories in order to illustrate the verity of art. As philosophy is by itself, abstract, the article deals with speculative conceptions. It works with the theories of Plato to support the presented arguments. The theories applied are about the Platonic essentialism, such as the theory of ideas, forms and reminiscences. It shows quotes of Plato in his communications about art. Such arguments are defenses in benefit of art, which attempt to overcome the current capitalism by using a theoretical language and qualifying concepts. It applies some vocabularies such as “aesthetic” in order to explain and expose some features associated with the definition of art. It makes a brief allusion to the globalization and its influence on the modern art. It also qualifies and emphasizes the importance and relevance of art to the whole world.

 
Keywords: aesthetic, art, artistic creation, capitalism, philosophy, Platonic theories, truth. 

 
 
Introduction

 

Art is a vital force to the human development since it is because of it that is possible to see the human steps and its evolution. The modern human is leading the life with values more and more corrupted by the greed for materialism. They have lost some good ethic principles. Art is there exactly to make people aware about their lives, in view of the capitalism voracity that is changing the meaning of life. The power of art moves, controls and seduces everybody; its mystery is a living permanence and an impenetrable description. It is the fruit of God’s creation, goodness and intelligence. Art is offered to everyone, by the creator, through the nature: the sun, the stars, the sea, the rainbow, and finally, all natural’s phenomenon and creations are examples of the art’s significance.

Thus, people should establish other ideals in order to improve the world, as making art the first priority to triumph over the consumerism. Art can be the answer to most problems, especially to form citizens´ consciousness about how to live better.  What is an artistic truth, then? There are so many theories and arguments, some of these theories are known as imitation theory, theory of expression and formalism, which can be grouped in a single theory, the essentialist theory. The speech of art is quite polemical and controversial, because of its complex concepts and various meanings, since its connotation is extremely subjective and varies according to the culture, historical period or even personal opinions.

The most literal definition of the word art, according to the “thefreedictionary” is “human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature”. Its definition takes multiple and varied amplitudes surpassing the time’s chronology. The need and use of art come from the very beginning and it has become a prevalent custom in all cultures existing on earth. After its origin, thousands of years ago, art has evolved, reaching an admirable position in the society.  With so many acceptations about art, it is possible to summarize with some of those endless definitions. A general commentary is that it can encompass all other human actions, universalizing the essence of the existence. The new universality of arts is the creation of an original form of result of ideas in the material world as it is. Throughout its comprehensive nature, art can use many ways to be manifested; in particular, it is expressed through music, dance, cinema, literature and visual arts, including painting, sculpture, drawing, etc.

 

Art in Philosophy

 

As art imitates life, paraphrase of the philosopher Aristotle whose sentence said was: “Art imitates nature” (Aristotle, CW, 145. Apud. D. K. YEE, Cordell), he was wise in this statement, because the word “nature” means the place where everything is born. Therefore, art imitates the origin of all things; it is a vivification and copy of the real. It represents the reality, even if it is not true, it is a valiant attempt to unite man to the world, and consequently to connect it to itself.

As the author Aires Almeida said, some philosophers have mentioned art as an imitation. Plato did not elaborate on the philosophy of art, but with his theory of ideas and forms, has contributed to illustrate that abstract concepts such as: beauty, love, art and everything that exists, is absolute, eternal and perfect, however existing in another dimension: the world of ideas. The human art, as it is inserted in the concrete world, perceived through the senses, and therefore imperfect, is a timid reproduction of the essentialist and perfect world. As the author Ariano Suassuna explained, Plato justifies that the human soul has experienced this idealized world and that the faculty of developing virtues, such as: art, wisdom and beauty, here on earth, comes from the mere reminiscences: memories from the other world. Therefore, the soul suffers because of the memories and nostalgia, living in eternal pursuit of this idealized world, however inhabiting in this concrete, imperfect and incomplete world. Here comes a passage from Plato which refers to this reminiscence:        

“The soul is therefore immortal; reborn repeatedly in existence and has contemplated all existing things on earth or in Hades, and so, there is nothing she does not know! No wonder she is able to evoke into the memory, the recalls of previously viewed objects, and that it relates not only with the virtues but also with all existing things. All nature, indeed, is only one, is a organic whole, and the spirit has seen all things; therefore, nothing prevents us when we remember something – what we, humans, call “knowledge” – all other things flocks naturally to our consciousness. It is for us merely to endeavor and restlessly seek it. Cause, eternally, all research and science are merely memories.” (PLATO, “Meno”, oh. cit. 81. p. 79. Apud. DI LUCIA, Reinaldo). Author’s translation.            

Art display and expresses deep feelings. It is one of the most sublime human performances; it is an intimate experience to the universal spirit.  It is an encounter with the supernatural, approaching to the divine.  According to the common sense, the truth of art is transcendental, conceiving it as divine inspiration. In fact, it is an attribute of the soul, and therefore, not easily decipherable. It is the human attempt to approximate to the original perfection created by God.  Art is a path that transports dreams into the world. It is the search and desire for the elevation of senses and improvement of the ego. Art can be universalized when represents the “love” itself.

 
The nature of art, by itself, implies contemplation, has the power to arouse feelings of well-being. It is the joy and ecstasy of contemplation. Art is the unceasing search for perfection, beauty, peace and tranquility, as the ideal, the proportional measure which brings us harmony, inflames and encourages us to search the happiness. It is the worship of the senses, and they need to be developed and sharpened to get more close to the beauty and artistic truth. According to the author Ariano Suassuna, inasmuch as Plato believed that the soul already knows the absolute perfection, it tries to bring it to this world; for the earth is only a reflection of the world of essences. And recognizing the decadence of the earthly world, Plato concludes that a great soul appreciates the eternal virtues like wisdom, generosity and others, since those do not suffer the limitations and declines of the earthly time. In the following text of the “Phaedrus”, Plato refers to the delight and virtue of beauty demonstrating the sensitivity of contemplation and the magnitude of eternal virtues:  

“The beauty, I told you, she shone among all that neat ideas, and in our sojourn on earth, she still overshadows, with its brightness, all the others things. The sight is still the most subtle of all our senses. But yet, it could not perceive the wisdom. It would arouse vehement loves, if it offered an image as clear and distinct as those which we could contemplate beyond the sky. Only beauty has the venture to be the most noticeable and elevated thing.” (PLATO, “Phaedrus”, ob. cit. p. 223. Apud. SUASSUNA, Ariano). Author’s translation.              

  

Academically speaking

 

In a more technical way, it is possible to say that Artistic truth is different from the scientific truth, from the political truth and from many others. The best definition is that artistic truth always entails the human sensibility, the intuition, the senses; it is an outline of what is sensual. An artistic truth is not a perfect copy of the material world neither a static sensitive expression. It is a sensory and inventive experience and a sensitive-cognitive human knowledge which aim to provoke the artistic and aesthetic appreciation arousing reflections about its history and context in Human society. Accordingly, art works as a mean of awareness and commotion of generic knowledge.

 According to the book Reflexões sobre a arte, as art is a human knowledge articulated in the ambit of sensory-cognition, through art, it is expressed significations, emotions, sensibilities, styles of creation about the world of nature and culture. A brief reference to the Platonic theory, an artistic truth concerns both domain of synaesthesia (the sensations) and the abstract (ideas); being also an event and a cognitive process of thinking that belongs to an idealistic sphere which tries to take shape in the physical world. Art is a project to recreate and understand the world through the senses; it is even more complex from the laborious and intricate process that we employ when we resort to rational logic. So, art uses the two sides of the brain, the one which corresponds to the instinct, intuition and the cognitive one which corresponds to the thoughts and ideas. It is also believed that art goes together with the logic and symmetry.

Usually, as the work of art requires a contact with the senses and consequently requests a transmission, art is predominantly considered by aesthetic and communicative aspects; since it is prone to have exchange and permutation between the work and spectator. The essence of art is always related to the wonderful, harmonic and aesthetic. According to the book Iniciação a Estética, derived from the Greek language, the word “aesthetic” means “to feel” and it involves a set, a network of perceptions existing in various human practices and comprehensions directed to the good and beautiful. The aesthetic is designated to sensations that cause pleasure, to the taste and to the volition, to the creations pertinent to the field of the subjective, which differently from the rational logic of thought, it is free from more or less established rules. Yet, the aesthetic equates and delimits the general harmony. So, human aesthetics’ experience spreads to several spheres of its existence, of its understanding, its identity, and finally, in its humanization, providing delight which touches people, leading them to reflect more about the crazy capitalistic lives they are taking.



Conclusion

 
All artistic creation, a work of art is the result of human’s ingenuity. It is a human’s deed. It is an artifact of the illustrious intelligence the human race is endowed. Delving into the philosophy of art, it faces with the old mystery, when it relates to the anecdote of the chicken or the egg; in this case, which one comes first, the art or the artist? It is common to infer that art is the work of the artist, so, it reduces the art to the authority of our ego. Nevertheless, it does not realize that: if who creates the work is the artist, on the other hand, it is the work of art which creates the artist. There’s a relation of interdependence, because there are no poets without poem and poetry, painters without painting, musicians and singers without songs, sculptors without sculptures and actor without an audience, etc. In such case, the same way as the artist creates the work, it is the work which reveals that the artist is an artist.               

It is necessary to understand that an artistic truth is a draft of the palpable world, which in turn; it is an attempt to reproduce the world of ideas and forms. It is a proposition about a new definition of what is our relation of perceptions with the world. Therefore, if art seems to be very significant today is because the globalization’s influence imposes on us the creation of a new kind of universality, which is frequently a new sensibility and intuitive relation with the world. As art evolves over time, it also promotes deep changes in values, concepts and practices sustaining its own presence.

Because of the capitalism oppression that exists in the present days, the domination of the abstract universality; it is necessary to think of art directing it to the current and sensitive connection to the globe as an alertness about our liver’s quality and how we can express it better. Hence, the artistic creation is part of human emancipation; it is not an ornament or a decoration. The affair of art is a central matter in the history of mankind, because it requires a present insightful link to the whole cosmos. Before all the virtues of art, it is up to us to use it for our own benefit. Life without art would be so empty and limited on material, it would be a hollow space, without essence and meaning; art is food for the soul, it is the fuel that drives all life and humanity. In fact, without the artistic creation, the triumph of forced power and money’s universality can be a real possibility. And so, the concern nowadays is a matter of political emancipation, there is something political in art by itself. There is not only one issue about the political orientation of art as it was in the past. Art can be a real opportunity to create something new against this abstract universality called capitalism.

                                                                                                               Pedro Samuel de Moura Torres
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ReferencesO

 

BRASIL. Ministério da Educação. Secretaria da Educação Fundamental. Parâmetros Curriculares Nacionais: 1.ª a 4.ª série – Introdução. Brasília: MEC/SEF, 1999, v. 1. 360 pg. CONHECIMENTO de arte. pg. 168 à 181. ______. Reflexões sobre a arte. São Paulo: Ática, 1985.


SUASSUNA, Ariano. Iniciação a Estética. 8º Ed. Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio, 2007, (p.p. 43-49) 
 

SUASSUNA, Ariano. Teoria Platônica da beleza. Website, on-line. Available: <<www.educacional.com.br/upload/blogSite/5038/5038224/9105/teoria%20platonica%20da%20ideia.suassuna.RTF>> Accessed in Nov, 2010


DI LUCIA, Reinaldo. Sócrates e Platão: precursores do espiritismo?  São Paulo, 2001. Website, on-line. Available: <<www.cpdocespirita.com.br/Trabalhos/Socrates_e_Platao_Reinaldo.pdf>> Accessed in Nov, 2010.
 

Bruno. O que é a arte? A arte. 2005. Website, on-line. Available: <<www.fictionpress.com/s/2005723/1/O_que_e_a_arte>> Accessed in Nov, 2010.


ALMEIDA, Aires. Teoria essencialista da arte. Website, on-line. Available: <<fildalinguagem.no.sapo.pt/aires.pdf>>  Accessed in Nov, 2010.


Farlex. Thefreedictionary. Website, online. Available: <<www.thefreedictionary.com>>Accessed in Nov, 2010.

D. K. YEE, Cordell. The word according to James Joyce: reconstructing representation. Website, online. Available:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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