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The Protocols of Scionics
The Treachery of Images (circa 1928) by René Magritte
Another “commentary” work is René Magritte's The Treachery of Images (circa 1928), a simple painting of a pipe for smoking, below which are the words "Ceci n'est pas une pipe." (“This is not a pipe.”) His work is meant to convey the idea that paintings of things are not identical with the thing itself – an obvious and rather insignificant observation. While it is a selective re-creation of reality, and thus may be nominally considered to be art, the painting is of such a simplistic nature as to be much more on the merely “decorative” rather than “pure” end of the spectrum of art. This painting, while not actually ugly, is certainly not a beautiful piece; after all, it is merely an image of a pipe, and some words.
The contemporary art world desperately wants us to believe that Duchamp’s Fountain, Magritte’s Treachery of Images, and a huge variety of other non-selective art, are actually profound works of great genius. If we do not experience this supposed profundity ourselves, then (the art world says) the problem cannot be with the artist or the art: it must be with us, for not having the capacity to appreciate its value. This is pure nonsense – precisely because the works themselves are nonsense, masquerading as representations of some sort of higher aesthetic truths. This is exactly what mystical religions do, by the way: present nonsense as though it were a higher truth, while accusing those who rightfully reject this religious nonsense of some sort of moral failing. In much the same way, the art world accuses those who rightfully reject artistic nonsense of some sort of aesthetic failing. The true reality of most religions is that the false nonsense they spew is actually anti-spiritual in nature (for how could falsity ever be spiritual) while the reality of of the art world is that the false nonsense which they spew is anti-aesthetic. (At least the art world will sometimes admit this anti-aesthetic stance, although claiming to adhere to some higher artistic standard – which they can never identify or justify.)
At least one of the reasons why religions spread falsity is because it has proven profitable for them to do so. It is much the same for the art world: it is profitable for them to promote the falsity that non-selective works are extremely valuable. They sell art, or charge admission to their museums and galleries, or get tax-funded grants for their operations, based on the idea that
It should be noted that the same concepts regarding pseudo-art which apply to painting also apply to other forms of art. In music, for example, non-art would include random noise or sound effects presented as though they were music. An example of an audible version of decorative art would be sound effects added to an enhance an environment, whether in a movie, play, or even in a themed environment, such as in a theme park. (One can imagine creaking hinges and other “spooky” sound effects employed to enhance the sense of being in a “haunted” house, for example, or the sound of a crowing rooster to give or enhance the impression of sunrise or “early morning.”) Sound effects have a proper, valid use, but they are not music. Presenting noise or sound effects as though they were music is, again, at the best mistaken, and at the worst artistically dishonest, and in either case would be pseudo-art.
An example of cinematic non-art would be something like a film showing nothing but static, or random images, or even a blank screen, presented as though it were art. A purely decorative cinematic form would consist of abstract, non-representational flowing images. Presenting these as though they were true cinema does not, of course, actually make them true cinematic art, and again, would be at best mistaken, or at worst artistically dishonest.
Sense of Life and Value-Reflection
One's “sense of life” is one's overall feeling towards life and reality in general; more technically, it is comprised of one's conscious and unconscious metaphysical value judgments. This overall feeling is comprised of one's attitudes towards many facets of life and reality, concerning such issues as:
the “goodness” or “badness” of life, reality, oneself and mankind;
the degree to which one feels that one is generally in control of one's destiny, or the degree to which one feels that one is generally controlled by outside forces;
the comprehensibility or incomprehensibility of life, reality, oneself and mankind;
the proper roles of reason and emotion as a determinant of one's thoughts and subsequent actions.
One typically derives the greatest degree of hedonic value from works of art which reflect one's own sense of life; this is “value-reflection.” If one has a peaceful nature or disposition, or peaceful values and a peaceful sense of life, one is far more likely to seek out and enjoy art which reflects these values and depicts peace. Likewise, if one has a violent nature or disposition, or violent values and a violent sense of life, one is far more likely to seek out and enjoy art which reflects these values and depicts violence. This can be extended to all sorts of natures, dispositions, values, and senses of life: rational or irrational, kind or unkind, loving or hateful, and so on. One can determine a lot about the values and sense of life of another via the art which the other person seeks out and enjoys.
Just as one's own values and sense of life influences the types of art one seeks out and experiences, extended exposure to certain types of art can actually influence one values and sense of life. For example, exposure to art which depicts peace can influence one to become more peaceful. Likewise, exposure to art which depicts violence can influence one to become more violent. This can be extended to all sort of artistic depictions: rational or irrational, kind or unkind, loving or hateful, and so on.
Pseudo-art rarely provides a meaningful or beneficial sense-of-life. Much of it is essentially meaningless, and by presenting itself as though it were true art, it only serves to undermine the recognition of the value of true art. In those cases where meaning is to be found, this is typically limited to some inconsequential, mistaken, or mystical statement about art itself. Pseudo-art does little to elevate anyone, unless you consider the undeserved money and prestige accrued by the “artist” and those who run “art” galleries. Pseudo-art can serve to idealize confusion and non-meaning, thereby suppressing the conceptual mind's quite beneficial drive for understanding and control, and in turn suppressing pro-survival and pro-happiness behaviors.
Empiricorationalism in Art
There are three distinct ways in which art can be classified as being empiricorational: empiricorational execution, empiricorational realism, and empiricorational nobility.
A work of art can be executed in a fashion which demonstrates the artist’s empiricorational use and understanding of the artistic medium.
The Last Supper (circa 1495 – 1498) Leonardo da Vinci
The Last Supper (circa 1495 – 1498) by Leonardo da Vinci is an example of empiricorationally executed art. The event portrayed is certainly not empiricorationally realistic (see number 2, below) as it portrays the fictitious last meal which the mythical Jesus Christ shared with his disciples, at the moment when he revealed that one of them (Judas) would soon betray him. Leonardo da Vinci’s empiricorational understanding and use of the artistic medium, however, is exceptional. His use of perspective and color (although the colors have faded with time), the realism of the figures and objects in the scene, and their varied and convincing emotional reactions to Jesus’ revelation, are all the hallmark’s of an artistic masterpiece, despite the piece portraying a mystical, mythological, and hence non-empiricorational event.
Many of the masterworks of the past similarly portray a non-empiricorational theme, while being executed in a highly empiricorational fashion. This was due, on the one hand, to the pervasive mystical influence of the church in almost all aspects of life, and on the other, to the very high value placed upon true artistic skill. The empiricorational viewer of such art is likely to be hardly stirred at all by the religious themes of such works, while nevertheless being greatly moved by the the skill and mastery involved in their creation.
A work of art can portray events or things which are in accord with reason and reality. This would include portrayals of (1) actual things or events, or (2) things which actually could exist in some sense. These things or events could be present, historical, or empiricorationally projected future possibilities. Art that is empiricorationally realistic generally must also be empiricorationally executed in order for a high level of empiricorational realism to be achieved.
Mona Lisa, aka La Giocanda
(circa 1503 – 1517) Leonardo da Vinci
Mona Lisa, aka La Giocanda (circa. 1503-1517), another work by Leonardo da Vinci, is both an example of empiricorational execution (like all of da Vinci’s work), and of empiricorational realism. It portrays, not some mythical figure or event, but is simply a portrait of a real or imagined woman. (Most scholars think it is a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo, an Italian noblewoman, although this has not been established with certainty.)
A work of art can portray things or events which demonstrate the noble striving for empiricorationalism. This is a non-self-sacrificial type of heroism or nobility – it is the noble loyalty to, and ever-faithful application of, empiricorationality in all aspects of one's life. It is the ever-vigilant and noble loyalty to reality, to logic, and to empiricorational persistence in the face of adversity. It is not the self-sacrificial abdication of the empiricorational pursuit of one's self-interest, but the relentless empiricorational pursuit of one's own highest values, often in a world which would thwart such pursuit. Art that is empiricorationally noble generally must also be both empiricorationally realistic and executed.