ART AND REALITY


Could one imagine art which had nothing to do with persons?

Could one imagine art which had nothing to do with other persons?

Could one imagine art which had nothing to do with concrete situations?

Could one imagine the existence of concrete situations without the existence of things?

Could one imagine concrete situations with persons in which the behaviour of persons had no significance?

There is no meaning in talking about art without imagining persons, their behaviour, things and concrete situations. When one wants to talk about art, one must therefore talk about: persons and their behaviour with other persons and things in concrete situations. As a precondition that these persons are actually practising this behaviour at all, one has to imagine that they are experiencing it as meaningful. From this follows that one has to talk about: persons and their meaningful behaviour with other persons and things in concrete situations. There is reason to presume that this always stands when one talks about art. Otherwise one would be able to imagine:

art which has nothing to do with persons

art which no one finds meaningful and which therefore has no significance

art which has nothing to do with the behaviour of persons

art which has nothing to do with other persons

art which has nothing to do with things

art which has nothing to do with concrete situations

art which has nothing to do with persons and their behaviour, meaningfulness, other persons, things and concrete situations.

Therefore we now know that:
when one talks about art one must always talk about:

Persons and their meaningful behaviour with other persons and things in concrete situations

or about corresponding factors with the same significance and the same necessary relations.

This knowledge enables us to talk about art in a way that makes sense, and without allowing habitual conceptions, social conventions and concentrations of power to be of decisive importance to our experiences.



Notes:

Persons

A person can be described in an infinite number of ways. None of these descriptions can be completely adequate. We therefore can not describe precisely what a person is. Whichever way we describe a person, we do however have the possibility to point out necessary relations between persons and other factors. We have to respect these relations and factors in order not to contradict ourselves and in order to be able to talk about persons in a meaningful way.
One necessary relation is the logical relation between persons and bodies. It makes no sense to refer to a person without referring to a body. If we for example say: here we have a person, but he or she does not have a body, it does not make sense. Furthermore, there are necessary relations between persons and the rights of persons. Persons should be treated as persons and therefore as having rights. If we deny this assertion it goes wrong: here is a person, but this person should not be treated as a person, or: here is a person, who should be treated as a person, but not as having rights. Therefore we can only talk about persons in a way that makes sense if we know that persons have rights.

When one does not respect the rights of persons, then one can not respect art, as we know that art is inextricably bound up with persons.


Concrete situations

Concrete situations are the precondition of any use of language, because we know that an assertion can only be understood as something that is made by a person in a concrete situation. If for example we say: here we have an assertion, but this assertion was not made by a person in a concrete situation, it does not make sense. We can, in other words, not refer to anything without referring to concrete situations.
Concrete situations are what we talk about all the time, what we take for granted. We for example say: they sat there and they were fine. Nothing is as easy as identifying concrete situations via persons, mental states and the things of daily life in space and time. At the same time it is absolutely impossible to describe a concrete situation in an exhaustive way. This thing that a situation can be described in a vast number of ways is not an accidental property of situations, but on the contrary it is what characterizes situations. A situation that can be described in only one way is not a situation. When we try to define a situation based on one single description we prevent ourselves from experiencing it.

There is no reason to believe that a request to art that it should continue to find new forms is relevant. The historical consideration that such a request will have to be founded on, requires an impossible comparison of situations. History is concerned with descriptions from specific points of view and is not reality. In the attempt to compare situations, one reduces situations to something that can be fully understood. This is not in compliance with our knowledge of situations. If one attempts to define what art is, one only sees oneís own description of it, and this description can never be exhaustive.


Things

Things have significance for concrete situations: when we say: here we have a concrete situation, but no things are of significance to this situation, this is not in compliance with our experiences.


Significance

Though concrete situations can only be identified in space and time, they can not be reduced to only existing in space and time. In any concrete situation significance plays a decisive role. If we say: they sat there and they were fine, but nothing was of significance, it does not make sense. Significance is decisive for concrete situations, but significance does not exist in time and space. What is the durability of significance and where does it exist? We do not know what significance is, but we know that significance is something which is decisive to our experience of the world. If we do not assign persons, their behaviour, things and concrete situations any significance, then there is no reason to concern oneself with persons, their behaviour, things and concrete situations.

If one does not assign persons, their behaviour, things and concrete situations significance, there is no reason to be concerned with art. Art has significance for our daily existence, because persons, their behaviour, things and concrete situations have significance for our daily existence.


Logic

Most of our thinking and our discussions are conducted on a level where we repeat and repeat our habitual conceptions to each other. We assume that there are no other conditions to decide whether something is right or wrong, except that one does not contradict oneself nor is inconsistent with facts. Beyond this there exists only more or less thoroughly grounded subjective opinions. However, there is a level so basic that it normally does not appear in our conscious mind, where everything does not revolve around subjective opinions. At this level things are simply right or wrong.
Logical relations are the most basic and most overlooked phenomenon we know. Nothing of which we can talk rationally can exist, can be identified or referred to, except through its logical relations to other things. Logic is necessary relations between different factors, and factors are what exist by the force of those relations. The decisive thing about logical relations is that they can not be reasoned. Nevertheless, they do constitute conditions necessary for any description, because they can not be denied without rejecting the factors of the relations. Persons are, for example, totally different from their bodies. Persons can go for a walk and they can make decisions. Bodies can not do that. Nevertheless, we can not refer to persons without referring to their bodies. If we say: here we have a person, but he or she unfortunately is lacking a body, it does not make sense. Persons are totally different from the concrete situations they are in. Nevertheless, we can not refer to persons without referring to the situations they are in. If we say: here we have a person, but this person has never been in a concrete situation, it does not make sense. Language is totally different from reality. Nevertheless, we have to perceive language as something that can be used to talk about reality. If we say: here we have a language, but this language can not be used to talk about reality, it does not make sense. Logical relations have decisive significance. The absence of logical relations would mean that nothing could be of decisive significance: as long as one does not contradict oneself nor is inconsistent with facts, any point of view may be as good as the next, one can say and mean anything. Logical relations are conditions for talking rationally together. The part of the world we can talk rationally about, can thus be defined as the part we can talk about using logical relations. But we do not have any reason to assume that the world is identical with what we can talk rationally about. Logic is something more basic than language. Logical relations are what makes language a language and what assigns meaning to words. Therefore, it is impossible to learn a language, without learning to respect logical relations. But as we grow up and learn to master language, logical relations are not present on a conscious level. If we are conscious of logical relations, it is possible for us to decide whether something is right or wrong and not to allow ourselves to be ruled by for example habitual conceptions and subjective opinions.

When one wants to talk about art in a way that makes sense and without allowing oneself to be ruled by for example habitual conceptions and subjective opinions, one has to respect the logical relations and the factors which have to do with art. Therefore one has to talk about personsí meaningful behaviour with other persons and things in concrete situations, when one talks about art. There is no reason to believe that what we can talk rationally about when we are talking about art, is exhaustive to what we talk about when we are talking about art.


Norms

Norms are the expression of objective knowledge. Objective knowledge is that which can not be denied. Norms are in contradiction to the view that everything depends on subjective opinions, and that one therefore can do or say anything, as long as one observes social conventions. Norms are the things we can not disagree about. Norms will always be valid. The fundamental ethical norm is that persons have rights. We are unable to talk about ethics in a way that makes sense without respecting this norm. The fundamental ethical norm does not tell us exactly what we should choose in concrete situations. Strictly speaking, this norm only tells us that persons should be treated as having rights. But if we do not observe this norm we do away with persons and the rights of persons.

It is a norm for art that when one talks about art one has to talk about persons and their meaningful behaviour with other persons and things in concrete situations. By respecting this norm one can create space for art, without consideration to social conventions. This is important because social conventions do not always respect norms. Subjective opinions about art can have significance, but one should not use them as the foundation of social conventions.


Concentrations of power

Concentrations of power do not always respect the rights of persons. If one denies this fact one gets: concentrations of power always respect the rights of persons. This does not correspond with our experiences. Concentrations of power characterize our society. Concentrations of power force persons to concentrate on participating in competition and power games, in order to create a social position for themselves. Concurrently with the concentrations of power dominating our conscious mind and being decisive to our situations, the significance of our fellow humans diminishes. And our own significance becomes the significance we have for concentrations of power, the growth of concentrations of power, and the conflicts of concentrations of power.

It is clear that persons should be consciously aware of the rights of persons and therefore must seek to organize the smallest concentrations of power possible.
Examples of concentrations of power which have interests in art include: Mass media (represented by journalists, critics, etc.), capital (represented by collectors, gallery owners, etc.), governments (represented by politicians, civil servants, etc.), and science (represented by historians, theorists, etc.). One can not permit these concentrations of power to have decisive influence and at the same time respect persons, the rights of persons or art.



Politics

The fundamental purpose of politics is to protect the rights of persons. If we deny this assertion we get: the fundamental purpose of politics is not to protect the rights of persons. This suggests that one of the basic tasks of politicians could be, for example, to renounce the rights of themselves and of others. This has no meaning. Or that there is a more important purpose to politics which does not have anything to do with persons and therefore also has nothing to do with the rights of persons. That is plain nonsense. Therefore, we now know that the basic purpose of politics is to protect the rights of persons. In other words we can not talk about politics in a way that makes sense without the assumption that the fundamental purpose of politics is to protect the rights of persons. Concentrations of power do not always respect the rights of persons. If one denies this fact one gets: concentrations of power always respect the rights of persons. This does not correspond with our experiences. It is obvious that if we want to protect the rights of persons we have to organize in as small concentrations of power as possible. Since the fundamental purpose of politics is to protect the rights of persons it is of decisive importance to politics that we seek to organize in as small concentrations of power as possible. It is clear that we can not leave it to others to protect the rights of persons. The notion that it is possible to elect a small number of people to protect the rights of a vast number of people is absurd, because here we are by definition talking about concentration of power, and thus about a concentration of power. And we know that concentrations of power do not always respect the rights of persons. It is clear that if one is conscious of persons and the rights of persons one must be concerned with politics. It is clear that if one is a person and thus concerned with politics and conscious of the rights of persons, it becomes of decisive importance to organize in as small concentrations of power as possible. It becomes of decisive importance to find ways to live and behave which correspond to our knowledge of persons, the rights of persons, etc. It is clear that this is our most important task as our whole existence is threatened.

It is obvious that artists too must be conscious of persons, the rights of persons and the influence of concentrations of power and thus must be concerned with politics. It is obvious that nothing can be more important than to concern oneself with this exactly. That also artists must first and foremost be concerned with creating consciousness about this, and with trying to organize in as small concentrations of power as possible. In this way we have a case where the fundamental ethical norm, and thus ethics, become decisive for aesthetics and politics become decisive to the performance of art. Aesthetics must first and foremost be an examination of, and a science about, possibilities to exist with as small concentrations of power as possible and organize ourselves in a way so that we respect each otherís rights. In a way that makes room for persons and that which has significance to them in their daily life.


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