abba's way

Why Arts Are Screwed

“Why Arts Are Screwed

I figured an attention getting title, but what I write will be both controversial and I believe correct.

First arts are not totally screwed, since there is a lot bubbling up that we do not admit into the exclusive circle of what we mean by art.

Indeed it is this circle that is the problem. In the philosophy I champion (if one comes up with something one has a few bragging rights) my basic triad is Reality, Ethics and Aesthetics. Aesthetics is not the Art World we know (and love-hate). It is every action of every human being and it is evaluated according to an ethical scale that ranges from true and beautiful at the top to ugly and harmful and ultimately murderous at the bottom. If we want to bring back the arts we stop saying “bring them back” and start identifying art as every action that we take. Once this is comprehended and digested, everyone is seen as an artist.

The Bard saw this. Performance is what we do, even if the only audience is us. Criticism is us looking at what we do and everything else. Art is in the eye, the ear, the nose, the feeling hand, etc.

I think people know this. I think the world is moving in the direction of a triadic openness to the future, replacing the binary snap-the-door-shut heritage that we continue to glean from the likes of Aristotle, who – after all – mentored such binary thinkers as Augustine and Aquinas.

The understanding I am suggesting is vastly more powerful as an impulse toward “the arts” than efforts that treat the arts as a category of education or activity. It isn’t. It is all the activity there is.”


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