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Art: a means to regain the laughter of infancy

 
 
coberst
 
Reply Mon 8 Oct, 2007 02:02 pm
When the psyche is not organized for acquiring our essential needs and instinctual demands for mere survival we can let that psyche work for our pleasure just from the mere fact that humans find pleasure in pure passionate activity. Art knows how to rediscover our childishness, our need for play, and our need for disinterested activity pursued merely for the pleasure such activity might bring.

We strive, through play, to reach the euphoria that Carl Sagan express when he said "Understanding is a kind of ecstasy".

Freud uses the metaphor "art is wit"; we use wit as a means to find our way back to the pleasure-principle that has been hidden from us by our grinding capitulation to the reality-principle, which we have made education to be. We seek through art to regain "the laughter of infancy".

Quotes from "Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History" by Norman O. Brown.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 963 • Replies: 13
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OGIONIK
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Oct, 2007 07:42 am
you dun touched on a subject o mine. while i was meaninglessly drawing skull after skull after skull i realised i have either lost or deeply buried any happiness left in me. i , i dont know how to say it, i guess i realised as an artist, i will never create anything, as an artist i can merely copy or morph reality and trasnpose it onto a peice of paper through my hand.
one merely REarranges lines and circles, cubes and triangles, an artist merely erratically marks the page or precisely draws parallell lines, lines crossing over lines , in different angles and pressures, all to COPY what is already abundant around us.

Unless, that is, one draws like a child. a great female art teacher, i cant remember her name, once told me "some artists try their whole lives to draw like a child"

Until now, i never gave that much thought.

inspiriation via coberst, i now realise it is not HOW or WHAT i am drawing, or how good i draw it that makes me happy, but merely the act of drawing. ill prolly be tied up drawing for the next few days, maybe even a painting.
0 Replies
 
coberst
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Oct, 2007 04:22 am
OGIONIK wrote:
you dun touched on a subject o mine. while i was meaninglessly drawing skull after skull after skull i realised i have either lost or deeply buried any happiness left in me. i , i dont know how to say it, i guess i realised as an artist, i will never create anything, as an artist i can merely copy or morph reality and trasnpose it onto a peice of paper through my hand.
one merely REarranges lines and circles, cubes and triangles, an artist merely erratically marks the page or precisely draws parallell lines, lines crossing over lines , in different angles and pressures, all to COPY what is already abundant around us.

Unless, that is, one draws like a child. a great female art teacher, i cant remember her name, once told me "some artists try their whole lives to draw like a child"

Until now, i never gave that much thought.

inspiriation via coberst, i now realise it is not HOW or WHAT i am drawing, or how good i draw it that makes me happy, but merely the act of drawing. ill prolly be tied up drawing for the next few days, maybe even a painting.


While you are at it you might take another look at your school books about sentence and paragraph structure.
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Oct, 2007 12:14 pm
Re: Art: a means to regain the laughter of infancy
coberst wrote:
Art knows how to rediscover our childishness, our need for play, and our need for disinterested activity pursued merely for the pleasure such activity might bring.


Freud had the benefit of being among the first heirs of the 19th-century (and primarily Austro-German) notion that art was a disinterested activity. The concept of "disinterested art" would have been incomprehensible to most European artists of the previous 1,000 years or so. It makes we wonder what Freud made of pre-Romantic notions of art, though my guess is that it didn't pose much of a problem to him. Such is the nature of this sort of Freudian analysis--it can be retroactively applied to anything, which is another way of saying it cannot account for differences or deviations, which is another way of saying it doesn't explain anything.
0 Replies
 
OGIONIK
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Oct, 2007 07:55 am
coberst wrote:
OGIONIK wrote:
you dun touched on a subject o mine. while i was meaninglessly drawing skull after skull after skull i realised i have either lost or deeply buried any happiness left in me. i , i dont know how to say it, i guess i realised as an artist, i will never create anything, as an artist i can merely copy or morph reality and trasnpose it onto a peice of paper through my hand.
one merely REarranges lines and circles, cubes and triangles, an artist merely erratically marks the page or precisely draws parallell lines, lines crossing over lines , in different angles and pressures, all to COPY what is already abundant around us.

Unless, that is, one draws like a child. a great female art teacher, i cant remember her name, once told me "some artists try their whole lives to draw like a child"

Until now, i never gave that much thought.

inspiriation via coberst, i now realise it is not HOW or WHAT i am drawing, or how good i draw it that makes me happy, but merely the act of drawing. ill prolly be tied up drawing for the next few days, maybe even a painting.


While you are at it you might take another look at your school books about sentence and paragraph structure.


actually, i dont care about writing correctly unless its something important , im an absolute genius in english, according to all my teachers and from scoring in the top 1 percentile in highschoolers in america on the subject..

but hey, im lazy! Sad
0 Replies
 
coberst
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Oct, 2007 06:36 am
Re: Art: a means to regain the laughter of infancy
Shapeless wrote:
coberst wrote:
Art knows how to rediscover our childishness, our need for play, and our need for disinterested activity pursued merely for the pleasure such activity might bring.


Freud had the benefit of being among the first heirs of the 19th-century (and primarily Austro-German) notion that art was a disinterested activity. The concept of "disinterested art" would have been incomprehensible to most European artists of the previous 1,000 years or so. It makes we wonder what Freud made of pre-Romantic notions of art, though my guess is that it didn't pose much of a problem to him. Such is the nature of this sort of Freudian analysis--it can be retroactively applied to anything, which is another way of saying it cannot account for differences or deviations, which is another way of saying it doesn't explain anything.


I often post things about psychology and Freud and I am constantly amazed at the negative attitude that so many people have toward these two subjects. That negativity is generally not the result of knowledge about the subject. I have thought about this and have come to the conclsion that it is religion and capitalism that place these strong negative influences into the culture. What do yiou think?
0 Replies
 
coberst
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Oct, 2007 06:39 am
OGIONIK wrote:
coberst wrote:
OGIONIK wrote:
you dun touched on a subject o mine. while i was meaninglessly drawing skull after skull after skull i realised i have either lost or deeply buried any happiness left in me. i , i dont know how to say it, i guess i realised as an artist, i will never create anything, as an artist i can merely copy or morph reality and trasnpose it onto a peice of paper through my hand.
one merely REarranges lines and circles, cubes and triangles, an artist merely erratically marks the page or precisely draws parallell lines, lines crossing over lines , in different angles and pressures, all to COPY what is already abundant around us.

Unless, that is, one draws like a child. a great female art teacher, i cant remember her name, once told me "some artists try their whole lives to draw like a child"

Until now, i never gave that much thought.

inspiriation via coberst, i now realise it is not HOW or WHAT i am drawing, or how good i draw it that makes me happy, but merely the act of drawing. ill prolly be tied up drawing for the next few days, maybe even a painting.


While you are at it you might take another look at your school books about sentence and paragraph structure.


actually, i dont care about writing correctly unless its something important , im an absolute genius in english, according to all my teachers and from scoring in the top 1 percentile in highschoolers in america on the subject..

but hey, im lazy! Sad


Yes, I see.
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Oct, 2007 03:33 pm
coberst wrote:
I have thought about this and have come to the conclsion that it is religion and capitalism that place these strong negative influences into the culture. What do yiou think?


The explanation is actually much simpler than that. In my post, for example, the reasons for my reaction are spelled out pretty clearly: I reject this Freudian reading of art because it works only if we ignore historical specificity, and I reject Freud because his theories are tautological.

More generally, I think the reason you encounter such negative responses is because you rarely address the objections people present to you; rather, you address the questions you wish they'd presented. You're so intent on demonstrating the decline of Western civilization that you've convinced yourself that any disagreements with your preconceived diagnosis are proof that you are correct (which is a very Freudian tactic). But in fact, people have disagreed with you for very specific reasons, and you need to address those specificities if you want to bolster your credibility. Blaming religion and capitalism won't help.

If, for example, you think I am wrong in my assessment of Freud, then I invite you to offer a defense of why it is valid to characterize all of art as a disinterested activity. I am claiming that the concept of "disinterested art" was not a widespread norm, let alone a virtue, before the nineteenth century. Even in music--often considered the most abstract and therefore the most disinterested of the arts--the notion of art for art's sake was so perplexing to Europeans that when the famed French intellectual Fontanelle was confronted with the earliest examples of purely instrumental works (i.e. no text, no stage accompaniment, and no obvious function), he was moved to cry in exasperation, "Sonata, what do you want of me?" Thus, to describe Art as a disinterested activity is to assume that the Austro-German Romantic nineteenth-century conception of art was true for the millenia or so that preceded, which is to say that your argument is founded on a lie.

Now, if you think I have misrepresented the case, then by all means offer some historical counter-evidence to show that Freud's characterization of art is not anachronistic and over-generalized. You will get many more sympathetic readers that way than with clich├ęd complaints about capitalist society.
0 Replies
 
shepaints
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Oct, 2007 05:43 pm
Well, I suppose laughter depends upon the subject matter and manner of execution of the art undertaken by the artist.

I can imagine Marcel Duchamp finding humour in drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa, but the opposite extreme for Kathe Kollwitz in rendering a drawing depicting human suffering.
0 Replies
 
coberst
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Oct, 2007 06:47 am
Shapless

You make some very good points. However, from a practical point of view if I were to respond to every negative view posted about Freud and/or psychology I would not be able to do anyting else.
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Oct, 2007 01:31 pm
It is true that Freud and psychoanalysis have been under attack for almost a century now. But the skepticism lobbied at them oftens come with good reason (historical accuracy aside, one can't help but question "explanatory theories" that are designed to be applicable to all situations, which is to say applicable regardless of the situation, which is to say applicable without regard for the situation... at which point they cease being explanations and become rationalizations). It may seem like we're fabricating objections just for the sake of it, but we're largely raising the same issues that Freud's intellectual colleagues have been raising for as long as Freud has been around. You can't espouse theories built on premises that have been so rigorously attacked for decades and not expect some resistance from your readers.
0 Replies
 
coberst
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2007 04:05 am
shapless

Some great thinker said "know thy self". I am convinced that psychology is necessary knowledge for one to know about the self. It appears that there exists in our culture a strong ideological bias against this science that is not based upon knowledge. I suspect that less than 10% of the population have any fundamental knowledge of this subject but it appears that 90% of the population have a negative attitude toward this science.
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2007 12:25 pm
coberst wrote:
I am convinced that psychology is necessary knowledge for one to know about the self.


If the claims of psychology and psychoanalysis were stricted to knowledge about one's own self, then you'd probably find a lot less resistance to your posts here. After all, you are free to rationalize the inner workings of your self in any way that makes you happy. The problem is when the claims of psychology and psychoanalysis are expanded to areas outside one's own self, as for example in this thread. As I tried to point out, trying to apply psychoanalytical "explanations" to art requires some massive distortions of history. The same can be said of occasions where you've turned your attention to more grandiose things like "capitalist society," the Industrial Revolution, the Enlightenment and the Renaissance, etc. One you leave the terrain of your own self, then your claims do need to be "based upon knowledge" (as you put it) if you expect to persuade anyone.

coberst wrote:
It appears that there exists in our culture a strong ideological bias against this science that is not based upon knowledge.


In place of "knowledge," what other criteria for evaluation do you propose?
0 Replies
 
coberst
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Oct, 2007 03:23 am
Shapeless wrote:
coberst wrote:
I am convinced that psychology is necessary knowledge for one to know about the self.


If the claims of psychology and psychoanalysis were stricted to knowledge about one's own self, then you'd probably find a lot less resistance to your posts here. After all, you are free to rationalize the inner workings of your self in any way that makes you happy. The problem is when the claims of psychology and psychoanalysis are expanded to areas outside one's own self, as for example in this thread. As I tried to point out, trying to apply psychoanalytical "explanations" to art requires some massive distortions of history. The same can be said of occasions where you've turned your attention to more grandiose things like "capitalist society," the Industrial Revolution, the Enlightenment and the Renaissance, etc. One you leave the terrain of your own self, then your claims do need to be "based upon knowledge" (as you put it) if you expect to persuade anyone.

coberst wrote:
It appears that there exists in our culture a strong ideological bias against this science that is not based upon knowledge.


In place of "knowledge," what other criteria for evaluation do you propose?


It is correct that people know only pop-psychology and thus do crazy things. This is all part of our sound-bite bumper-sticker culture.

I claim that comprehension is a hierarchy and can usefully be considered like a pyramid. Awareness is at the base followed by consciousness (awareness plus attention). Then comes knowing followed by understanding at the pinnacle.

My complaint about our educational system and our culture is that we stop our climb of comprehension at knowledge and seldom reach for or even comprehend the nature of understanding and its importance.
0 Replies
 
 

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