I have been out of this blog for some time. Why write a blog? Is the written word useful? In a way these questions are moot because the fact is I write all the time usually on FB and on other blogs. I can’t help it. Writing has always helped me unravel my thoughts which are usually confused and inchoate until I write them down. Writing is not just that though–rather, it is an art form with its own momentum not just in my life but throughout history.
That begs the question–what is art? We have to look at art from the Western perspective and that is that art is the “place” in our civilization where our mystics and shamans can safely work. For a long time mysticism was looked at with suspicion both by Christianity and the 18th century Enlightenment. The mind (left brain) overthrew the heart (right brain) in our culture. We focus on materialism and hard-nosed and often cruel reality. We are encouraged to stop “dreaming” and “get real” and go along with the radically materialistic job of our culture which is to struggle for status and money and, in some regions of the country, an exception is made for Sunday mornings where we can loose our minds in the Faith of our choice. Art fills the need to undertake an endeavor that is unformed until we form it and for which there is, as we are told, no practical value.
Yes, even the essay format which I use is “art” as far as I’m concerned. Though I’m farming my knowledge of the world I’m shaping it into forms and thus it is “art” rather than craft which is only technique. I can pretty much form a decent sentence and that is craft. Yet, my craft need not be very good at all and I can still be artist if I create something viable. The interesting thing about art is that it is always something the artist determines is art not the audience. An artist is someone how does not depend on an audience to declare the viability of that art. This may seem selfish but it is actually in the service of the audience. Those of us who consider ourselves artists cannot fully serve an audience without being true to ourselves–we can only deceive and manipulate others and almost all that we seen in any media whether it is film, TV or written material is directly engineered to deceive or manipulate the public–the cumulative effect of all this is the creation of what Sheldon Wolin calls and “inverted totalitarian society” which describes perfectly our current system. While it would take some time to fully describe what that means I will put it to you simply. Unlike normal totalitarian societies say Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, our system has all the forms of a republic with democratic society but those forms are efficiently manipulated by authoritarian institutions who dominate the system like the mainstream media which manages our thought, the political system dominated by two parties of the right, our economics dominated by large corporations who are similarly top-down hierarchies where workers have probably no more rights than those given to them by the bosses, and public institutions like health-care, the military, the justice system, education, and so on are, if you use empirical methods, neither interested in our health, our security, justice, education and so on–they are, rather, interested in profit and power almost exclusively AS INSITUTIONS. Like their totalitarian cousins their aim is control while the individuals involved can be good or bad citizens–it doesn’t matter in the least because they have no say sometimes even if they are CEOs of their organizations.
Art, is one means of moving away from this control mechanism because it opens our minds and hearts to “something” that exists at a deeper level. It art that can truly influence the public and begin to move them away from the thrall of the Deep State (basically the system as a whole). And yes, we can all be artists of a sort to escape from the prison of radical materialism and the quest for status and power. Not that materialism, status or power are “bad” they are a part of our civilization but to be ruled by these forces is most truly “bad” by whatever perennial human philosophy you can name.