My Reflections On The Aesthetic Justification For Existence

When Nietzsche spoke about the bitterness of truth, or perhaps when the Buddha† chimed in on a similar note by proclaiming how life was trodden with endless miseries – the eternal theme behind human existence has remained the same, it was suffering. If all of life is indeed no more than suffering, starting from the most basic of all life functions, the need to survive and preserve oneself – how do we chose to continue living with this knowledge? This same epiphany that points many thinkers toward nihilism also leads them to this very unpleasant question. They come to understand that nothing in this life has any intrinsic meaning attached to it, and everything ranging from our thoughts and actions to the social norms and constructs to religion and superstition are no more in objective meaning than the meaning we give it, as these emotional creatures we are. All this facade we’d built has no more utility than to emotionally comfort in the midst of a cruel reality we’re tasked with navigating right up from birth.

How can the Nihilist rationally conclude not to kill himself?

In the past couple of months, I have increasingly grown to embrace various artistic expressions in my own life. While I have pretentiously touted myself as an academic and intellectual type who sees no more to life than quantities and qualities, numbers and theories. I now must admit that I may have been driven emotionally and that I now take it back. This is not to say I have lost my intellect, that would be impossible on a psychological level, but only that I have reached certain epiphanies in my life, through meditations prompted by excruciating circumstances and such about the metaphysical realities that surround life. Continue reading

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It’s About Time We Spoke About Art

I have an upcoming post summing my personal reflections on the aesthetic justification for existence. Like all things I promise, it will likely be forgotten in the chasm of ever-more stimulating ideas that surmount my consciousness. I will likely be invoking Nietzsche and nihilism and borrow generously from contemporary psychology to validate my subjective reflections, so stay tuned if you’d like to see something interesting! But as I continue to procrastinate indefinitely on that, it struck me that I’d never dedicated any one post to tackling my position on art – one which detailed my aesthetic outlook on the visual arts and also music. Before we further ourselves into this random post, here’s something out of the blue:

promote art, prevent suicide

My aesthetic philosophy follows from my desire to keep things efficient and immensely meaningful. Efficiency, unlike in the traditional contexts the term finds itself within engineering and thermodynamics and economics, can be used more broadly to refer to the doctrine of maximizing some desirable outcome for the same amount of physical labor and attention to detail. Excessive attention to otherwise trivial detail is a turn-off for me, unless they serve to capture a critical part of the painting’s theme. This hopefully should tip you in the direction of my preferences in art: expressionist that is minimalist and abstract. Continue reading

Is Romanticism What Sets The West Apart?

Throughout history and in parallels observable in the present-day, there are keen differences in the many institutions of culture, economy and polity between civilizations. But these differences, when abstracted, generally seem to share one common premise somewhere in the garbled causality links. The premise is the philosophy of Romanticism.

To give you a little historical insight, Romanticism is the philosophical movement that shaped up in a post-industrial Western Europe in the mid-18th century. It is believed to have been instigated by the poets, artists and philosophers in response to the paradigm shifts brought on by industrialization and the intimidating perplexities of modern civilization. These artists and poets thought that Romantic ideas were inherently what held the sanctity of the individual together, in attachment with their free and creative and spiritual side. Note that I use the words free and spiritual freely here – our discussion here pertains to a life philosophy, not one of epistemology or metaphysics. This idealism prompted the romantically-distraught to wage a war against the industrial establishment in their passionately-worded literature, paintings and philosophy. The cultural movement that manifested out of this collective ambition is then believed to have vastly set apart the post-industrial Western civilization from all others that were falling steadfastly into the age of industrialization.

Regressing through almost every civilization, excluding the West, one can distinctly see how the institutions of culture are designed to benefit the collective ambition of their peoples. Some markers may include those belonging to markets and society, for instance. Marriage is an apt contender to gain a deeper perspective on the lack of Romantic ideas in Eastern and Islamic cultures. I say this because the idea of wedlock adapted for the modern, post-industrial society calls upon a monogamous relationship on the part of the male subject and a hypergamous practice on the part of the female that draws upon a system of meritocratic honor. In the East, parents and extended family members are tasked with marrying off their children. This system, however contradictory to our evolutionary conditioning, orients the individual’s life decisions toward the greater prosperity of their family, and ultimately, society. Education isn’t much farther either, with much of what students learn aligning with the prevailing market scene. To these cultures, it is not the individual that is important, but the collective ambition and sustenance of their peoples. To them, the individual’s welfare is contained in their collective prosperity, rendering an ego-centric culture obsolete.

the cultural doctrine that one should live a life they want and do as they desire is unique to the West

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Our Education System Got An F

Education is believed to be the liberation of the mind, but is it anymore? Or was it ever? We are constantly fed with these age-old preconceived notions about education from society. And sometimes directly from the people who are meant to be educating us, almost creating a moral paradox! They tell us that school will enrich our creativity. They tell us how the intrinsic, natural creativity of the human mind is a speckles’ worth in contrast to the mind that has endured years of methodological indoctrination and testing. But are these notions valid? Or are we (they) confusing one thing for another? What are the drivers of education? How is it intertwined with the prevailing cultural and economical scene? These are some of the pressing questions that surfaces when one fundamentally re-examines the very concept of education that much of civilization has held on to dearly for decades, if not centuries. After years of school and college, it’s about time for us to step away from the tradition of receiving grades to being the ones to grade our education system.

Like every other endeavor of human civilization, education is one that has had its movements and reforms. From the early attempts at systematic indoctrination in religious and philosophical schools to the modern system consisting of graduated learning levels from elementary to graduate school, there are unmistakable commonalities to the keen eyes. From the times of the ancient Greek civilization, the Platonic academy and the two men, Socrates and Aristotle who surrounded his legacy to the Huehuetlatolli of the Aztecs to the madrasas of the Islamic world to the Vedic teachings of Indus Valley civilization – the earliest attempts of systematic indoctrination were based on the moral code essential to the functioning of early society. Their teachings were subjective to each civilization and time period, and very further subjective to the teacher or master leading the congregation. Education was simply restricted geographically and lost its relevance with the natural progression of civilization and the spread of ideas. Perhaps one of the most notable cultural exchange of the early days happened with the Silk Route, in a time when education was still in its infancy.

philosophy came to be the grand unifying force for many culturally-divested schools of education

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The Element Of Surprise And Artistic Outlaws

Ever since the Renaissance artists have been experimenting with new forms of their art to spread their appeal to more people. The Renaissance was a time of much importance in artistic history. New styles, forms and manifestations of art popped up all over Europe and even the rest of the world. In this post, I’ll be discussing broadly music and how artists and producers are playing with some of the fundamental constructs of music itself – the structure, instruments and something very important I’d like to call the element of surprise. This element is by far the most important if you’re trying to play your way into the billboards, and also maybe stay there for a decent amount of time.

You want to have the right music at the right time with the right generation and the right technology to make it go viral

Recently I’d come across a satire describing structures of various musical genres. It said the blues were mostly guitar, complaining and more guitar with nothing more to it. Pop was mocked with reference to Pitbull, a prominent and contemporary pop artist. It was funny but also helped me recall what I know of music theory which led me into thinking what makes a hit song? Is it some violation of the traditional anatomy or something subtle or this colloquially called element of surprise?

Imgur, unknown

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Satisfying-to-read Typefaces

in Serif there is wisdom, in Sans there is freedom, in handwriting there is error

There was once a time calligraphic techniques were the only widely used method to produce consistent handwritten texts. I still can’t help but fondly think of the bygone age of the beloved type-writer – the once mighty sword of all that is true slowly disintegrated into one among history as more advanced typographic methods and technologies developed. From there it was an upward egress as the digital era dawned into newer and more varied typefaces. And I am a Millennial of all if in doubt.

I personally have a liking for certain styles and I don’t know if other people also share a similar liking to these styles but I am just going to go ahead and mention it because this could be like one of those things which you think only you have or can experience but later turns out to be universal to most people. Broadly, I will discuss the Serifs and the Sans Serifs. I wont go into details of their individual styles they could and can take up. I’ll be referring to the Sans Serifs as just Sans because it is so much nicer, maybe.

pick a book in Serif they said, a minute, a day o’er a month passeth fore you know it

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A Little Trivia About That Header

I hope you have noticed it already and wish to share some trivial information that should be entertaining.

The artwork you see was spotted at the High Line, somewhere between West 22nd and 23rd and 10th Avenue. You should see it pretty nicely from the elevated rail road but I cannot guarantee visibility from the ground as you can clearly see a building immediately behind. You might however catch a glimpse from 22nd Street, but again I cannot guarantee. It was enough of a cold Manhattan day in March and I was in a bit of hurry.

Though, I wish I could give credit to its designer if I knew.

Maps courtesy of Google.