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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Lost in the Guggenheim

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I went to the Guggenheim museum today and certainly would not recommend it to anyone I liked. There were some good exhibits. They had a room of early impressionists. These people created a revolution in the art word when they stopped painting the objective world as though they were taking a photograph of the “objective” world. Instead they sought to portray the subjective experience of vision. In real life a train may look like a train, but I may experience it as motion and light. Pointillists did this to wonderful affect; they recognized that our visual field is received as undifferentiated pixels of light.

The Guggenheim also featured many Kandinsky’s. He was the artist that took this artistic divorce from the objective world to another level. His work eventually retained no references to any natural objects from the objective world. Thus his work was not representational; but fully abstract. This lead to the modern works of art which feature blank canvases and random pieces of metal such as those displayed in many modern art museums and corporate lobbies.

After leaving the museum, we went to a Catholic cathedral dedicated to St. Ignatius Loyola. The structure and every piece in it were breath taking testimony to the glory of man’s ability. Taken as a whole; it was an awe inspiring work of art. To do modern art and have a decent conscience one must ignore such monumental and glorious pieces. A piece of black metal cannot compare favorably with any great work of art before the impressionists. From the Greeks to the French Royal Academy the works of Western art have sought to show the glory of man and have succeeded. Modern art does not so much contrast itself with older art as it exerts a profound amnesia in its creation.

Modern art’s amnesia is done so in the name of freedom. It tries to get at the essence of the individual experience. In doing so it must not reference traditions or objects which would impose themselves on the viewer. The problem is that one can never extract themselves from the culture from which they so unnaturally try to divorce themselves. The very goal of encapsulating an individual perspective free from the constraints of the outside institutions IS a Western project.

Liberation, unfortunately for modern art, does not come from being alone. In real life it leads to isolation and starvation; no man is an island because he cannot survive as one. Freedom comes from a collective effort. That is why the abstract art feels so alienating and says so little to viewers. We leave perplexed and uninspired. Furthermore, despite the emancipatory goals of modern artists, we leave less empowered than ever. There is nothing to strive for, nothing to achieve, and we feel alien and unable to understand another segment of our world. Culturist art would recognize the power of tradition, further our collective glorification, leave people feeling awed, uplifted and connected. Unfortunately, when you leave modern galleries like the Guggenheim, you just feel cheated.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Girls Kissing on a Bus

June 20th a 64 year old public bus driver got in trouble. He kicked two 14 year old girls off of his bus for making out. In doing so he called them "sickos." The mother was outraged and wanted to be assured that the driver was not getting away with a "slap on the wrist." The driver's action may have been inappropriate. I did not see how light or heavy their kissing was. What is inappropriate the assumption that his actions were necessarily wrong.

From an individualistic, rights-based perspective, anyone telling anyone what to do cannot be tolerated and must be reprimanded immediately. What is missing from this consideration are the sensibilities of the rest of the people on the bus. What if others did not want to see sexual acts? What if there were children on the bus (excluding the 14 year old girls) whose parents did not want them exposed to lewd sexuality of any orientation? What of the girls' respect for their elders and those around them? No. None of these issues was deemed worthy of taking into consideration in the eyes of the policy enforcement bureaucrats.

It is not irrational homophobia to want to stop children from having sex in public. Cultures are largely sucessful to the extent that they have intact families and value education. Cultures in which people are largely promiscuous and engage in premarital sex are fragile. Our elders have had more time to think about such things. There are deep religious and secular cultural reasons, grounded deep in our history, that inform the older sensibilities of the bus driver in question. He may not have thought of the importance of distinguishing liberty from license in supporting a first world republic. But he was not only expressing idiosyncratic quirks.

People who only make judgements based on the absolute value of individuaism miss out on a lot. The bureaucrats who punished him were likely only thinking of lawsuits. They know that the judicial system does not consider culturist values. They knew that their programming taught them that any restrictions on individuals will get you sued. But they may not have thought of what the judges do not consider. Certainly the mother who was not outraged at her children's public sexuality and disrespect for the elderly driver has imbibed individualism as an absolute. But being aware of our cultural history, what makes a culture thrive, and the wisdom in thinking about others' sensibilities makes us richer, better people.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Questions Concerning Culturism

If you have any questions about the contents of culturism I would be delighted to answer them.

Monday, June 4, 2007

John Edwards

John Edwards' performance in the debates showed a profound ignorance of culturist dynamics. He said the first thing he would do if elected would be to leave the country!!! He would leave for six months!!!!! He would tell the people that we believe in absolute rights and diversity to "reestablish moral authority."

This is the sort of thinking that got us into the Iraq war. Does he think that the rest of the world needs more of our moral authority? Does our safety lay in telling the rest of the world how to run their countries? The countries he mentioned going to, by the way, were European. What does he think the response would be were he to go to China and Iran and start telling them about the glories of Western ways? Does he think that this would make them see that we are right and to be worshipped?

Rights and individualism are our vision, not the world's. To go around the world trumpeting them seems more antagonistic than understanding.