Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The definitive function of true art

More on "My" Language

If you have come this far, you know that language is not fixed, it is not complete; indeed it is merely (dare I say "merely?) an approximation to reality, our personal realities and our shared ones. In this light I would assert that language is one, but only one of the "connective tissues" that help build interpersonal realities.

I have tried to show, without the clutter and excess baggage of theory, but rather existentially, that words need not be thought of as bricks to build with, but clay to sculpt with. And a truly wonderful clay! It is soft and malleable to those who think it so. It is stiff and resistant if so imagined, for those whose "hands" are weak or untrained.

Perhaps it would be well to acknowledge my own errors and failures, instead of casting aspirins. When I compose, and until I'm compelled to produce a fair copy so others can have some hope of following my threads, my drafts are filled with innumerable alternative words, phrases, and images. Reducing this multi-layered mosaic into readable images is necessary, but inevitably diminishes the depth of those images. That is because in some cases there are no right words (at least that I am privy to), or there are many partly right words. So my poems suffer from inaccuracy and incompleteness.

When I am being more or less successful, each word is a vertex (or is it a vortex?) connecting vectors from multiple layers of reality. Their purpose is to expose, not conceal, those layers. This makes reading me slow going, but if one desires to truly understand reality, and not simply get by with the minimum amount of necessary awareness, every moment, every thought, every feeling, every word, quite obviously, is connected to a vast network of related "nodes."

Too often I have not made those connections, or I've only made a few when many were possible. More problematic is when I have been inaccurate. I have distorted or muddied reality, rather than clarifying it. Therefore, I can only rely on you to correct me or expand upon the narrow apertures I've tried to open.

One final note about "reality." It is important to distinguish between the complex, incomplete, and often discontinuous images that expose reality (ie the contents of consciousness), on the one hand, and the spectrum of common and accessible conventions that are used to distort the forms of most modern "art," on the other. Modern art, on the one extreme, creates self-contained narratives that hide or deny discontinuities and contradictions. It is really a form of illusionism and unreality. Popular novels and films do this to great financial success. At the other extreme, we find self-absorbed experimentalism, in which reality, and conscience especially, have become insignificant determinants, or inconvenient obstructions. While both extremes of art, literature, and music can entertain or delight the senses, they cannot be taken as serious. The definitive function of true art is its imperative to inspire moral clarity, ethical action, and spiritual awakening.

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