THE ARTIST AND HUMANITY

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The artist is often advised to ask him or herself who is his or her art aimed at? Likewise the writer is asked: “who are you writing for?” But in doing so the more important question of what (what is being addressed through the artistic creation?; what are we trying to bestow?; what are we trying to communicate?) is pushed into second place or worse. The who question, which seems so important for publishers and their publicists or for arts council grants, should always be an irrelevant interrogative because in its essence it is a tautological one: the subject addressed by the artist must in its essence be a human one, transmitted for humanity. The human is rooted in the essence of the term art and any exclusion (this work is not for them) is, by that exclusion, anti-human and anti-art. Not that art has to speak lowly so that all can understand it through its simplicity; in fact it should be allowed to speak from any register, but that choice of register has to come from asking oneself what is being addressed in the work rather than who is it being addressed to.

In order to see the true potential of what the artist is addressing it is necessary to not extricate the so-called fine arts and music and literature from their cousins in the Arts or Humanities, or human sciences such as psychology, philosophy, history, sociology, architecture, etc., nor from the pure sciences. All of these activities have a common-function which is expressed in the uncovering or peeling open of reality in order to find the essence and by so doing come to an understanding of what our place, as humans, is in this reality.

The role of both art and science, therefore, is to know, and through knowing to understand. But just as art is about knowing and understanding reality, an area usually associated with the sciences, so is science about representing, which is a function traditionally attributed to the arts. Therefore we can say that all the arts and sciences have their essence in knowing, understanding, and representing reality.

Whether through fiction or non-fiction the human perception of reality is formed through our arts and sciences: reality is both truth and imagination. And if reality is truth and imagination what is non-reality other than lies. Lies are an aberration or a perversion between truth and imagination. Lies are fictions created to be passed off as truths in order to benefit the liar in some way.

Another role of art and science is to unmask these lies and for this reason skepticism and cynicism are useful, if not difficult and dangerous tools, for artists and scientists alike. Part of the role of art and science becomes the act of revealing the lies for what they are, such as when they infiltrate our imaginations through seduction or by imposition through habits or norms.

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