THE EXISTENTIAL NEED FOR NEW KINDS OF CRITICS

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How is an objective judgement of something so personal as art possible? Or, in other words, how is aesthetics possible? Or perhaps the question is irrelevant, for even if a truly objective judgement is impossible, the critic must try and make one. If not, without criticism what would art achieve? How would the artist know how to proceed in a critical vacuum?

Once again we find that something we take for granted rests on a very shaky paradox: criticism is impossible but we need it. In a sense, the whole basis of art is absurd and unsustainable, and yet we need it. In fact, we could not really conceive of being human without it.

Perhaps the most surprising thing is that we, or our artists, ignore the absurdity and the paradox and just get on with the job, and the critics keep on with theirs. Surprisingly, yes, until we start to consider that all activity in the whole of society and civilisation is based on this same paradox: How can any individual make an objective judgement of any human activity at all?

Of course, to most people the surprising thing would be that we are even trying to formulate such questions. Another paradox is that absurdity is so ingrained in our lives that we take it completely for granted and it doesn’t surprise us at all. We can’t even see the pointless nature of our lives. As Camus said, we are a kind of Sisyphus, condemned to push a huge rock up a hill, but a happy Sisyphus, unaware of the real absurdity of our condition. We just get on with the job; revealing or talking about the non-purposefulness of our lives does little to help. Or not at least until we realise that we can change things and that the most absurd thing about the absurdity is its repetitiveness which is completely unnecessary.

With an absurdity we have three choices: believe in it; not believe in it; or, ignore its existence and believe in something else. The fact that the objective system is impossible as a pure objective truth means that there are as many other impossible objective systems as we can subjectively imagine. The system as it is now, has most of us picking grass in a huge green lawn. This is not the best of all possible systems and neither is it the least worst, it is just one possibility that maintains itself purely and simply because it is geared toward convincing us that it is the only feasible possibility.

To find another possibility we need good new critics. Ones who are capable of inventing a purposeful aesthetic for the rest of us to follow. The grass on the lawn we are picking has already created too many bare and ugly patches of desolate, impotent land. A better system would be one that plants and grows much and picks little. In order to enjoy existence, we have to let it be.   

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THE CRIMINAL NARRATIVE

Albert Camus made a differentiation between two kinds of crimes: crimes against capital and crimes against logic.[i] In actual fact, the second crime supports the first. In order to get away with a major money heist the blue-blooded criminal knows he or she must first create a narrative that will turn their crime into something normal; and to do that they need to simply distort logic. It is behind smoke-screens of bent rationality that the most audacious crimes are committed over and over again. They call these smoke-screens, “The Economy”.

In order to ensure that the money always rises to the top of the pile, the ones behind the levitation act feed societies with an Economy Narrative that is completely based and reliant on a logic of deception. It is a logic that justifies their greed, and it does so with total approbation from the greater part of society, even though it is degrading, debilitating and harmful for the vast majority of human beings. To achieve this lying distortion, create their own reality, and convince the masses to support that reality, the first thing that is done is extract “humanity” from the argument. Instead of using exchange to benefit the whole of humanity, therefore, the Economy Narrative talks about what is good for “The Market”.

The criminal distortion of logic in the Economy Narrative cannot function within an authentically human society. Its logical crimes are immediately stripped bare when shown against the backdrop of humanity. When seen from the human point of view, the crimes are immediately revealed for what they are – crimes against humanity. If we change “Market” for “Humanity” the whole Economy Narrative falls apart. And so, the criminal of capital knows, the human point of view has to be eradicated. Once this is done, the crime against logic creates a kind of story that will encourage the victims of capital’s thieving to think like criminals themselves by indoctrinating them with criminal dreams and fantasies. Once society itself has bought this dream, the smoke-screen is up and the real pillaging of all capital can take place in earnest.

With humanity out of the picture, society becomes a herd of individualities, each one mesmerised by his or her unique condition of being an individual within the Market, but driven by the barking sheepdog who pushes them together, inculcating fear with his barks of anything outside of the circle that might threaten the Market enclosing the herd and which is so absolutely necessary for its well-being.

Whilst the individuals are busy watching their neighbours and praying for the health of the Market, the big picture, and the awesome crimes that take place there, can be well hidden. And once the bigger picture is veiled it is easy to carry out the great systemic robbery: a tremendous magic trick that provokes an uncanny levitation of all wealth.

“We are living in the era of premeditation and the perfect crime,” said Camus.[ii] Economic measures, the so-called economic reforms, are anti-cholesterol remedies to ensure the upward movement of wealth. The term reform is criminally distorted so that it justifies the criminals selfish aims whilst seeming to mean something that is necessary for all of society. And yes, Camus is also right by naming our age, the era of premeditation. It is all carefully planned. What seems like economic chaos is simply a manifestation of pure criminal logic.

[i] Albert Camus, The Rebel, introduction, p. i

[ii] Ibid