March 24, 2013 6:50 pm at 6:50 pm #608759
Continuing from OOM’s post here: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/the-cr-discworlders-club/page/2?replies=74#post-451343
Reposting from the other thread:
OOM, from your quote: “His business is but to describe those who have been speaking or thinking about God and pessimism, how and under what circumstances. The artist should be not the judge of his characters and their conversations, but only an unbiased observer.”
This is a focus on aesthetics that is associated with ???. I am referring to the concept that we don’t believe that art should be objective, it should be sanctified for kedusha.March 24, 2013 8:21 pm at 8:21 pm #941879
I still don’t understand your position. You speak of the artistic properties of aesthetics and objectivity as if they are interchangeable, and both the unilateral function of art. Whatever that may mean, I do not believe that it can be inferred from what Chekhov was trying to say. Check out my literature blog–I’ve monologued extensively on this topic (spec. “For Hevel Havalim: In Defense of Literature and Literacy” and “What’s in a Novel?”).
Also, who exactly are you representing with that “we”? I have heard the opinions of many frum people on this subject, and I have never heard this one before.March 24, 2013 8:52 pm at 8:52 pm #941880
Wow, OneOfMany. Very interesting blog. I think I may have seen it before but didn’t read it closely.
Please let me know if I misunderstand you. It’s been a long time since I had a serious conversation with a non-math person. 🙂
1. Re the definition of art:
It seems to me you are using Art to describe the creative force of knowledge. To quote –
– I would sum this up as “the creative force in humankind can be called art”. And I agree.
2. The place of art: As believing Orthodox Jews, our lives revolve around serving Hashem and Torah. Everything we do is dedicated to that. If art/science/literature is its own goal, where does Hashem come in?
It’s the rare person who can separate as Reb Meir did, the fruit from the peel. People shouldn’t be drawing their moral code from biology as it is currently taught, or statistics, or political science. And every professor I have met claims to be fair and unbiased. Yet we see that people are influenced by what they learn.
What I’m trying to say is that I currently think that art for the sake of art cannot really exist with an Orthodox hashkafah. Hence the pasuk Hashem gave beauty, art, aesthetics, the ability to create structures of theory in the world to Yefes – and he should dwell in the tents of Shem, using it l’shem Shamayim.
If I am mistaken, you are the one person I think may be able to explain it to me. 🙂March 24, 2013 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm #941881
Sorry OOM – didn’t mean to offend you by calling you a non-math person. Just remembered your excellent credentials.March 25, 2013 12:43 am at 12:43 am #941882writersoulParticipant
This is one of those annoying conversations where I agree with everyone and I’m still trying to assimilate all of my feelings and come up with something coherent and consistent.
I’ve got a friend who thinks that Art (capital A- VERY important) is the be all and end all to life. (She’s also got some strange and disturbing ideas about utopia, but I digress.) She was going on and on about how a utopian civilization is one which produces Art, and that is its aim. And I was like, well, I’ll agree with you possibly that art is a symptom of a healthy civilization, but the be all and end all? The end result? That doesn’t make sense, because if there’s truly all of that art, but no other kinds of advances, then the civilization is nowhere.
However, we were also discussing Oscar Wilde’s belief that there is no such thing as right or wrong literature or moral or immoral literature- just good writing and bad writing. To my surprise, I found that to an extent, I did agree with that. I have obviously and definitely enjoyed books which I would definitely call Art, and then thought back on it and been, like, “wow, that was really, really strange. And I disagree with every sing thought, sentiment, and idea the author smuggled into that book. But,” and I would finish, “that was still REALLY good.” And it’s not a contradiction. The pleasure is aesthetic AND objective- I see an author taking a position, or documenting someone else’s position, and doing it WELL. And that’s the pleasure in reading- seeing the Art in how the author expresses ideas. You know how many LotR knock-offs there are? They’ll never be considered as good as LotR because Tolkien was a genius with words who made his story into something truly magical (even if, IMHO, it got a bit shleppy towards the end of Two Towers).
And that’s why I feel, at least a bit, that I can put Torah views in one part of my brain, the dominant part, and also take in things which are not necessarily in sync. Because Art is not the ending point of a great civilization, it is a medium, a symptom. Art is the composition of a story, not only the story itself, and I can be in awe of Terry Pratchett’s style without agreeing with what I see as his agnosticism.
Anyway. I hope I made sense. I have no idea what possessed me to write all this, but for what it’s worth…March 25, 2013 12:52 am at 12:52 am #941883
Writersoul: “And that’s why I feel, at least a bit, that I can put Torah views in one part of my brain, the dominant part, and also take in things which are not necessarily in sync. Because Art is not the ending point of a great civilization, it is a medium, a symptom. Art is the composition of a story, not only the story itself, and I can be in awe of Terry Pratchett’s style without agreeing with what I see as his agnosticism.”
Why do you say you feel it a bit? What does the rest of you say?March 25, 2013 1:04 am at 1:04 am #941884writersoulParticipant
I told you, I haven’t fully assimilated my views yet. This is my interim theory- it doesn’t cover all the little pointy edges that stick out where it’s the wrong shape. But that pretty much means that I’ll never have a full one, so this I probably as good a one as I’ll ever have.March 25, 2013 1:55 am at 1:55 am #941885
Hey don’t give up so fast writersoul 🙂March 25, 2013 3:22 am at 3:22 am #941886
So what am I trying to say? The crux of my position (and the position of the literary figures that I attempt to represent) is in this:
To be a good novel, a book must have something more that plot, prose, and people. There needs to be a purpose, an idea that is uniquely developed and expressed by the events and characters or the story.March 28, 2013 9:29 pm at 9:29 pm #941887
1. You are an extremely talented writer.
2. Thank you for pointing out the crux of your position to me.
“the purpose being the expansion of human understanding and appreciation of in ways that cannot be achieved through patterned linear development.” But why does one want to see “new avenues of human thought”? Just for the pleasure of novelty.
Then it becomes old, and you need to make up newer avenues and patterns. That’s what reward value is. It is pleasurable because you like it because it is pleasurable. So to me, that IS art for the sake of art.
3. A bit confused. When an artist attempts to give forth a moral message, does that detract from (by disrupting creative flow) or add to (by making it more meaningful) their ‘creation’?
I like this very much. Can I understand this as that if you are trying to serve Hashem, then all the art you do with automatically be in service of Hashem? In that case I like what you are saying.
Of course, friend.March 29, 2013 2:22 am at 2:22 am #941888
(1) Thanks. 🙂
(2) What? No. Mamish can’t even see how you could interpret what I said as such. This is really what my ideas are founded on, don’t see how I can explain this further.
(3) My point is that in something with artistic value, the content is not as important as the way it is presented/arrived at. The message can (thought not necessarily) detract if presented in a way where the message is weighted more than method.
(4) Right, though about “doing” Art–I was trying more to present an approach to Art in general. And although as a Jew, I obviously use my inherited values as an anchor, I tried to state that bit of manifesto as generally as possible because I think it applies to all people (though the parenthetical is specific to our values, I guess). yepMarch 29, 2013 9:14 pm at 9:14 pm #941889
2. It still sounds to me like it’s its own value. Maybe when I’m wiser I shall understand.
3. I dunno. I need to think about applications of this a little more.
4. I’m glad I brought this up since you really helped me understand it. Thank you for your patience and taking the time to explain.March 31, 2013 7:23 pm at 7:23 pm #941890
No problem. Haven’t had a good long rant about le Art and such for a good while. 🙂
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