Friday, July 6, 2007

Objectivism and Art

Objectivism is a philosophical term which defines epistemology, asthetics, ethics and politics of human nature. Objectivism holds that there is a mind-independent reality, that individuals are in contact with this reality through sensory perception,
that humans gain objective knowledge from perception by measurement and form valid concepts by measurement omission, that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or "rational self-interest" that the only social system consistent with this
morality is full respect for individual human rights, embodied in pure, consensual laissez-faire capitalism; and that the role of art in human life is to transform abstract knowledge, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form - a work of art - that one can comprehend and respond to with the whole of one's consciousness. Epistomology is the term for the study of human cognition as it involves interactions between the conscious and the subconscious mind. And art according to objectivism serves a human cognitive need - it allows human basp concepts. Objectivism defines "art" as a "selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments" — that is, according to what the artist believes to be ultimately true and important about the nature of reality and humanity. In this respect Objectivism regards art as a way of presenting abstractions concretely, in perceptual form.
The human need for art, on this view, stems from the need for cognitive economy. A concept is already a sort of mental shorthand standing for a large number of concretes, allowing a human being to think indirectly or implicitly of many more such concretes than can be held explicitly
in mind. But a human being cannot hold indefinitely many concepts explicitly in mind either — and yet, on the Objectivist view, needs a comprehensive conceptual framework in order to provide guidance in life. Art offers a way out of this dilemma by providing a perceptual, easily grasped means of communicating and thinking about a wide range of abstractions. Its function is thus similar to that of language, which uses concrete words to represent concepts. Objectivism regards art as the only really effective way to communicate a moral or ethical ideal. Objectivism does not, however, regard art as propagandistic: even though art involves moral values and ideals, its purpose is not to educate, only to show or project. Moreover, art need not be, and often is not, the outcome of a full-blown, explicit philosophy. Usually it stems from an artist's sense of life (which is preconceptual and largely emotional), and its appeal is similar to the viewer's or listener's sense of life.