art, love, meaning

Art, Meaning, Love

“There is a reason for everything.”

How can I trust anyone who says this? No one can tell you the reasons for everything. We learn reasonable justifications for many things. But these explanations rely on what? Further explanations. Every rationalization involves an obfuscation; the double movement of knowledge represents a drawing towards a clearer understanding and pushing further away from the truth. Truth becomes untruth when we tell stories, the essential human act which defines us, since it is how we define ourselves. Storytelling is such a double-movement, since stories are both reflection and representation.

The questions ends up looking like many such questions: since the issue is such a general one, where can we ultimately draw the lines? This situation is unresolvable as it stands, that is, of the disjunction between knowledge and theories, between reflection and representation: the question is not whether stories are more reflective or more representation, or whether our ideas are knowledge or theories– since language, knowledge, even reality itself, are constructions which we must doubt in our search for truth, we have no shelter in either our mental constructions or our experiences. Where, then, is shelter to be sought? We are stranded in the abyss beyond language and beyond reality–like orphans, runaways, in the midst of this radical freedom to decide. From what do we derive the courage to face this challenge to believe? Where do we acquire the strength to act? Any absolute lines we could draw to justify ourselves, to determine right behavior, are our own lines–laws change. Our lines are insufficient, our models are fragmentary, our realities are microscopic. Yet, due to the fundamental connection which underlies both order and choas, both subject and object, knowledge and theory, language and silence, each microscopic experience comprises a microcosm of being. All that exists contains all that exists–not as a reflection, not as a representation– and yet, containment falls short of a description of this phenomena. Being shines with borrowed light: the dualism of light reminds us simultaneously of the failure of our scientific schema to accomplish a synthesis and of the flaws in our perception and observation stemming from the mechanism of sight. Vision presents a world to us isolated, carved into separate colors and depths, entites divided from one another, whole unto themselves. Yet our conscious experience belies this–not to say that from lived experience one infers that objects are not real, merely that by existing the self engulfs the entire universe, since it can reflect and represent it– yet reflection and representation are already dividing our consciousness away from itself, when unification is the primal experience. Infinite being is self-evident from the continuous, interconnected experience of conscious existence. Self-awareness is cosmic-awareness, not a rational, emotional, artistic, scientific or philosophical representation or reflection of reality to oneself. The chain of reflection is endless– art is a particularly telling example. The work of art speaks– on behalf of whom? Is it the viewer who accomplishes the synthesis which the artist necessarily leaves unfinished? Art is not merely a reflection or representation. Art is a transcendence of the subject and in this it is related to language. How is it that the message which lies hidden behind the surface of the paint is placed there? Here the analogy with language will serve us well: in what manner are the meanings of words coded into the sounds and symbol-systems? A pre-linguistic meaning, or rather, reflection of meaning–that is, an understanding established between two consciousnesses–must be accomplished prior to any formalized representation or reflection of meaning. Such a radically a priori understanding presupposes the existence of the Other. This means that our ethical obligations to others necessarily precedes the rationalizations. Responsibility is metaphysically prior to reason. Finding reasons for everything is far less important than kindness and love.

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