Art for… Science? How sad…

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Arias for the Anthropocene? In a new opera inspired by environmental catastrophe, the Anthropocene is not just the geological epoch that bears our grubby fingerprints; it is also the name of an Arctic research ship that becomes trapped in ice and uncovers a mystery. Reviewer Patrick Goymer, chief editor of Nature Ecology & Evolution, lauds the music but questions the depth of enquiry offered by the tale. (1)

Art in the service of science.

How sad…

In the old days science used to be irrational.

Mixed with religion, it saw the cosmos as a whole.

Now we have rational science.

And we try to also draw art into the abyss of logic as well.

But you cannot see the cosmos through a clear window.

Because the cosmos is not outside.

And the more you see, the less you pay attention to the essence of the world.

Listen to the 9th of Beethoven.

Can’t you feel it?

No, you do not like it because of what you hear…

Once upon a time in Hollywood… [About Death]

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Brad Pitt and Leo DiCaprio in a scene from “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood,” directed by Quentin Tarantino. Photograph by Andrew Cooper / Sony Pictures

What does “Once upon a time in Hollywood” has to teach us? Nothing that life cannot teach us itself. The cynical nature of our existence. The void in which we experience the cosmos. The hope that we rely upon every night when we say good night: That we will wake up the next morning…

Too much?

Perhaps.

But this is life.

Full of surprises. Freud used to behave like that in the last years of his life. He treated every moment as his last, he even bid farewell to his friends every time they parted as if this was the last time he saw them. So much we are dazzled by life, that we tend to never think of death. And yet, death is here. Next to us. Ready to touch us.

Let me tell you a story, as Steve Mcqueen said in the film…

Once upon a time in Town X there was a man. That man was married. He had a baby boy. That man was happily married. He had a thriving business, a loving wife and a new child. One day that man held the baby in his arms and went down the stairs. He fell. The baby died. Depression set in. His wife divorced him. His business closed. Now that man is ruined. A shadow of his old self. And he is living a life of death ever since…

Too much?

Perhaps.

But this is life.

A true story.

One of many.

The same life was the life Sharon Tate used to have. Full and happy. She was married, she was successfull. She was waiting a child. Nothing could be better. She couldn’t wait to hold that baby in ther arms. And she would. But inside her grave…

For one night, she and four of her friends were murdered in the most gruesome way. And everyone was shocked. And everyone watched in awe. And Cielo Drive was indeed the way towards Heaven for her and those innocent lives that night took…

Too much?

Perhaps.

But this is life.

Do you dare look at it in the eyes? Do you dare accept death?

Sharon Tate once upon a time read the Tess of Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. She even bought the book to her husband who later on made a film out of it. (There is a small scene in the Tarantino film that portrays that little detail) Funny that this excellent book talks about life’s tendency to have its own plans while you have your own…

Exactly as it happened to Tate.

Exactly as it happened to that man.

Too much?

Perhaps.

But this is life.

On an evening in the latter part of May a middle-aged man was walking homeward from Shaston to the village of Marlott, in the adjoining Vale of Blakemore, or Blackmoor. The pair of legs that carried him were rickety, and there was a bias in his gait which inclined him somewhat to the left of a straight line. He occasionally gave a smart nod, as if in confirmation of some opinion, though he was not thinking of anything in particular. An empty egg-basket was slung upon his arm, the nap of his hat was ruffled, a patch being quite worn away at its brim where his thumb came in taking it off. Presently he was met by an elderly parson astride on a gray mare, who, as he rode, hummed a wandering tune.

“Good night t’ee,” said the man with the basket.

“Good night, Sir John,” said the parson…

Boosting creativity.

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What is creativity, and can it be enhanced – safely – in a person who needs a boost of imagination? Georgetown experts debate the growing use of electrical devices that stimulate brain tissue and conclude there is potential value in the technique. However, use of these machines also raises neuro-ethical, legal, and social issues that must now be addressed. (1)

Boosting creativity.

Because we feel we need to be creative.

Because we are creative.

And we can understand when we are not…

Sounds weird. But don’t all true things do?

Thrown into the cosmos.

Not being able to understand a thing.

Thus, being able to feel everything…

This is who we are.

Artists. Not thinkers.

Let your brain go. You don’t need any boost.

Because anyone who is able to give a boost, already has one…

Worms under the Golden Palm… (How movies are a testament to our lower ethical values)

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I have recently seen the South Korean movie “Parasite”, which has recently won also the 2019 Palme d’Or in Cannes Film Festival. As many view the movie as good, which I do too, some also pinpointed the philosophical and sociological questions posed by the movie.

WARNING: Spoilers for the movie “Parasite” and “Joker” will follow!

In short, the movie shows how some low-class people infiltrate the cosmos of a high-class family to earn their trust and money. The plot quickly escalates: The infiltrators initially start with forging some papers to get a job and they finally end up killing people under some very peculiar circumstances.

As the movie tries to show the extremely difficult situation in which the protagonists’ family lives in, it is easy to see it as an attempt to justify – or at least explain – their actions. Extreme poverty and lack of options do provide (at least for some people) a justification for actions which are portrayed by the official justice system as ‘criminal’. However this is not only wrong, but could also be dangerous in the context of a society.

What I do agree with, is that tough society conditions could be a way to explain why someone is behaving in a criminal way. But this explanation has limitations: it is only an explanation and not a justification or an excuse. To elaborate more on this: Harsh conditions make it more probable that someone will behave immorally, but that does not make this right! Sure, if you are very poor you could have more chances to be bad and you would easily have more motivation to do so in order to feed your family for example, but that wouldn’t remove a pinch from the immorality of your actions if those are such. This explanation is what your lawyer would invoke in the court to get you a better sentence, but they would not be accepted as an excuse by a higher authority (call me God). Unless of course you repent which is a different story.

Wait a minute! someone might object. We were talking about criminal actions and now you mention God! How did that happen!?

Well, as I have elaborated in the article “The source of ethics”, there is no point in talking ethics and morality outside the realm of God. In a godless world, there is no point in discussing anything actually. If there is no higher authority setting the standards, we might as well set our own and everything goes! Is that nihilistic? Yes. It is. As is our current society.

The highest standards for morality were set on Earth by Jesus Christ. It is in relation to those standards that we are to compare our actions. He is the measure we should use, not the measure that fits us best. No matter what the excuse (“I was poor”, “I was under stress”, “I had to eat and was so hungry” etc), an evil action is an evil action. Of course – and this is obvious – we are not in the mind of either Jesus or God. So we could not be certain for which actions are actually moral and which are not, although we do have some good indications. For example we all agree that killing is something bad no matter what. You are poor and killed someone? I don’t care. You shouldn’t. (For Jesus it would be evil perhaps even to think about killing someone, but let’s stick to the basics now)

This lowering of our standards is exactly the problem of this movie and with many other movies nowadays. Joker for example also portrays a picture of an ill man who does what he does because of bad society. At the end, the criminal is almost shown as a hero who managed to stand up against the evil of modern society who brought him to the position he was in. Again, for Christ this would not work as an excuse. Sorry Joker. A sequel of “Parasite” would easily be the trial of the protagonists and them going to jail for the crimes they did. But again, that wouldn’t sell much. (And that is perhaps the problem for everything we see lately in the cinema)

Man should always strive for the best.

Theosis should be our ultimate goal.

Unless of course we believe we are worms.Crawling in the dirt.Watching movies…Under a gold palm tree…

Art. Caves. Sound. From silence…

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When and where did humans develop language? To find out, look deep inside caves, suggests an MIT professor.

More precisely, some specific features of cave art may provide clues about how our symbolic, multifaceted language capabilities evolved, according to a paper co-authored by MIT linguist Shigeru Miyagawa.

A key to this idea is that cave art is often located in acoustic “hot spots,” where sound echoes strongly, as some scholars have observed. Those drawings are located in deeper, harder-to-access parts of caves, indicating that acoustics was a principal reason for the placement of drawings within caves. The drawings, in turn, may represent the sounds that early humans generated in those spots.

In the new paper, this convergence of sound and drawing is what the authors call a “cross-modality information transfer,” a convergence of auditory information and visual art that, the authors write, “allowed early humans to enhance their ability to convey symbolic thinking.” The combination of sounds and images is one of the things that characterizes human language today, along with its symbolic aspect and its ability to generate infinite new sentences.

Cave artists were thus not just drawing impressions of the outdoors at their leisure. Rather, they may have been engaged in a process of communication. “I think it’s very clear that these artists were talking to one another,” Miyagawa says. “It’s a communal effort”. (1)

Sound whirling in a fierce storm.

Snow falling on the rough ground.

Deep inside a cave, a human lies.

Being sick, ready to die.

Inside that cave, he sees the drawing he drew when he was young.

When the sound of his voice echoed underneath the Earth.

Fearing and being excited for the future.

Now he is silent. But the drawings are still there.

For some people to view, thousands of years from now.

A message no one – besides this man – will ever understand.

A message seemingly lost in the haze of aeons.

Until someone realizes, that this lack of message is the message itself…