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One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. -Nietzsche

  January 7, 2017

What Was and Could be Again

Art reminds us what was and contrasts modern hopelessness against quality and greatness A visit to great art museums, such as The Art Institute of Chicago impacts with maximal intensity upon the realization that they contain the only extant works of civilization and the summated expression of its thoughts and experiences. No other archive captures what we saw and were, our ambitions, achievements, and measures of greatness.

Space aliens could fairly judge the worth of the species based on the best few examples of its creations. Art shows the possibility of perceiving the world and compactly communicating its subtle detailed essence.

The American wing shows the health of a young nation as a project just unfolding, perhaps already far off course after a successful start transplanting civilization and continuing it for a while. The modern wing shows what happens to broken spirits and mental patients reduced to animosity and contrarianism, typically formed into graffiti slogans but called art and treated as if equal to skilled works.

Humanity might never create finer examples of knowledge than what the arts prove. Sculpture might never be created again except as trivial attempts, orchestral compositions haven't been written for a century, and other arts appear to be waning, of such low quality to not be comparable to the best works of the past.

Artifacts such as highly decorated pottery, dining plates, and silverware offer a snapshot of life before it was reduced to utility.

What well-formed person is not energized by beautiful surroundings?

What joyful spirit does not aspire to make things around them more attractive and pleasant?

Viewed chronologically, museums tell us about people who were trying to figure things out, began getting incrementally closer to reality, developed themselves richer and fuller, then inexplicably broke down, gave up, fell off track, and became lost in unclever cleverness.

We marvel over art, but were art museums to perish, our daily experiences in this artistically barren and incapable era could not imagine what previous people were able to conceive and create, and that there is a superior alternative to the pointless distractions of entertainment and the anti-nature of techno-industrialism.


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