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Monologue on Art

by Vikram Singh


My heart and mind longed for resolution and communication. Hence I write. I must admit that this is for the first time. I have more inclination to share than impose. Also I am on brink of a precipice, which makes it imperative that I reach out before being pushed.

For what reason DO I write? I do not know. One I have already made clear. But there should be many, with equal goals. The intensity could not be submitted but it can be subdued for purpose of forging, so I do. The mere fulfillment of goals shall not be the only aim, I hope I can win friends and fraternity. I could have expressed it in a much shorter form and could have used a more advanced (oops, ambiguous) form of language. But one of the first things I had learnt in language was not only to produce my ideas in it but also to make others understand it easily. I feel at times philosophy being plagued by people who by their language want to make an idea appear deeper than it is. That's the worst form of pedantry. I want the reader not to be mislead by my simple use of language for the ideas are deeper than they might appear at first and most of all — enjoy! and pardon grammatical and spelling mistakes.

The problem of Reproduction. Art has travelled a long way, but I do not know the distance that is has covered. I can only calculate the time. Often, I see a painting's abstract representation of something that cannot be 'visualized'. I have always wondered about the role of consciousness. That of its projection in 'entity' and out of it. I read about the Beethoven-Newton problem. i.e. If there was no Isaac Newton then somebody else would have discovered his laws regarding mechanics. We all know Leibnitz came very close to be the first to do same for calculus before Newton. But If there were no Beethoven then no one could had written the great C minor Symphony (his 5th). If we scatter similar universes about 1770, how many times will Beethoven end up writing the same Symphony? The fact is that the time it was composed represents a unique point in not only time but objectively in the sociological environment of man. To put it in layman's terms, the time was ripe for it. But it would also be a mistake to refer Beethoven as only Beethoven. If we for the purpose of deduction imagine Beethoven at another sociological point then we are not talking about the same artist. So even if there was Beethoven still we cannot say that there would be a C minor symphony. It represents a singular state of events to end up where we are. A point in sociological phase space is not only influenced by the time before it but also time after it. Although I cannot talk about mechanics in similar terms.

To recall a thought is a meaningless proposition. Let me assume that a friend of mine is an painter. I pay a visit to him in the evening and he gleefully shows me one of his paintings that he painted in the morning. When I see it I feel lost for ideas. He tells me that it is a piece of abstract art. It represents emotional state of his mind at that time. But I wonder if any time in the future he is in similar 'emotional state' would he paint same picture down to each stroke? To see it objectively, How many times he would end up with same picture if he goes for all the changes possible in state of his chemical and quantum mind? If I calculate all possible states by applying Permutation and combination equations then I am bound to stumble upon a configuration he was in the morning. Now If I ask him to draw for all of them (remember we are in future of that point) what are the chances that one of his paintings would be similar? But also we must admit that to be 'in the future' of that point it would be impossible to circulate configurations. How? To recall an ideological state of mind is a pointless idea. There are problems of 'authentic reproduction'. As soon as I 'think' to recall an idea it gets manipulated. To put it in concrete terms, Similar sociological/ideological points could not be authentically reproduced 'in the future'. Or No two ideological points could be same if separated by measurable time. We can use this as reference for future arguments, but I would like to generalize this point further.

Let me assume that I have a hot iron box. I would like to measure its temperature. Thankfully I have a thermometer. So what should be the best idea? Go to the box, and touch the bulb with the surface of the box, right? So what happens when I touch the bulb? A basic understanding of thermodynamics tells us that when two bodies come in contact they tend to come in equilibrium until they both have the same temperature. So what do I get? The wrong temperature. As the box when in contact with the bulb would get little bit colder. Another device would be a nice pyrometer, for higher temperatures. Another snag comes in this time because of the time lapse, (x/c)+radiation loss. Though it is very simple.

But we shall not go into physics that soon. Come back to my friend. Assume his mind is a closed system akin to that of thermodynamics. No real ideas could get 'in' to influence. Then can I assume to reproduce configurations? Probably no. Because mind is conscious. It can manipulate itself. For such purpose I would think of it as not a body but an 'entity'. Now here I should make clear what I mean. Things are either decomposable or not (we owe much to this property of nature for advances in quantum physics. ) I will call a composite thing as an entity. I think it would not be a very wrong assumption that consciousness cannot be decomposed into simpler entities. Although the materialistic brain can be. Further nature consists of many things but we decompose it into smaller entities. For sake of ease we talk nature only at quantum level. Secondly consciousness has a property of intelligence. I must make it clear once more. In they heyday of quantum physics there was an experiment known as the ERP experiment (E=Einstein, R=Rosen, P=Podolsky, if I remember well). It showed that quantum particles could manipulate themselves to measurements of the conscious mind. Further experiments in the 80s proved it. So anything that can measure perimeters can be said to pose intelligence. I do not use its meaning in the colloquial sense. This strikes out the possibility of insects interacting with 'decomposed' nature as humans do.

So the human mind is an intelligent entity. An intelligent entity can participate in manipulating other entities as well as itself. So I have to define nature in terms of one entity to proceed. Let us assume it to be generic and call it 'N', it can be defined as discovered or undiscovered indestructible intelligent entity. And we shall call consciousness as C.

Let me assume that you want to know me. So what you can do is to come as close to me in phase space that overlaps . In non-entity universe there are many ways to accomplish this. One of them is language. You can ask as many questions to me as you would like. But remember the thermometer problem? With every question gets manipulated. So I no longer remain what I was before your question. I think it is a simple enough problem to be recognize, but somehow artists always have missed it. What should be an artistic idea? Let me assume that I am in C1 state at a given time. At this moment I want to draw a painting to represent what I would call a beautiful thought in my mind. Now remember I said that in ideological space a point is as much influenced by past as by future. It is time to show what I meant. After drawing I come to state C2 in which I think that it was not so beautiful an idea. After which I come to a state C3 and a friend of mine comes and asks me about my painting, This question instantly leads me in to manipulated C4 state.

Now it is reasonable to think that C1-C2-C3-C4 are in linear sequence. It would be absurd to introduce exponential equations in such space. Now how would I describe this painting to my friend? Should I be marred by my logical inconsistency? Or Imagine my friend was a buyer... and I needed money. This throws us with a third kind of entity I shall call sociological entity. In any case it becomes impossible for me to maintain my ideas over a consistent scale. It would be quite easier if I always think same about my painting: beautiful. But will the word beautiful would have same meaning for me in entire life? Or in social ideology? There seems to be a glaring defect in our language. So I resort back to my art to find a solution. Every time I think of that painting I draw another one stating my feelings towards it. If in the end of my life all the paintings drawn upon it look similar I would think that my idea was consistently logical/ But what are the chances that all resulting paintings would look alike? I think I have answered it already.

So it means that every piece of art, whatever field it may belong to, occupies a unique point in in Sociological order which could not be replicated. What this tells me is that creation of art is a singular process and it is not even in hands of the artist to remanipulate an authentic reproduction. The only testimony of his state C at the point of creation is his creation but we should not get into error by thinking that it is a proof too. If the artist tells that a certain creation is an image of his emotional state he may as well lie and there exist no method to verify him or to falsify him. The fact that I am trying to state is that it is easier to take a piece of art for purpose of analysis as an image, shadow or reduction at any point S rather than where it should exist only as an image. And secondly and more importantly, A piece of art is a statement and its value lies only in itself; although we can not deny that consciousness of the creator plays a very vital role in its creation but it should not be taken as an elevating factor, for neither he himself nor others could prove the piece to be mirror image of his consciousness or otherwise. It remains a metaphysical curiosity and not something which can readily used for analytical purpose.

Let me give an example. Assume I have two very good friends, Mr. Smith and Mr. Wessels. Mr. Smith is a fine painter and Mr. Wessels a very good composer. On the same day Mr. Smith invites me to display his new painting and Mr. Wessels to listen his new piano sonata. On contemplating both, I feel that the painting and sonata induces in myself similar feelings. Here I should caution reader about that there is not proper way to establish the contrariness of a feeling. I would rather be more satisfied with saying in terms of similarity or dissimilarity. Certainly both of them should be having their own meaning in musical and artistic terms respectively. These two cannot be superimposed. That is their angle lies in 90 degrees to each other. This I call a dimensional factor. So what I mean is that their shadows are similar. Not necessarily their images.

Let me go to another point. Let me describe the happiness induced by a piece of art in terms of endorphins secreted by the brain of an audience. Certainly effect would be different. Certainly of interest to a neurologist. But the idea is the same. every time I comprehend (or at least try to) a piece of endorphin secretion would be different. It is as much a mathematical preposition. So how could I ever pass a verdict over it. One abstract solution could be to comprehend it infinite time and pull out a mathematical mean of the endorphin secretion. It is a pure mathematical solution, as I have tried to prove this is enough to go in opposite direction in philosophical sense. To pass a judgement over anything we need to know it as much as we can but the moment we try to know it our judgement gets contaminated.

Now I try another thing. I try to explain Mozart's G minor symphony to my dog. What does it means for someone who has read the aforesaid sentence. One can say 'impossible', 'I am a fool.' But then you missed the whole point of consciousness and its dimensions as I have spoken of before. In pure philosophical sense why is it impossible. There is a matter of intelligence of course but in what sense? Both me and my dog are conscious enough. Let me put it this way. I am a cube and I have a friend who is a square. I try one day to tell him all about something called 'volume'. I wonder why I was unable to do it as he always talked in terms of area. Now you get my point about arts. The measurement of intelligence is actually order of sociological dimensions which is not a property of consciousness. So what should be consciousness objectively? What should be non-consciousness?

We all know that the natural tendency of things are disorder i.e. I talk of entropy. And thought process comprises of intake of energy which means it is a non-spontaneous process in thermodynamical terms. I understand that is how philosophers would feel when someone talks of conscious mind as bunch of molecules. But there is more to it. It follows that the natural tendency of thoughts should be disorganization. I again want to iterate that thought is used in deeper sense of the word. Something which could not be broken into simpler entities. So I take thought as the smallest entity and first order of consciousness. An Idea is an organisation of thought. Again thought is a property of consciousness but an Idea shouldn't necessarily be so. If I take thought as smallest entity logic demands, I should begin to describe a non-conscious state with this parameter only. I take a non-conscious state to be an infinite disorganization of thoughts. It should follow from the second law of thermodynamics that this should be the natural order.

An Idea can be expressed in many forms. Art form is one of the fundamental. Language has many problems as I have discussed. But I must say that one of the objectives of art should be to attain a more proper order of thoughts and a finer organisation of the same. I should state that the motion of music towards a more dissonant form actually is more natural then a consonant form and similarly natural to achieve, that's why Mozart was great.


© Vikram Singh 2004

E-mail: vikram@bhaskarmail.com