Posted by: Xhyra Graf | 13 July 2006

Should I just make art & pray?

Refers to the CPREA paper

Another response to a professor:

If there are things that I did not address then it was probably because I felt: 1. That they were pertaining to things that I specifically said I would not address in the paper’s intro or 2. I did not have time to properly address it-like the Freud section.  I did want to get other opinions before I did any more work, because as is constantly said my subject seems broad even though I feel that all the different areas I bring in are all relevant. That is a large problem and my Gordian knot is the attempt to pick one subject at a time, because to me they all are important to the puzzle.  However, if for the paper, I am to choose one area of the real topic which is the drilling down of the analogies in all these areas to the enlightening of the relationship between art and consciousness which I feel has to be addressed from the subjective point of view, then so be it.  I’ll keep trying. 

The paper may seem ambiguous, but that is a reflection of the reason I need input from my professors rather than whether or not I am sure of what I am trying to prove.  The questioning format of the title is less for me than for the reader.  I recently told Draper that I am realizing that what a large part of the problems may be are my preconceptions.  I long ago decided on the avenue to the question of human nature and truth and I am just trying to elucidate it – it is why I am an artist.  It is the middle ground between a scientific approach in the current paradigm and the individual approach in the spiritual and inaccessible paradigm.  I don’t believe within the paper I question approaching the question of human nature with the methods of science.  I question the overall application itself of the methods of science.  I believe the only difference between studied individual inquiry and studied scientific inquiry is in the verification process – individual opposed to socially constructed.  And both can be questioned.  Obviously, one person’s private experience can’t be expected to tell us anything conclusive about commonly held human nature without verifying it [with the scientific method] against other people’s private experience – something which has not been done, either properly or in a sustained fashion.  This is my point.  Maybe I should just say that, though I believe I did.  A pertinent point is that many a scientific “discovery” is one person’s privately held experience that they have the focus and determination to bring to public view and public measure.  This leads to your comments about what science tells us about human nature.  “Individual organism”etc., being shaped by history – events.  I believe it is clear that I understand this because I used almost the very same words to describe the functioning of consciousness.  [And, actually hence the Agent Smith quote about eventualities.]  Is this not a commonality  that “things” [all things] are shaped by history?  [Hegel-consciousness becoming aware of itself through its history, my fuzzy interpretation].  Biology [varied] depends on chemistry [atomic sameness].  Life itself and let me stretch here – a physically explained consciousness are dependent on some atomic sameness and their similarities or rather correlating functional make-ups working together.  Also, similarities can be found in human “experience” or so one would hope. Without this premise the whole field of psychology becomes moot.  As for not all humans being conscious or the idea that some non-humans are conscious – this is why I tried to come to a definition of what I consider consciousness to be; the use of the word sub-human though offensive is the word I would quite happily use for those humans that do not have consciousness in the way that I attempt to describe it.  I am either not successful at my delineation or the idea is hard to accept.  But, I am not the first to say something like it – “An unexamined life is not worth living.”  I do not believe the thesis of the soul concept as the seat of human nature can be dismissed without a proper analysis of whether or not I am being clear or definitive in my description.  Which you say I am not.  I would agree with you on some level that I jump from topic to topic; but here is one of my issues-random according to who? Especially since each individual is shaped by their history.  I would say sub-topic to sub-topic and I clearly go from trying to move the question of human nature from a solely paradigmatic hard-science point of view to why I needed to do this by focusing on the problem or difficulty areas that have caused this type of point of view to be paradigmatic [first with the most difficult-religion to what I believe is a middle ground-art in an attempt to make some preliminary “model” of an art situation that can be investigated] to an admittedly failed section on Freud because I believe his methods took the bull by the horns rather than attempting to see what the bull has in common with a fruit fly. Again, I am not unsure of what I am trying to prove.  I am unsure of how to communicate it, so that I can move forward.  This has always been my problem.  As to the first paragraph where you begin to focus on my remarks about art and mind.  I agree with you wholeheartedly.  I understand this.  It is why I bring myself out of my little art world to attempt to make what I think more than Tonie’s analogical and fuzzy view of reality.  “Explaining A or B as manifestations of one or the other, or perhaps some other thing C” toward understanding is my goal. A-consciousness, B-religion, C-the creative process.  Again, I really (honestly) am trying to drill down the analogies and maybe that just is to be done by actual empirical research and so much for the explaining.  The issue of ineffability does have to do with the Zone.  Because it is given the name “flow” or “the Zone” or “what it is like to be a bat” does that remove the ineffability? How do you quantify time flying and self-awareness dimming?  This is the Qualia problem.  Someone who has not had the experience will not know what I am talking about or what it is like to have one until they have also had an “optimal function” experience.  Plain. Simple.  [To someone who believes in Qualia] “The Zone” is not just much like a “flow” experience, it is a “flow” experience.  But then, this is why there is the foray into the critique process as a model.  It is an attempt to find a situation that can be investigated because I want it to be investigated within artistic creativity.  Maybe the answer is for me to stop using the word analogy and just assert that they are all the same.
I will take a look at the things you told me to read.  I am actually starting to finally re-read some Csikszentmihalyi-the “flow” guy who has done a large bit of creativity research and “The View from Within: First Person Views of Consciousness”.  Therein is my poster child of a dilemma.  I spend so much time attempting and failing to explain what it is that I want or need that I can never get to the thing I want or need before I’ve traversed a very, very large and windy path.  So there you go I just need to read more.  The Matrix quotes are gravy and obviously wouldn’t be in a final thesis, maybe I didn’t say that.  Things like that tend to focus my thoughts [I think I did say they were parenthetical]. But to say that they focus my thoughts only adds insult to injury since to you they seem unrelated. The references are specifically listed as references not a bibliography in an attempt to take into account how my mind works and avoid accusations of plagiarism.  As it does cover different “topics”, all of those things informed the paper, either indirectly or directly.  However, point taken.  As I see it, I need to narrow down and that will take care of this problem on its own.  How I go about this is well… to be decided. 
It may in the end be simpler to just continue to make art and pray.


  1. […] Sigh, but what other tools do I have at the moment…it is appropriate that one of them is a linguistics professor.  Frelling language…Why, why am I doing this to myself?  I really should just make art and pray. Maybe I should take a look at my calendar and see if this is day 15. […]

  2. […] *******So I give my self the task of doing one elaborate and one new post per day… The following post seemed to serve the purpose of grounding me after I read it yesterday so I’m moving it from the Elaborate category to META – Should I just make art & pray? […]

  3. […] [actually properly spell out — if Sean may be taken to represent the common obtuse Philosopher] my specific meaning of Soul/Psyche/Consciousness, i.e what makes us human and stick to […]

  4. […] one of them is a linguistics professor. Frelling language…Why, why am I doing this to myself? I really should just make art and pray. Maybe I should take a look at my calendar and see if this is day […]


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