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Value of Art

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Neo-Tech Advantage #104

Can poetry be destructive? Can poetry undermine romantic love? Yes, most certainly. Some poetry (including song lyrics, especially certain rock lyrics), if taken seriously, can have powerful, mind-crippling effects that undermine a person's integration capacities crucial for developing romantic-love relationships. In addition, certain poetry can block personal growth and prevent prosperity and long-range happiness from developing.

Plato, whose philosophy has been utilized by the anti-intellectuals, mystics, and neocheaters for the past 2300 years, was ironically the first to identify the harmful, anti-intellectual nature of poetry. Plato recognized that the sing-song, rhythmic nature of poetry set up automatic, hypnotic, nonthinking patterns that unconscious people used to pass on information which often sounded good or pleasant, but had little or no validity, accuracy, or objective meaning. In other words, through poetry, so-called knowledge or packages of "truth" could be handily acquired and passed on with little conscious effort, independent thinking, or regard to honesty. Poems and chants established dogmatic patterns that blocked new or more accurate ideas from developing.

Plato properly identified part of the problem with poetry, but his philosophical errors prevented him from identifying the total problem. Poetry can be cast in what appears to be beautiful gems or nuggets of packaged "truth" and knowledge from "authorities". Those packaged "truths" are designed for consumption in quick, convenient gulps. That gulping of "truths" bypasses the analytical mental effort required to integrate information and assess its validity through one's own mind.

Determining the validity of any information requires analytical integration of facts and information within a full, accurate context. But poetry and song lyrics effortlessly bypass the demanding thinking and integration processes needed to accurately identify objective reality. In that way, poetry and lyrics subvert the effectiveness of the mind. Most poetry and lyrics, no matter how beautiful, right, and "true" they sound (that being their seductive nature) cannot be substituted for honesty or facts any more than good-sounding slogans or parables[ 76 ] can be substituted for honesty or facts. Furthermore, cleverly used poetry and lyrics can be powerfully effective tools for rationalizing laziness, dishonesty, injustice, mysticism, and neocheating.[ 77 ]

Most poetry, if taken seriously (especially emotional or "beautiful" poetry that lacks an objective base), not only undermines a person's ability to make independent judgments, but diminishes one's capacity to think objectively about crucial matters. That, in turn, decreases one's ability to achieve prosperity, psychuous pleasures, and long-range happiness. In other words, certain poetry or song lyrics taken as packaged "truth" will bypass the independent, in-context thinking processes required to make the integrations and decisions necessary to develop long-range prosperity, pleasures, and happiness.

Most poetry rests on specious or mystical foundations. But even poetry resting on objective, Aristotelian foundations is valid only for a specific context and is not valid for other contexts. If, for example, one or both partners in a love relationship rely on poetry by "authorities" to express "truth", the relationship in that particular area will be detached from reality -- stunted by mysticism, unable to grow on sound premises in that area.

Poetry based on mysticism or even poetry based on a particular context of objective reality is almost always, by nature, nonexact or abstract. That nonexactness or abstraction can symbolize certain categories of reality, but poetic abstractions are not facts in themselves nor can they be substituted for independent, integrated thinking.

But valid art forms (e.g., music, fine art, literature, and even certain intellectually honest poetry) can be abstract expressions of objective values executed with skill and projected with a powerful sense of life. If the artist's abstract symbols reflect the observer's own values, then the particular art form delivers pleasure to the beholder.

If the art work (music, fine art, literature) symbolizes disvalues or threats to the beholder, then the art delivers dislike to the viewer.[ 78 ] Nonskilled or amateurish art may attempt to symbolize values to the beholder. But such art work is not emotionally felt if the style, craftsmanship, or abstraction is too unskilled, obscure, inaccurate, contradictory, or badly executed. In such cases, the viewer's reaction is nonrecognition, confusion, indifference, boredom, dislike, especially if combined with a negative sense of life. Those cases include most of the subjective "modern art" that has been foisted on the public by neocheaters as a ploy to further undermine life, attack values, and drain the value producer through the arts.

Still, much more harmful is the mystics' and neocheaters' use of objective art forms to bilk the producer on a grand scale: The prime example in history is the brilliant coup by the Roman Catholic church to save itself during the rise of honesty and logic that occurred during the Renaissance. The master neocheaters of the Roman Catholic hierarchy recognized the starkly obvious values of the burgeoning, new art forms. They then captured those art values for exploitation by aggressively commissioning the most skilled artists to produce highly obvious values. The master neocheaters captured those values at first through architecture, the fine arts, and sculpture. Later they added music to their arsenal through the great classical composers. Governments and tyrants right up to Lenin, Hitler, and current neocheating rulers also seized that neocheating ploy. To gain easy credibility and to capture support through the emotions, they used the fine arts, literature, music, and even the most integrated art form -- opera[ 79 ].

Since the value of art can be sensed through emotions and requires no intellectual analysis, the public needs only to notice the obvious art and architectural values to erroneously link those values of the master artists to the master neocheaters presenting that art. Thus, the masses are deluded into seeing those obvious values of great art as also representing the values of the neocheating church or government. Subconsciously they conclude: "I can see, hear, and feel those architectural, art, and musical values. I know those values are real and valid. Thus, those values must also represent those who own and present this art -- the church or government. Therefore, all that I do not comprehend about the church or government must be as good and valuable as the art that represents them."

Through that brilliant, but dishonest use of art as non sequiturs, the church and governments were able to survive the rise of honesty and logic during the Renaissance, the resulting industrial revolution, and then the rise of capitalism and free enterprise.

Regardless of their understandings or economic conditions at that time, those great artists betrayed honesty by selling themselves to the dishonest intentions of the neocheaters in church and government. Those artists are culpable and responsible for giving a major boost in power and endurance to the evil machinations of especially the Roman Catholic church and its neocheating leaders. Even Michelangelo must be held accountable.

* * *

A major difference exists between the beholder's view of valid art versus one's use of poetry. Art represents an abstraction that symbolizes a value. The beholder merely contemplates a piece of art for the emotional pleasure it delivers in reflecting back or symbolizing that person's own values. Unlike poetry, the beholder normally does not use art abstraction to replace his or her own independent thinking for understanding reality or establishing facts.

Art is a crucial value for human beings. Art is a source of pleasure and psychological fuel that reflects and confirms one's deepest values through aesthetic symbols. Poetry, on the other hand, can harm a person's thinking process if that person accepts as concrete fact the inexact, out-of-context nature of poetic abstractions. When accepted as self-contained packages of "truth", song lyrics, parables, slogans, epigrams, political cartoons, and "famous" quotes by "authorities" fall into the same harmful category as poetry [Re: Table 72, Neo-Tech Reference Encyclopedia].

Aristotelian-based poetry that is intellectually valid and certain song lyrics that are non-mystical can be objectively valuable when viewed as symbols of one's own values and not as packages of "truth" to be swallowed whole, without integration. Still, the effect of poetry on most people is harmful because they allow the abstract symbols of poetry to enter their minds as unintegrated, unchallenged "truths" or as pre-packaged value systems ready for direct use. The problem is amplified because many poets, song lyricists, and political cartoonists proceed with dishonest, destructive intentions to mislead the reader. They want their work swallowed blindly as "truth" by their audiences, regardless of the validity or context of their work. Such work is neither art nor honest; it is neocheating.

If an individual is aware of the misleading nature of poetry, he or she can avoid its harmful effects and perhaps gain some reflective values from certain Aristotelian-based poetry. For example, the following poem, while not deeply intellectual, does aesthetically reflect the soul and character of heroic, innocent value producers:


They are the rare, the radiant men
The children of truth, the parents of ken.
Pain but strengthens them, pity intrudes.
Rebuking surprises them. Guilt eludes.

Deception disgusts and envy astounds.
Misfortune challenges. Malice confounds.
They are the open, the honorable,
The honest, the just, the vulnerable.

With no respect for the twisting of truth,
Faithfully wed to the promise of youth,
They are the pure, the benevolent,
The incorruptible few -- the Innocent.

(Reprinted with permission from Darlene Bridge and Bridgeberg Books)

Poetical sing-song or hypnotically rhythmic meter are often found in the rhetoric of dictators, evangelists, sibyls, politicians, theologians, mountebanks, social "intellectuals", media men, medicine men, hallucinating psychotics, chanting shiites, and screaming terrorists. Consider how millions of normally rational Germans thrilled and responded to the poetical cadence and charisma of the consummate altruist neocheater, Adolph Hitler. The results: a reign of destruction with tens of millions of human beings slaughtered so one impotent man could indulge his mysticism to feel unearned power. All that slaughter was for nothing more than to let one neocheater feel a pseudo self-esteem. ...Twenty million dead so one pip-squeak could feel big and important.

"So what!" cry the mystics as the lifetime efforts of a thousand productive, innocent individuals are blown to bits every day without a backward glance. So what if the troops roll across the country with military cadence and guns ablaze. So what if they level town after town, reducing to rubble and corpses all the values, beauty, and life that took generations of productive effort to build.

And that is all the chanting religious automatons or splendid Panzer divisions know how to do -- to destroy in a moment, without a thought, all the values that producers labored for lifetimes to build. Chanting mobs or marching troops never glance back, never think for a moment of the death and destruction they leave behind. So what! the mystics and neocheaters cry. So what if genocide happens in Russia, Nazi Germany, Cuba, Cambodia, Red China, or in our land. "I don't want to hear it! To hell with the lifetime efforts of productive individuals! ...Save the snail darter!"

By using specious nuggets of poetical "truth" and spell-binding slogans, malefactors, demagogues, and neocheaters such as Hitler, FDR, Nader, Khomeini, Lincoln, Mao, Billy Graham, Pope Paul, Jimmy Swaggart, Castro, Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Jim Jones could smoothly, quickly subvert the objective concepts of justice, good, and love. And they often did that by manipulating words to sound good, just, or loving. Why? To promote their own rationalized schemes of "higher" causes. Such people use those poetic techniques to keep their rationalizations sounding valid. And their unthinking followers grab the beautiful nuggets of "truth" and eagerly swallow them without thought or challenge.

Modern Art

Below is a quote from the archangel of modern art admitting that he is nothing but a clown:

"Most people can today no longer expect to receive consolation from art. The refined, the rich, the distillers of quintessence (art critics) desire only the peculiar, the eccentric, the scandalous in today's art. And I myself, since the advent of cubism, have fed these fellows what they wanted, and satisfied these critics with all the ridiculous ideas that have passed through my head.

"The less they understood them, the more they admired me. Through amusing myself with all these absurd farces, I became celebrated. But when I am alone, I do not have the effrontery to consider myself an artist at all, not in the grand old meaning of the word. Giotto, Titian, Rembrandt and Goya, they were great painters. I am only a public clown.

"I have understood my time and have exploited the imbecility, the vanity, the greed of my contemporaries. It is a bitter confession of mine -- more painful than it may seem. But at least and at last it does have the merit of being honest."

Pablo Picasso, November, 1951*
A master neocheater making an honest confession.

*Also reported to be from a fictitious interview: The Black Book by Giovanni Papini, 1951.

To "appreciate" modern art, a person must figure out, interpret, or understand the "artist" and his meanings that "transcend reality". By contrast, lasting classical art is recognized as a great value throughout the ages. Such art needs no interpretation or understanding of the artist. Such art represents beauty, values, and skill that are immediately recognized by the expert and the untrained layman alike. That is why the Roman Catholic church acquired only classic art -- art that needs no interpretation to understand and value. The Catholic church was too shrewd to buy abstract art needing interpretation.

Indeed, modern art seldom represents beauty, values, or skill. Moreover, the layman does not know what most modern "art" means, while the chic "expert" plays games of interpreting the artist's meanings.

Today, the high prices of famous modern art works are supported by the tax-deduction system: Wealthy holders of such modern art profit handsomely by donating purchased works to the major modern-art museums (e.g., The Museum of Modern Art in New York). In turn, such museums provide grossly inflated appraisal prices for tax deductions. Thus, those museums gain ersatz art works along with cash donations for those fake, tax-purpose appraisals. At the same time, the wealthy "collectors" profit and modern-art museums perpetuate themselves through the tax system. When that neocheating scheme collapses, most modern art works will fall to an objective free-market value and become essentially worthless.

The Law of the Arts

Consider the following quote concerning modern art:

"For this seems, finally, to be the law of all the arts -- the one essential prerequisite to the production of a great work of art is a great man. You cannot have the art without the man, and when you have the man you have the art. His time and his surroundings will color him; his art will not be at one time or place precisely what it might be at another; but in the end, the art is the man and at all times and in all countries is just as great as the man.

"Let us clear our minds, then, of the illusion that there is in any important sense such a thing as progress in the fine arts. We may with a clear conscience judge every new work for what it appears in itself to be, asking of it that it be noble and beautiful and reasonable, not that it be novel or progressive. If it be great art it will always be novel enough, for there will be a great mind behind it, and no two great minds are alike. And if it be novel without being great, how shall we be the better off? There are enough forms of mediocre or evil art in the world already. Being no longer intimidated by the fetish of progress, when a thing calling itself a work of art seems to us hideous and degraded, indecent and insane, we shall have the courage to say so and shall not care to investigate it further."

Kenyon Cox
The American Academy of Arts and Letters
December 13, 1912

Abstract Symbols -- Real vs. Unreal

Real abstract symbols are accurate metaphors. They serve as powerful, shorthand communication that can deliver intense personalized values, especially in love relationships. On the other hand, unreal symbols are inaccurate metaphors or non sequiturs. They misrepresent reality and undermine values in life and love. A person must differentiate between real and unreal symbols to flourish [Re: Table 73, Neo-Tech Reference Encyclopedia]. By making use of real symbols or metaphors, a person can experience new dimensions of life and romantic love. By recognizing and rejecting unreal symbols, a person preserves confident control over reality and, thus, over his or her own life, love relationships, and future.

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[ 76 ] A parable is a short, fictitious story usually used to illustrate a moral or religious principle. Many parables are specious rationalizations, non sequiturs, or false wisdom used out of intellectual weakness to conceal or evade facts and logic. Jesus's teachings were cast almost entirely into parables by those who later exploited him. Not until three centuries later did the professional mystics and neocheaters resurrect Jesus as a manipulative symbol around which to rally their victims.

[ 77 ] Unintegrated music, especially rock music, breaks down the thought patterns of the brain. That breakdown provides a drug-like effect in blocking or avoiding the struggle, effort, and at times the pain required to think consciously. Such brain-blockage leaves one in a "pleasant", nonthinking stupor. With music constantly pounding on their eardrums, rock addicts effectively block integrated thinking. That rhythmic pounding, in turn, keeps the anxieties of their problems and incompetence buried within their unconscious minds -- buried within their nonintegrating minds.

[ 78 ] Artwork (including certain poetry) that reflects negative values to the viewer can still be admired for style or craftsmanship if skillfully executed.

[ 79 ] Opera integrates the major art forms: music, romantic fiction, plot, performing arts, fine arts. Verdi's opera Aida is the first and only major art work that celebrates the heroic production of a major commercial and technological value -- the opening of the Suez Canal.

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