Quora Answer: Why don’t we have enough art?

Oct 18 2014

What is art? Heidegger attempts an answer in The Origin of the Work of Art.
What we find out by reading his essay is that there are very few works of art in his sense, i.e. that define a worldview. In other words, from this viewpoint most are is not really art in as much as it does not give basis for our worldview. What we see is instead the nihilistic production of a lot of non-art and almost no actual art in the sense he gives the term. He says something similar about thinking in “What is called Thinking”, i.e. there is very little real thinking going on, and most of what we call thinking is just a nihilistic form of rumination. Actual Art as well as actual thinking is something very rare. So the real question is why we are driven to engage in the production of nihilistic pseudo-art (or ratiocination) as a relentless imperative and why do we not engage in producing art (or thanking thought) that might anchor our civilization. One gets the impression that we produce ersatz art or cognition in order to suppress actual art or thinking. What we are locked into is an intensification of nihilism, in which the art or our thinking merely gets worse and worse all the time expressing our increasing desperation.

For instance, on quora we multiply questions and answers. However, how many of these questions and answers have any real significance. My answer is very few. So why do we do that? Why don’t we confront deep problems of our Civilization and attempt to solve them? Why don’t we engage in genuine dialectics instead of asking and answering random questions that leap into our pristine and almost thought free minds.

Heidegger says that Poetry and Thinking are the Same, i.e. belong together, and of course poetry is an Art. Some things you can get at in poetry that you cannot get at in thinking and vice versa. Why is there so little dialogue between poetry and thinking? Both of these disciplines are not very popular in our current culture. Art in general is not appreciated and supported widely in our society. James Hillman in one of his last books suggested we should make Art not War. But it is easier to destroy than it is to create. And of course philosophical creation is the most difficult because that actually changes the nature of our world. Literature, Poetry and other arts give us insight into our world, but when we create a philosophical fiction we actually create a different world if we actually enhance our understanding of our current world. But that world does not get captured unless we can produce actual works of art that capture the spirit of our world as it is in the present moment, or as it could be. I don’t think there is a drive to create actual art that can ground the world, but only facsimiles of art and calculation that obscure the world. These facsimiles cover up and obscure the actual possibility of deep art, or deep thought, or deep poetry. We are driven away from those deeper approaches to understanding better our existence though art of thought and the thought of art as well as its execution in literature, poetry, prose, painting, watercolors, etc. and other media of the arts that exist today which are newer.

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