On life and its vagaries

Ours is a strangely silly life

with 10 comments

There is nothing stranger than living with a belief that the sun would rise on the morrow and all would be well and nice in the world, its either teleology or sheer ignorance. There is nothing certain like that in the world. Even the hardened materialists and emergentists would admit that.

For my part, I could never accept it in full.  The real, to me at least, has to be the inner, the emotional, and the perceptual. May be there is a kind of reality on the outside too, may be that dark thing we see in the middle of that field is a lump of rock, or a pyramid or a battle tank, may be that too is a part of empirical reality. But that and its reflection inside is not the whole of it.

Conforming to that form of reality alone can be very restrictive. I have found it so. Mainstream creative efforts naturally tow the accepted line. I too have tried that line once (in the days of my youth in my land.)  It binds you hand and feet.  It places you on the cot of Procrustes. If you move out of line, chop- of goes your head and feet…….  But   it is the easy way; it’s the way of recognition and also of money. You have just to follow the form.  They teach it to you at the schools. When one decides to give the main stream the ‘slip’ things become hard. First the avenues on which you can express diminishes.

Then you can’t get hold of a readership too. Well in any case that is so if you are not good anyway………

Welcome to my blog of the strange and silly things.


I would not call myself an artist at this point of time. But I have a few thoughts on art which I would like to share with you.

Here we go.

My own very subjective theory of Art

Art  to me has allways been  the play of the unconscious and nothing else, I can stretch it further, art only happens  when the conscious part of mind  is put under a sort of temporary suspension and the hidden parts are revealed. I believe that this is why good art has an hypnotic effect.  Artist finds ways to bring down the defense of the mind and enter the sacred realm of the unknown within. This has to be done because the unconscious is the strata on which aesthetic experiences are played and assimilated.

Also this is the only healthy sort of hypnotism that I am aware of. If it generates any dependency in the receiver its harmless and the behavior modification is positive.

This is no easy task. You can’t make inroads into the mind without  knowing about its nature, for you need to place yourself in the same state that you are trying to induce in the reader. This is a terrifying decision to make. Every visit to the hidden regions of the mind can be extremely unsettling. This is a prospect looked at with  great terror  and disquiet  by me at least. I personally  quake and turn back whenever I am in any way compelled to do that.  That is why one  always wants take the easy way out. That of releasing those inclinations  by doing whatever that comes to the mind at a given moment(  In respect to art,  that is).

On this note, that which I create now is not art, it’s a juggling of words intended to achieve this aim.  I am only  good when I shut myself up and go deep, words would emerge out of that uncertain recess which haunt, grab and pummel  my heart every time I go there.  But that which I find within would have undeniable power and authority. This authority and force is not that of the intellect, it is that of the god of our underworld, the unconscious.

That which is submerged, is an area of horror, this I do not mean in any aesthetical sense, this horror is real and would only be evident to those who have taken this terrifying dip  But I have always believed that real art has to  take this risk, it has to delve under and come up with something from beneath, but why is it so? Because art is not created with pen or brush or chisel and it is not etched in paper or canvas or stone. Art is produced by    our awareness and is etched in the unconscious. This unconscious is the universal unconscious and is shared by every human being whether they are aware of it or not. That is why when something of importance happens in art it is recognized and is made much of by others. This may appear a very simplistic approach towards the subject, nevertheless no one would be able to  come up with anything better than this in content however hard they try.

What Bergson calls ‘the veil’ is nothing but the censorial activity of our conscious mind. Those who have pulled this screen asunder and stepped over to the other side would be dipped in a  terrible Loch where every ounce of water hides monsters more terrifying than the Ness. This is why, the artist, the lunatic and the lover are considered to be sharing the same frenzy (Those who take this as  anti-deluvian may have to wait a second while I consider this. I will come to it later, unlike what is conceived generally, nothing really has changed in the making of art. ). There is a break with reality, that is, the reality as seen by the common man, one which I would like to call the vulgar reality, the reality we commonly share, that which makes us run after a bus and stand in a queue.

All the three individuals above are in touch with the unconscious , all the three are affected in the same way, but the artist manages to translate his incursions into the unknown to the hard copy of signs and symbols which can be referred to later , but the lover and the lunatic go entirely un aware of this. In a way the artist has it worse. The other two are always in ecstasy, they are not aware of the external realities  and is not worried about the effort needed to realize internal excursions into the language of the words and images.

May be some might say that the entire concept has undergone a great change and now there is no more need of resources from the underground to create anything. They are totally in error.  No art, however ephemeral it is, can be created from the conscious part of our awareness, its as impossible as growing a garden in the sky.  Real art, by whatever name you call it , let it be by Classical, Romantic, modernist , post modernist or slip stream , has to take this dip in  the unknown. The strangeness that they talk off in the slipstream literature is nothing but the evidence of this unconscious at work. It is the ‘strange’ quality that we are dealing with.

In a slipstream rendition, at some turn in the story the actor  comes  face to face with startling things ( and these are taken as normal by them)and are confused and troubled by them.  Why does this happen, none seems to have an answer to this question. To my mind  it’s the unconscious that is invading us from the depths of our psyche unknown even to the artist, this is  only natural, after the reign of the unconscious during the period of modernism it was brutally ignored in the period of post modernism, of course, this is entirely my personal view.  I have understood the denial of larger narratives as a denial of the past and the unconscious. A bit simplistic you might say, there could be other aspects to it too, but none worth considering. Because Post-Modernism is largely a market oriented literary movement and had no real inner core other than the attraction of the times.Every movement in art would have an aesthetic appeal to the times it is born. It might even become a fad and taken up by all and sundry.  Modernism with its total negation of the establishment had became a fad too before it was supposedly surpassed by post modernism.

Some now consider post modernism as an interregnum between two modernism’s. A ‘waiting room’ for the new modernist train to come.  This may be true too, since, there can be no post post-modernism, that would just be a play of words. If this is just a stop gap invention then we might be able to forgive its many inconsistencies.  It is not the same for everybody , is it?  Both the left and the right seem to be comfortable with it.  Its not like the many isms that abounded in the modernism, they all had one general  trait to them, they all distrusted the establishment.  But that doesn’t seem to be the case with post modernism at all.  It approves such divergent things from pleasure principle to strong government, may be there is an area where these two become compatible, if so I am at a lose to see where that place is. 

It  often tries to portray the outer, the exhibitionist aspects of life as a philosophy entirely negating the influence of mind over matter, the inner over the external. In that sense it even goes further back than the Cartesian concepts.The strange thing is that it claims of having no materialistic tendancies too, that is, in the strict philosophical sense of the word. It is materiel no doubt, it worships the Body, it places the decay of Body at the other end. But that’s not materialism, is it?. That would be tantamount to saying that shell is what a crab is made of.

I can hardly think that its even a system of thought, it may be a movement and nothing else.  It is hardly any philosophy at all.  Flaunting  what you normally have, whether it is the athletic body that you have built by steroids or the mask like face that you have made by applying cosmetics and make up  is hardly reliable phenomena on which philosophical questions can be posed.. I am not trying to belittle the post modernist approach, it may have originated after the modernism has got completely stale and became stolen by the establishment and there was nowhere else to turn to. In that sense it was inevitable, but instead of being a worthy follower of modernism and trying to decipher the chaos that we see around it tried to shut itself out of the promptings of the unconscious without which no art and imagination is possible.

I think slip stream literature is trying to remedy this lapse.  Yet even there, there is a complete break from reality. Portraying the unconscious can never be a game, can never be played with the sole purpose of entertainment in mind.  The ‘living dead’  movies and stories might have been acceptable if it intended to picture a decaying society and putrefying  morals. When it becomes a genre, it loses its purpose, it become religion and serves to bind rather than release. 

I am startled by the fact that the left has tried to  hijack  post-modernism and make it their own, It might be a  strategy to keep up with the stream, of course they were in a fix, they could no longer rely on the humanist approach of the modernism and saw something on the vicinity becoming vibrant. There were guys like Leccan, Foucault, Sassure ( All our people guys, all our people, aren’t they French, oh the French is progressive.) involved with it. Lets call it our own. It was a sorry sight to see the once efficient left ( I personally think its out dated and decrepit as a philosophical system, but one can’t forget that it still has followers all over the world and hence is still alive as a political phenomenon) fall into such pit like that.

If they were alive to the dangers being posed by the post modern approach to society , they should have tried to initiate a reliable alternative to it . They could not, this is why I take the left as finished and done with. Any system of thought which cant react to the demands of the times are out dated.  Calling some one else’s child our own is not going to solve the problem, it’s  broad mindedness only and nothing else.  The left never had any connection what so ever with post modernism, it was wholly planned, pruned and executed by the moguls of the market.  No amount of shouting is going to convince any one otherwise. May be a few academicians here and there would try to defend it theoretically( After all its their tummy that’s on the line)

As I have  stated before I am a modernist by convictions and still hold it the most humanistic of all the various streams of literature  that there is. May be it has long been discarded by every one in the world and its products shifted to galleries and museums. But its basic concept remains, that off an alliance to humanism. Its not the type of humanism that the left is speaking of that I am worried of.  It’s a deeper concern which touches all  aspects of the individuality.  An affinity towards humanist values can just not be reduced to an economic narrative.  Even emergentists are looking into other options now. This has to be so, human culture as well as polity is not monolithic, it is multi streamed and multistrctured.

So There has to be and would be other options to artists.

Finally, art to me is an effort to get to reality. It may encompass all streams if they sub serve this purpose, otherwise, its just like what I make, play of words.

Thanks for your time.


Written by Sam

August 2, 2009 at 6:45 am

10 Responses

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  1. Strange and silly things? Aha! I’ve always liked them 🙂


    September 10, 2009 at 9:46 am

  2. I love the way you put it. That’s what makes life beautiful and mysterious. Please don’t mind the manner I described them above, it was a bit prosaic and serious, I admit it. Laughably this was the disease I was talking against too! Anyway I would go for the strange and silly things any time in my life.:)


    September 10, 2009 at 12:51 pm

  3. i love the way you write.. its beautiful, dreamy and thought stirring.


    September 11, 2009 at 3:05 pm

  4. Dear Trisha, so nice of you to think so. Your words have really moved me.


    September 11, 2009 at 5:23 pm

  5. Hear, Hear! Exactly! I see we understand ‘art’ the same way. Excellent. So nice to meet you Sam.


    May 14, 2012 at 8:40 pm

  6. That was a bit rough, King, we may not agree on the kind of things we believe in . Still, I wouldn’t play the ‘ greater than thou’ game..That would be puerile. Thank you for the ‘kind’ words


    May 14, 2012 at 8:55 pm

  7. I wasn’t sure where to put this so I hope this is a good place. I nominated your beautiful blog for a Beautiful Blogger Award. Thank you for sharing your words.


    May 22, 2012 at 12:56 am

  8. Thank you for this! I find your views on writing from the unconscious fascinating and I love your sensibility as a modernist. Many of my favorite works of art are modernist. I love your blog, by the way!!!


    June 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm

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