Back to: Creative Plan Overview

Misc. Notes

Anti-Anti-Intellectualism

 

Being ignorant is not awesome. Being smart is.

 

accessible

 

I want art to express my best self

Kant: Phenomena and Noumena

 

Art for art sakes because it expresses things we couldn’t otherwise know or experience

 

Contextualize Exploration

 

The art becomes a character, a foil

a way of showing the downside of anti-intellectualism

 

bright and shiny fun

against fearfulness

 

Notes from Class, Presentation of Outline

Levity

 

Small Audience with shared knowledge base = Explicit Meaning, Maybe to other people would be implicit or obscured because they don’t have the knowledge base

 

slick shininess

shiny slickness

phrase fits well with the dirt metaphor

 

critical stance on musical culture

 

themes

Someday this paper will be an  artist statement 250 words

 

structure of the space that makes the work available to the audience

 

contextualizing

 

computers in class create a privacy shield, separation of student’s teacher etc. Gotta be a better way to get the good without the bad

 

Question: When I am writing a statement, how much should I defend my belief “We have a moral responsibility to learn” Is this really the place to have that philosophical argument? OR am I simply providing enough information to explain what I think and why without necessarily seeking to convince others through in depth pursuit of the argument

 

A: Use the work to defend. Moderate explanation

 

Where is the work going?

 

Spalding grey

 

My audience is really the people who don’t agree with me, the anti-intellectuals

 

Aggressive vs. transgressive attitude

 

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Computers are not going to take over the world. Robots will not be keeping human beings in camps. Nor will they be coming back through time naked muscle men or hot teen-aged girls to wreak havoc on unsuspecting citizens. Human beings are not destined to become uncolored, unisex, genetically manipulated cyborgs. There will be no need to turn LA and NYC into Techno-punk prison islands. The morlocks will not be feasting on barbequed people. Put down the shotgun and toss out the MREs. A zombie apocalypse is wildly unlikely. Everything is going to be ok.

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The world has changed and that is a good thing. The word-view with which people interact has changed. The days of gods and demons have passed. The days of certainty are gone. We now live in an indeterminate paradigm. Modern thinking has shown us that we do not and cannot know everything. The idea of “not knowing” is fearsome to many people. They fear that if there is no answer, then nothing that they do will matter. The opposite is true. If we knew there were some ultimate universal answer, then we would also know that there was an ultimate end. There would be nothing left to strive for. Not knowing gifts us with meaning. The possibilities are limitless. There will always be something more to seek. We will never be done. We will always have hope.

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We have a moral obligation to learn. There is no absolute truth. There is no scientific theory, no philosophy and no god to conscript into bearing responsibility for us. The meaning of “life the universe and everything,” is not an answer. It is a question. An infinite question. There is no ultimate answer. Every string of “but why” continues past the last known point of knowledge, into “insufficient data” and interminably on into a string of unknown. There is not, and can never be, a universal “theory of everything,” because its revelation could only lead to yet another “but why.” That does not mean that the quest is meaningless. Far from it. If we exist within the Infinite Question, then questioning is the one thing that can be said to have intrinsic value and so to be capable of forming a basis for moral judgment.

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We must be flexible. We must accept that we do not know everything. That does not mean that if we cannot know the perfect truth we should give up and become passive. We must be active thinkers. We must question. We form answers based on convergence of evidences. The stronger the evidence, the stronger the answer. We apply the strongest answers as truths and we use them to make choices and build our lives but we must accept that even the strongest truth is subject to change. We must engage in constant questioning so that we remain capable of change and growth.

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If we embrace knowledge, we will not need to fear it. We will know that aliens probably don’t want to kick our asses and the CDC is not going to accidentally release vampire/zombies. More importantly, we will learn how to ensure that a nuclear war never happens and diseases are cured and life is made better and not worse. It is important that thought is applied to growth of social, ethical and moral developments so that they keep up with the scientific and technological ones.

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E-Mail to Owen:

I have written thousands of words in many many paragraphs but they don’t seem to go together. It was easier when I was making the outline because I was just following the sections of the book. I thought that I would do a better job when I was able to customize, but that does not seem to be the case.

I think I am torn between two themes. On the one hand, the statement that “we are morally obligated to learn” is a subject near and dear to my heart and so I allowed it to be the backbone to what I wanted to describe. I have lots of paragraphs that talk about why this is true and what it means. Then I only mange to tie it together with what amounts to “and that’s why I want to make art that encourages thought.”

Then I went back to the original outline and tried to ignore the “why” because really, this about what I think. It doesn’t need to be a justification of my moral philosophy. I focused only on just the mission. I ended up with “My art attempts to redefine and restructure intellectualism to make it accessible and desirable rather than demeaning and fearful. I want people to feel the wonder that exists in discovery.” The paragraphs related to this section are lighter, funnier and somewhat more satirical. That makes me nervous because I am not sure this is the place for “light” or “funny” and even satire seems like maybe it should be avoided.

Do you have any advice?

I swear I will be done by midnight if I have to sit here on this couch all day long. If I can just get my thoughts to come together I can finish fast. I have written plenty of words. They are just in all the wrong places.

 

Response from Owen:

This second approach seems better to me but I also think that this lighter or funny approach can still loop back around to the issue of learning so that the both can be referenced. Maybe the issue is the inclusion of learning as something as morally obligated just makes it too heavy handed? so keep learning as part of what is elements of redefining and restructuring, but keep the moral parts as something that you recognize but do not rub peoples face in it, if you get my meaning??

 

Response From Me:

I think you are right. I do actually try to resist the urge to be heavy handed because I know it does not work. I think I got distracted by the soap box I saw I could stand on. Plus, I feel I can write more eloquently about the soapbox. I really need to get over the bias against funny things. It is ironic since I really like funny things. I don’t know why I always feel like I have to make them secondary. I am going to take the second set of paragraphs and go from there.

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