Art, Science and Truth: A revisit to the communication model

Sometimes the pleasure of an artwork comes from not knowing, not understanding, not recognizing.

Wendy Lesser

…the only way to stop the system from working is to stop resisting it.

Slavoj Zizek

I have noticed that the terms art and science have been used more and more frequently.

At first I dismissed my complaints about the communication model as being indulgent philosophical rants without ethical consequence. However, the more time passes…

Some constraints can make the creative self grow. The restraints of the communication model are suicide to a writer. Our gut knows the right words. Constraints should only exist to remove the excess debris to get at the gut. The communication model takes the gut and transforms it into something less human. Taking away language has been a major form of social control throughout history. This is why art has always remained a political act. It is a connect-the-dot version of communication. It is not an indulgent rant for voice has been the one thing to save me. Perhaps even the one thing I have of value. Voice in the literary sense of the word–the personhood held within speech. Our flaws of speech make as much of who we are–give as as much voice–as our clarity. To use only the right words is to be less human.

That is art.

Science relies on scrutiny. Indeed, no idea may be accepted until replicated and criticized by opponents. Science relies on the assumption that truth exists. One cannot–with any intellectual integrity–claim to be scientific without believing in truth or without being willing to have all ideas challenged.

That is science.

That I went from science to art doesn’t mean that I lost respect for science. I was just in it for all of the wrong reasons. Having Haven leaders plan out my future for me while degrading my own sense of knowing was, of course, part of this. So I still read up on science but only as an outsider, would never claim to be scientific, only curious. There is a different truth that exists in literature, but for both art and science to exist, truth must exist.

So I will probably be discredited again for being too critical, for needing better hobbies, for all sorts of things. But I am curious why there is this new need to be seen as scientific, professional, promoting of the arts… There seems to be a need for validation that never existed before. This has created a system that is both more ethical and less ethical. It is more ethical because it cares about the standards of society. It is less ethical because there has been a loss of integrity in being mainly focused on being seen to meet these standards with desperate attempts to hide any evidence to the contrary.

I love both artistic and scientific debates. If someone wanted to engage in a debate on any of my ideas, I would be all in! But not once has anyone been willing to engage with a different side of communication, empathy, existentialism, truth, identity… Empathy in particular I would love a discussion on, for I really don’t understand the purpose of the model or what it is actually saying, nor does it seem to align with any research. Curious?

The consequences of systems that discredit all morality as being black-and-white thinking is also something I would love to discuss.

It is fine to take that approach. But if one doesn’t believe in morality or truth, one cannot be doing art or science. Literature offers moral truths. Science offers objective truths. At least, does its best to uncover these while always knowing that our very humanness will mean we fall short. Perhaps that is why I ended up in art. In art our very shortcomings are our strengths.

And of course the most obvious answer of all–if nothing I have said has had truth, if I am just a nutjob–what reason is there to fear me?

I fear myself sometimes, this is true. But I have learned to meet myself in those moments. That is where art comes from. From being inadequately human. From being both too powerful and not powerful enough. For being.

Reclaiming my voice and even my very name had to always be in direct opposition to the communication model. Few people see why I had to do all of this. I am finally human enough that I need not have everyone see. But voice also cannot exist in a closet. That is a truth in every sense of the word.

And the truth is? I dismissed my complaints about the communication model because I still was searching for a different ending to the story that is already behind me. Still holding onto the notion that if I used the right words… Even my opposition was still conformity. It was not an easily escapable trap. My fault was never my anger, my ways of expressing myself, or my beliefs. My fault was always my attachment.

This is why I have said that the categories make little sense. Every post is about attachment, communication, ethics, writing… The loss of what you never had is the biggest loss of all. Giving up hope of having already had it, that is the biggest act of courage and surrender. It is only by doing that that we may have any hope of a future. Anne Lamott was right. Good Jill Hunting was right. Point out my badness if you wish, I have given up on convincing you otherwise. That is the only way I was able to let go of my badness.

Did I give up invisible super anti-hero pajamas as well? Perhaps, perhaps not. I am not so strong that I never may need such an item. But Talbot and McCuish are no longer opposing sides.

I will let you decide which gets the pajamas.

One last quote on art (yes it is 6am and I have not slept but am at peace with my insomnia)

There are so many things that art can’t do. It can’t bring the dead back to life, it can’t mend arguments between friends, or cure AIDS, or halt the pace of climate change. All the same, it does have some extraordinary functions, some odd negotiating ability between people, including people who never meet and yet who infiltrate and enrich each other’s lives. It does have a capacity to create intimacy; it does have a way of healing wounds, and better yet of making it apparent that not all wounds need healing and not all scars are ugly.

Olivia Laing

Axis of Likability

I am catching up on Brain Pickings articles. This quote stood out from Junot Diaz.

Full article can be found here

I grew up in a post-dictatorship dictatorship society. The axis of likability is how dictatorships survive. Becoming popular is part of what dictatorships hijack to remain in power. For me to write things from the same toxic axis that made stronger the dictatorship that completely disfigured my family and my society, it just wasn’t going to happen. My father was a Dominican military police apparatchik. He was emblematic of that culture. And I lived in a place where it was so much better to be liked because your shirt was ironed, or because you had a good posture. It was just insane, the way a military dictatorship is like Reddit… My experience of living in a post-dictatorship society is that everybody believes that they’re going to be the Reddit article that gets pushed all the way up. The like axis is just very, very powerful and I needed to tilt a different way. I needed to say that it is possible to say things, to be involved in a conversation with people where the relationship is determined by things more complicated than whether you like me or not. Maybe the content of my communication would be in itself worthy of discussion, regardless of how you felt at an emotional level about the person bringing the news. In a dictatorship, the two things get quickly put together. The news you bring stands as a moral judgment about you, and this is the way you keep critics silent, because you basically say, “If you criticize the dictatorship, it’s not only your thinking, your body is out of order, which is why we must destroy your body.”

Double Negative

Correction to Catch-22 post:

It was impossible for anyone to listen before I wrote this bitter blog because silence was all I had left. After I wrote it many did listen. Just not the ones with power. But it’s impossible to listen any less than never. I did it the Haven way for years… There is still a catch, but the catch is that it doesn’t matter how I try.

This is the usual message: You don’t express yourself properly, aren’t responsible, aren’t curious…

One time a leader even criticized me for using a double negative. That would make sense if she were an editor, it didn’t make sense when I was trying to express frustration in a counselling session.

After all of this, I still do their job for them by putting my personality back on trial. Bitterness may have saved my life for finally something was mine. 

The trolling, of course, is easy to judge. I won’t defend it. But I also will not pathologize it.

It’s nearing time for the hearing, the time I said I would quit this and focus on other things… Trying to purge out any stories I have left but there’s nothing screaming to get out. There’s no more silence, just a purring cat, cuppa coffee and something not like a resolution.

Judge as you wish, I couldn’t have ended anything with this amount of suggestive peace before.

Doesn’t seem like much to you… Maybe the suggestion is more powerful than the real thing.

I guess that 2 negatives do make a positive. Perhaps my grammar was a Freudian slap.

The first rule

The quote from the endless composed evidence for the hearing that stands out the most is my comment–all I ever did was give you what you wanted…

The people who tell me how awful I am are often the same who tell me that I am brilliant, which says nothing about who I am but a game we enter. My role is to argue with the brilliance and naively misunderstand the horror. If it truly were about brilliance, I would be allowed to believe it. If it were truly about my own horror, when I take it on like a cape or internalize my utter badness, this would be validation. Instead it is a threat.

This is the hero game at its height. It is easier to focus on the graduate papers the counsellor had me write for her other client after I got out of rehab, or the pills, or any of the other things mentioned. But the game is deeper than that.

One could say that I willingly entered this game, perhaps having more insight than others. I lacked the insight that there was any other option, having more or less not known anything else. That is why I understood it so well and why I saw no way out.

Those who criticize me for not seeing another option were the same who taught me that I wasn’t capable of living my own life. It becomes wrong as soon as I agree. Those are the rules.

It’s appalling, truly, to remember how obvious it got. I exaggerated the game to the point of comedy. Now is not the time for such examples. Too nauseating, too revealing, too much more space…

But it’s 4am and I’m watching The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema. I know I lose people when I enter this realm. It is an important thing to confront, with or without attention or agreement. To have the other be irrelevant turns this whole thing on its head, after all.

I feel like

I realize that people have probably long since moved on from this blog. And I am not the angry person I was upon its creation. However, I feel like it’s best to still have a place to put my thoughts and opinions. Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot of dialogue about Haven ideas. And I am not against the ideas themselves, I am as for and against them as I was in most of my university courses. However, in university everything was up for discussion and debate.

So what is today’s discussion? I feel like. It was no accident–not entirely–that I used it previously.

I think that it is a huge mistake to criticize uses of terms. Words evolve. When we do not allow words to evolve, we squash all of the brilliance that is language and in turn, what it means to be human.

Take dream, for instance.

I dream of going to the Olympics. 

I had a dream that Margaret Atwood was working for the NSA. 

You’re dreaming if you think that Trump will be president. 

All of those use a very different definition of dream. At one point, someone could have accused many of those definitions of being inaccurate. What makes language brilliant? What meant one thing one day can mean something else the next. And this evolution is a shared journey–according to Wittgenstein, there is no such thing as a private language.

When one says I feel like, they are not confusing thoughts with feelings, just as the person who is dreaming of going to the Olympics is not confusing what happens during sleep with desires for success.

It may seem that I am being as pedantic as the communication model. I feel like you could be right. But the English language is not going to stop evolving, no matter how much we may try to stop it. I would rather evolve with it.

Here, a linguist’s defense:

Deep Truth

[Bohr] was fond of a concept he called “deep truth.” It exemplifies Ludwig Wittgenstein’s proposal that all of philosophy can, and probably should, be conveyed in the form of jokes. According to Bohr, ordinary propositions are exhausted by their literal meaning, and ordinarily the opposite of a truth is a falsehood. Deep propositions, however, have meaning that goes beneath their surface. You can recognize a deep truth by the feature that its opposite is also a deep truth.

Frank Wilczek

I think this quote speaks for itself on why the communication is problematic. However, I also know that philosophical questions are getting me away from the ethical questions which were why, ultimately, I started this blog…

Philosophical questions are more interesting. They provoke less anger. And if one looks deep enough, beneath each philosophical question is an ethical question… Who owns truth and are they willing to own its opposite?