What is Art?
Hiding from the Wind - 2022
Hiding from the Wind - 2022

What is Art?

What is "What is Art?"

It is a curious thing, that in an age where 'answers' are cheap and plentiful, only a few clicks away, many of us still stop to ponder the question, "What is art?". It has become almost a mythical question these days.

And unsurprisingly so, as most opinions on art feel bland and dismissive, leaving much to be desired. A great malaise and impoverishment has swept much of the art landscape. On the societal level, art has largely been reduced to the level of propaganda. A tool, merely to the ends of marketing, or more corporate profit.

Yet somehow, despite the cynicism, we still deeply feel that there is more than meets the eye. Something still hidden, unseen and unspoken. There seems to be something truly elusive and mysterious about the nature of art, which has evaded our attempts to grasp at an answer.

To Plato, the aim of the "What is..." question, is not to arrive at a set of final and conclusive abstractions. Rather, the questions are best understood as a summon. They are an invitation to dive into engagement with the mystery of the thing.

To Plato, the act of engaging with the reality of the thing is more important than reaching the conclusion. Although, in truly engaging with the mystery, things are inevitably revealed.

His dialogues are often inconclusive - but that is a feature, not a fault.

Art is like the wind, which evades our efforts to grasp it. In fact, when you trap the wind in a jar, it only ceases to be the wind.

Yet, it is not lost to us. We still feel the wind. Though we cannot grasp the wind, we will fill our sails with the wind, and sail out of port, out onto the open seas of mystery.

To rediscover the mysterious waters of art which always surround us. The waters which we are most prone to forget. For just like the nose between our eyes which is always within our sight, we are often blind to that which is most given and often forget that which is most obvious to us.

There in the open waters, we can dive into the mystery of Art. And dive we must, for we cannot merely stand at a distance and abstract. Certain truths are only disclosed after real transformation and engagement with the mystery: How does the water feel? What is it like to have children? What does a strawberry taste like? What is it like to feel Joy? What is Art?

Hegel famously critiques Kant in a single sentence:" He refuses to go into the water until he's learned how to swim "

The Death of Reality

Trapped within our boxes

To get a sense of where we are going, it is helpful first to see where we are.

Of course, it is impossible to give an exhaustive account of the current state of society. However, it is possible to shed some light on why art has been so strangled, dismissed, and met with cynicism in recent times. Indeed, we have attitudes and worldviews that preclude the possibility of understanding what Art really is.

Our current attitude can be described in many ways. But one that concerns our discussion of art the most, is this commonly held attitude of reductivism.

It is the act of simplifying and reducing large and complex realities, often for the purpose of instrumental and manipulative efficiency. The habit of trying to catch the wind in a jar, and force the oceans into a bottle. The practice of reducing reality to fit one's preconceived box.

In more extreme cases, it appears as the narcissistic pretense that one is all of reality, or has grasped all of reality. But our day-to-day reductivisms are often far more subtle and subconscious.

The purpose and goal of a company has been reduced to the number on the quarterly shareholder report… the human has been treated as a number on a spreadsheet... the kid who can only judge others by the number of followers they have, or the status they hold.

The economist who sees everything as an economical problem… The endocrinologist who sees everything as a hormonal problem… The psychologist who sees everything as a psychological problem… The human who has reduced life to a series of problems and checkpoints.

To pick a box, metric, or ideology. Then, to see only the box, instead of the person. To replace the terrain with the map. To make the box all there is to reality!

Are the boxes bad?

Of course not! This is not to say that the boxes are inherently bad. The boxes are extremely useful, and often necessary. They help us to live and thrive. They help me to find my favorite flavor of ice cream at the store!

The real danger is when you try to reduce reality to a single dimension. Then, unexpected consequences will inevitably and always emerge, growing larger and larger, staying hidden in the shadows. The danger is when the box becomes all you can see.

We are blind to the unexpected consequences because we can only see within the confines of our boxes. By the time we finally notice the problems, it is only because the unexpected consequences have grown so large, that it is become impossible to not notice them. By the time the box is shattered by consequence, it is already too late.

We wander around from destination to destination, staring at our maps, only brought forcefully back to the reality of the terrain when our blindness makes us tumble off a cliff.

Nobody tries to reduce all of reality to categories of ice cream flavors, ( at least, I hope not. ) They stay in the ice cream aisle, simply acting as guides. Hence, no harm is done.

To regain a proper sense of what Art is, we need to first untangle this dichotomy of reductivism. And in doing so, the mysterious waters of art will inevitably start to flow once again.

For the purpose of starting, we will be examining the most common form - a commonly held reductive materialism.

This is the world of objects. A world that has been reduced to the level of matter and molecules. It is the ancient alchemical dream that in finally reducing reality to maths, facts, data, molecules, or metrics, one will finally be able to finally grasp the wind. A perfect grasp on reality, to manipulate and control things as one pleases.

Though there are countless reductivisms, they all share the same root mistakes. Therefore, in addressing the fundamental issues, they will all be simultaneously addressed. After all, the apple does not fall far from the tree. Irrationality and obsessive hyperrationality are secretly twin children.

Science manipulates things and gives up living in them. It is, and always has been, that admirably active, ingenious, and bold way of thinking whose fundamental bias is to treat everything as though it were an object — as though it meant nothing to us and yet was predestined or our ingenious schemes.

- Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Van Gogh's Chair with Pipe - 1888 - Vincent Van Gogh
Van Gogh's Chair with Pipe - 1888 - Vincent Van Gogh

We Who Paint ‘Things’

What is a chair?

Let us ponder the simple act of painting a chair. Except... what really is ‘ a chair '?After all, how can we begin to talk about painting things, without first understanding what a 'thing' really is?

To many, the actions of the painter seem to be perfectly self-evident and obvious. The artist is merely painting a chair.

Except… there’s something wrong with that statement.

It's impossible to see a chair.

After all, we can't actually perceive the chair. We only ever see " a side of the chair. "

Similarly, we can never see nor perceive all of its aspects either. I could use the chair as a drum, a barricade, a weight, or something I can stand on, to reach the top shelf. The chair could be made from all sorts of materials. Bronze, wood, resin, and glass, in an uncountable amount of different combinations, shapes, and sizes. The chair could interact with its environment in an infinite amount of different ways.

Yet, despite its infinite variations, we instinctively and almost instantly, simply see 'chair'.

A box, a beanbag, a stack of rice sacks, a throne, a stump, a barstool... your friend. These things are hardly similar, yet why are all of these on occasion a 'chair'?

To the Big Friendly Giant, a dresser on a grand piano is a chair, and grandfather clocks are the legs of a table.  - Illustration by Enid Blyton, from Roald Dahl's children book "The Big Friendly Giant"
To the Big Friendly Giant, a dresser on a grand piano is a chair, and grandfather clocks are the legs of a table. - Illustration by Enid Blyton, from Roald Dahl's children book "The Big Friendly Giant"

What we really see, is closer to "place for sitting". We see a pattern of meaning.

The pattern that we sense and perceive, is not a combination of aspects or molecules, nor is it merely the sum of all possible aspects.

Instead, we see the inexhaustible thread which ties all possible aspects together. ( One may imagine each aspect or possibility as a bead on a necklace. ‘Chair’ is the infinitely long string that threads all possible aspects together. ) We perceive the melody that unites the notes. We apprehend the melody because it resonates with the symphony of our apprehension.

One thing from another

On the other side of this question, is the other question.

" If many things can be a chair, what makes one 'thing' or 'pattern', different from another thing? "

Is it merely a dissimilarity found within the material structure? Far from it. Psychologically and neurologically, scientists say we treat things as the same if they are functionally equivalent in relationship to a goal.

That is to say, if you can go from A to B without changing the path, then both things are the 'same'.

Computer applications provide a good example of this. The same program or software may be installed on many different computers. Though the physical instantiations of the program are different, we treat them as running the same thing, because they all "get the job done". As many often say, "It's all the same to me."

If one of the computers starts lagging, it suddenly differs significantly from the rest, because it differentiates itself with respect to achieving an end goal.

Another example is found in the angles of a triangle. All triangles are the same, right? If I drew a triangle on the sand, the sum of all three angles would be 180 degrees. Except... that technically isn't correct. Due to the curvature of the earth, the total sum of angles on any triangle we draw is greater than 180 degrees. In fact, within spacetime, no two triangles drawn are made equal.

But who cares? The difference is so minuscule, it isn't meaningful. For all our 'intents and purposes', it isn't a 'relevant' difference, so we still use 180 in everyday life. That is, until one needs to sail across the seas or chart a flight route halfway across the world.

Two physically identical shoes may be the same in structure. However, if Michael Jordan were to wear one of them... it suddenly isn't the same as the other pair of shoes. It has become a valuable artifact, embedded in a context over time.

Although every dollar bill has a unique serial number, we treat them the same. One dollar is one dollar. Despite this, receiving a dollar is different from 'receiving a dollar and everyone else gets 20.' The dollar is seen differently in both scenarios because the 'meaning' of the dollar has changed. As people often say, context is everything.

Though two things may be physically identical, they are different if the pattern of meaning we perceive is different. On the other hand, things that are 'swappable', are the same.

The key is that the only differences that matter, are the 'meaningful and relevant' differences.

The True Nature of a ‘Thing’

Let us finally return back to the chair to conclude our examination of 'things'. A painter is painting her chair.

Suddenly, a hostile tiger appears in the room, right in front of her.

To defend herself, she instinctively reaches for the chair, as it is within arm’s reach.

She picks up the chair to defend herself, and 'chair', is now 'shield', or, 'weapon'.

Anything can be a weapon under the right circumstance. A table, a glass bottle, a book, a pillow... John Wick once killed 3 people in a bar with a pencil. What really is a 'weapon' then? If 'weapon' is not merely in the sum of its molecules, where is the "weapon" really located?

Most people would instantly jump to the opposite conclusion and say that the weapon is merely a state of mind. But that is to make a symmetrical mistake.

The weapon is not merely physical. Neither is it merely mental, only to be found in thought. In a way, the 'weapon' is found 'in-between', in the space of relationship between the observer and the observed.

Unlike John Wick, the lethality of a pencil or book will not be seen by most people.

This 'thing', the 'weapon', is in the relationship between you and the inexhaustible reality of the thing-in-itself.

And thus, we finally reach the nature of all things.

The fundamental nature of all things is not merely objective, nor is it merely subjective. The fundamental nature of all things is not merely physical, nor is it merely mental. The fundamental nature of all things, is dialogical.

All of this discussion has been to recover what is most simple and obvious, and yet, just like the nose between our eyes, they are things we always seem to forget.

There is no such thing as an observation, without the act of observing. And there is no observing without the embodied observers.

Illustration by Omocheese
Illustration by Omocheese

The three realities are inseparable, bound together in a dialogical relationship. Once again, meaning, perception, and the embodied human are inseparable. Though they are separate phenomena, they are in some sense, one and the same. A single and complete act.

Perception is never a cold and passive phenomenon. It is always an alive and engaged seeing, which reaches out and apprehends precisely what has meaning and relevance. Your attention engages in realizing the real. Your attention unfolds reality.

The dialogical nature of things

Our things... are not 'things' in the way that our current generation thinks they are. They aren't the solid, objective, and dead things we often think them to be. Neither are they merely the mental states of an arbitrary and subjective mind. Instead, one has to get to the depths beneath the objective and the subjective and dive into the waters from which they both emerge.

All our categories are simply modes of ongoing engagement with an inexhaustible reality. Doors to access different dimensions of reality.

The fundamental nature of all things, is dialogical.

We who dance with the Infinite.

" I think painting is always like that. A dialogue between myself and emotions, nature, and the beautiful world "

- Omocheese

Now that we finally understand ‘a thing’ more clearly, we can start to dive into the mystery of art.

In fact, it is only with this understanding that many remember the artist exists at all. After all, in a world reduced to observations and propositions… where are those who observe, and where are those who abstract?

There is no such thing as perceived meaning separate from our faculty of perception. There is no such thing as an observation separate from an observer. There are no truth claims, without someone who has claimed a truth!

But we have forgotten the nose between our eyes, the ground beneath our feet, the air we breathe, and the inexhaustible waters of mystery that always surround us at every moment.

We have discarded our lived, embodied engagement with the terrain, claiming our maps as that which is most real.

At the start of my writing, I said that our jars fail to catch the wind.

And indeed, no matter how accurately I try to sketch a mountain, there is no point at which my sketch will leap off the pages of my sketchbook and turn into that same inexhaustible mountain.

At the end of the day, when I place the sketchbook in my bag and return home, the mountain will remain in the countryside.

Does this mean that I have failed?

Failed? No. Not at all! This is a misapprehension that stems from a misunderstanding of what a thing really is. After all, the thing... was never a 'thing' in the first place. At least, not in the sense that we commonly think it is.

Instead, I have succeeded in presenting the deeper, more fundamental reality.

My dialogue and dance with the inexhaustible reality of the mountain.

It is the direct perceptual reality of the thing, which is more fundamental than any attempt to then define or analyze it. It is a world unto its own that can be both looked at, and looked through.

Accuracy for its own sake is not a virtue in Art. Neither is its opposite - idiosyncrasy for its own sake. Rather, one must first seek the depths from which both poles emerge. Honestly engage, then the former will inevitably fall into place.

Strive to say what you really have to say, and not what others say you 'ought' to say.

The great failure of many artists nowadays, is that they say what they think they 'ought' to say, instead of what they really have to say. They have withheld the beautiful reality that was truly gifted to their apprehension, in favor of the critics of the day and the mobs of society.

We who seek to Grasp the Ungraspable.

Despair at the infinite.

There is a certain existential shock a physical chemist gets when he realizes that the only certainty is uncertainty. At best, he only calculates probabilities, never reaching a final and resolute certainty.

To the physicist, she accepts that the universe itself is expanding into... a nothing, that is something? It is an inexhaustible reality in which 'Being' is always 'Becoming', and change is the only constant. The cosmos is 'one', yet infinitely multiple, differentiated, and unique.

The ungraspability of it is enough to invoke a certain despair, even a sense of nihilism. It is enough to drive the sanest and most intelligent people completely mad.

And indeed, it is the same existential shock that has terrified philosophers throughout the centuries. After breaking through the surface of things, they find themselves face to face with an infinitely deep abyss, not being able to see the bottom of it.

The infinitely deep and bottomless depth of existence.

When you stare into the abyss the abyss stares back at you.

- Friedrich Nietzsche

Hiding within the safety of the box.

For many, this is a terrifying reality.

How can one live with such tension and vulnerability? Are we doomed to never reach a final conclusion or destination? Rather than deal with such anxiety and unease, is it not better to hide away in our boxes?

Perhaps ignorance was bliss after all.

Yet, this feeling of despair and fear stems only from a false apprehension of the world.

It is this false notion we have subconsciously practiced in school and society, that life is merely a series of checkpoints to be reached, things to acquire, and problems to be solved. A utopian delusion that one magical day in the future, all of reality will suddenly be stable, and magically 'contained'.

It stems from clinging to oneself as all that is real. It is the mistaken fantasy that simply through your boxes and abstractions, you will finally hold all of reality… As if nothing else was really real, but the facts, propositions, and statements.

I am sorry to disappoint you that life will not finally be concluded within the problem-solving of your theories and propositions. Nor is reality to be finalized merely within the confines of your own subjective cynicism and skepticism.

The reason is not complicated, nor is it sophisticated. It is the simplest, most obvious thing of all. We have confused the map for the terrain and trained ourselves to treat the map as the most real.

If things, if other people cannot be fully and entirely grasped, it is only simply because that is a function of them being necessarily beyond you, as truly real.

If you cannot reach a final conclusion, it is simply because there are truly no limits to what you can explore, or who you can become.

Negative? That is the last thing it is. It is a most beautiful thing.

But this disappointment issues from that spurious fantasy... It is the regret of not being everything, and a rather groundless regret at that.

- Maurice Merleau-Ponty

The humble physicist who encounters the inadequacy and fallibility of his theorem understands that he has not caught reality. The box points to a reality beyond itself. The map points towards a terrain. And so, he desperately continues to search. He tries to change the formula and widen his box, in a desperate attempt to finally locate this 'real' world. He is lost in his despair, for he knows that the world he is accustomed to is a false and illusory one.

Where is this 'real' reality he seeks? All he simply needs to do… is put down the headset of his abstractions, and let go of his boxes for a moment. To see the terrain, you have to first put down the map.

And there, there it is. Looking at him across the dinner table, there is reality. That same glimmer of the infinite, in the eyes of his wife. Someone who is truly, beautifully, 'real'.

Other people are not merely the product of your mind. Nor are they some sum total of facts or molecules.

Instead, they are simply other people. Living, breathing, real human beings. People that you can truly laugh and dialogue with, dance with, engage and relate to.

We have forgotten the stars above our heads, the ground beneath our feet, and the reality of others. Though we see the stars, many only see them through the cold, dead veneer of hyper objectivity, or, through a cynical and radical solipsism. “The stars do not really exist”, claims the modern and postmodern. Only our maps of the stars exist.

We have eyes to see, but we do not see. We have ears to hear, but we do not listen. We are connected, but we close ourselves off.

We desperately cling to our maps, because we have forgotten the terrain. We desperately cling to our half-full or half-empty cups, because we have forgotten the inexhaustible waters that surround us in each and every moment.

We live in the most connected age in history. Yet, simultaneously, people feel the least connected, no matter how large their social circle or following is. After all, how can people truly connect if they only see boxes and ideas - and never the real, living, breathing human being the boxes?

“Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.”

- Albert Einstein

A holistic recovery of reason

In forgetting the dialogical nature of things, the faculty of reason has been reduced to a mere instrument for problem-solving.

But if reason commonly defines our humanity, then this impoverished sense of reason we hold has severe implications on how we view the world and ourselves. It makes our fundamental way of viewing the world, that of ‘a problem to be solved’.

However, in recovering the dialogical and inexhaustible nature of things, our faculty of reason will flourish once again. Reason, is simply that which opens us out towards reality, allowing us to engage, dialogue, dance and grow with it. It is the music within you which harmonizes, dances, and communes with the music beyond you. The windows and doors in the house of your mindbody being, which allow the little flowers and animals to come in and furnish it.

" The intellect is most essentially just that, an openness to being. "

D.C Schindler on Fedrinand Ulrich

To recognize the dialogical reality of life, is to stop looking at the world fundamentally as something to be solved. Rather than a new set of facts, tools, or solutions, one fundamentally changes their orientation and relationship towards reality.

It is to stop looking at other people as problems to be solved, and things, merely as predestined to be controlled and manipulated. Instead, in recognizing the other as truly real, one simply engages and relates to the mysterious depths of existence. Things, being ungraspable, are now simply to be related to and engaged with.

This is not to say that problems do not exist. But the cart should never go in front of the horse. In fact, when your attention is properly oriented, you will find that most of the problems which you once thought to be problems, simply disappear, or turn into realities that you can engage with and relate to.

If you see yourself as a problem and fight with yourself, you always lose. By definition.

The artist does not wish to change the weather. The artist is one who seeks to be changed by the weather. To feel the breath of the sky, the heat of the sun, listen to the ebb of the waves, and see the song of the fields... and yes, even the depth of your suffering can be properly related to.

“Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all.”

- Vincent Van Gogh

The Starry Night - 1889 - Vincent Van Gogh
The Starry Night - 1889 - Vincent Van Gogh

“In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism, skepticism and humbug, and we shall want to live more musically.”

- Vincent Van Gogh

Re-examined once more, the disappointment that stems from failing to capture the mountain within a sketchbook, failing to personally be all of reality, or failing to contain the universe within a map, is completely ludicrous.

Between the ivy league graduate and the simple woodcutter who lives life by the seasons, the person who is more in touch with reality is not who most people would expect. Why do we dismiss the honest and humble who do not replace the terrain with the map, while we herald and praise psychopaths who pretend to grasp all of reality?

Although none will admit it, the implications beneath our attitudes are as if we expect the mountain to explode out of existence and vanish from the countryside once we have finished our sketch.

Neither our hyper-objectivity, nor our dismissive cynicism will exhaust the mysterious reality of the oceans, the mountains, the flowers, and the trees.

And as artists, we would have it no other way.

The artist wishes for nothing else, but that the flowers are truly real. That after we have finished painting, the flowers will remain in the fields for other people to see and celebrate. That even after we pass away, the flowers will still continue to bloom in the following springs, bringing the same laughter and joy to the little children.

There is no despair in failing to 'capture' the flowers.

There is only joy, in knowing that the flowers are real. It is something to be truly celebrated. That Reality, is indeed real.

Everything will be denied. Everything will become a creed. It is a reasonable position to deny the stones in the street; it will be a religious dogma to assert them. It is a rational thesis that we are all in a dream; it will be a mystical sanity to say that we are all awake. Fires will be kindled to testify that two and two make four. Swords will be drawn to prove that leaves are green in summer. We shall be left defending, not only the incredible virtues and sanities of human life, but something more incredible still, this huge impossible universe which stares us in the face.

- G.K. Chesterton

Running along the Beach - 1908 - Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida
Running along the Beach - 1908 - Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida

Loving to Know

" Love is the difficult realization that something other than oneself is real "

- Iris Murdoch

Perhaps we have so many problems nowadays because we cannot help but see the world as a problem to be solved. We cannot help but see other people as problems to be solved. And then, we create ten more problems while we solve one. In a way, our hubristic obsession with seeing problems is almost like a meta-problem in itself.

To cement things more concretely in life, I'll wrap this up with one final example.

This proper openness toward reality that one should most fundamentally have is in a strange way, similar to that one adopts in a proper state of Love.

In a relationship, if you think of the other person as a problem to be solved... you have killed the relationship. And if you only see your ideas and abstractions, you have closed the door to connection.

Your wife is not a problem to be solved. ( At least, I hope you think so. ) And neither is your relationship a project to be completed. Rather, she is someone to engage with, someone that you can relate to, connect, and dance with.

The goal then, most fundamentally, is to enter a mode of right relationship, in which you can properly relate and engage with the inexhaustible mystery that she is. Learn to see her as truly, beautifully real. To be receptive toward her, and simultaneously, to presence a space in which she has the room to be exactly who she is.

The way that she cannot finally be understood, grasped, controlled, or manipulated is anything but a flaw. It is simply a feature of her as truly inexhaustible and real. Another beautiful person that you can truly connect to, and be in communion with. A real person, in which even after spending a lifetime together, you will still continue to grow and surprise each other.

Nuances aside, why should you treat reality any differently? This is not to say that there are no problems, but your fundamental orientation towards the world should not be that of seeing problems to be solved and destinations to reach. Rather, learn to simply relate to your experiences and engage with the inexhaustible Beauty around you.

This is why the artist's journey never really ends, precisely because relationships are not projects to be completed.

If we cannot finish the project of painting, it is not because some fate impedes us. But to borrow the words of Merleau Ponty, "it is, rather, because the very first painting in some sense went to the farthest reach of the future."

“There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”

- Vincent Van Gogh

To grasp the ungraspable

The true art of ‘having’ a thing.

What is the fate of we who cannot grasp the ungraspable? Are we destined to never have anything, except that which we most fundamentally have? After all, we never really even own our possessions - our technology, our cars, our money, and clothes are all in a way, 'externalities', and not within us.

You stand at a distance from the sunrise. But now, it feels more distant than ever in the solemn realization that it has a reality beyond you. A reality that you will never be able to fully exhaust or grasp.

Once, you could at least claim some sort of possession in the form of your Instagram pictures, no matter how banal or trite. Your facts, although not exhausting its reality, were at least some form of possession, however illusory it was. When you lived within the map, you could claim to master all of the map.

But now, what are you now left with? Is it not better to have illusions, rather than nothing at all? What do I have?

But you must dare to stare into the inexhaustible abyss. You must dare to dive into the mysterious depths of existence. With all your courage and all your faith, for you cannot learn to swim before you enter the water. And if you persevere through the night, light will flood the darkness.

Sunflowers - 1888 - Vincent Van Gogh
Sunflowers - 1888 - Vincent Van Gogh

"The sunflower is mine, in a way"

- Vincent Van Gogh

In letting go of trying to grasp things, and seeing clearly for the first time, one is met with the surprise of their life.

The sunrise is not further than ever. It is closer than it has ever been before.

The sunrise has not receded away. It has come back to meet you. It reaches out towards you, embracing you in its warm golden glow. It glows more radiantly and beautifully than it has ever glowed before. It blazes brightly, ferociously, magnificently... right in the depths of your soul, only because for the first time, you have allowed yourself to properly receive its reality, allowing it to shine.

It is not that you will never have anything. But to borrow the words of Van Gogh... just as the sunflower is his, so too, is the sunflower yours, in a way.

If you cannot have anything, it is only because, in a way, everything was already yours.

Van Gogh does not talk about some facile and brute, instrumental mode of possession. He points to the true domain of reason - that which simply acts as receptivity and openness towards all of reality. It is the grammar within your faculty of reason, which coincides and engages with the grammar of reality. It is the symphony within your soul, which resonates with all of Being.

It has been given to you precisely as the very content of your perception. The gift of a beautiful and inexhaustible mystery. A reality to sense, engage, dialogue, and dance with.

To surrender is not to lose. It is to truly gain. When you can let go of your half-full or half-empty cup, you are not left thirsty. In letting go of illusions, you are simply left with that which is most real.

The waters of life spring forth, and you can finally begin to know the most beautiful, good, and true. After all, what is an illusion... except that which masquerades as the real?

“The most incomprehensible thing about the Universe is that it is comprehensible.”

- Albert Einstein

In letting go, one begins to have. In unknowing, one begins to know.

Open yourself unto the world, and it shall open unto you.

Almost 400 years ago, Descartes utters his famous dictum - “I think, therefore I am.

But in retrospect, that could not be further from the truth of things. In order to come into being, we relate, we engage, we dialogue, therefore we are. How quickly one perishes if they cease to breathe in the wind, then breathe out.

We see and are seen. We feel and are felt. We love and are loved.

I love, therefore I am.

What is Art?

Oh - I almost baited you with the title! I haven’t answered the main question yet.

That being said, if someone were still to ask me "What is Art?"

My answer would be "I don't know! I have no idea!"

If they were to look puzzled, and sincerely ask me one more time, "What is Art?"

I will tell them - “That’s right! You have answered correctly.”

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  • gibmio.eth - 0.0069 ETH

  • ranbuta.eth - 0.0069 ETH

About the Author

ʕ •ᴥ• ʔ pyon pyon

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