# The Aesthetic Qualifier

## 67 posts in this topic

What was the problem?  And what was the technique?

As was usual for me even back then, I stuck my foot out where there was no ledge. For a class project everyone else worked with standard structural members, but I had to design one with a series of flowing curves. The curves were so beautiful I fell in love with them; problem was, now how do I calculate the load-bearing capacity of such a complicated curved structural member? Everyone else just used standard tables for calculations, but for me there was no closed-form mathematical solution to apply.

At the library I went through a whole slew of advanced books, but they only hinted at some form of numerical approximation, and then only for some much simpler problems. (And you have to keep in mind that this was when calculations were just starting to break away from using slide rules.) So I just devised a series of formulas that made use of some of the approaches I learned from these advanced books, but what I wound up with was like having a nice differential equation with no means to solve it. The technique I then invented was a way to perform numerical integration of that series of formulas that applied to separate portions of my curved structural member. To validate the method, I applied it to a simpler curved beam for which a certain set of solutions were known. My technique very quickly gave the same result that was tabulated for a few special cases for the deflection of a curved beam. So, essentially the technique as applied was a way to calculate the deflection of a curved beam by numerical integration.

My professor, and the senior professor, both agreed that the results looked right as compared to the published tables, but neither of them understood why. I'm sure they did not think I was fooling them, but if they did not understand how this worked for a simpler problem how could they approve it when applied to my more complex project? This is what I loved so much about Mario Salvadori; it took him maybe 20 minutes to a half-hour of thinking and calculating, and then he understood what I had done. Not only that, but his immediate thought was on how to generalize it!

Ironic, isn't it, that I never completed the project that got me started on this in the first place. Salvadori had me write a paper on it, but I was so quickly immersed in new and even more fascinating challenges that I never looked back.

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I am looking for the clearest definition of what qualifies art to be art.

My definition is that art is a means of communicating an emotion in a non verbal way. A picture paints a thousand words

'Good' art means the emotion the artist intended to convey, is felt by the observer.

None of this implies that good art = good emotions. The art we like is what gives us good feelings.

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My definition is that art is a means of communicating  an emotion in a non verbal way. A picture paints a thousand words

This is an improper definition on two counts:

1.) There are plenty of ways to communicate an emotion in a non-verbal way that does not constitute art. E.g. Would you consider kissing your beloved art? No, but that wordlessly expresses an emotion. Facial expressions also fit this definition. So, your definition doesn't differentiate art from other non-verbal communications of emotions, but a good definition must do just that.

2.) This definition doesn't constitute the essential nature of art. I agree with AR's definition of art as "a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments."

I think it's a rewarding exercise (and very difficult) to try to define words in terms of their proper genus and differentia. However, you don't want your definition to include more (or less) than what the concept refers to in reality.

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I am looking for the clearest definition of what qualifies art to be art.

My definition is that art is a means of communicating an emotion in a non verbal way. A picture paints a thousand words

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Apart from SCS's excellent points, where does this leave literature?

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I have not read the Romantic Manifesto...

I cannot fathom why I enjoy the music I listen to. I completely disagree with the lyrics, and even resent that I enjoy the music sometimes because the message is so vile. The music is often dissonant, not terribly difficult to play, and unrhythmical. But it continues to satisfy some audio-cognitive function inside of me. I cannot discern why. Are some preferences simply innate and specific to each person?

I don't see how it possible for an individual's musical preferences to be "innate". I think this statement contradicts the principles that individuals have volition & that such preferences are chosen (even if subconsciously or not explicitly identified).

Some aspects of music combined with the characteristics of any given person might, by their nature, be more conducive to certain individuals. For example, minute differences between individual's cochleas (or other parts of hearing physiologies) might lead to different choices of favored keys or timbres. But, any issue concerning a preference of aesthetic style would be in the realm of a volitional choice of values.

You specify you disagree with the lyrics & the message they convey is vile. So, I am assuming we can rule out that component. This happens often in pop/rock music. But then, you indicate the musical component is often dissonant, simplistic & unrhythmical.

What in the world are you listening to?

I think you need to do more introspection if you are serious about understanding why you like this music.

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I don't see how it possible for an individual's musical preferences to be "innate". I think this statement contradicts the principles that individuals have volition & that such preferences are chosen (even if subconsciously or not explicitly identified).

Some aspects of music combined with the characteristics of any given person might, by their nature, be more conducive to certain individuals.  For example, minute differences between individual's cochleas (or other parts of hearing physiologies) might lead to different choices of favored keys or timbres.

And, even beyond the physical differences, the automatized behavior of consciousness accounts for much that is often attributed to being innate. Take rhythm, for example. Consider the simple case of two men walking together. Observation shows that they automatically synchronize their steps, in a rythym which forms the base of more sophisticated actions in dance and music. This sort of behavior is generally absent in other animals. For animals running side by side, or for singing birds, there is rarely any unison of action. The reason for this distinction between man and most other animals is the higher-level of consciousness possessed by man. The rythymic behavior in man is a feedback mechanism of some level of conscious attention which has become automatized. When synchronistic behavior is observed in other animals, it is typically not rythymic, a consequence of a limit on and lack of purposeful behavior for its conscious mechanisms. Differences in what appears to be the "innate," natural rhythmic abilities of some, is better explained as the automatized actions of a higher-level consciousness which at an earlier stage paid more attention to physical actions that were capable of being ordered rhythmically.

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My definition is that art is a means of communicating  an emotion in a non verbal way. A picture paints a thousand words

'Good' art means the emotion the artist intended to convey, is felt by the observer.

None of this implies that good art = good emotions. The art we like is what gives us good feelings.

I'd like to bring up another objection to your definition, or a different angle to a point already made. It is pure subjectivism. Your standard of good art is the same standard that a hedonistic ethics uses. You are making it dependent on the subject and not the object of art. It wipes out any criteria of judgement or of standards.

'Good' art means the emotion the artist intended to convey, is felt by the observer.

Which observer? Does the work of art pass or fail according to whom is perceiving it? You are still left without a definition, but only a swimming mass of disjoined emotions around an object we cannot define nor delimit.

. The art we like is what gives us good feelings.

This is not even true. I offer into evidence anybody who likes The Cure. Or the girl who broke up with her boyfriend, Cody, and spends three nights sipping beer and listening to Tammy Wynette. Lots of people spend an incredible amount of time on "art" that makes them feel lousy. See, if you had an objective definition of art, this mistake would not occur. People respond to art that mirrors their view of existence.

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This is an improper definition on two counts:

1.) There are plenty of ways to communicate an emotion in a non-verbal way that does not constitute art. E.g. Would you consider kissing your beloved art? No, but that wordlessly expresses an emotion. Facial expressions also fit this definition. So, your definition doesn't differentiate art from other non-verbal communications of emotions, but a good definition must do just that.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

My mistake was to call my comment a definition. What I intended was to give the essense of the reason for art. It is to communicate an emotion is it not? Why would anyone "recreate reality" otherwise? I was stressing the WHY of art, not the WHAT. For me the question of why one uses art is an important one.

2.) This definition doesn't constitute the essential nature of art. I agree with AR's  definition of art as "a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments."

I too agree with AR's definition, but was trying to show what *motivates* one to do it. Your examples of facial expression and kissing are not really re-arranging the materials around one, so I agree my "definition" included too much.

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I'd like to bring up another objection to your definition, or a different angle to a point already made.  It is pure subjectivism. Your standard of good art is the same standard that a hedonistic ethics uses. You are making it dependent on the subject and not the object of art. It wipes out any criteria of judgement or of standards.

Which observer? Does the work of art pass or fail according to whom is perceiving it? You are still left without a definition, but only a swimming mass of disjoined emotions around an object we cannot define nor delimit.

This is not even true. I offer into evidence anybody who likes The Cure. Or the girl who broke up with her boyfriend, Cody, and spends three nights sipping beer and listening to Tammy Wynette. Lots of people spend an incredible amount of time on "art" that makes them feel lousy. See, if you had an objective definition of art, this mistake would not occur. People respond to art that mirrors their view of existence.

I have clarified my post in a response to Toyd Loki. I should not have used the word "definition". As for your second last comment, I can make no sense of it. I cannot comprehend anyone engaging in something to make themselves "feel lousy". Your examples don't convey that, only that they find some comfort in listening to music that "knows" how they feel. I do agree with your final sentence though. Those with a black view of existence will feel at home with art that reflects their view.

I will have to give the thought about the 'subjective' side some more time. In the effort to be objective, we may be ignoring that the 'subject' is an objective fact that is part of the equation.

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[...] What I intended was to give the essense of the reason for art. It is to communicate an emotion is it not? Why would anyone "recreate reality" otherwise? I was stressing the WHY of art, not the WHAT. For me the question of why one uses art is an important one.

The question of why one uses art is indeed an important question. It is important to philosophers, of course. It is also important to me personally.

I am not an artist, but a viewer of art (especially fiction). The reason why I view art, however, is not to receive a particular emotion communicated by an artist. Instead my purpose is recreation -- literally, re-creation -- that comes from regaining a general state of mind, a sense of life, rather than a particular emotion.

I resort to appropriate fiction especially when I am feeling "scattered" or disgusted (for example, after studying a text by Kant or Kierkegaard). After reading a few pages of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, then a chapter from The Fountainhead (serious fiction) or Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring (popular fiction) restores me to my "world" -- as it could be, should be, and often is now.

To be in that artist's essentialized and heavily slanted world helps me "get myself together." I am restored, and ready to tackle my sometimes unpleasant intellectual chores.

The artist recreates reality; the viewer experiences "recreation." This is not only a play on words; it is also a way of showing the purpose and use of art.

P. S. -- Have you read Ayn Rand's The Romantic Manifesto? There she discusses the role of art in life. See especially the first few pages of Chapter 1, "The Psycho-Epistemology of Art.'

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I have clarified my post in a response to Toyd Loki. I should not have used the word "definition". As for your second last comment, I can make no sense of it. I cannot comprehend anyone engaging in something to make themselves "feel lousy". Your examples don't convey that, only that they find some comfort in listening to music that "knows" how they feel. I do agree with your final sentence though. Those with a black view of existence will feel at home with art that reflects their view.

I will have to give the thought about the 'subjective' side some more time. In the effort to be objective, we may be ignoring that the 'subject' is an objective fact that is part of the equation.

I think we are talking about the same thing here with regards to people engaging in something to make themselves feel bad. My last sentence was merely a summation-that was my point. It is not as if the person consciously chooses, while in a joyous mood, to listen, read or view something that makes them feel sad or lousy, but simply following that which affirms their most basic views (or as in the case of music, their feelings).

However, like the person who sabotages their own success out of fear of attaining it, or the woman who ruins relationships to prove her conviction that no one will ever love her (like the father who left her), there is a psychological pull to engage in art that has pessimistic message, or levels the human field, or sings in unison to their sorrows. These people, to quote a rat, "miss the comfort in being sad", and will return to it again and again. You are right that they feel a comfort in it, but it is still lousy.

I disagree about the reason you give for art. But, if you'll pardon me, I can't answer now as I'm unable to remain sitting for long periods of time.

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The question of why one uses art is indeed an important question. It is important to philosophers, of course. It is also important to me personally.

I am not an artist, but a viewer of art (especially fiction). The reason why I view art, however, is not to receive a particular emotion communicated by an artist. Instead my purpose is recreation -- literally, re-creation -- that comes from regaining a general state of mind, a sense of life, rather than a particular emotion.

P. S. -- Have you read Ayn Rand's The Romantic Manifesto? There she discusses the role of art in life. See especially the first few pages of Chapter 1, "The Psycho-Epistemology of Art.'

I'm at a loss to see how you can "regain a general state of mind" and claim that this doesn't involve emotion. Emotions are what give us reason to live. You have to FEEL like living. Emotions motivate us and reward us. They *are* our sense of life. I'm beginning to sense that some think there is an intrinsic value to art. Value without a valuer. Both a person and art are involved in coming to a conclusion regarding value. My emotional response to a picture of a bleeding heart JC is negative to put it politely, because it's irrational, not because it's bad art (unless one maintains that anything irrational is automatically bad art). The technique may be wonderful. If one wants to include the choice of subject painted, I would say; "Nice painting, yucky subject". I don't like it, it gives me negative emotions. The artist has failed to reach me, although the religious school down the street loves it. It makes them feel good.

I have read TRM, although some time ago. However, I am putting forward my views, not simply reflecting what I read. My point is that you appreciate art through your emotions. Here is an example: A mystic writes music that reflects his awe of his God. I hear this music without knowing anything of it's creation. In my mind I see eagles soaring on the wind when I hear it. Question: has he conveyed his emotion to me? Yes, he was expressing a sense of wonder that I picked up. My judgement on learning his motives is: "Nice music, yucky subject".

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My point is that you appreciate art through your emotions.

Arnold, I appreciated and enjoyed the several perspectives you presented in this post, much of which I agree with. I suspect that part of your disagreement with others lies in the manner in which you have expressed the role of emotions. It is certainly true that our emotions respond to art, but those emotions are of a special kind, deserving of being given special meaning.

We experience emotions all day long; how we feel when the line is long at the movie theater, or how we feel when the store is out of our favorite food. But the emotions involved in proper art are truly profound emotions, not simply in intensity, but in kind. They are sense of life emotions, emotions that sum up for us our most fundamental views of life. This is the emotion, the emotion that underlies all other emotions that we experience.

I know you know this, but I suspect that if you make clear that that is what you actually meant, not just any simple emotion per se but rather a fundamental sense of life response, then I think some of the disagreements you are having will disappear. After all, art essentializes and thereby communicates metaphysical value judgments, and these are not merely emotions.

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Arnold, I appreciated and enjoyed the several perspectives you presented in this post, much of which I agree with. I suspect that part of your disagreement with others lies in the manner in which you have expressed the role of emotions. It is certainly true that our emotions respond to art, but those emotions are of a special kind, deserving of being given special meaning.

We experience emotions all day long; how we feel when the line is long at the movie theater, or how we feel when the store is out of our favorite food.  But the emotions involved in proper art are truly profound emotions, not simply in intensity, but in kind. They are sense of life emotions, emotions that sum up for us our most fundamental views of life. This is the emotion, the emotion that underlies all other emotions that we experience.

I know you know this, but I suspect that if you make clear that that is what you actually meant, not just any simple emotion per se but rather a fundamental sense of life response, then I think some of the disagreements you are having will disappear. After all, art essentializes and thereby communicates metaphysical value judgments, and these are not merely emotions.

Thank you for that Stephen. You know me a little better from HPO days, and so have better understood my message. Of course a sense of life is not just a fleeting emotion; it is the distilled essence of a lifetime of accepted values. I'm not afraid of emotion, but some I believe, are terrified of being called subjectivists or hedonists if they go near such admissions. My rule is to enjoy your emotions, and the best way to do that is to be rational. A rational person, by definition, is avoiding conflict with reality to the best of his ability.

Art, music and literature can move me to tears, and that is when I say that the artist has conveyed his feelings in a non verbal way. He indicates that he sees life like I do (in the limited moment at least). Much joy comes from knowing it is a shared value.

Because art comprises more than technique, judging it involves more than technique; it involves a philosophical standard, and that is a whole subject.

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Art, music and literature can move me to tears, and that is when I say that the artist has conveyed his feelings in a non verbal way. He indicates that he sees life like I do (in the limited moment at least). Much joy comes from knowing it is a shared value.

Because art comprises more than technique, judging it involves more than technique; it involves a philosophical standard, and that is a whole subject.

Hmm. I'm not sure, but this last could mean several different things. Sounds intriguing. But before you expound on that (if you want to, that is) I would like to make sure I have not misunderstood one thing. Do you agree that a work of art can be considered great art, yet it communicates a totally malevolent sense of life, one that is antithetical to your own?

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My mistake was to call my comment a definition. What I intended was to give the essense of the reason for art. It is to communicate an emotion is it not? Why would anyone "recreate reality" otherwise? I was stressing the WHY of art, not the WHAT. For me the question of why one uses art is an important one.

I think this is might be the crux of the issue. We have an object (art), and a subject (experiencer of the art), but unlike reality, we also have the creator of the art. I think if we are looking for universal motives for art, we should seperate spectator from creator.

I am leaving aside music: which I believe entirely acts on your model. Meaning that the composer wishes to convey an emotion (that is his purpose), and the subjects job is to experience that emotion. I realize there is a lot more to it than simply "make happy sound, now Johny hear happy sound, now Johny dance", at least for serious music.

But, I do not see how we can say that, for instance, Atlas Shrugged was written to convey an emotion (or War and Peace, or The Brothers Karamavoz etc), or that The School of Athens was painted to convey an emotion. Granted, an artist wants to generate emotion in the subject, else one could not maintain interest (foremost the artist himself). But, it cannot be the essense of the reason for art.

The end, the essence is the projection of one's view of man and the world. The emotional response is what happens when a perceiver reacts to it, the emotion is of such a nature because of the nature of the object, but not the end. It is how we experience it in a concrete, physical way, rather than merely perceiving it like a wet sponge. It says something about man, the world, and oneself by one's own reaction to it. That is the why of art.

In the creator/subject angle, take Ayn Rand's goal in pursuing her writing: the projection of an ideal man. That was the why that motivated her. What was the why in my reading it? Not that, I didn't even know what that would even mean back then. I read it because someone told me I'd never see the world the same way again (ah, now that is a motivating force!) and he was the oddest SOB I ever met (some sales pitches can't fail).

You asked why anyone would recreate reality if it were not for the purpose of conveying an emotion. I think the answer is almost contained in the question. One recreates reality to convey one's view of man and the world. Emotion, I would agree, is an integral and inseperable part of art creation and art experience, but not its end.

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The end, the essence is the projection of one's view of man and the world. The emotional response is what happens when a perceiver reacts to it, the emotion is of such a nature because of the nature of the object, but not the end. It is how we experience it in a concrete, physical way, rather than merely perceiving it like a wet sponge. It says something about man, the world, and oneself by one's own reaction to it. That is the why of art.

All of which I agree with. Let me see if an example can meld the differences. Someone says "What do you get out of baseball?" The player, rather than responding with words, picks up a brush and paints a batter, feet firmly planted, bat swung back, a look of of determined concentration on the face. The picture is like a heroic knight swinging a sword.

"So that is how you feel" is the response.

AR wants to get across her emotions about her intellectual view of man. She picks up a pen and writes the Fountainhead. My response is (because of a similar view) "I see how you feel, I feel it too".

Some, who had never had the intellectual understanding, may catch the emotion, and THEN decide to uncover what made them feel the way they did. The answer lies in the intellectual aspects of the book. Has this not happened to many? They read the Fountainhead, and as a wet sponge absorb the emotion, but then put in the effort to find the source of their feelings.

Regardless of complexity or origin, we experience the world in emotional coinage. We are not computers who run only on logic. Our desire to live is not logically based, it is emotional. It is why Galt would not care to live without Dagny. There would be no JOY in life. If we want to live, it is logical to embrace Objectivism. If we don't feel like living, Objectivism serves no purpose.

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Hmm. I'm not sure, but this last could mean several different things. Sounds intriguing. But before you expound on that (if you want to, that is) I would like to make sure I have not misunderstood one thing. Do you agree that a work of art can be considered great art, yet it communicates a totally malevolent sense of life, one that is antithetical to your own?

I wouldn't like that example on my wall, so that is one opinion. However, if asked about the technique, it may be by a master. So my answer is that I judge by two parameters at least (I may yet learn of more). The first is the subject; does it make me feel expressed? Is this how I see life?

The second is technique, which is judged by different standards. Thus if I see a JC on the cross, painted by a Vermeer quality artist, I say: Nice technique, yucky subject. I don't like it, but that is judging the subject only. For me it cannot be great art, otherwise I would want it on my wall. I can see how the Vatican would consider it great art, but then again, I don't think much of the Vatican. I hope that answers your question.

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I wouldn't like that example on my wall, so that is one opinion. However, if asked about the technique, it may be by a master. So my answer is that I judge by two parameters at least (I may yet learn of more). The first is the subject; does it make me feel expressed? Is this how I see life?

The second is technique, which is judged by different standards. Thus if I see a JC on the cross, painted by a Vermeer quality artist, I say: Nice technique, yucky subject. I don't like it, but that is judging the subject only. For me it cannot be great art, otherwise I would want it on my wall. I can see how the Vatican would consider it great art, but then again, I don't think much of the Vatican. I hope that answers your question.

Well, following your own inimitable fashion, it does, and it doesn't.

Previously you agreed with Ayn Rand's definition of art as "a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments." Nowhere in that definition is it specified what particular metaphysical value-judgments are required. Esthetics, after all, studies the nature of art, and by reference to that nature it defines the standards by which art is to be judged. The only proper standard to employ is how well the art work accomplishes what the definition of art demands, how well the artist selectively re-creates reality and communicates a sense of life. How we respond to that sense of life is totally and completely irrelevant to judging the work as art.

What you choose to hang on your walls is another matter entirely. Your personal choice may express something as grand as your want to be surrounded with works that reflect your own sense of life, or perhaps something as simple as a work that just captures a memory of a place you once loved. Regardless, these are your own personal choices and they have nothing to do with judging the work as art per se. As Ayn Rand said,

The Romantic Manifesto, p. 42] The fact that one agrees or disagrees with an artist's philosophy is irrelevant to an esthetic appraisal of his work qua art. One does not have to agree with an artist (nor even to enjoy him) in order to evaluate his work. In essence, an objective evaluation requires that one identify the artist's theme, the abstract meaning of his work (exclusively by identifying the evidence contained in the work and allowing no other, outside considerations), then evaluate the means by which he conveys it—i.e., taking his theme as criterion, evaluate the purely esthetic elements of the work, the technical mastery (or lack of it) with which he projects (or fails to project) his view of life.

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Well, following your own inimitable fashion, it does, and it doesn't.

Previously you agreed with Ayn Rand's definition of art as "a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments." Nowhere in that definition is it specified what particular metaphysical value-judgments are required. Esthetics, after all, studies the nature of art, and by reference to that nature it defines the standards by which art is to be judged. The only proper standard to employ is how well the art work accomplishes what the definition of art demands, how well the artist selectively re-creates reality and communicates a sense of life. How we respond to that sense of life is totally and completely irrelevant to judging the work as art.

What you choose to hang on your walls is another matter entirely. Your personal choice may express something as grand as your want to be surrounded with works that reflect your own sense of life, or perhaps something as simple as a work that just captures a memory of a place you once loved. Regardless, these are your own personal choices and they have nothing to do with judging the work as art per se. As Ayn Rand said,

You are saying that the example painting I used should not be judged only on the fact that I don't like it's view of life. I tried to get around that by saying that I could understand the Vatican considering it great art. So, yes, I do find it difficult to consider what I call "sick" paintings good art. I will give them credit for execution, and I understand that the subject will not conflict with the view of some others; to them it meets the requirements of reflecting their sense of life.

In short, ask me if I think the theme is objectively good (expresses rationality for example) and I can answer. The execution can also be objectively judged, but

don't ask me to lump the two qualities together in a package deal and come up with a evaluation. I can't do it. (Not unless subject and execution are in harmony)

If you ask me to judge solely on technique and style, I could indeed say "well done" of a painting I hate.

I have a feeling I still haven't answered you.

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I have a feeling I still haven't answered you.

Actually, I think you have, in this and in previous posts. You choose to relegate "technique" to a level that by itself can only merit a "well done," while I look at how every aspect of the creative process of painting -- from the choice of subject, to the use of brushstroke, to the choice of colors, to the choice in lighting, etc. -- selectively and purposively integrate to form a single theme that communicates a sense of life, and I judge a painting that does this superlatively as being great art, and I do so independent of whether the sense of life portrayed is one that reflects my own. Arnold, I can appreciate how and why you personally value the things that you do -- and, in fact, it is because you are a valuer that I like you so much -- but I think you do an injustice to the overall value of art, by not giving to great art what it is due. Some of the most magnificent art ever created is what you refer to as "sick," and you choose to banish to the "Vatican" that which by all justice belongs on museum walls.

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All of which I agree with. Let me see if an example can meld the differences. Someone says "What do you get out of baseball?" The player, rather than responding with words, picks up a brush and paints a batter, feet firmly planted, bat swung back, a look of of determined concentration on the face. The picture is like a heroic knight swinging a sword.

"So that is how you feel" is the response.

AR wants to get across her emotions about her intellectual view of man. She picks up a pen and writes the Fountainhead. My response is (because of a similar view) "I see how you feel, I feel it too".

Some, who had never had the intellectual understanding, may catch the emotion, and THEN decide to uncover what made them feel the way they did. The answer lies in the intellectual aspects of the book. Has this not happened to many? They read the Fountainhead, and as a wet sponge absorb the emotion, but then put in the effort to find the source of their feelings.

Regardless of complexity or origin, we experience the world in emotional coinage. We are not computers who run only on logic. Our desire to live is not logically based, it is emotional. It is why Galt would not care to live without Dagny. There would be no JOY in life. If we want to live, it is logical to embrace Objectivism. If we don't feel like living, Objectivism serves no purpose.

In reference to your last paragraph; if I have given you any indication that I am denying the emotional element in art in any way, can you please point out where? I'd like to clear that up if I am giving that impression; otherwise you're not addressing my argument.

Also, we experience our values in emotional coinage, we experience the world through our senses and our reason upon its base. I experience a gun, for instance, by my sense of sight, I experience its threat to me (my value of myself) through the emotion of fear. I do not know what you mean by "Our desire to live is not logically based,". By calling it a desire, it is thereby necessarily an emotion. But, then this leaves the question: where did the desire come from?

What I am seeking is the proper place for emotion, not its exclusion.

Ayn Rand wants to show, present, the ideal man. That is the motivating force. There are emotions and values she has all through it. That is her means of experiencing the values that are expressed through her presentation of the ideal man. But, in the end what I have through the story, is, also, the ideal man. She didn't communicate to me her emotions about the ideal man, but the actual ideal man. My emotions are not even part of the artists' process. For instance I may hate the ideal man. She did not express her emotions to me then.

You see how by making the communication of emotions the aim of the artist you thereby get in a pickle when there is an instance when those emotions do not get communicated to the observer?

There is a literal barrier between the artist's emotions (again barring music because its language is emotion) and those of the observer. There is no way to even communicate via emotions in art in this sense.

As an illustration of the last point; take Atlas Shrugged. I have met people who were scared to death after reading it. I've met people who hated the message, and the heroes of it (they do not get Christmas cards). I've also met people who were indifferent to it, and of course, those like myself (I get a Christmas card) who love it. It is because of the conveying of ideas and the presentation of a view of life and man that all of these emotions were experienced. All of them experienced, however, the world and man as she saw it.

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Also, we experience our values in emotional coinage, we experience the world through our senses and our reason upon its base.  I experience a gun, for instance, by my sense of sight, I experience its threat to me (my value of myself) through the emotion of fear. I do not know what you mean by "Our desire to live is not logically based,". By calling it a desire, it is thereby necessarily an emotion. But, then this leaves the question: where did the desire come from?

What I am seeking is the proper place for emotion, not its exclusion.

Ayn Rand wants to show, present, the ideal man. That is the motivating force. There are emotions and values she has all through it. That is her means of experiencing the values that are expressed through her presentation of the ideal man. But, in the end what I have through the story, is, also, the ideal man. She didn't communicate to me her emotions about the ideal man, but the actual ideal man. My emotions are not even part of the artists' process. For instance I may hate the ideal man. She did not express her emotions to me then.

You see how by making the communication of emotions the aim of the artist you thereby get in a pickle when there is an instance when those emotions do not get communicated to the observer?

Yes of course we experience the world through our senses, as well as on the perceptual and conceptual levels. How we feel about it is emotional. The desire to live comes from our nature; it is inbuilt. I meant to say that one cannot deduce a reason to live from morality, because morality assumes the desire.

About communicating the ideal man, in your case I think she did arouse in you the emotions she had about him. I don't remember implying that every person would respond the same way. Nevertheless I believe an artist tries to strike a resonating emotional response in those who encounter his work. They use different means to achieve this. By the way, I have done sketches myself, in order to put into concrete form my emotions, thus both express and experience them via that means.

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-- but I think you do an injustice to the overall value of art, by not giving to great art what it is due. Some of the most magnificent art ever created is what you refer to as "sick," and you choose to banish to the "Vatican" that which by all justice belongs on museum walls.

After touring some European museums, I was bowled over by dark religious works, and on regaining my feet, ran out into the open crying out for Norman Rockwell. I guess I haven't recovered yet.

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After touring some European museums, I was bowled over by dark religious works, and on regaining my feet, ran out into the open crying out for Norman Rockwell. I guess I haven't recovered yet.

Well, all I can say is that it is a good thing that Norman Rockwell did not follow your lead. Notice any similarities between these two?

Rockwell's Rosie the Riveter

Sistine Chapel - Isaiah

The Sistine Chapel was a source of inspiration to Rockwell.