Saturday, January 19, 2008

Why Art is Important, Significant, Therapeutical, Divine by CàM

Thanks a lot CàM


Arthur Schopenhauer's Aesthetic Theory

The 19th century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer gave a name to a force within man which he felt invariably had precedence over reason: the Will to Live (Wille zum Leben), defined as an inherent drive within human beings, and indeed all creatures, to stay alive and to reproduce.

Schopenhauer refused to conceive of love as either trifling or accidental, but rather understood it to be an immensely powerful force lying unseen within man's psyche and dramatically shaping the world.

These ideas foreshadowed and laid the groundwork for Darwin's theory of evolution and Freud's concepts of the libido and the unconscious mind.

This wild and powerful drive to reproduce, however, caused suffering and pain in the world. For Schopenhauer, one way to escape the suffering inherent in a world of Will was through ART.

Through art, Schopenhauer thought, the thinking subject could be jarred out of their limited, individual perspective to feel a sense of the universal (metaphysics) directly—the "universal" in question, of course, was the will. The contest of personal desire with a world that was, by nature, inimical to its satisfaction is inevitably tragical; therefore, the highest place in art was given to tragedy. Music was also given a special status in Schopenhauer's aesthetics as it did not rely upon the medium of representation to communicate a sense of the universal. Schopenhauer believed the function of art to be a meditation on the unity of human nature, and an attempt to either demonstrate or directly communicate to the audience a certain existential angst for which most forms of entertainment—including bad art — only provided a distraction. A wide range of authors (from Thomas Hardy to Woody Allen) and artists have been influenced by this system of aesthetics, and in the 20th century this area of Schopenhauer's work garnered more attention and praise than any other.

According to Daniel Albright (2005), "Schopenhauer thought that music was the only art that did not merely copy ideas, but actually embodied the will itself."


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