- Aesthetics confuses two different processes: 1. making art and 2. enjoying art.
Aesthetics assumes that one is the mirror process of the other, or is someone
directly related to the other.
- The process of making art, in turn, is often confused with the medium, but
they are actually different dimensions. For example, language is used to create
stories: neither the language nor the stories are art in themselves. Stories
can be novel, which is art. For example, singing might be the original form
of speaking, and playing instruments might be the original form of instructions
for ritual ceremonies. Those are not art, but both singing and playing
instruments can be used to make art.
- The process of enjoying art and the process of making art are inherently
different. The reason for "using" art (e.g., of listening to music or staring at
a painting) is not necessarily the same motivation that prompted the artist
to create it. The user and the maker of art have two different concepts of
beauty. Beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder, but also in the eye
of the "presenter". The beauty perceived by the former is not the beauty
perceived by the latter. The beauty that is in the eye of the beholder is not
the same beauty that is in the eyes of the artist.
- Making art is about being creative.
- Enjoying art is about one's knowledge state and psychological state.
- Perceived beauty itself (the beauty in the eye of the beholder)
is an ambiguous concept as it might refer to different kinds:
the beauty of a landscape, the beauty of a person, the beauty of art.
Landscape beauty rarely applies to catastrophes.
Personal beauty rarely applies to weird people.
- Artistic beauty, instead, often applies to weird and catastrophic artifacts. Artistic beauty is about oddity.
- Creativity/oddity (the beauty in the eye of the artist) tends to mirror changes in science and society. For
example, the visual arts and music became more abstract (decoupled from
natural reality) at the same time that Physics turned to Relativity and
- Beholder's beauty and presenter's beauty are polar opposites: the former
represents the establishment, the accepted conventions of society, whereas
the latter represents rebellion precisely against those conventions.
Creativity is, ultimately, an act of rebellion against the accepted concept
of beauty. Artists and mad people are similar in that they don't comply with
expected behavior. Madness is a source of inspiration for art precisely because
it violates social norm.
- The evolutionary reason we make art is multi-faceted: because of sexual
selection (just like the peacock makes a tail), because it helps us classify
the world (by sharpening our intellect), because it trains us to face
situations that we never experience (just like training in a camp), etc.
- The evolutionary reason we enjoy art is, ultimately, that it improves our
brain. Art, being creative, induces paradigm shifts.
Having to react to the artist's creativity forces our brain to think
differently, i.e. to increase its capabilities. We (the users of art) get better
at dealing with unpredictable changes in the environment.
- Thanks to art, we become the change that we have to adapt to.