In a world where I’m quite fluent in programming and speaking to computers with numbers and words like “if-then-else-each-for…”, I feel sometimes like a barbarian, not speaking the language of life but rather talking to machines. Also, on my previous blog, talking about startups and its problems all the time can be boring, so I decided to take a different angle by approaching another topic today: Art.
Art or the language of feelings.
Talking about Art we should mention Nietzsche as he made some pretty awesome writings on the subject.
“We have Art so as not to perish from the truth.”
We are each individually 1 person out of more than 7 billion people, on 1 planet out of 8 planets, in 1 star-system out of 100 billion star-systems , in 1 galaxy out of 100 billion galaxies…
At first, we should be thinking how insignificant we are, but thinking backwards: We are enormously significant as we are each individual unique on our own. Each of us is capable of producing unimaginable, awesome creations. Whether it is music, scientific discoveries, pyramids, satellites…
We, Human beings shape the universe through languages and ideas. As far as we know it, we are still the only species able to find meanings for our lives. We live our lives not only to survive but to “do” something with it. All of this to say that, our lives are burdened with daily tasks in order to fit in either nature or society. But through artistic creativity, Man can justify its existence. Art sustains life. Art is what makes life bearable. Art is what makes life worth living.
Last year, I tried at one time to learn to play the violin. But I was so burdened by “life” and its daily problems that I gave it up. It was a big mistake for me, I was weak, I was not patient enough, I admitted defeat too quickly to the struggle. Things that I handle better as an entrepreneur and not as well when trying to be an artist wannabe. It can be because of the lack of time, of the pressure of other tasks, of the relationships’ problems…? Maybe it was more difficult for me, as I did not at that time have the courage to surpass those difficulties. In no way, I can say I was pursuing Art as I was not competent enough to say those things. But when I do something I like, I do it with heart and it desolates me if I have to abandon it, whether it is because of weariness or laziness. No excuses should get in the way if you are passionate enough, right…?. Perhaps the only explanation for my case might be that I wasn’t passionate enough…?
“In Art man enjoys himself as perfection.” – Twilight of the idols
For Nietzsche, Art is not imitating Nature, it catalyses Nature itself by being a metaphysical complement that can enable its transcendence. In other words, Art is the ultimate shape of humanity.
But trying to attain perfection is not easy. First of all, let’s be clear we can’t reach perfection as human beings as we do not even know what perfection really is. Everyone has a different perception of it and no one has the right one. We can only hope to attain the nearest form there is of it and just as how we can imagine it. It’s good to try to improve ourselves when trying to reach perfection but it can be really bad to impose perfect/impossible rules to imperfect beings like ourselves.
“Nothing is beautiful, only man: on this piece of naiveté rests all aesthetics, it is the first truth of aesthetics. Let us immediately add its second: nothing is ugly but degenerate man – the domain of aesthetic judgment is there with defined.” – Twilight of the idols
Beauty and Perfection is mankind’s creation, only man judge something ugly or beautiful. Despite multitude tastes and perceptions of beauty, there is only one constant: The truth of aesthetics. Ugly is what leads humanity to its own destruction/degeneration and Beauty is what reflects the greatness of humanity. But how to create something beautiful in Art ? Something that can describe the greatness of humanity or just simply express the feelings of a human being.
In his dichotomy of Art, Nietzsche separate the creation process into two impulses: Dionysus is the god of intoxication, orgies, excess, madness and ecstasy ; Apollo is the god of individuation, form, order, reason and logical thinking. It is through a dialectical interplay of these two opposing – and at the same time complementary – aesthetic elements that art owes its continuous evolution. Nietzsche sees in the harmonious unification of these two elements the genesis of the highest expression of Art. Thus performing something uniquely beautiful requires not only practices and dedication to the form. In order to create a “chef-d’oeuvre”, you have to get out of your comfort zone, you have to approach excess, or in other words you have to be some sort crazy and genius.
But at first, you have to learn the form and the ways of doing it. Learning to play an instrument requires time and dedication. If you want to be able to compose an outstanding melody, you first have to know how to create harmonic sounds. And to be able to create harmonic sounds, you have to master your instruments. It is the same with programming: if you want to create a program you must learn to code first ; the more you become proficient in coding the more powerful applications you can create. If you are not a natural born talent then you have to learn it the hard way, it will make the end result much more savoury as you will earn it through tears and sweats, simply because something easily acquired is most of the times not interesting enough.
But practices, respecting the order, the rules will not make you special. Even though I respect most hardworking people when it comes to mastering a subject, I believe that the Dionysian element has a more powerful aesthetic symbol than the Apollonian because it enables you to create extraordinary, unique masterpieces. It is by Nietzsche’s words “the eternal and original power of Art”.
But why should we follow Art as a way of expressing the beauty of life? To be honest with you I don’t really have the answer. All I know is that in life, there are 3 types of people that I’d like to become when I ask myself the question “Who do I want myself to become?”:
– The artist who is in the pursuit of feelings
– The scientist who is in the pursuit of knowledge
– The entrepreneur who is in the pursuit of power
Each road is purposed to lead to impact on the world, thus leaving our marks as an unique human being. Either way can lead you to happiness or unhappiness. Each path is for a search of meanings. And also each direction leads you to a different experience. We humans, are different from other species because we distinguish ourselves as creatures capable of searching a meaning for our lives and sometimes the meaning is the experience itself.
From time to time, people complaints to me about their lack of decisiveness and direction. I always have the same reply for them:
“It’s good that you doubt yourself, at least you are still in search of what you long to become. The moment you stop asking the question of whom you want to become is the moment you succumb to the harsh reality of life. Your life will be a miserable down-going slope waiting for the day of your death, doing the same things again and again. And that’s neither interesting nor sexy.”
I can’t tell you if it’s the right way of thinking or not, but with all the data I have, that is my opinion about it.
All of this nonsense to say that’s why I decided to learn to play piano starting next week. In order to cultivate myself with a different kind of language: Art – the language of feelings…
And to end it all:
“Life without music, It would be a mistake” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Image: “Mess of blues” – Unknown author