Friday, January 11, 2013
The affirmation of the sacred in evolutionary art
In an essay on the various views of art regarding nature, Peter Kellow points out that Roger Scruton suggests our attitude toward art is not much different from our attitude toward natural beauty, but Kellow says that Kant saw a difference in that art is a presentation of a beautiful thing whereas natural beauty is a beautiful thing.
I think serious or high art has always been an affirmation of the things that we have held sacred, which included religion, nature and human beauty, unserious or low art did not affirm the sacred. But popular art often still included a portrayal of the sacred but with less sophistication. The highest art affirmed Godhood, which was valued higher than nature or human beings although these things were included in the overall affirmation of the sacred.
Much depends on how culture defines God or Godhood. When Godhood is defined as the supreme life we evolve to in nature, then nature and human beings, and future species, become a vital part of the sacred path to Godhood, and the subject of art---the beings evolving to Godhood in nature, and nature from which they evolve out of, are nearly as sacred in art as the Godhood they are evolving to.
Evolutionary realism is the form of art that can best affirm this view of the sacred, although the artists can feel free to create anyway they want to, yet knowing sacred art is the ideal. Definitions of human beauty relate to Godhood as the zenith of beauty, and so perhaps the ancient Greeks were on the right track in their idealized realistic art creations of the Gods. Modern art forms have been mainly devoid of the sacred, or they hold individual hedonistic expression as “sacred,” and reaching a social audience has not been a concern of theirs, they tend to communicate only with each other or with critics hip to their experimentations, as Tom Wolfe wrote about so well.