RA3, 2018 November 17th. Three Civilizational Genres Nov 17, 2018 16:21:29 GMT Napoleoff (INTP) likes this
Post by Ken (INTJ) on Nov 17, 2018 16:21:29 GMT
Islamic art is geometric and non-representational. Its artistic tradition is inherited from Orthodox Judaism, which bans depictions of living things as idolatry. Asian art seeks simplicity and lacks realism. According to Camille Paglia in her book Sexual Personae, the western canon distinguishes itself in the diversity and complexity of its idols. Paglia traces this tradition back to the bust of Nefertiti, 3,000 years ago.
The Magian ideal of the Middle East traditionally focuses worship on the written word and numerology. Asian societies, on the other hand, are characterized by academic eugenics, reverence of the family, contemplation of Daoist simplicity and Buddhist nothingness. In Judaism, the ability to argue and debate, known as pilpul, is held in high esteem. In Asia, the brute memorization of authoritative and undisputed facts established a breeding hierarchy. What distinguishes western civilization is the complexity and realism of visual arts found in pagan Egypt, Greece, and Rome. This relative complexity and realism was passed down through the elaboration of Christian iconography, fashion, and architecture in Catholicism, Protestantism, and the European aristocratic tradition.
What core ideals drive these civilizational differences? What are their origins?
Let us begin with an overview of three ideological categories. Here I use the term ideological as an adjective referring to ideals.
1. Emotionalism. The elimination of suffering or the increase of pleasure. Politically this manifests as communism, seeking the elimination of suffering, or hedonic free market capitalism, seeking the most pleasure.
2. Asceticism. This is the rejection of the emotional system, rejection of the pursuit of happiness, rejecting of the flight from pain. Asceticism seeks to let go of human emotions like happiness, sadness, and pain, in the pursuit of spirituality against the material world. This manifests in Buddhism as the rejection of worldly desire in favor of nothingness.
3. Aesthetics. The pursuit of beauty. If beauty is defined as immaterial, this revolves back into asceticism. But if beauty is material, we could define it as an increase in ordered complexity or an approximation of divinity, defined as perfect, eternal, infinite, or all of the above: essentially, that which is limitless.
Magian success in communism and capitalism is owed to Magian emotionalism as an ideal. By contrast, the ascetic tradition is strongest in Asia, both historically, and in the present day. Thirdly, aesthetics, and specifically visual aesthetics, are historically most pronounced in the West. It follows that Westerners have created the most complex forms of hierarchical architecture, sculpture, painting, and even music.
Emotionalism stems from pre-cognitive chemicals like dopamine and cortisol. Emotionalism is founded in the striving for survival. Magian groups, who have always existed as a hostile minority, unwilling to assimilate, view survival as the highest form of divinity. And if we define survival as overcoming limitations, and we divinity as limitlessness, then the survival struggle is itself, in a sense, the struggle for divinity. Put another way, emotionalism, asceticism, and aesthetics are different strategies for survival and/or the pursuit divinity, which may at times coexist with one another, and may at other times clash.
With the evolution of reform and secular Judaism, the Magian ideal now has a heavy influence on visual culture in Hollywood, modern art museums, and pornography. Emotionalism expresses itself in these visual forms as the worship of pleasure and pain, excitement and horror, stimulation of both a positive and negative type, but mainly focusing on erotica, violence, fear, and other pre-cognitive stimulants. This is in contrast to the western conception of beauty, which seeks eternity, perfect, infinity, and limitlessness, also referred to as the "Faustian spirit" or the Nietzschean spirit of overcoming oneself, rather than dwelling in one's own emotions. Whereas Magian art sees emotional stimulation as the highest ideal, western art seeks the perfection of the individual in eternal forms which are beyond base emotions. Compare Magian pornography, which seeks to produce a chemical response in the body, with the depiction of nude forms in ancient Greece and Renaissance Europe, which were specifically designed to not be erotic.
In Asian societies, visual art is secondary to ancient narratives of honor and duty in the genre of anime. Anime is easy to draw and repetitive, lacking visual creativity. Teenagers can easily copy the anime style, but have a much harder time studying classical European painting or sculpture. In contrast to the Magian practice of exciting the senses with gore or sexuality, Asians prefer a subdued and stream-lined view of things. Even the Asian porn market is dominated by hentai, which eliminates the complexity of human sexuality in order to both sterilize it and infantilize it. In their social surroundings, Asians seek harmony and simplicity, peace and serenity in their visual depictions. As a culture of conformity, graffiti and anything which overwhelms or shocks the senses is not preferred. Traditional Asian artwork focuses on calligraphy, which is certainly a difficult skill, but more akin to Islamic geometry than the western system of aesthetics.
The aesthetic tradition of ancient Egypt was first suppressed by the replacement of hieroglyphics with an alphabet. The adoption of the Bible as a sacred text further heightened importance of the written word and diminished the importance of aesthetics. Finally, the twin domination of anime and Hollywood in media has seemingly relegated the western tradition to history books and ancient monuments.
However, there is one creation of the western tradition which has been integrated by necessity both into anime and Hollywood, and that is the western face. The western face is a creation of idealistic selection. Historically, among the Jews, it was the rabbis, the ones who mastered numerology and argumentation, who could have the most children. The Asians with the most children were those who mastered academic memorization. In western societies, the importance of visual aesthetics gave rise to traits like light hair, light eyes, and light skin. We see these traits in anime, despite the artists having dark hair and dark eyes. We still see the worship of Western types in Hollywood despite the hatred for Westernism as an ideology.
Those who tend toward emotionalism feel comfortable in the world of Hollywood and porn. Those who tend toward asceticism are drawn toward Eastern spirituality. But those who sense nihilism in Hollywood and emptiness in Nirvana find purpose in the beauty of faces, in the magnitude of architecture, in the perfection of sculpture, and the eternal forms of painting. We might rightly say that with the Western peoples at the core of western civilization, to be Western is to be aesthetic. To be western is to hold aesthetics as your highest ideal.