A New Consciousness (12/2006)
If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things. –Rene Descartes
We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are – that is the fact. –Jean-Paul Sartre
In his most famous affirmation, Descartes (1596-1650) said “Cogito ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”). This is to say that essence precedes existence and humans may doubt existence all they want, but one cannot doubt the thinking consciousness. In comparison, Existentialists reject this theory and assert that the ultimate reality is, according to Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), “being in the world.” In other words, existence precedes essence and humans are given a world to their consciousness. These profound realities both hold weight in their logic but are in exact opposition. Which is correct? Continue reading
Posted in Neuroaesthetics
Tagged awareness, belief, consciousness, esko mannikko, essence, existentialism, faith, fred tomaselli, honesty, james siena, julie mehretu, lisa sanditz, perception, sarah walker, walter niedermayr
When you get sudden flashes of perception, it is just the brain working faster than usual. But you’ve been getting ready to know it for a long time, and when it comes, you feel you’ve known it always. – Katherine Anne Porter
Our brains are meaning-seeking machines. Somehow, through the constant flow of visual information, this organ can put together the bits and pieces of our surroundings to create what we call “meaning”. This function of understanding is undoubtedly the most crucial quality of what it means to be human, and thanks to modern science, we are now beginning to assemble a neurological construct that gives light to the inner workings of these most fabulous machines. Continue reading
Posted in Neuroaesthetics
Tagged ann marie barry, Art, brain, emotion, jospeh ledoux, mind, Neuroaesthetics, Paul Cezanne, perception, perceptual aesthetics, picasso, rothko, semir zeki, tinbergen
I am pursuing the impossible. I want to paint the air.
– Claude Monet
In the nineteenth century, the world took on a powerful technological pursuit and succeeded beautifully. The Industrial Revolution brought about mass change to the ordinary and extraordinary lives of humans worldwide. Locomotives afforded those who could match the expense with the gift of travel – an experience that suddenly brought coasts and countries that much closer to each other. Scientific advancements were also taking place, improving the knowledge of chemistry, engineering, and physiology.
These physical progressions in the practical world initiated sub-revolutions in trades across the board. Mechanics and doctors were working with entirely new fields. The Industrial Revolution had definitely produced powerful material results; and with this great change and innovation, came new ability and inspiration. It was if the Revolution byproduct was an ethereal intellect, left lingering in the air.
Art is materialized reflection. When the world experiences revisions, you can be sure that the art world will simultaneously react. To look at the history of art is to look at the stratum of a mountainside: each layer varies in composition (i.e. subject, era, location), color (i.e. medium), and depth (i.e. length of time period). Each layer is created by what is physically occurring in the world. When the Revolution struck, doors for artists’ commentary flew open. This is not to say that Renoir and Pissarro suddenly felt the urge to paint large trains. Rather, as mentioned before, the lingering and stimulating intellect in the air generated the enthusiasm needed to produce genius.
One of the first, and most notably one of the best, to rebel against the conventional philosophy of the French Academy (Hurwitz, L. S., 1996) was Oscar-Claude Monet. Straying from Realism, up and coming artists sought a different kind of “real” which dealt with ideas and methods that were considered radical at the time. Artists were painting what they were seeing and perceiving, not just what they knew. The name of this movement, came from one of Monet’s earlier works, “Impression: Sunrise” (Rakow, P., 2007). Their primary concern is seemingly simple, yet vastly valuable to the world of perception: light. Continue reading