I want (and have wanted for quite some time now) to present to you some of my main thoughts on ethics and arts. Because this is basically how I approach life, and maybe, maybe this interests you as well… 😉
I believe that difference has an intrinsic worth on its own. Why? Every differentness questions the existing normality.
Questioning is painful, but neccessary. Only through questioning can we improve, and recondition old, obsolete systems (e.g. political systems or laws, but even moral conventions). Even “good” systems can’t stay good forever, because everything is always in movement and nothing ever stays the same. As they say, change is the only existing constant.
There can also be too much questioning, which can be unhealthy for the person doing so. However, in general I find that people tend to get lazy and to never question more than neccessary – except for maybe those of us who question too much..? Even there you can find a balance, and our task is to accept the counterpart as part of that balance. We need both forces: The one that pushes us out of our comfort zones and explores new land, and the one that calms us down and brings us back to our safe roots. If you like this thought, I recommend to you German philosopher J.G. Fichte, who examined this topic very well, and who founded (amongst others) the German idealism of the late 18th century.
Questioning is also the reason why we need minorities. They are marginal groups, they exist on the outer borders (or even on the outside) of what the majority finds good/normal/… and therefore they question what the majority thinks. And by questioning we can grow, and thus become more open, with more rounded opinions. I think openness, having an open, loving heart, is one of the main virtues that I pursue.
If you freak out when you see a cross dresser or trans person on mainstream TV, because hell is it a he or a she? What is this all about, can’t they just live as what they were born as, wear their clothes accordingly, and spare us their craziness? (Yes, I’ve heard people freak out like this) – THIS reaction tells you something about yourself, and not much about the person you’re confronted with. It tells that you’re scared of somebody who is different, because you have your opinions and views that you’re happy with – maybe too happy, because obviously this little questioning is very uncomfortable for you, as if you’re not used to questioning anymore…
By the way, fear (as evolutionary neccessary as it is) is what makes people violent.
Now, shall we bridge to the theory of art? This is what I told my boyfriend when we were talking about the value and meaning of some modern art.
Because of the questioning and pushing our boundaries, “new”/”different” art, is important. Art always evolves embedded into the cultural, political, philosophical, and psychological circumstances of the time – no matter if intended or not. Therefore it is reaction and mirror. And therefore it provides impulses and questioning. This is where, in my opinion, much of the value of art is hidden: Even if you stand in front of a blue canvas and wonder what the hell it means, this tells something about you as the viewer, having a certain mindset, a certain experience of art, certain expectations – that are being questioned that moment. That’s my advice for people who feel they can’t do anything with a certain artwork (or art epoche or whatever) – ask yourself what that can tell you about yourself. Personally I think this can be very rewarding, even if you don’t really like the art.
Wow, this has become quite an essay, now! I’m curious about your thoughts on it, so have fun commenting!