I’ve been making this mini-series on an autodidact approach to life. Since it’s in Arabic, most of the viewers are from the Middle East, as far as I can tell. Perhaps later I will do the series in English, because the content is becoming even clearer to me through the doing. (An important aside about speaking in a second language- it forces you to really simplify your thoughts, avoid idioms, and speak directly. )
The act of learning is closely related to the act of creation.
On the plane from JFK to Palm Springs I read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time (the 1990 edition, originally published in 1988.) I had never read it before, despite this book being such a classic of pop culture.
In the conclusion there is an amazing part that goes like this:
(Hawking, A Brief History of Time, 1990, p 174)
I mentioned how much these lines had struck me to Daniel, who remarked: “Right. And for centuries the role of artists was both: to research the what, the why, and at the same time create through them.”
Of course, I thought, immediately remembering all the anatomical sketches of the Renaissance and beyond.
The state of art celebrated by the market today- the art that is convertible to capital- is cynical (Hirst), ludicrous (Koons), or gross (Delvoye). Artists who have sought after truth or beauty in the past 70 years or so have been considered B-league anachronisms (Wyeths.)
The classic role of art has been to inspire, ask questions, and synthesize hypotheses that can’t yet be proven. And historically, the role of art has been to make beauty.
There’s an observation that the best physicists work from a place of aesthetics (how should this work out in an aesthetically ordered world?)
But artists have given up on the beauty aesthetic, just like the second law of thermodynamics (entropy increases.)