July 19, 2011

Realtime Summer

Masterfully hot. Forget-me-not hot. Unintelligibly hot. The sort of day, yesterday, that defines a level of hot you barely thought Central Ohio could fashion by her lonesome during these days of global cooling.

So the day here is blessedly hot and humid, unrestrained summer. The flowers exult in a symphony of color - now is the climax, the orgasmic climax of flowerdom at our house. I sing with Heather King about gladness of being born in the summer.

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Browsing the web yesterday I came across this line from V.S. Naipaul: "It is as if we all carry in our makeup the effects of accidents that have befallen our ancestors, as if we are in many ways programmed before we are born, our lives half outlined for us."

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Interesting post happened across:
We tend to see art and culture as passive expressions of a state of affairs, and they do reflect cultural and social circumstances. The key to understanding cultural expressions, however, is to realize that they have a primary social function.

They are healing--this is the meaning of Aristotle's use of the term "katharsis." Ever the biologist, the overlap with medicine this particular term had in Aristotle's day could not have been unintentional. The cause of art--or one might say its purpose or ontology--is to heal its audience.

Artists like to talk about their own work as a form of therapy but it shouldn't be very surprising that we heal others through our own healing, that healing has a contagion that spreads.

At a certain point--and it was very long ago--we began to fear art because we feared that those who consume it would emulate it. I think it is equally so but perhaps not fully conscious that we fear art because of what it reveals about us.

Most wounds, however, have to be opened in order to heal.

In medicine there is a practice called homeopathy in which the disease is administered to the patient as the cure. It comes from the ancient Greek for "like suffering."

The irony of our current crop of pop icons escapes most people, perhaps even the performers themselves, though in the case of several of them I doubt it. The empowerment messages often contrast with the images of the performers themselves, as you can see in the above, with all the suggestions of sado-masochism and objectified sexuality.

We see the live virus in their homeopathic remedy but fail to realize that the motivation is healing.

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