Art : Fuel for Man’s Soul

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Most people don’t understand much, if anything, about art. It’s either a far removed finger-painting activity for children, or an alien idea suited for drugged up hippies.

Unless it’s music.

Music’s art, ‘everyone’ likes music … so everyone knows a little somethin about art.

Hardly.

Above all, and in it’s relation to man in how it affects him internally … art is fuel for man’s soul; and keep in mind, this statement is coming from someone who actively and absolutely rejects faith.

I bring this up — that art is fuel for man’s soul — because I suspect many readers of this blog are like me, and explicitly practice this in their personal lives, with or without knowing it and fully understanding it.

~~~

If souls have a style, and if styles have a specific hunger, mine is almost exclusively, and ravenously, heroic.

In art and in life I don’t care for much else.

Do I enjoy comedy movies/performances? Yes. So much that my laughter universally “stands out”. So much that I’ve even seen it consistently, produce sharply negative emotional responses, from people who have committed some kind of treason in their lives.

And I’ve seen it lift up people who were uncertain of whether an adult human being could laugh so hard, so much, and so innocently.

But … I never think about comedic art, never seek it, and never chew on it after the fact. It simply doesn’t matter to me.

The same can be said for a wide variety of art. I enjoy it, but not even the best of it can leave a lasting impression on me.

Heroic art on the other hand, no matter it’s shape or form, is always on my radar. I’m always seeking it … always hunting it, and always chewing on it. It’s what literally keeps me going at times.

It’s fundamentally why I care to experience art in the first place. Everything else is a secondary consideration. A detail distantly related to a primary.

I suspect a lot of those reading are in this category. If you are, you are definitely in the minority, in spite of all the hero movies and such that have been produced over the past decade or so.

Even when popular, and if that heroic art has not been significantly sabotaged in some way, people are experiencing those things in entirely different ways, and likely enjoy them for completely different reasons (they are flashy/exciting/feed into my philosophical confusion/etc).

~~~

If you are one of these people, who is obsessed with a particular kind of art that you “just can’t put your finger on”, I’d like to take this blog post to say that you shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed about it.

In fact you should be quite proud of your hunger.

It’s definitely “worth a damn”, and there is no reason on earth to shy away from it, or to give it up for another form of art that you just don’t give a shit about.

If it’s the best style for you … stand up and never damn its existence by apologizing for it.

About Anthony Dream Johnson

CEO, founder, and architect of The 21 Convention, Anthony Dream Johnson is the leading force behind the world's first and only "panorama event for life on earth". He has been featured on WGN Chicago, and in the NY Times #1 best seller The Four Hour Work Week.    His stated purpose for the work he does is "the actualization of the ideal man", a purpose that has led him to found and host The 21 Convention across 3 continents and for 6 years in a row. Anthony blogs vigorously at TheDreamLounge.net and Declarationism.com.

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16 Responses to Art : Fuel for Man’s Soul

  1. Steve May 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    In ancient times, art was a past-time, to add value to the basics of life; to celebrate, to display plans, to show admiration, to display one’s ideals for the future. As such, they function to unite people around common goals, and if they have any function at all it is to motivate both individuals and communities to improve themselves. If we accept this premise, some art doesn’t deserve the name. Personally, I have an inherent distaste for much that is called “modern” art, Picasso, Rothko, Franz Kline, Cy Twombly, and other scrawlers of illegible colors that usually require literature to accompany their non-obvious representations. Not meaning to toot my own horn, but this viewpoint I maintain on my art/architecture/design site: onlyideal.com

  2. James May 7, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Very timely post like usual. Couldn’t agree more I’m finding that most people are incredibly uncomfortable around me because my face flashes with such intensity holding
    Back nothing. Take a chance and look me in my face there won’t be any lies. Truth elecits different responses every time haha extreme responses consistently.The fact that that multiple guys have tried fear tactics on me and tried to fuck with me these past few weeks. My expression is you put force on me and I won’t hesitate to fucking kill you , no mercy all ruthless justice. Don’t even need to say shit to anyone. These are a few things that I’ve internalized and expect now on a daily basis, changing lives and tearing them down..ooooops my bad didn’t mean to be so honest world.. Ha fuck that. I can’t not be brutally honest anymore. Art that touched the heart <3 avatar <3 small ville <3 superman.

  3. ben sima May 7, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    I love this post. Nietzsche says this same thing, we should return to the heroic image that the Greeks constructed, like Homer’s Odyssey. It’s for this very reason that I love scifi. I also really like slam poetry and the rapper Atmosphere and A Tribe Called Quest.

    Fav scifi books recently: “Ender’s Game” and “Dune”. Another good book is Fight Club because one man creates an army of rebels out of nothing.

    Don’t forget about the cathartic aspect of art. It also serves as a releasing, as a giving up. Man cannot always live inside his ego. He must let go occasionally, “lose himself” so-to-speak. He does this when he indulges himself in the act of creation (“flow” or “the zone”), gives himself up to extreme emotional bursts of, say, laughter and joy or grief and mourning, and he especially lets go of his ego when he loves another.

    • Joao Eira May 8, 2012 at 6:28 am #

      Oh men, Ender’s Game men… SO GOOD. My favorite sci-fi novel for sure. Too bad the other Orson Scott Card books aren’t as good (and are way more telling of the author’s ideas about human nature). Still, reading about kids that are really smart and act like fully grown man is a huge pleasure to read. Do you think Dune was a hard book to get into? I started it last year but there were just to many weird names in the initial pages that turned me off.

      Do you guys have any fiction that you consider particularly heroic? I found the Halo books (and from what I’ve read online it only seems to be those written by Eric Nylund) to be particularly good in presenting characters larger than life.

      Also, Iron Man. My favorite superhero ever since I was a little kid (and whom I secretly want to be like one day).

      Peikoff in his book writes that art is (or should be) the physical actualization of your highest ideals, the reason being that it is hard (even impossible) to hold inside your conscious mind all the information you have about what you consider to be your highest possible and that art condenses it all and presents itself in a perceptually evident manner.

      • ben sima May 8, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

        Iron Man, one of my favorite movies. I want to (will?) be Tony Stark someday, haha.

        I definitely agree with Peikoff. Dune wasn’t as easy to get into as Ender’s Game, but I still loved it.

        As for other fiction, I’m kinda making my way thru Neal Stephenson’s scifi books. First reading Anathem, which has a TON of both ancient and contemporary philosophy in it. But dude I’ll definitely let you know if I find something really good. And you do the same…

        • Steve May 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

          Yeah I’m also a big fan of Iron Man and Batman, and also Tron Legacy. I like how they show that not all inheritors of wealth live frivolous easy lives, a contrast to the standard Marxist portrayal of wealth being squandered if too much is centralized in one family or person. Instead, they used their wealth, created by intelligent parents, to then do even more with it, to the point that they function as superheros (well, moreso in Iron Man and Batman than Tron). Jon Favreau, director of Iron Man, is close friends with actor Vince Vaughn who supports Ron Paul, kind of interesting.

          • ben sima May 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

            That’s a phenomenal point – while Marx definitely made some good points that I can sympathize with, not all wealth is evil. Wealth and power can be used for good, too.

            Ya, Batman and Tron are pretty good too.

            • Anthony Dream Johnson May 9, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

              Actually I think wealth is only a good thing : the product of man’s mind. If a corrupt person uses it for corrupt reasons with negative end results … it’s not the wealth that is evil, it’s the person, the action, and the result.

              At no point is it actually the money — or any other form of wealth. The same way government is fundamentally good, even though in many (almost all) cases today, it has disastrous, contradicting, and often violent results.

              • Steve May 9, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

                Yes, wealth amplifies one’s pre-existing character. The saying “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” would be more accurate as “power corrupts if there is not proportional liability.” Politicians are the perfect example, holding ~0 liability (loss of next election, pension and health insurance for rest of life regardless) even if they misspend $Billions and $Trillions of other people’s money.

                And then there’s the biblical verse “love of money is the root of evil”, which has further corrupted the public’s view of successful people.

                Basically, great power without equal liability creates moral hazard.

              • ben sima May 9, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

                Okay, I agree. Good point.

      • Matt May 9, 2012 at 3:36 am #

        Atlas Shrugged would be one of my favorites that just inspires the shit out of me.

        Agree with Ben about Neal Stephenson( not to mention dune and enders game) Snow Crash probably being my favorite Stephenson work

        The Alchemist is on a heroic track… although I don’t know if it’s exactly what Anthony was trying to get across in this post.

        Stranger in a Strange Land is an AMAZING read that I’d recommend in this vein.

        Neil Gaimans also got some great stuff. Stardust probably being my alltime favorite by him. The movie is also kickass, definitely check it out.

        I also am a big fan of children’s movies, children are IME the most heroic people in our society. It’s an immature heroism but it’s also conscious, which is more than you can say for most “adults”.

        Some of my favorite children’s movies that express the heroic ideal:

        -The Land Before Time (all of them)
        -The Lion King
        -Finding Nemo
        -Up
        -Desperaux

  4. MiamiDude May 10, 2012 at 5:54 am #

    I think this is why I’ve always loved Eminem. His style is heroic… like the song “Lose Yourself.”

  5. James Steele II May 10, 2012 at 7:45 am #

    I’ve just been reading the novel version of Metal Gear Solid and a section of dialogue stuck out to me that I don’t think I understood when I played the game years ago.

    While Meryl is dying from Sniper Wolf’s gunshot wound Dr Naomi Hunter acuses Snake of sacrificing himself to save her, perhaps as she is the Colonels niece. Snake quips that he operates on instinct and doesn’t need an excuse to save her but more importantly clarifies….

    “…And I’m not doing it for someone else either, I’m going to save Meryl for myself.”

    I enjoyed that.

    I have to reiterate my love for most forms of anime also that depict heroes fighting for their ideals.

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