I have been reading a great deal about what is wrong with our culture. This presumes that there is, in fact, something wrong, and I tend to agree that there is something wrong. Our modern culture feels lifeless, without beauty, and lost.
I have been reading to see if there is anything I can do about it. Turns out I am part of the problem. Not because I am consciously going around trying to destroy our culture, but because I have been so wrapped up in modernity that, until recently, I did not even know a problem existed.
I will try to give an illustration. I am a huge fan of music. I love it! If there is a band that I like, but with whom I disagree politically, or they have a song or two that express views that I do not agree, I would just blow it off and separate the two. Not really thinking that what I was really doing was to participate in degradation, the loss of beauty. All for the price of a few songs that sound good.
I am thinking about this because I read that modern art is a scam. You can look at modern art and see for yourself that there is nothing of value in it, and yet, somehow, it is popular and I am told that I just “don’t get it.” The reason, I have learned is because the art of art is not art at all, it is rhetoric or artspeak. If you can get someone to say that the art is good, using meaningless words that do not make any sense, but sound intelligent, than you have art. Art is whatever you want it to be, which is a meaningless things to say as is.
I put this to the test recently. I love the band Pearl Jam. They are my it band, the band that can do no wrong. I may have a few songs here or there that I do not like, but I just love their music. They came out with a new album a couple of weeks ago, after 7 years since their last one. I was so excited to listen to something new from my band, something I could listen to while quarantined inside.
What came out, however, was pure garbage. Old, trite, boring, and really just pathetic. My it band have just put out a terrible album. Did not like 1 song and had to turn it off, as all the songs sounded the same and the lyrics were awful. So what was the test? I went online to read reviews, fully expecting critics to pile on this heap of rubbish. Would you believe I could not find a bad review? All the reviews are littered with applause for this effort. Really, it is all just words words words, and I have been being duped my entire life. A scam of folks telling me that my natural instincts are wrong. That they know better. That this awful album is somehow a work of genius. No wonder there is no genius found in the world. If anything can be genius than nothing is.
And so I will no longer be participating in artspeak. I will trust my instincts and look for beauty, which can be defined, and is not found in just anything, but must be sought out from everything. Things the speak to the soul in purity as opposed to the same old boring mediocrity that is put before me today.