Art, Philosophy and propaganda

Use this forum to have philosophical discussions about aesthetics and art. What is art? What is beauty? What makes art good? You can also use this forum to discuss philosophy in the arts, namely to discuss the philosophical points in any particular movie, TV show, book or story.
Ecurb
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Re: Art, Philosophy and propaganda

Post by Ecurb » May 30th, 2020, 7:20 pm

Sculptor1 wrote:
May 30th, 2020, 5:08 pm

Yet prostitute she surely was. Your problem is that you are reading it from your rosy eyed view. You have no idea what the poem is about.
DO you really think that the girls of Mandalay had the freedom to date a soldier of the British Empire?? What a joke!
Respectable girls had the protection of their families. Courting was formal.
Yes, and all the "ousemaids in London are "whores", acc. Sculptor. You seem obsessed with prostitution, Sculptor. Who cares whether Supi-yaw-lat was a prostitute or not? It's irrelevant to the poem, as is whether she was "dusky" or not. I'm not sure whether your racism or your sexism is more blatant. You appear to think yourself quite an expert on prostitution.

I'm sure there were a variety of relationships in 1890 between local Burmese girls and British soldiers. Some soldiers had mistresses with whom they had exclusive relationships and children (does that constitute prostitution?). Others married local girls. Here's a link:https://www.quora.com/How-much-intermar ... nd-Indians

There is nothing in the poem to suggest that Supi-yaw-lat was turning tricks, although she might not have been "respectable", being "dusky" and all. Here's the poem. If anyone can find any textual evidence of prostitution I'll admit to being "naive and stupid", per Sculptor's accusation. The relationship is remembered fondly, and no financial transactions are mentioned. Sculptor is the only one who cares about them (the soldier doesn't seem to, and neither do millions of readers, including me).

p.s. "there aren't no Ten Commandments" doesn't qualify as evidence of prostitution, although it may hint at fornication. However, neither prostitution nor fornication are mentioned in the Ten Commandments.
By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin' lazy at the sea,
There's a Burma girl a-settin', and I know she thinks o' me;
For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say:
"Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay!"
Come you back to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay:
Can't you 'ear their paddles chunkin' from Rangoon to Mandalay?
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin'-fishes play,
An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!

'Er petticoat was yaller an' 'er little cap was green,
An' 'er name was Supi-yaw-lat — jes' the same as Theebaw's Queen,
An' I seed her first a-smokin' of a whackin' white cheroot,
An' a-wastin' Christian kisses on an 'eathen idol's foot:
Bloomin' idol made o'mud —
Wot they called the Great Gawd Budd —
Plucky lot she cared for idols when I kissed 'er where she stud!
On the road to Mandalay . . .

When the mist was on the rice-fields an' the sun was droppin' slow,
She'd git 'er little banjo an' she'd sing "~Kulla-lo-lo!~"
With 'er arm upon my shoulder an' 'er cheek agin' my cheek
We useter watch the steamers an' the ~hathis~ pilin' teak.
Elephints a-pilin' teak
In the sludgy, squdgy creek,
Where the silence 'ung that 'eavy you was 'arf afraid to speak!
On the road to Mandalay . . .

But that's all shove be'ind me — long ago an' fur away,
An' there ain't no 'busses runnin' from the Bank to Mandalay;
An' I'm learnin' 'ere in London what the ten-year soldier tells:
"If you've 'eard the East a-callin', you won't never 'eed naught else."
No! you won't 'eed nothin' else
But them spicy garlic smells,
An' the sunshine an' the palm-trees an' the tinkly temple-bells;
On the road to Mandalay . . .

I am sick o' wastin' leather on these gritty pavin'-stones,
An' the blasted Henglish drizzle wakes the fever in my bones;
Tho' I walks with fifty 'ousemaids outer Chelsea to the Strand,
An' they talks a lot o' lovin', but wot do they understand?
Beefy face an' grubby 'and —
Law! wot do they understand?
I've a neater, sweeter maiden in a cleaner, greener land!
On the road to Mandalay . . .

Ship me somewheres east of Suez, where the best is like the worst,
Where there aren't no Ten Commandments an' a man can raise a thirst;
For the temple-bells are callin', an' it's there that I would be —
By the old Moulmein Pagoda, looking lazy at the sea;
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay,
With our sick beneath the awnings when we went to Mandalay!
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin'-fishes play,
An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!

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Sculptor1
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Re: Art, Philosophy and propaganda

Post by Sculptor1 » May 31st, 2020, 5:52 am

Ecurb wrote:
May 30th, 2020, 7:20 pm
Sculptor1 wrote:
May 30th, 2020, 5:08 pm

Yet prostitute she surely was. Your problem is that you are reading it from your rosy eyed view. You have no idea what the poem is about.
DO you really think that the girls of Mandalay had the freedom to date a soldier of the British Empire?? What a joke!
Respectable girls had the protection of their families. Courting was formal.
Yes, and all the "ousemaids in London are "whores", acc. Sculptor. You seem obsessed with prostitution, Sculptor.
The past is a foreign country - they do things differently there.

Gee
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Location: Michigan, US

Re: Art, Philosophy and propaganda

Post by Gee » June 2nd, 2020, 12:27 pm

Ecurb wrote:
May 28th, 2020, 10:20 am
Gee wrote:
May 27th, 2020, 8:23 pm
Because art is an expression of emotion, art is very believable. Most people don't think about and study emotion, but I do, and one of the things that I have learned about it is that we believe our emotions. We trust our emotions, so if someone was jerking on our emotional heart strings while spouting their philosophy, it could be very effective.
Gee
This is close to Tolstoy's opinion expressed in "What is Art".

Well, I will certainly take that as a compliment to my thought processes, but I suppose it is not surprising. I study emotion and have noted it's connection to art; Tolstoy studied art and noted it's connection to emotion. Truth tends to be like that in that it stays true from all directions.
Ecurb wrote:
May 28th, 2020, 10:20 am
As far as the relationship between art, philosophy and religion is concerned, myth is a form of (oral) literature, so the relationship works both ways: art is often devotional and designed to stump for religious principles; and religion is (to an extent) an artistic creation. "Religion" departments at universities are among the Humanities.


Actually the "relationship" between art, philosophy, and religion is much deeper than that as each of these studies truth. Most people will acknowledge that philosophy studies truth and that art is a kind of true interpretation of emotion, but they don't see how religion fits in here. It does because religion also studies and interprets truth as it relates to emotion; that is what spirituality is, an acknowledgement and interpretation of emotion in a very real almost physical sense. Is there evidence that religion studies emotion and calls it spirituality? Yes, tons and tons; people just don't look at it. We have three disciplines that give us knowledge: Science that studies the physical, philosophy that studies the mental, and religion that studies emotion -- the spiritual -- art falls in with religion.

So if art and religion study/interpret emotion and philosophy studies truth, then how are those things connected? And why are they believed? That would be because emotion can not lie; it is reactionary, not premeditated, and it works through the unconscious aspect of mind. When you make a choice (Should I walk or drive to the store?) that choice is made by the conscious rational aspect of mind -- your thinking mind. But the unconscious aspect of mind does not choose, it can not, it simply reacts. Because it is reactive, it can be mistaken, it can be wrong, but it is always honest -- it can not lie -- it does not know how to -- consequently it is believed. So emotion is believable whether in the form of art or religion.

Remember that it is called the unconscious because it is unconscious; we have no direct access to it, so information contained in the unconscious comes to us through emotion and feeling or through interpretation. The interpretations can be through art, religion, myth, or maybe dreams, but it is always indirect. Philosophy studies our knowledge of what is true, so it often interprets these interpretations of emotions. Occasionally philosophy directs, rather than interprets these interpretations of emotion; when it does that, we tend to call it propaganda. Philosophy is quite capable of lying, which is why integrity is so very important in philosophy.

Ecurb wrote:
May 28th, 2020, 10:20 am
Philosophy is sometimes more logical than artistic, but someone like Nietzsche blurs the distinction. Were the cave paintings created as part of a religious ritual, or created due to some imitative or artistic impulse, and incorporated into ritual later? We can't know.


Have you read Jean Auel's series? I found it to be a stunning and reasonably believable account of life 30,000 years ago. She ends her series with "The Land of Painted Caves" where she seems to answer your question. Her thoughts echo mine where she sees art and religion as seekers of truth that naturally gravitate toward each other.
Ecurb wrote:
May 28th, 2020, 10:20 am
All art engenders emotions as the result of its "form". Music (without words) is almost purely formal (the notes are significant in relation to each other). Claude Levi-Strauss (the structuralist anthropologist) argued that music was thus the perfect art form, separated from the "meanings" which the addition of words adds. I suppose, though, that it's possible that some (wordless) music (religious, patriotic, etc.) could still be propagandizing, designed to engender emotions that promote a particular cause.
I noticed that at the beginning of this post, you stated that there was a relationship between "art, philosophy, and religion", but the title of this thread is "Art, Philosophy, and propaganda". So do you see religion and propaganda as somewhat interchangeable? A lot of people see religion as mostly propaganda, so I wanted to ask if that was a slip, or if it was one of your points.

Gee

Ecurb
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Re: Art, Philosophy and propaganda

Post by Ecurb » June 2nd, 2020, 9:23 pm

Proselytizing religions definitely involve propaganda, but the words are certainly NOT interchangeable. I read "Clan of the Cave Bear" (I live in Oregon, and like to support our local authors), but not the rest of the series. Auel's depiction of consciousness in that novel (at least) is clearly based on Julian Jaynes book, "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind." Jaynes was a credentialed academic (Harvard, Yale, Princeton), his book was carefully researched and footnoted, and it promoted one of the wackiest theories of human consciousness one could imagine. I've never read it, untempted by its originality and bizarre theorizing, but I know about it. As in "Clan of the Cave Bear", Jaynes thought that in the past the two halves of human brains had trouble communicating, and relied on auditory hallucinations (per Auel) to plan for the future. I forget how our consciousness changed some 3000 years ago. Jaynes was a minor celebrity -- and his theories made good reading in "Clan". I'm not sure why I never finished the series, maybe I was too busy with "War and Peace".

Gee
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Location: Michigan, US

Re: Art, Philosophy and propaganda

Post by Gee » June 14th, 2020, 9:52 pm

Ecurb wrote:
June 2nd, 2020, 9:23 pm
Proselytizing religions definitely involve propaganda, but the words are certainly NOT interchangeable.

You are correct, of course. It was an unfortunate choice of words on my part, although I did say "somewhat". Propaganda surrounds religion; the believers proselytize, and the non-believers deny everything, so their nonsense is even worse. Just about everybody has some personal propaganda when it comes to religion, and talking religion is talking propaganda most of the time. I thought you might have realized that.
Ecurb wrote:
June 2nd, 2020, 9:23 pm
I read "Clan of the Cave Bear" (I live in Oregon, and like to support our local authors), but not the rest of the series.

I read the entire series at least twice, but will admit that I found the first book, Clan of the Cave Bear, and the last book, Land of Painted Caves, the least interesting. As regards religion and art, there were indications of it in the first book, but I think that it was the third book, the Mammoth Hunters, that introduced the formal connections between art and religion with music, symbols, and color.

What I found fascinating about the series was the work that Auel put into studying life 30,000 years ago, from the different species and their migration habits, to plant life and ecosystems, how the glaciers affected the weather and the animals, and how the people cooked their food, made their tools and homes, tanned leather, etc., there was a wealth of information. I felt like I was getting a glimpse of life from 30,000 years ago.

Ecurb wrote:
June 2nd, 2020, 9:23 pm
Auel's depiction of consciousness in that novel (at least) is clearly based on Julian Jaynes book, "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind." Jaynes was a credentialed academic (Harvard, Yale, Princeton), his book was carefully researched and footnoted, and it promoted one of the wackiest theories of human consciousness one could imagine. I've never read it, untempted by its originality and bizarre theorizing, but I know about it.

I did not read Jaynes' book and apparently, neither did you. I did a little research in Wiki regarding Jaynes' ideas, then started to review the Clan book, and ended up reading the whole thing, but I don't see the connection that you seem to believe exists between the book and Jaynes ideas.

Although I remember thinking that I doubted some of Auel's ideas regarding consciousness, as I did not think they could work the way she described, in general, I did not have a problem with her interpretations. I have a few problems with Jaynes' interpretations, but every theory of consciousness that I have ever seen has at least some truth to it. And every one seems a little wacky on occasion from some perspective.

Ecurb wrote:
June 2nd, 2020, 9:23 pm
As in "Clan of the Cave Bear", Jaynes thought that in the past the two halves of human brains had trouble communicating, and relied on auditory hallucinations (per Auel) to plan for the future.

The above is not what I got out of Auel's book. Apparently Jaynes sees the "Bicameral Mind” and “two halves of human brains” as descriptive of the same thing. Maybe I don't fully understand his ideas, but I see no comparison to these ideas in the Clan. Please explain why you see Auel as agreeing with this.

Ecurb wrote:
June 2nd, 2020, 9:23 pm
I forget how our consciousness changed some 3000 years ago. Jaynes was a minor celebrity -- and his theories made good reading in "Clan".

3,000 years is not very close to 30,000 years, and what I read in Auel’s books about life 30,000 years ago looked like the divisions of mind as described by Freud, Jung, and even Blanco in psychology. I did not see anything that appeared to be miscommunication between halves of the brain. Nor did I see anything that resembled schizophrenia.

Is Jaynes, by any chance, the guy who thought that the Trojans were not really conscious? I remember hearing about that a few years back, but forgot the person’s name. My thought is that consciousness has been evolving as long as life has been evolving, so people can identify it many different ways. People's theories of consciousness will tend to support their definitions of consciousness which are open to much interpretation.

Ecurb wrote:
June 2nd, 2020, 9:23 pm
I'm not sure why I never finished the series, maybe I was too busy with "War and Peace".
I have considered reading War and Peace, but probably never will because I can’t get past the title. I associate the word “War” with horror and I don’t read horror stories. I read for information and/or pleasure. So can you convince me that there is no horror in War and Peace? Would you have to use propaganda to do so? :)
Gee

Ecurb
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Re: Art, Philosophy and propaganda

Post by Ecurb » June 16th, 2020, 12:18 pm

I'm not an expert on Jaynes or on Auel. However, Jaynes theory included the notion that because "bicameral mind" mean that the left and right sides of the brain had trouble communicating, rational planning was impossible. As a result, techniques developed to facilitate that planning, including rituals that induced auditory hallucinations, visions, and dreams about the future. Hence Gods appearing in burning bushes and talking to people. As I remember it (which is not very well) the Neanderthals in "Clan" performed such rituals, and Ayla was depicted as (being homo sapiens sapiens) having a mind in which the separation was not pronounced. Of course Jaynes' theory suggested that the change in human consciousness happened 3000 years ago (hence the Trojans), and "Clan" is set earlier. But the theories about religion and consciousness are similar.

War is horrible. So is life in general. War and Peace is a sprawling novel that depicts both the horrors and the glories of life. I could never quite understand (internet) atheists who condemn God for killing the first born Egyptian sons, or drowning everyone but Noah. After all, God created a world (acc. to the story) in which all people suffer and die. From HIs perspective, what does it matter whether they die of old age or in a flood? It is only from our human perspective, which does not transcend time, that death from something other than old age seems horrible, because we want to feel we are guaranteed our three score and ten (of 4 score and ten, these days).

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Re: Art, Philosophy and propaganda

Post by Gertie » June 19th, 2020, 8:14 pm

Sculptor

Obviously, art has no purpose. The artist has, however. If we say the purpose of this piece of propaganda is x, the idiom is generally understood.

Wilde often promoted messages through his literature. Look at is children's stories, like "The Selfish Giant" or "The Happy Prince". "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" could thought of as propagandizing, as well. Shaw's plays were all message oriented; I haven't read that much of his famous music criticism.
Tell me what great message is in The Importance of Being Ernest?

Well it doesn't have the same bite for us as it did then, but it's an overt satire on Victorian establishment morals and mores. It asks the audience to laugh at the superficiality and hypocrisy of their daily performance of earnest respectability, to the point that your life's goal is marrying someone whose name is Ernest. The Fop in Wilde plays a similar role to a Shakespearian Fool, cutting through the crap. He's represented as a fancy pants Alan Partridge, a stereotype of idiotic self-absorbed superficiality. Anyone for monkey tennis? But his jibes often expose and undermine norms by turning them on their head.

Fun propaganda.

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Re: Art, Philosophy and propaganda

Post by Sculptor1 » August 1st, 2020, 10:24 am

Ecurb wrote:
June 16th, 2020, 12:18 pm
I'm not an expert on Jaynes or on Auel. However, Jaynes theory included the notion that because "bicameral mind" mean that the left and right sides of the brain had trouble communicating, rational planning was impossible. As a result, techniques developed to facilitate that planning, including rituals that induced auditory hallucinations, visions, and dreams about the future. Hence Gods appearing in burning bushes and talking to people. As I remember it (which is not very well) the Neanderthals in "Clan" performed such rituals, and Ayla was depicted as (being homo sapiens sapiens) having a mind in which the separation was not pronounced. Of course Jaynes' theory suggested that the change in human consciousness happened 3000 years ago (hence the Trojans), and "Clan" is set earlier. But the theories about religion and consciousness are similar.

War is horrible. So is life in general. War and Peace is a sprawling novel that depicts both the horrors and the glories of life. I could never quite understand (internet) atheists who condemn God for killing the first born Egyptian sons, or drowning everyone but Noah. After all, God created a world (acc. to the story) in which all people suffer and die. From HIs perspective, what does it matter whether they die of old age or in a flood? It is only from our human perspective, which does not transcend time, that death from something other than old age seems horrible, because we want to feel we are guaranteed our three score and ten (of 4 score and ten, these days).
Jaynes has been thouroughly discredited empirically, and whatever Auel might have said that is all fiction.
There is no evidence but bones and specualtion from 30kbp.
The main gtrouble with Jaynes is that he does not seem to understand how evolution works.
Were it true that the mind became bicameral in ancient Greece that would mean that such a way of thinking would have to be denied to any populations not directly descended from that place and time.
Since it is blatantly bleeding obvious that you don't need to have Greek ancestors to achieve the sort of thinking that is described by his theory - this invalidates it.
If modern Greeks and the other obvious decendants of the lucky bicameral had some defineable differnce to, say, Scandinavians, or Polynesians then you might have something. Since you do not then that book can be efficently confined to a pile of other books demonstrating a hapless racism.

Ecurb
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Re: Art, Philosophy and propaganda

Post by Ecurb » August 1st, 2020, 2:58 pm

Sculptor1 wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 10:24 am


Jaynes has been thouroughly discredited empirically, and whatever Auel might have said that is all fiction.
There is no evidence but bones and specualtion from 30kbp.
The main gtrouble with Jaynes is that he does not seem to understand how evolution works.
Were it true that the mind became bicameral in ancient Greece that would mean that such a way of thinking would have to be denied to any populations not directly descended from that place and time.
Since it is blatantly bleeding obvious that you don't need to have Greek ancestors to achieve the sort of thinking that is described by his theory - this invalidates it.
If modern Greeks and the other obvious decendants of the lucky bicameral had some defineable differnce to, say, Scandinavians, or Polynesians then you might have something. Since you do not then that book can be efficently confined to a pile of other books demonstrating a hapless racism.
The bicameral mind part of Jaynes theory is clearly whacky, but I don't think Jaynes has been "thoroughly discredited". He was a respected academic, and the essence of his theory was (I think, I've never read his books) that consciousness is cultural. It arose (or, at least, dramatically changed) with language and with metaphor.

Many of Freud's medical notions have been debunked -- but his ideas about the subconscious revolutionized how we see ourselves. His influence was philosophical and literary rather than medical.

It is possible that Jaynes might be onto something although, as with Freud, it has led him and his followers into blind alleys. I can't say much more than this, because of my ignorance. Have you ever read Jaynes books?

Consciounsess, after all, has fascinated philosophers and psychologists for centuries, and there are a great many approaches to explaining and studying it, and very few definitive answers.

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Sculptor1
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Re: Art, Philosophy and propaganda

Post by Sculptor1 » August 1st, 2020, 4:52 pm

Ecurb wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 2:58 pm
Sculptor1 wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 10:24 am


Jaynes has been thouroughly discredited empirically, and whatever Auel might have said that is all fiction.
There is no evidence but bones and specualtion from 30kbp.
The main gtrouble with Jaynes is that he does not seem to understand how evolution works.
Were it true that the mind became bicameral in ancient Greece that would mean that such a way of thinking would have to be denied to any populations not directly descended from that place and time.
Since it is blatantly bleeding obvious that you don't need to have Greek ancestors to achieve the sort of thinking that is described by his theory - this invalidates it.
If modern Greeks and the other obvious decendants of the lucky bicameral had some defineable differnce to, say, Scandinavians, or Polynesians then you might have something. Since you do not then that book can be efficently confined to a pile of other books demonstrating a hapless racism.
The bicameral mind part of Jaynes theory is clearly whacky, but I don't think Jaynes has been "thoroughly discredited". He was a respected academic, and the essence of his theory was (I think, I've never read his books) that consciousness is cultural. It arose (or, at least, dramatically changed) with language and with metaphor.
This is the indelible and unavoidable problem.
It so **** obviously ********.
"Simultaneous, world-wide transition
Jaynes's proposal does not explain how bicameralism could have been lost at the same time across the entire human species. The indigenous Australian culture was completely separated from the rest of the world from 4000 BCE to 1600 CE, yet appears today to be both historically unchanged and self-conscious."

The theory is useless and racist.

Many of Freud's medical notions have been debunked -- but his ideas about the subconscious revolutionized how we see ourselves. His influence was philosophical and literary rather than medical.

It is possible that Jaynes might be onto something although, as with Freud, it has led him and his followers into blind alleys. I can't say much more than this, because of my ignorance. Have you ever read Jaynes books?

Consciounsess, after all, has fascinated philosophers and psychologists for centuries, and there are a great many approaches to explaining and studying it, and very few definitive answers.

Ecurb
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Re: Art, Philosophy and propaganda

Post by Ecurb » August 1st, 2020, 5:32 pm

Well, I don't know how Jaynes attempts to explain this, never having read his book. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. The theory seems whacky enough that I haven't been very curious about it.

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