Re: Art (was Re: Skeptics Take on the Extropian Concept)

Michael M. Butler (butler@comp*
Tue, 03 Mar 1998 09:10:43 -0800

>> I think some of the motivation for the debate comes from an attitude
>> which is not often stated but underlies the hostility towards artistic
>> endeavors. It can be expressed baldly as:
>> The discovery of penicillin has done more to increase the sum total of
>> human happiness than all of the great literature, paintings, and other
>> forms of art, combined.
>> And similarly with other scientific discoveries. The idea is that art
>> is fundamentally a form of entertainment, something to occupy the mind.
>> But the real changes in the world, the ones which will totally reshape
>> human society over the next century, come from science and technology.
>> All the transhumanist art in the world is not going to turn us into
>> transhumans. Only technology can do that.
>> I'm not saying I share this attitude, but I think it is good to express
>> it in bold and even offensive terms just to get it out in the open and
>> let people respond.
>> Hal

Yup. That is the notion. But it's based on a dichotomy:

Art ("over here")------------------Technology Engineering Science("over
<societal fulcrum>

...when another way to look at it is:

Art Technology Engineering History Science
--------------------------------- --------------------
What we can effect change through What we already know
(or think we can) (or think we do)
All of this is value-based All of this is value-free
(or should be) (or is said to be)

(with a dotted line connecting Engineering, Science *and* Art.)

Now, if art is just for entertainment (some crap on a wall with a frame
around it), it's hard to appreciate the second model. If one gets handed a
lot of crap by poseurs who only pretend to understand AND lie to one
another about art, it's little wonder that the dichotomy that puts
technology opposite art occurs: technology *works*.

But technology is ART that works. :) Science isn't art, it's just what's so.
The act of _doing_ science may be creative, but the dry facts distilled are

( IMHO :) )


"The highest love [is] uniquely human,
the product of compassion and liberty;
not one at the expense of the other."
-- L. A. Chu and M. M. Butler

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