The World Explored, the World Suffered Education Issue Nr. 22 September 2019 - Page 23

Jonathan Barnes in an essay entitled Rhetoric and Poetics in the Cambridge Companion to Aristotle argues the following: "An art is a body of knowledge, practical in aim but systematic in organisation, in which particular theorems and precepts are shown to follow from a relatively small set of fundamental truths." This may be an over-theoretical account of a realm of human activity which resembles more the realm of practical science than the realm of theoretical science but it has the advantage of manifesting the relation of art to truth which is often forgotten in the hasty retreat to the realm of experience which is a key concern of the arts. Aristotle insisted upon a threefold distinction of sciences: Theoretical, Practical and Productive. But he did not envisage that the practical and the productive sciences would have no connection with the truth. The human activity of Art, is an activity of mimesis or imitation. Art is imitation Aristotle argues, not of external nature but rather of mans mind, in particular his character, emotions and actions. But why does one desire to imitate? Because firstly,there is both an instinct to imitate demonstrated in the fact that humans distinguish themselves from animals partly in the fact that they learn from other humans by imitating them and secondly because we take delight in imitations. But what then is the telos, the purpose of these mimetic productions? The creation and appreciation of art must be related of course to the flourishing life and its explorations of regions of our mind that seek for understanding with universal intent. The idea of the good object is obviously of major significance in the arena of artistic activity and must be related to both its intellectual and emotional aspects. "Universal intent" here obviously refers to organising our experiences such that we connect emotions and actions that should be connected and differentiate between emotions and actions where there are real differences. Such organisation also entails an understanding of the role of the subject and the role of the object in this process of trying to fathom the depths of the mind. If we are to believe Psychoanalysis, at the bottom of these depths lie the shipwrecks of our experience scattered on the ocean bed and the connection of these fragmented experiences are often not real or as Freud put it, in accordance with the Reality Principle. Death trumps life in such scenes of the unreal. According to Adrian Stokes in his essay "The Invitation in Art": "Structure is ever a concern of art and must necessarily be seen as symbolic, symbolic of emotional patterns, of the psyche's organisation with which we are totally involved......Patterns and the making of wholes are of immense psychical significance in a precise way even apart from the drive towards repairing what we have damaged or destroyed outside ourselves......in every instance of art we receive a persuasive invitation...we experience fully a correlation between the