The need to destroy beauty
How many times have you heard these phrases below?
The sequel sucks: don’t go beyond the first one!
It was perfect already: why did they have to ruin it like this?
Which, indeed, are curious ones – for the simple reason that talent doesn’t go away: it’s there for a lifetime. For a great artist, being great is just who he is: even if they wanted to, he can’t stop being good at it.
So: let’s investigate a bit about what’s the mechanisms beneath these peculiar situations.
The main culprits
The next scenarios are the most probable situations that brought destruction of the former glory – be it a beautiful movie, a great logo, a great company, and so forth…
Use your common sense to understand, in each particular scenario, which one(-s: can also be more than one…! Society is complex) is the most likely case.
1 – Social climbers
Success attracts, first of all, social climbers.
Social climbers do not have productive skills: all they do is charm management into hiring and promoting them. Which, unfortunately, due to the intrinsic nature of mankind, is a successful tactic with lots of people. Think of them as some sort of “business lampreys”.
One of their first priorities will be to lower quality standards of whatever are they involved in, so to make sure their incompetence won’t be glaring. The second, will be to hamper anyone around them – so that it’ll be harder, or flatout impossible, to have competitors to their position.
So, if your ideas work, unless your recruitment countermeasures are on point, your activity will be very soon flooded by useless hacks on the lookout for a trendy status symbol to pin on their chests. And, of course: they’re gonna destroy your creation, with all their power plays and malevolence.
2 – Activists
If you ever studied Antonio Gramsci, or anyway Marxism, you might be confident with the concept of “cultural hegemony” – in case you’re not, there it is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_hegemony
Long story short: these people are like social climbers in their interest for fame, but they differ in its ultimate purpose for they want to use it as catalyst for their ideologies. They want to corrupt* your project so as to convert it into a propaganda** weapon. With which broadcast their idologies*** in an attempt to convince people to adopt them.
So, not only your initial project is going to be a mockery of its former self: it’s even gonna be turned into a propaganda weapon. Double the fun!
*corruption is whenever your betray the intrinsic, or promised, purpose. The typical “I was here to do X: why, instead, Y is happening?!?“.
**propaganda is whenever you sell your ideas in a subliminal way and in situations not supposed for it. For further info, here’s a good read about it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda_(book)
***ideologies are, basically, dogmas: a world view (or, more precisely: framework) you take as it is, no questions asked. And, when you do, the world becomes split in 2: those who believe (allies), and those who don’t (enemies). The desire itself of questioning authority is sign of being part of the enemy: those “who don’t”.
3 – Inferiority complexes
Certain people have a very interesting mix of lack of both willpower and psychological equilibrium (as in: the ability to enjoy life). It’s a particularly nasty mix, because lack of psychological equilibrium brings great suffering to those without a high social standing – which, usually, is achieved through great competence. But, lacking willpower, these people won’t have the means to achieve such excellence.
So, here’s the conundrum: they’re not the best, nor do they have the tools to become it.
…what solution is left?
The infamous “Easiest way to have the tallest tower” riddle: destroy the tallest ones! So that yours, the only one left standing, is gonna be the tallest.
In this case: destroy the previous standards of excellence. Craft new corrupt ones, in which you win and, most importantly: they lose. This system pays them back in 3 ways:
- You’re now the winner
- …even though you’re not
- The satisfaction of usurping those who, time ago, made you feel envious – a bit like dumping a garbage truck on your neighbor’s car, after years and years of envy for it.
Why Duchamp as banner?
Because it’s a perfect example of the 3rd situation.
The purpose of art is beauty. And it takes training and exercise, to perfect our ability to create it. It’s stunningly similar to learning another language: you learn to both the practical ability to articulate your thoughts into reality, and the mental capacity to think in this new way.
You can somewhat easily spot good art*: when appreciated the right way**, it makes you feel better.
There’s only 2 kind of people who would feel the push to flip an urinal and call it art:
- People with a profound hate of life. That, when given liberty of expression, seek to create misery and destruction – because that is what they have inside.
- Pranksters – like, for instance, John Cage (albeit them too need a good amount of nihilism in them: a truly positive person wouldn’t have wasted that much effort for sarcasm).
*every genuine artistic expression is art. Not all of them, of course, are of the same quality. For instance: kids are genuinely artists (because they’re too young to have developed all the Machiavellian attitudes of older people) – but, obviously, their artistic refinement level is just about nonexistent.
**for instance: those possessed by ideologies cannot appreciate art. Because, for them, there’s no “beauty”: their idea of “beauty” is “conform to my ideology”. The world they see is “allies” and “enemies”. “With me” and “Against me”.
Not all modern art is bad
Pretty, isn’t it?
And, in music, how about this:
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