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The Aesthetic Form of Art

Recently, I had a long argument on a particular perspective of Art with a friend. Since the discussion was over the phone (which I am deeply grateful for), it ended in an open bracket with neither of us giving our intended conclusion. At least on my part. The question on the table was whether every piece of art can become a source of moral guidance. Or a true reference of a principle we would like to acquire. I would say, definitely not.

Passion, emotion, and an analytical mind make a grand combination for curating any work of art. The magnified effect of one of the three might result in unscrupulous work. Or unfinished thoughts, at times. However, maintaining the balance among these three might be the hardest venture one might take upon. Balance is a quest we are always intrigued by, after all. 

This is exactly why, more often than not, art might just be reflective. We might find the heart and soul of the artist without having any didactic principles for ourselves. It is, sometimes, the analyzed perception of oneself as viewed critically. It might be full of jest and a kinder judgment, at other times. It could also be romanticized, victimized, and lack of true self-awareness. One must not forget the uncanny countereffect of the perils of self-reflection, anyway. 

Anyhow, can we ever give a single definition for art? Can we say this is an art, but the other is not? On what standards, really? If art is, just, reflective, can it still be art?

In the 19th century, there was an art movement called Aestheticism. In short, the mantra of the thought was art for art’s sake. It glorified art for what it is. Beauty. A caricature. The leading artists took away the weight of having meaning and implications to appreciate and muse over the work. It might seem like they appropriated the definition of art for their cause. But how can that be a crime since we all do it for whatever greater cause we assume to have? Hated by philistinism believers and those who are disdainful of intellectual or artistic values, the movement was replaced after all. Some even called it a cult for beauty. However, as one reflects on this form of art, there is undeniable significance it can bring to our current trends

Nowadays, we find many people writing, painting, mixing, or recording themselves to relieve the sore feeling they are experiencing. And I sometimes wonder if the final fate of art is becoming a vent of our emotions and turmoils?

This is why I would recommend having a reflective art journal. A notebook. A note-taking app on phone. Any writing or doodling device one can afford to have would do. For one, jotting down your ideas would help correctly track the train of thought one has. It is, sometimes, hard to distinctly understand the intended meaning if it is not further reflected upon. It is also helpful to differentiate the exaggerated versions from the realistic part of it. Having this process would prevent a hasty publication without a good look of a self-critic.   

By no means, I cannot judge or acclaim whether that is an art or not. But I would assert this: Perhaps one must carefully analyze and speculate whether every vent is a work of art. For the deep respect I have regarding art I, to the very least, wish to hear a critically challenged perception of thought other than a shallow observation of any incident. Although we, as humans, are cursed to be more than biased (on our emotions) in our utterances, a few things might help to refine our works like that of a reflective art journal. Otherwise, one is doomed to be a slave of a cacophony of undifferentiated voices leaving art at the mercy of jest and unworthy status. 

For me, still, art can be a reflective summary. If one can find a guiding principle for life, wouldn’t that be gold? But I don’t suppose we must always find a prescriptive rule of law for life.

Fear or Bravery?

The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly – that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to oneself. Of course, they are charitable. They feed the hungry and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion – these are the two things that govern us. And yet –…I believe that if one man were to live out his life fully and completely, were to give to every feeling, expression to every thought, reality to every dream –I believe that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of joy that we would forget all the maladies of medievalism, and return to the Hellenic ideal – to something finer, richer than the Hellenic ideal, it may be. But the bravest man amongst us is afraid of himself. The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self-denial that mars our lives.

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

As I am rereading Oscar Wilde, I am fascinated by his philosophical taunts on every single page. Self-development always baffles me. I try to give in and forget it for its entirety. I, sometimes, yield to its intriguing aspects and denote myself to understand my progress in it. However, till the day I die, I don’t think I can completely comprehend why it exists. Or why it keeps baffling me. 

It is, yet, amusing how our lives are dominantly governed by fear. According to Wilde, here, we are afraid of ourselves. And because of that, we have forgotten our aim, he connotes. We constantly preach to ourselves that we are to face our fears more than anything. And ironically, we are deprived of life itself because of it. The ambiguity is not lost on me. How can life have a single aim, anyway? If that would be the case, how can it be, just, self-development? That I cannot precisely answer. But I must, at least, incline that self-development has a somewhat significance, if not great. 

Self-development is witnessed by self-reflection. The reflections we conclude from time to time help to allude where what is. Or how we come to who we are. Given reflections are not just banters we express when overwhelmed. 

“Experience and age will teach us wisdom, I hope,” says my pen pal friend as I was challenging him about his recent outbursts and vivid self-reflection. We have had this feud going on for a while about whether one should share his immediate reflections with the entire world. And if so, would not that be a true manifestation of our uncontrolled rage? Our untamed youth? I argue.  But he adheres to his statement that he is open to gaining wisdom as time goes on. For him, this is part of his self-development. And here I am sufficing Wilde’s theory of how fear is a menace to my existence. 

More often than not, I am afraid of my thoughts. At times, it is because they are far from what I have been taught since childhood. Some other times, it is because I intensely feel I am irretrievably lost. I am also afraid of my entire existence. It scares the bejesus out of me when I start to think about my own beliefs. It contorts and edifies my ego when I learn something new about myself. I get ashamed of my reflections after a while. (I am even afraid this might be one of those times). In short, I am truly afraid. I do not think courage was ever my friend. And my soul, oh my soul, is truly starved. Of what I cannot say. But I have been of acknowledged of my unsatisfied hunger. A bellowing scream. And unfiltered drive that keeps being ignited. 

Belief, for instance. It is, perhaps, a hunger for my soul. A hunger I do not know how to satisfy. It beckons me, mostly, because I do not know anybody who is freed of it. I wish not to have it because of being fearful of not having it. But it keeps marring my self-development or reflection on a greater scale. I am not an atheist. Nor am I a fanatic. I do not reckon I am an avid believer. But, since no one is exempt from belief, (Unbelief is a belief, anyway), I am a sort of believer. My belief is not surmised. It is not a result of shallow construction. It is not truly bounded, either. It is just part of my metaphysical existence. It, sometimes, dominates my epistemological significance. My belief, perhaps, begins with an existent skepticism. It, then, flounders and bribes (sometimes) consume my entire being. As hard as it seems to decipher, it is not hard to consider. It is not a complicated knot. It just is. 

Here is my consolation, though. “But the bravest man amongst us is afraid of himself. The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self-denial that mars our lives,” says Wilde at the end. In this paradoxical presentation of fear and courage, my true fear of myself is, after all, bravery. 

Originally published at Nouveauable.

The Other Form of Vanity

Know Thyself! This is, perhaps, the most often-heard quote when it comes to self-development and growth. Not that I am against these ideas. For one, these are inevitable fates one must endure as long as he lives. And, more importantly, what doesn’t grow, rot.

I, in any accord, do not wish to rot. So, I would like to configure this path to whatever is there for growth. As fancy as it sounds, the quote “Know thyself” makes it hard to believe whether it guides us to the complete enlightenment we all seek rather than an ulterior form of vanity. Before exploring this perspective on vanity, let us consider how we can know ourselves for one moment.

For starters, what are we really? I am here asking a metaphysical question to understand what my fibers are built of. I am not at all curious about how my physical body took its current form. How would that help me anyway? I am here. Now. And unless my desire to destroy my being get the best of me, it would be in vain to try to advance that research. Yet, my question is not an easy argument to settle. How on earth would I know myself? The abstract build of my being? The realm of my reality? How can I identify the constituents I sacrificed for the sake of conformity from the ones I chose to adhere to with audacity? Is there any authentic side of mine left? Or am I the result of the builds and constructs of my surrounding?

Given the hardship of my questions, I hope my reader would forgive my shortcomings in answering them. I am even wondering which part of me was inquiring about all these questions. (Because I am as well trying to avoid vanity of my own).

I have been told, as inevitable as growth and change are, vanity is also the risk waiting at every corner. And knowing thyself is a virtue, while vanity is a curse. Now, this does not help to make the quest any simple. At any moment I am unlocking this box of my unknown and unexplored self, it is more than probable to find something of use. I sincerely hope that all I would find is not rubbish. Yet, if I found that one valuable thing in me, would not I be closing the gap between me and my vanity? While becoming awake and more conscious of oneself, how can one utterly avoid the ultimate vanity?

For me, the two are faces of a single coin; Enlightenment and Vanity. Every day is everybody’s first day in life after all. Despite the mundane repetitions and cycles, the newness of the day poses a great challenge when it comes to enlightenment. That is a little relief, honestly. The unending quest for enlightenment will, perhaps, impede us from falling from vanity. But tiny bits of ourselves we get to learn from the days are still the mothers of vanity we conceive in every moment. Try to keep the virtue while fighting the vice. Or just wait on the edge of the coin protecting thyself from befalling on either of the sides. In any case, know thyself. At least, sometimes.

Originally posted at Nouveauable: The Bookish Hub.

The Raw Confusion of the Young

Young and restless, they say. Reckless, at times. I do not think anyone would argue otherwise about this label. Whether young or old. In my recent read, I indulged one of the literary masterpieces of Ernest Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises. As a member of a generation of post World War 1, Hemingway calls that generation “The Lost Generation”. His label was to suffice the fall of the societal structure, the spread of brokenness amidst the community, and the dire trial of escaping pain due to the impact of the war. Escapism was governing the realm of the people to erase the horrors or at least to fade the bold carves. Alcohol, literature, jazz, and even sex were not enough shields to sustain the escape. Here is the wonder then: if “The Lost Generation” was born a century ago, what would be the best description of this generation? A generation that has suffered two grand wars and so many follow-ups? A generation born of a cracking structure? Deeply broken and wounded. A generation living at the edge of despair. And above all, keenly talented in denying the existence of anything. What would be the best title for us, then?

The angst is not a mere fantasy. Nor a made-up thrill to justify some acts. The angst buried beneath all the young is the undeniable reality. So much so, it is usually reflected in a premature reaction toward everything. Too much rage. Unbalanced concern when not required. Unyielding stubbornness for partially understood matters. The unnecessary responses sought into the unrelated causes are the sole reason why we might be an enigma as a generation. 

There is also the ungiving quest for freedom, societal structure, customs, principles, and values. Not everyone might inquire about these questions in a similar way. But, one way or the other, the quests are the weeds we cannot avoid nor destroy. This, in the biggest sense, leads us straight to the depth of confusion. It makes us second guess and question every single move we make. Is this proper? Should I be happy about this? How should I feel? Can anyone tell me what to do or how to feel? Why should anyone be entitled, though? Am I in trouble/in the wrong here? And then, all these questions accumulate to form a fine line of denial. The closing statement becomes everything[my life] is off the record [as if we have spent many years living in this world]. The ultimate destination is, then, a raw confusion: What am I supposed to do now?

What am I up to? What should I do next? What should I believe? Should I even believe? Am I dreaming? Am I conscious? Have I started living? Or am I yet to start to live? Why am I like this? How did I get here? And when?… And so much more questions firmly establish the raw confusion of the young along with the narcissism borne out of individualism. After all, what would a lost generation produce if not this?

Sooner or later, the raw matures. And this raw confusion illuminates that being young is not equivalent to being invincible. The recklessness will see to the end of its indestructibility, anyway. Life breaks us apart. Time, along with life itself, mends us as well. As the days keep piling up like trash paper, we are forced to realize life moves on even if we don’t.  And the confusion clears up as we move along. Or so it tries to fade away.

Posted on Loline Mag.

Grief is the tribute we pay for loss. We lose something every day. A part of us dies in every moment. A part of the human population dies every moment. We die. Our loved ones die. Sometimes not even physically. But they wither away before our eyes. And we concede for all the losses without a wince. It is when the bigger part of us die we start to pay our tributes. That’s when we grieve.

I don’t feel the heaviness of sadness for every loss every minute of the day. I don’t fall apart that often. But, deep down I know I’m breaking apart into pieces. The parts of me which were glowing like a full moon are now cut down into pieces. Fragments. Thousands of fragments. I no longer exist as one full person. I exist in pieces hidden away in things. That is when I start to wonder if I’m actually faltering away as a whole or if I have lost the hidden cases for my fragments. 

That’s why I prefer if people asked me which part of me died today rather than how I was doing. I wish I could give recognition for my loss. Yes, you may say I haven’t lost a thing. But to the very least, I have lost a chunk of time. But, that is not all of it. I have lost much more than that. Time is just one of the essences I have lost for the day. And maybe there is a way to remedy that or maybe not. The thing is, when we lose things together, it feels like we haven’t lost them at all. The collective grief we escape makes us believe that we haven’t lost a thing. Or even if we do, we don’t give it enough credit to tear us apart.

But grief is grief. The sooner we let ourselves feel and sit with it, the sooner we can get away from the excruciating ache we feel in and out. The later we embark upon that adventure, the more the pain will devour us as a whole.

The World of Words

I succumb to a world of words when I’m suffocated with the world of ‘people’. I hope you are not judging me prematurely, dear reader. The world of people is quite suffocating if you are a constant member. You should take a break once in a while by entering to the world of words, that is books. Books are good escapes for those who are exhausted of this world. They create a great illusion for the things you hate to endure. Even though you may not live in them forever, you can spend so much time in them. So much so you will start appreciating the world of people. You will understand them better by assigning a character for them or taking part of their world as incognito from one of your book world. That is much more enjoyable than facing the world as it is. If you are anything like me, that would help you endure the unnecessary drama people create almost every day. 

Transitional Waves

Change is inevitable, and the transition is the grand part of it!

As we get older, the saying ‘change is inevitable’ becomes clearer than ever. A mere physical growth might not have the desired growth effect unless aided with maturity. But the combination of the two, growth and maturity, enables or forces us to see the real face of life.  As a child, we are always prone to wear the optimist glasses for a brighter future and can-do it all attitude. But, in the course of life, we would come to the understanding that there is a lot that could go wrong in life. At that point, we will realize the optimistic glasses were not in fact glasses. Instead, they were blindfolds that were to protect us from the dump of this world. So the first time reality hits, that is, the blindfolds removed, we pace down our speed to hit our first brake in life. 

The thing is, though, the brake is not a permanent reality that dictates our future. We stopped once doesn’t mean, we will be forever stuck there. It’s indeed one of the many transition periods we find along the way. If change is meant to happen, the transition becomes inescapable. And behold, the transition is a bumpy road. It never serves smooth paths. 

In life, patience becomes quite a virtue in transition periods of life. If our patience supersedes the heaviness of the challenge, that will be a key for many of the coming events. I have tried to come up with hypotheses for problems in my twenties. But, so far my effort has proved to be futile. Perhaps the lack of patience, sense of adulthood and yet not fully, the series of decisions and choices, the constant reminder of the need for productivity, and even the seemingly need of influencing the world results in headache if not misery. By this, I do not wish to include everyone. Some face these challenges later in life. But the very reason that it is a transitional period bore the fruit of anguish and despair.

Some get lucky and find the locus of their existence. Some continued to wallow in the air of madness. Some choose to deny reality constantly. Some flee away by the waves of the strong currents. Amidst the chaos, some choose to believe in the fairy tales they heard in their childhood. They step into the stage of life without really understanding the prologue of their lives. 

In any case, transitions are highly sensitive periods of life. A keen understanding of life may not be acquired in a short period of time. Well, I doubt if it can be acquired in the longest of periods. But one can play by the rules to achieve a healthy and improved adulthood with fewer resentments and regrets later in life. 

Change is inevitable. So is transition. Transition is tough, not impossible. The trick is not to make huge decisions based on the current of transitional waves. The climax of life solely depends on the core realities when the calmness reaches its apex. This is one of the many things we embark on, in retrospect.

If Only the Cure Lived in the Poison!

The unraveling secrecy of life, sometimes, leads to the dreadful engagement of one to death itself. The obsession of encountering death would be the only dark light you would see in the darkest of times. But, here is the wonder! Is it possible to find a cure for the poison itself?

Ofcourse, in the darkest of times anything seems a solution. But, where does the cure live? Is there really a location for the cure? Whether abstract or tangible, can cure be hunted down? Does healing comes to you or do you even reach for it? Does cure live in the deepest pit of one’s mind? Or does it live in the castle like a sacred king of the world?

Then again, my wondering travels. Is there even a cure in the first place? Can all the sickness go away all at once? If that’s the case wouldn’t quitting make sense more than anything? Would it be looking for a cure in the poison itself? I highly doubt it!

There is something innately foolish to hunt for a cure in a so-called poison itself, though. Yeah, the despair of living this life is powerful enough to give that drive. But why would anyone fall for the very unseemly thing? Well, no one knows the anguish of living unless he/she felt it in some instance. And for that person, every right is granted no matter what.

Is quitting this incessant life the solution, then? Would it be wrong for the sole reason of it being quitting? I reached in the middle ground while I pondered. Wanting to quit this thing called life can never be a surprise. Sure, we find reasons to live now and beyond. But, I’m sure no one in the right mind would want to get stuck in this world. The suffocation, even to answer this very question, is the surface of despair every human share. Finding a more profound reason and purpose would salve the pain. Atleast for a little longer! But for this short while, looking the cure amidst the poison wouldn’t be the very smart and next thing to do. Fellow human, best of luck out there!

The Hero Choice

Would life be easier if we were always given an ultimatum? It sometimes looks like we have to make choices out of two options. But, more often than not, we choose amongst many. The unnamed so many factors always act upon us to be chosen. If there was a possible way to reduce all life choices into two ultimatums, would the headache lessen? Or would we drive ourselves crazy more? The third or the unknown option is always a hero of choices. Even when someone starts talking us into it, it is usually presented as the savior of the day. The bravest one of all! So, here is the wonder: if we suppose ultimatums are the perks in making the best choices, then reducing the list of choices to the bare minimum level is obligated. But here is the hero choice of the day. What if we can choose more than one? Or worse, what if we don’t choose at all? The irony, not making a choice is in fact a choice, is well implied. And yet, what if we choose nothing? Ultimatum or no choice at all!

Exceptionals on the Canvas

They say life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. How true is this! If life went accordingly to our generalized definitions and plans, we all would’ve been doomed. In a mundane, normal life of ours, exceptional characters appear to beautify and polish our canvas. These are the people who suck out every cynicism we developed over the years. The beauty of these people is that they don’t appear in an organized and planned manner. They are always exceptions and disrupt the plans we have held onto for so long. The obsessions we have to equate our ways of life would be ruled out because of these people. These are the people who make us believe in falling in love and goodness of people by restoring our faith in humanity once again. These are the people who give us what we call life!

What happened to the world?

Lately, I’ve been forced to succumb the idea that the world we live in is disintegrating into pieces. Advancement has become the euphemism for taking the essence out of things. The very elements that constitute things have faced the fatal reality. We built a social life without interacting socially with one another. We built a system to create intimacy in a certain amount of time. Commitment and affection have become the unnatural faces of our lives. The empathy we had for fellow humans, just because we are human beings, has become costly. The upgrade in our lifestyles to save us time is the greatest jest, perhaps. Because none of us have any time to do a thing. For us, the people in the previous centuries are simple and boring. And yet, our so-called sophisticated life has left us with no time to think and reconsider our decisions. Unwise, impulsive, and easily satisfied without considering the value are the best descriptions of our time. We even managed to have a coffee without the caffeine. The same way we create a beer without alcohol. Our advanced life has become meaningless and fragile in many aspects. So many of us suffer in silence. But we are not the only ones falling apart into pieces. The world we built is also decomposing. If we only knew how far we have come from the essence of life!

If you must choose between fighting or standing down, which one would you choose? As appealing as fighting sounds, if you’re half sure that you would lose the battle, would you choose it just for the sake of bravery? Well, standing down means you are signing a lifetime deal with regret. For starter you would definitely regret not choosing to fight. And you couldn’t help but wonder that you may have a chance at winning it. Either of this two, as a grave hater of regret myself, I think I would settle for a fight. What could be the worst case scenario? Losing?! Well, be it then. It will at least leave you with, “I tried.” Collateral damages and all other factors considered, I still say FIGHT! Mind you, this is not a physical fight. It’s a fight for yourself, your choices, your actions, to your own healing, to forgive yourself, give yourself a second chance and everything you might wonder. Solely and absolutely for yourself!

Perfect or Mundane

Which one is wrong? Looking for something perfect in this imperfect world(incredibly so) OR believing that there are no perfect things and living a mundane life? Even though it is almost always annoying, the former makes you earn life in a special manner. You feel like you are in a treasure hunt every single day of your life. Some of the days you know what you are looking for. Some of the days you’re running up and down with no sense of direction whatsoever the end result is. But it sure does make you hope for more. You seek to see more in life. You seek to have a desire for a better tomorrow. Even when you know living to see tomorrow means getting close to your death, you live for that instant. Is that really being gullible and silly or brave?

But, the latter is mundane. Nothing exciting whatsoever. You’re always content with what you have. You don’t need more. You are just okay with the momentum of life. If something better comes along, you would receive it with open arms. At the same time, if someone tells you this would be the very last day to live, you wouldn’t mind at all. Knowing and understanding the momentum of life means you are not afraid of a thing, even death itself. This sounds pretty ordinary or lame. But isn’t this the reality of the world we live in? Why should it be extraordinary always? What does it change anyway? Feeling the superpower within you and living like a hero is only possible in a fictional world. If one wants to be a hero, the only thing he needs is keeping up with the tricks of life. Understanding the magic of reality! The way, one would start living beyond surviving a single day in life!

So, I think one must choose to settle in the middle of these two. A little enthusiasm would never hurt anyone. Living in the real, non-fantasized world is sine qua non. If the two can mutually exist, then, that would be quite a combination indeed!

Pearls of Existence

Amidst the chaos of existence, in the full gloomy season of life, there comes the few bright, exciting days. A sunlight in the full snow season. The heat across your face which could make you forget almost everything for a moment there. The good vibes that captures the anchors of your life to be the hero of the moment. The narrator of life.

Good times are the pearls of existence. They are the ones to become memories of lives. Those random days where ideas spring like never before, where arguments are to be loved and companions to be enjoyed. Spontaneity blossoms into the best of moments. Days that couldn’t be described enough with pictures, but worth remembering within the eyes of our minds. These are the days worth to remember in the gloomy days of life. The best memories stamped on our minds to get back to, not once but millions of times. Conversations to be cherished again and again. Those days! Good times! Good vibes!

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