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Value in art

Given the final futility of our struggle, is the fleeting jolt of meaning that art gives us valuable? Or is the only value in passing the time as comfortably as possible? What should a story seek to emulate? A ringing alarm? A call to arms? A morphine drip?

[The Fault in Our Stars, John Green]

Before you write, before you speak, before you even think: you must establish one point of context. That is, abstraction. When you’re truly free to think as logically, as broadly and imaginatively as your endowed mind enables you to, there should be no boundaries, nothing irreverent or sacred above scrutiny. That is the naive but understandable way in which the rationalist and the realist perceive reasoning. But following this, all meaningful inquiry digresses into futile fundamentals—the point to it all. It is because of this that the inflexible classicist can’t find an answer to any question, because classifying and dissecting, while not above scrutiny, is above the limitations of the mind to comprehend. Humans are logic’s flaw.

When you answer any question, abstraction must be understood. It’s inevitable that we aggregate ideas into concepts and entities that lose the profound depth of detail but respect it sufficiently. Then this: what is value in design? How I hate to answer this question.

I read and criticize and adjust, and it still is true that truth in design is as mutable and transient as it is in art. As you can imagine, abstract fields in high culture are simply frustrating to reason. When you throw logic at it, the queries are overwhelming, yet I’m averse to relying on emotion. The provincial citizen scoffs at humanities and arts, but perhaps topics outside rational jurisdiction are just too difficult. They’re foreign, usually mistaken for inferior. Maybe reasoning just doesn’t apply in all cases1.

In this last year of high school, I publish many things. Essays, lab write-ups, reports to colleges. I publish this blog. Among other things, letters and emails and club business are all published copy, and sometimes, it’s difficult to find the true goal in design. Recently, I’ve taken a more and more semantic approach. Meaning is king. My own blog has a rather simple design. Simple in aesthetics, that is. The mechanics behind the abstraction are quite complex. Like dime novels of past centuries, published content should move away from abstracted entities—categories, lists, collections—and toward formatting that is appropriate to the text2. The gray horizontal rule above the post title. It’s a metaphor. Quite literally, you can go down3 the page and count the headings, the breaks, the references, as you would in a literary journal or newspaper. Each part of design should be used for what it’s meant. At least, that’s what abstraction suggests. You should see my Biology IA.

  1. Traditionally, such claims are clear signs of ignorance, but in context of abstraction, alternative approaches, other than logic, can be justified. ↩︎
  2. I think irony in life by example is the best kind of humor. ↩︎
  3. Single direction, guided reading. Also important. ↩︎

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Wed, 16 Aug 2017 23:27:48 GMT