In fact, why do we know what Art is anyways? What is Art? What are feelings? A shitton of questions are present here, let’s slowly delve into them.
Humans are notoriously different in our ability to perceive beauty, art, and symbolism. We are also unique in our capabilities to understand morality. No other animal can be faulted for their behaviors. Male lions conquering another male’s tribe and killing off all their offspring to then impregnate the females himself is not seen as evil, it’s just natural behavior. In other words animals cannot do right or wrong as they do not have the ability to distinguish between the two. Moreover, unlike homo sapiens, they also do not have the ability to imagine a different future, imagine the different possibilities of said future, understand how their current actions would affect that future, and then choose to the course of action that they will.
Human can do that, and a foundational aspect of this ability is our capability to Imagine.
Imagination is a core of human life. Neuroscientists now claim that over 40% of our waking hours are spent daydreaming, lost within the infinite realms of our mind’s creations. But how and why are we able to do that? Why were we cursed by the gift of free will, and how does all this relate to art?
Unlike our ancestors, homo sapiens experienced a point in our evolution described as de-modularization. This means that, unlike most organs in the body that are each specialized to do specific tasks and not interfere with each other’s works, our brains – for reasons unknown to us – scrapped all that. At some point in our evolution different parts of our brains started ‘talking together’. Neurons developed the ability to multitask, meaning that a single neuron can have a multitude of different ‘tasks’ each given to it by different parts of the brain. Neurons regularly switch between each task, in the process creating a variety connection between different neurons that leads to an interconnected web of inter-region communication.
Through such communication we are able to visualize, imagine, and symbolize.
It is why a male domesticated primate is able to physiologically derive dopaminergic sexually associated rewards by the driving a fast car. A lion on the other hand can only get such reward from actual coitus.
It is through de-modularization that we are able to derive abstract meaning from things, from fast cars all the way to the development of concepts such as democracy, Marxism, Artificial Intelligence, the Copenhagen interpretation and so on.
Such abstraction is what also allows us to ascribe a characterization of beauty to the sunrise. It is how we are able to perceive and create orderly divine within the random chaos of the universe.
It is how we can perceive art. Art is anything that is able to bypass animalistic tendencies to make us feel things through a symbolic lens. Sex is animalistic, Making Love is Art. An NFT is a jpeg of a monkey, the rebellious richness representing a big ‘fuck you’ to society’s standards and thoughts and illusion of monetary order is Art.
A breakup is the loss of expected interaction with a romantic partner. Heartbreak is Art.
So why does Art make us feel? The question in itself is a logical fallacy. Art is Art precisely because we feel, and our ability to feel concepts of abstract meaning is Art. Art is what allows us to claim superiority in the animal kingdom. It is the basis of our IQ, EQ, and everything else that makes being human beautifully artistic.
by Joe Akiki