Responding to Reena’s prompt # 146 on “CUBISM”.

Change is inevitable in life as we restless humans constantly prowl the planet for value and meaning to justify our fragile existence. Old gods give way to new gods, old structures to new structures, old idea to modern ideas and society continues to take shape based on our current vogue of thinking. In 1895 Freud’s development of free association gave rise to new trends in our thought process and a series of twelve papers he published between 1914-1918 caused wide ranging speculations about cultural, social, artistic, religious and anthropological phenomena. This early 20th century enlightenment had a wide ranging influence on some artists who envisioned their creations with new eyes. One of these new forms of expression was cubism.

Cubism is an art form originating in Paris between 1907-1914 and best exemplified by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Cubism sought to represent an object in space from several different angles and perspectives, taken at different time periods and from a multiple of perspectives. The Cubist movement sought to divorce themselves from the past by bringing their own meaning and emotion to art. They advanced the irrelevance of a subject in its integral form which led to the supposition that ” any object was a work of art if an artist declared it one”. Cubism had it’s day in the sun and eventually gave way to other forms of artistic expression such as expressionism and modernity.

The 20th century continued its era of change and ushered in postmodern thought to the detriment of the enlightened enthusiasts.

Enlightenment had been the popular mode of thought for centuries and posited an objective natural reality whose existence and property were independent of human beings. Enlightenment further predicted that it was reasonable to expect that future societies will be more humane, more just, more prosperous than now. The values of enlightenment largely contributed to the rise of western civilization and the structures we have in place today. As is evidenced by recent events, these structures are now being torn down.

Postmodernists embrace the ideas of Karl Marx ” the ruling ideas of each age have been the ideas of its ruling class” and French philosopher Michel Foucault ” knowledge is influenced by considerations of power”. Some aspects of postmodernism are, no such thing as truth as truth is whatever we choose to believe, no absolute moral values, all aspects of human psychology are socially determined. Academic advocates embraced postmodern critiques of western society and it became the unofficial philosophy of identity politics. Identity politics consists of movements that attempt to further the existence of their group and force its issues into the public sphere. They seek to be seen as random, spontaneous movements but are well funded, organized and politicized. Two examples are the climate change movement and Black Lives Matter. The unemployed students now roaming the streets of our cities, protesting, smashing statues and calling for a new order are the product of postmodern brain washing in our universities.

So here we are today, awash in a sea of change, awaiting the results of this latest postmodern experiment in life’s meaning and purpose. Hopefully it will be as brief and meaningless as cubism.

Published by lensdailydiary

Born Stepney, London, England. Emigrated to Canada. Married, two children, six grandchildren. Retired. Conservative and cultural catholic. LOVE soccer. Tottenham Hotspur. Read historical and fantasy fiction..

13 thoughts on “Change

  1. What I think is happening right now is mass anomie. from wiki: “In sociology, anomie is a societal condition defined by an uprooting or breakdown of any moral values, standards, or guidance for individuals to follow.” You may blame society’s current woes upon those who are trying to find a way out of this mess — e.g. “climate change movement” and Black Lives Matter — but go to the root, Len. The root is corporatocracy (sp?) that has enslaved the masses with student debt, lack of a living wage, no affordable health care, institutionalized racism, paid thugs brutality, exploitation of the weak and vulnerable, and now who arrogantly struts about and proclaims their godhood. You had better hope that the young people find us a way out of the darkness the overlords have driven us into, like cattle down the kill chute.

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    1. I agree with you wholeheartedly that we are in a state of anomie. Accepted forms of meaning and values are being cast aside with nothing replacing them. We have created a society where its members are expected to acquire wealth to survive, but the society i.e. government/corporations are not providing the means to do so. I throw universities into your definition of corporativism, with their high fees, low standards and high administrative overhead. Students graduate with costly degrees, a mountain of debt and low paying menial jobs. Young people do not have the expertise, life’s experiences or the means to find a way out of this darkness. Rather their energy and lack of purpose are manipulated by ‘power players’ to achieve social disorder. I don’t want to turn this into another blog. Thanks for your usual insightful and thoughtful comments, JadeLi. I always appreciate your point of view.

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  2. I enjoyed this review, Len. I wholeheartedly disagree with the notion that art is what the artist says is art. That takes the rest of us out of the equation and led to a widespread disassociation with art mid last century. Art isn’t necessarily what we (the participants, the audience) say, either, though there can be a reasonable association between the artist and the audience. Though folk might believe that with post-modernism nothing has agreed-upon meaning. I went to graduate school when post-modernism was on the rise, and I came to appreciate some practical aspects of it. Post-modernism seeks to expose agenda, I suppose originally (and in an ongoing way) the agenda of the institutional, old-white-male perspective. But it can show that all of us are biased, and that bias then is a real thing and maybe a good one. Post-modernism also challenges us to reconsider how we articulate and express ourselves. There’s a part of it called binary opposition, which has it that understanding something by its opposite becomes meaningless. If I appreciate what’s good because it’s not evil or define evil as something that is not good, then I have no true understanding of either.

    The question then becomes does that mean we have no absolutes or anything with meaning to count on? I think so; I think there are absolutes. I think post-modernism can encourage us to strengthen and sharpen what we believe and why. And to consider our own biases and whether or not they hold, especially once they see the light of day. But then I also think that Marx wrote out religion from reality because he had bad experiences in the church. (So have I had.) The notion of the common good doesn’t have to be un- or non-religious. Certainly not unspiritual.

    Well, haven’t I gone on? If you’re still with me, thank you for this posting, Len.


    1. Thank you for your respectful and thoughtful comments, Christopher. I still remember toilet seats and coats of meat being displayed as high art in Art Galleries. I gave a shudder as I typed that line. Do you know of Roger Scruton an English political and art/music philosopher who died in January of this year? He has an interesting video on YouTube entitled “Why Beauty Matters”. Well worth watching. I take your points on Post Modernism, particularly the soul searching and considering our own biases. What has turned me off are the axioms being spouted on ‘white privilege’, ‘white fragility’, etc. which attempt to rise non-white races up by putting ” old-white-male perspectives” down. Not very articulate or useful debating points. Might as well be returning to the 12th century with the rabble with the pitchforks coming for you. It’s also trying to interpret 19th century standards with modern-day sensitivities. Interesting times, Christopher. Hope the next generation improves on ours….. but then again that’s enlightenment, which is currently out of fashion.


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