20 Dec 2006

Artists versus Scholars

Artists create objects
Scholars entitle objects art
Without scholars, artists are only craftsmen
Without artists, scholars are no better than the proletariat
I guess Only God can be both, but God is dead

Artists are those lucky poeple born with amazing natural ability to turn objects into something for appreciation, for interpretation, and for discussion. They live with great passion and imagination, and they devote themselves to their creation. Their innovation usually leads a new fashion that contests what has been established. They are not writers, nor explainers. They express their position through their creation.

Scholars, with learned knowledge and experience, perceive the quality of objects created by artists and identify them as art. These people appreciate, interpret, and discuss what art is. They are sensible. They are trained to explain in detail the meaning of the creation. They catogorize objects, give them names, and relate them to life. They establish their position through writing and explaining ideas.

These two groups of people are interrelated; one cannot survive without the existence of the other. When a person is able to create, it usually means the person expresses him/herself through artistic actions. The result is artisitc that requires perception and identification. On the other hand, a scholar delivers his/her ideas through reinterpreting and responding to artistic actions. This brings written words clearly explaining the ideas that are embedded in artisitc creation. Therefore, one's work is completed by the other's endeavour. This is a both way communication with which social fashions are constructed and theories on arts is established.

These are also two social positions we need to choose when we are enlightened, whether it’s a secular enlightenment or a religious one. Never try to be both. A good creator will never be able to explain his/her artistic action well enough, and no one can do this job better than scholars. In the meantime, a good explainer can only speak and write, and if he/she tries to create, the result can never be better than his/her critiques on other people's works. I firmly believe that God is the only one who possesses both abilites, but unfortunately he is no longer with us anymore. As Nietzsche stated "God is dead", and if there is truly a person who can do both works, then he must be the new "Savior". As for us, the proletariat, all we can do is to find out which group we belong to and work towards it. However, if enlightenment sounds rediculous and impossible, then it is totally fine to stick with the proletariat. They are everywhere and we always need them to support the function of the society.

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