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All truly great art is optimistic. The individual artist is happy in his creative work. The fact that practically all great... Options
Daemon
Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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All truly great art is optimistic. The individual artist is happy in his creative work. The fact that practically all great art is tragic does not in any way change the above thesis.

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968)
pedro
Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012 6:19:57 AM

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Daemon wrote:
All truly great art is optimistic. The individual artist is happy in his creative work. The fact that practically all great art is tragic does not in any way change the above thesis.

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968)



Then the above thesis is wrong. I don't know when he uttered this pearl of wisdom but I suppose it was chic to utter paradoxical statements in his era.

All good ideas arrive by chance- Max Ernst
Andrey R.
Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012 9:05:26 AM

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Agreed. In fact, I claim that practically most--if not all--great art is not tragic: it serves humanity as an uplifting and enlightening achievement, and it serves the artist as a personal triumph.

Pardon me if my above statement relays the obvious, but I will readily dismiss this "paradoxical chic" quote.
MTC
Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012 9:37:16 AM
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Paradoxes challenge us to find the truth hidden beneath apparent contradiction. According to the dictionary, "paradox" means "a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true."

Sinclair expressed a paradox: "practically all" great art is both tragic and optimistic. How can this seemingly self-contradictory statement be true? Don't tragedies typically end in destruction and misery? If so, how can tragic art be optimistic, "hopeful and confident about the future" according to the OED? The philosopher Nietzshe provided an eloquent answer:

Nietzsche in "What I Owe to the Ancients" in his Twilight of the Idols wrote: "The psychology of the orgiastic as an overflowing feeling of life and strength, where even pain still has the effect of a stimulus, gave me the key to the concept of tragic feeling, which had been misunderstood both by Aristotle and even more by modern pessimists. Tragedy is so far from being a proof of the pessimism (in Schopenhauer's sense) of the Greeks that it may, on the contrary, be considered a decisive rebuttal and counterexample. Saying Yes to life even in its strangest and most painful episodes, the will to life rejoicing in its own inexhaustible vitality even as it witnesses the destruction of its greatest heroes — that is what I called Dionysian, that is what I guessed to be the bridge to the psychology of the tragic poet. Not in order to be liberated from terror and pity, not in order to purge oneself of a dangerous affect by its vehement discharge — which is how Aristotle understood tragedy — but in order to celebrate oneself the eternal joy of becoming, beyond all terror and pity — that tragic joy included even joy in destruction." (underlining added)

Celebration of "the will to life....that tragic joy included even in destruction" explanins the paradox of how great art can be both tragic and optimistic. It also explains how the "individual artist" who creates a tragedy can be "happy in his creative work."
stefanomarcelli
Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012 2:42:00 PM

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The cat I see is a dog. The dog you see is a cat, but not the same cat: it is a "tac" that's a specular dog.
These are those and a is b et rose is only for the rhyme.
The phrases above are not phrases like the progressively subtractive phrase below.
Which are the names of the Five Continents? the Four Continents are three: Asia and Africa.
MTC
Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012 3:23:06 PM
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Thanks for that, stefanomarcelli-- a creative flight somewhere between a psychotic fugue and Fellini's Satyricon. And speaking of progressively subtractive continents, run the camera backwards and the continents were once one, Gondwanaland.
Verbatim
Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012 6:26:51 PM
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Daemon wrote:
All truly great art is optimistic. The individual artist is happy in his creative work. The fact that practically all great art is tragic does not in any way change the above thesis.

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968)


The construction of this statement may suggest a syllogism, but it is not.
Sinclair would have done better had he stopped after the second sentence. The generalization, with the implied conditions of "truly" and "great", in the first sentence
could have been acceptable because of the noble sentiment. Actually, even the second sentence might ring true in spite of the pain and suffering that many great artists
have felt in the process of their creative work: that would not necessarily negate optimism, rather confirming it because surely the artist had hope for a positive outcome,
and behold the art!

Instead, Sinclair added insult to injury by yet another dubious generalization to prop up his original hypothesis, introducing the paradox.


What troubles me is mixing great art depicting tragedy --real or imagined-- which is the object, with how the artist may have felt about it, more precisely how he viewed it:
with pessimism or optimism. And thus, how we view it. It all depends on the angle of our view, and that may even include the neutral.

Verbatim
Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012 6:54:35 PM
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Here goes one of my own dubious wisdom: The optimist is blessed with seeing right through the pessimistic view. The pessimist only would that he could.

Use this with caution, or if not sure discard.
Marissa La Faye Isolde
Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012 11:49:21 PM
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Art is an act of creation. Creation is an affirmation of life. Within life there is always entwined the good and the bad, the suffering and the joy... Perhaps this is how Sinclair saw it. To create a work of art that is only joy is like creating a cartoon--a one dimensional caricature of what it is to be human.
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