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Confronting Truth
as reply to Let it bleed
2021-01-13 18:52:13

@Abe, to take it up a notch about confronting truth, doesn't it follow that the artist should confront truth in the present, not only in hindsight? Or is that what you mean about growing (learning from the past) in order to confront it (the present). 

It's possible to confront truth in the present, but this timely confrontation is separate than the making act of an artist. What I mean is that artists can confront truth today, but I hypothesize it impossible to use that present day truth in their art immediately. Just like aging cheese or wine, there's a necessary lag time between truth confrontation and usage of those truths in the creation of art.

The further back an artist travels the easier it is to confront truth. But now as I write this I realize there's a caveat to this. One's ability to confront truths of the past is shaped by how we confront truth today. As in, if we are living a lie today, then when we travel back in time we will be primed to look for untruths that validate our present day lie. 

So in a way our ability to confront truths of the past is assemblaged to our ability to confront the truths of today. And likewise, the best way to confront today's truths is to look back where we might find it much more palatable to confront truth. 

Yin and Yang. 

More from Abraham Kim

lmao i love that that comment was posted twice. I'm actually excited for 
GabrielGreco
to answer that. I feel like he'll have a more firey reply.
2021-01-14 00:59:46
Perhaps the question is the most apt response to the question. My head hurts. Also, now I know I can't delete comments haha. 
2021-01-14 01:09:41
Maybe we need to break this down a bit: 
1. The quality of an artist's work can be ascribed almost proportionately to the amount of truth it contains. ie. The more truthful, the 'better' the art. But better is vague, I suppose...still, we can agree that it lays bare something that is not always obvious at first glance, so 'truth' has to do with uncovering. 

2. Does this mean truth also = discovery? Yes. For sure it does to some extent. In physics gravity is a truth. It existed before Newton discovered it though, and thus we can say Newton discovered a truth of physics. It's not the whole truth because Einstein came along with his own, and then somebody will eventually supersede Einstein's truth with Quantum theory, and so on. 
Also, this is pure truth, not art (though it could be discovered artfully). I do think this follows, as I wrote in the 'let it bleed' post, that somewhere beyond our capacity for understanding it even, there is room for a whole and complete truth. Or maybe like the universe, it continues to expand. But I digress..

3. Art is similar, in that, by way of his creativity, the artist, too, uncovers truths. The difference with art - and more so with writing - is not so much that it is the discovery of something new, but that something which might well be staring us in the face has not yet been addressed so skillfully, so creatively, so blatantly even. I'd say this entire concept might be embodied in the Emperor's New Clothes. Everyone knows he's naked, but if nobody says it, he may as well not be. And then, once somebody does say it, nobody can unsee the shrunken chest, the loose belly, the flaccid penis, the spindly legs. That's a story about truth and about its power right there. 

4. In all of this, there is also the influence of the past, but I'm not sure it's exactly how you've put it, Abe. In the Emperor's New Clothes, it was a child who spoke the truth; the one character who was not tainted by the past. In this sense, you're right that it has to do with the artist ability to travel back. There is no question we form a worldview based on our past experiences, but if that story teaches us anything is that this is what keeps us from speaking the truth. So to go back is simply to be as innocent as a wide-eyed child when challenging the norm. 
Which is also why I'm not a fan of the whole 'lived experience' narrative, as if it holds any real weight, objectively. If anything, the truth becomes more stale the more we rely on 'lived experience'. 

Ah, yes, to William's question: What is truth?

I don't know exactly, but I think I know its outline.

1. It is objective, not subjective. Subjective are opinion, perception, or experience.
2. Truth is universal and ground in a reality that cannot be altered. For example: The savagery of man is truth. So is kindness. But politeness is convention.  You won't change one into the other just because you wish it. 
3. Cut out all electricity in New York, then isolate it from the rest of the country for a year. See what it looks like when you 'open it up' again. Whatever it is, that's truth. 

Hmm, might be an interesting book. Or Netflix original. "A Year of Darkness". Any takers?
2021-01-19 11:06:09