17 September, 2008

Questioning Darwinism

17th September 2008

Yes, it’s legal. These days, Darwinism is no longer an ism, but a truth we’re all supposed to accept without questioning, lest we should be thought of as retards. My problem with this, beside the obvious, is that most defenders of Darwinism don’t even really know what it’s about. If you can’t explain some of your core beliefs, something is very wrong.

In spite of Charles Darwin being a Christian, Darwinism has come to be used as a weapon against God, and to establish science as something firmly against religions – indeed, science began and evolved as religion’s evil twin brother, for it found things that religion couldn’t deal with. Unfortunately, scientists today have kept this tradition, even though it is not uncalled for, as most people’s religion is now science.

I’m tackling with this as a laymen, and I believe most of you will be laymen too. Take a simple enough example: the origin of life. If I asked you to tell me what that is, I bet you’d not be very vocal. The best I could do myself is something like this: “Well, it’s an original mix of certain elements put together, and then lightning, maybe, comes and lights up the mix into a living thing.” And I’m not even kidding. I’m not even sure about the lightning thing.

Basically, for evolutionists and current scientists, life came from minerals, or, a rock. According to my sources, the experience they once did with those same minerals gave some form of life, but it was infinitely inferior to what the event should have been to make it possible for life to evolve into what we are now. I am no scientist, and I am certainly not an expert in that domain, so I can only report what I read or heard, and leave it at that.

That said, if life comes from minerals boosted up by some lightening, or without it, shouldn’t life be created every so often? If life can just happen like that, why doesn’t it happen nowadays? Surely somewhere the right mix is ready to get its ass electrified by Zeus, and life may happen again! Maybe it does, but is eaten up immediately by other organic beings around it, that would make sense.

Someone whose name I forget used the “Peanut Butter Jar Argument”, in which he explains that should life just happen from basic elements, at near random, every now and then, you should be able to open a jar of peanut butter... and find life. But it never happens, you never find anything other than peanut butter in a peanut butter jar. And yes, peanut butter is not a mineral, but it is assumed that if minerals combined together can generate life, an already organic element, necessarily having the required mix for “life”, should also be able to create the miracle. Shouldn’t it?

From my point of view, I am rather skeptic as to life happening like that. I mean, random minerals combined together generating all the life we know? Only McGyver could pull this off, and he’s not real. And he had a mullet.

But let’s assume that’s how life began. Then what? Can you explain to me why that first living organism would actually evolve into anything else? Why wouldn’t it remain what it is? According to evolutionism, it changes because the environment changes, and thus, it must adapt, or die.

And that’s the next complication. The first bacteria were perfectly adapted to their environment, and now I will quote from John P. Briggs and F. David Peat’s awesome book Looking Glass Universe:

First, bacteria did not need to make this transformation in order to adapt to the oxygenless environment they lived in at the time. They were already well adapted to that environment (even today some strains can survive only in oxygenless places such as mud or our intestinal tracts). The primary advantage seems to have been that the presence of free oxygen makes bacteria fifteen times more efficient in metabolizing glucose. However, that efficiency can only be achieved after the oxygen is freely available. That’s a problem. How could the bacteria “know” they would be more efficient if they all worked together to produce enough free oxygen so that large numbers of them could later take advantage of it (by changing one step in their metabolism)? This is only the beginning of the mystery.

If you’re interested in the shortcomings of evolutionism, and modern science, I really recommend the book, as it gives a very interesting panorama of where science is at right now, as well as explains very well where science was in the beginning of the 20th century. But back to our bacteria.

So what happens here is that those bacteria seem to have a plan. They do something entirely useless for themselves, but which will be most useful later on. Doesn’t that make you ask some questions about the assumed randomness of evolutionist theories? It certainly makes me wonder.

From the evolutionist’s side, the only way to sum up the origin of life up to then is to say this: random minerals put together caused life out of sheer luck and for no reason. Then the first living organisms decided, for no reason, those bacteria start producing oxygen that is of absolute no use for them, for now, and it is another lucky accident that once these bacteria have evolved one step, the oxygen they produced will become very useful. That’s lucky.

If you had this in court, and pointed out all the “lucky” coincidences, whoever the accused was, he would be found guilty. Coincidences happen, but when they happen all the time, and in patterns, they no longer are mere coincidences. Moving on.

Our bacteria keep evolving, for no reason, into some really complicated species, out of pure randomness. So how does that happen? According to Darwinism, and I’ll try to sum this up as best I can, random mutations happen, and are then accepted or rejected by the environment, and/or other members of the species. This is known as “natural selection”, which, I remind you, does not imply there is any will behind the process. It just happens.

Let’s take an example to clarify things a little. Giraffes. Our giraffes, for now, have very short necks, and that’s alright because the trees they eat from are not tall. One day, the trees grow (don’t ask me why those would decide to change without reason) and our giraffes face a problem. The fruits are becoming out of reach!

Thanks to that wonderful qualify of mutating that I never saw in my entire life, some giraffe is born with a longer neck. That’s the Darwinian random mutation, which, as always, is damn lucky. That long-necked giraffe can feed and the others cannot. Consequently, short-necked giraffes die, and the long-necked one survives and has many offspring. Lamarck believed that animals evolved because their attempts shaped them – the giraffe would have gotten a longer neck by actually extending it to the fruits, which, eventually, led to the neck elongating itself. Darwin’s theory is based on the lucky random mutation.

That’s what I learned in school. Now, I got some questions.

The random mutation. Does that even exist? The only mutations I know of which happen to humans are really bad things. Down syndrome and other things like that are considered mutations. I could not name a single species that has actually mutated that way.

Is it hereditary? In case of mutations, such as a two-headed goat (which, again, is not a Darwinian mutation exactly), the mutated feature does not get passed to the offspring.

Doesn’t it take two to make babies? Suppose the long-necked giraffe survives where every other giraffe dies, shouldn’t we have two randomly mutated giraffes to ensure survival? And yes, you could argue that things don’t happen this fast, that giraffes mutate slowly, as trees grow slowly, and etc, and it could work, it just sounds very, very weird. If it’s all based on sudden, random mutations, and then it also happens slowly and gradually, then the odds are getting so damn slim you can’t possibly argue it’s random!

I have more questions about the mutating principle, though. If these are random, wouldn’t we occasionally get stuff we don’t need? How lucky is it that every species has stuff it actually uses? And yes, I am aware of moles having eyes they don’t use and the lost bone in sperm whales. The thing is, those were of use at some point in the evolution of that species. I’m talking of random stuff without use.

Shouldn’t at least one species develop something utterly useless, like eyelids on the back, for no eyes? I mean if it’s random, that stuff should happen! Suppose our giraffes randomly developed a long neck, and a blue patch on their asses, would there be any reason for the blue-patched giraffes to die? No, they could survive just as well. Yes, you can argue it makes them ugly and giraffes of the opposite sex will refuse to mate, but that’s not very convincing. If Stephen Hawking can marry twice, a long-necked giraffe with a blue patch on its ass can mate too. (And I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Hawking, make no mistake.)

Camels have conveniently placed callous skin on their knees, right where the skin touches the ground when they kneel. So let me get this straight: those four bits of calloused skin placed exactly where they’re needed are the fruit of pure luck? Shouldn’t some camels have bits of calloused skin on their backs or somewhere really random and useless? Why is it that everything random in the theory also happens to be extremely useful and exist exactly where it has maximum efficiency? Besides, I doubt that not having calloused skin on your knees would make you a sure candidate for extinction, yet all camels have that. And for those who wonder if those calloused bits of skin aren’t the result of simply kneeling on the sand all the time, well I honestly don’t know. It’s a possibility, it’d make perfect sense, but it’s not my example, I saw it used by others before, and I assume, perhaps wrongly, that they checked that option before using this as an illustration.

Looking at animals and nature, I have a hard time with the idea that randomness is the cause of all this. As humans, we can’t even create life! We can’t. And the primitive life forms they say they created, well, still according to my sources, it wasn’t viable stuff at all. If scientists are as good with this as they were with cloning a sheep, I wouldn’t be surprised; yet cloning is a lot easier than creating life from scratch, which we still haven’t done.

Now, if random mutations are the stuff, why do they actually exist? What makes it so that such allegedly random mutations can even happen? If you keep the random element of it, it’s hard to make sense of it, but if you, for a second, consider the possibility that it’s not random at all, then it makes perfect sense. The trees are too high, giraffes grow a longer neck. Of all the random stuff giraffes could have grown, it had to be a long neck. And you’re going to say: “Well, if they had grown a fifth leg, it would have been useless and they would have died.” Right enough, but in that case we would have found those skeletons of badly failed random mutations. Thing is, we don’t! And when we do find odd mutations, they’re mutations of the kind that the two-headed goat had. A fifth leg would not have changed the giraffes’ situation much, but it would have survived long enough to procreate somewhat, and would have left us a good number of five-legged specimens. They haven’t, because this particular mutation never took place. It was only the really useful mutation that took place.

Now to humans! And I will again quote from Looking Glass Universe:

As Gould and Eldredge point out, however, the fossil evidence doesn’t actually show a picture of gradual evolution. The geological record shows, instead, that when a species dies out it looks pretty much the same as when it appeared. There are missing links between species. The inability to find these missing links is something of an embarrassment to palaeontologists. Gould calls it the “trade secret”. The picture the geological record does show is a picture of species appearing “suddenly” in a few thousand years (which is sudden in geological time), emerging into reality fully formed. Our own species, the large-brained Homo sapiens, virtually popped into existence amid several other hominids. Efforts to arrange the skeletal evidence of these hominids in a gradual sequence have not proved successful.

And while I’m at it, let me quote another passage not far away from the first:

No single feature by itself would offer any survival advantage. For organisms to change their nature and function, many features have to evolve together. This means fantastic genetic coordination. Random mutation of a gene here and there couldn’t accomplish such a transformation.

The first quote hints towards what is referred to as “punctuational” evolution. This is the evidence we have, and the fact that no Darwinist ever solved the “missing link” problem is most likely because there is no missing link at all. If there were, we’d have found it by now.

Obviously, there is evolution, I don’t deny that, I merely question Darwinism here, and it seems to me that Darwinism is wrong and even preposterous in some cases. But things like the sperm whale’s lost bone seems to me to be solid proof that species do evolve. That whale once had legs, or back flippers, or something, and it gradually lost it. That bone did not disappear all of a sudden, and it is a good question whether or not that bone will continue to disappear.

What is at stake with this topic is the randomness of everything. The Church of Science has always tried to make it so that the universe had no meaning and was solely made of coincidences and that there was no God, or that the question of God shouldn’t even be approached by science. This was the mindset for most of the 20th century. We’re beginning to see that it most likely isn’t so random, and that there are principles at work which we ignore still.

According to the skeletal evidence we have, our species just sort of came out of nowhere, and since then we haven’t evolved one bit. In the entire biological history of the homo sapiens, I know no known mutation that lasted. And racial features aren’t mutations of the same kind, if they are mutations at all; I guess you could say they are, but they’re extremely minor: most of these racial differences are either skin colour or skin shape, and that mostly in the facial area. No human ever mutated a new limb, a new internal organ, or anything of the sort which they then passed on to their children. That has never happened, not once. And I wouldn’t argue that humans developed darker and paler skin because of the sun based on natural selection: what would a lighter shade of skin or a darker one change in the individual life of one human? It’s such a gradual thing, we are told, that you couldn’t even tell the difference. Something else is at work on those changes, and it’s not randomness.

Holocaust Denial

17th September 2008

In some countries, denying the Holocaust is a criminal offence. I believe it is illegal in France, for example. In this chapter I will argue that denying the Holocaust should be legal. Now, don’t get all excited on me: I do not support Holocaust denial.

Here is my logic: if you believe that the Holocaust is a true historic event (which I do), then you shouldn’t need a law to reinforce this truth. The earth is not flat, we don’t have a law punishing people who argue that it is (and these people exist, they are called “flatearthers” and they’re interesting).

Suppose someone wants to tell everyone else that the earth is flat, or that the Holocaust never happened, let them! If someone writes a book about how the Holocaust never happened, let them, and then take them to court for lies and have a real debate over the actual arguments put forward by the author. That’s how it should be done, in credibility’s name. If you ban such people from speaking or writing at face value, you rob everyone of a debate that would prove where the truth lies, and you fuel some people’s ideas of conspiracy and injustice. Remember, justice is blind, and it is blind to stupidity too, but it concerns itself with facts, and that’s what should be focused on.

Backing up the truth with a law is in fact weakening said truth. Making a fool of yourself should be the only consequence of denying the Holocaust, and anyone who seeks to ridicule Holocaust deniers should do so based on facts, not with insults or comments about the mental status of the deniers.

I know there’s a difference between claiming that the earth is flat and denying the Holocaust. That difference is about the emotional side of the Holocaust. The problem is this: if you think the deniers are concerned about that emotional side of things, and try to purposely hurt people, then you tacitly admit that they are not concerned with historical facts, but have an agenda of their own which cares little about the truth. That sort of thing is punishable by law, and should be punished by law, too, but until you can prove that said deniers are in it for the hurt, they should be free to expose whatever facts they have.

16 September, 2008

Sex & Death: Your New Gods

17th September 2008

I already pointed out in a previous chapter that many live under very religious beliefs, but fail to see the religious nature of their mindset. Science, for instance, has dogmas, and don’t you miss that. Interestingly enough, when a religion has dogmas, you know it’s admitting “weakness”, in that there would be no need for dogmas was the truth available. Science never claims to have dogmas, thus the question of its objectivity isn’t even raised. True science should be non-dogmatic, and shouldn’t behave with a prejudiced mindset. However, in our days, science is dogmatic. Because of this, when so called “anomalous objects” are found, rather than challenge the paradigm, those objects are spirited away. Not very scientific. But enough on that topic.

This to say that God does not die, He changes. I mean of course people’s idea of God, not the entity Itself. In what way are Eros and Thanatos your new Gods? I’ll tell you. “You” being people who either stopped or never started believing in God.

Suppose you’re an atheist, which is not possible unless you combine serious lack of knowledge and curiosity with an impressive arrogance and a very short-sighted mind, then why would you live? Like most people, you would not question this before your life becomes difficult. Any happy person with a happy life can live on without asking questions, because life’s fun justifies itself. It gets complicated when life is a struggle.

From the point of view of an atheist, why live? If there is no meaning to life except the one we give it, why live? Pleasure. Pleasure is usually the atheist’s reason to live, and what sustains the atheist, usually, is simply that life is enjoyable. Naturally, this applies to far more people than atheists alone.

In this pretty picture of life without consequences, one comes to think of death. Death is the one thing that will make you stop and ponder, and stare in wonder. Something without meaning having an end, that may sound a little bit odd. If there’s no meaning to anything, why should it even end? (Not to mention: why should it even begin?)

Still supposing you’re an atheist, and believe there is no driving principle in the universe, no plan, no will other than ours, and no all-encompassing meaning, what will you live for? For yourself, obviously. Now, this will not apply to all people, but to most. In terms of pleasure, sex is the summit we can reach in our earthly lives, therefore, to someone who has no better reasons to live than pleasure, sex will become a God of its own kind, just as death stands as another God of sorts, putting a massive stop sign to our meaningless lives of self-centered pleasure-seeking in the name of nothingness.

If everything you do serves no higher purpose, no greater good, you can limit your life to pleasuring your personal self, because that’s all that your faith will provide for (yes, I said “faith”, because that’s all we can have, short of perfect and omniscient knowledge, which we will never have).

In our days, everything focuses on us as individuals, not as a community of any kind. Everything that is advertised for is done on an individual basis: it’s always about what you, as a single person, can buy. It makes sense from a marketing perspective, but it’s more than just commercials that focus on the individual. From every side, you’re evaluated in what you are as an individual person, more so than ever before in our history.

And all these things are tied to materialism, because people generally do not care much about your spirituality as an achievement, they’ll be more impressed by your material possessions.

Virginity these days has become a laughing matter, sadly, and that’s yet another example of Sex being your new God. “One day you’re gonna die, why wait? Have sex now!”

It all makes sense once you understand the paradigm: meaningless lives in a meaningless universe, we might as well enjoy our short time here. If that’s enough for you to live on, I’m impressed. Personally I would require a lot more than that to make my life worth living.

With Gods like sex and death, to have faith, you have to have pleasure. If you do, and if you maintain a happy life, then I guess you can run on that sort of faith for quite some time. It all depends on the questions you ask, or don’t.

But what’s the point of this chapter exactly? If you believe that sex is the best thing that can happen to you in this life, and that death is the worst, and last, thing that can happen to you, then yes, these two are your new Gods. From that fact, you can conclude many things. Maybe you’re happy with the situation as it is, and maybe you need more. Maybe the idea that your life is just a big heap of nonsense which you can enjoy (or not) for around 75 years, and then you die, and then everything you ever lived, thought, felt, is forgotten, and then everyone who knew you dies too, and nothing remains of you, absolutely nothing – well if this idea seems to you a little wrong, and that it can’t possibly be that way, maybe you should not give up on the idea that there might be a higher purpose, a greater good, and that what you do does matter in a transcendental way which may never be obvious to us.

10 September, 2008

My 9/11

11th September 2008

People of my generation – I was born in 1982 – didn’t really have one major historic date in their lives. That is, until September 11th 2001. I assume everyone of us remembers exactly what they were doing that day, how they discovered the news, and their reaction to it.

On the 11th of September 2001, I was about to begin university. I was enjoying several months of holidays, which I spent reading Dostoyevsky, playing Megaman Legends 2 on the old Playstation, and discovering Sigur Ròs as well. I probably played some Driver too.

That day, in the afternoon, around 2 p.m. local time, I turned on the TV to see the weirdest sight: one of the World Trade Center towers was smoking with a seemingly huge hole in its bosom. Commentators were not totally sure what happened, but they said a plane crashed in it. I thought that was rather strange, but what a breaking news! Keep in mind that at this moment, nobody thought of a terrorist attack. I thought it was the queerest accident ever, but I certainly didn’t think it was an attack.

From that point on, I remained glued to the TV screen. I sent a few phone texts to friends: “Watch CNN! Some plane crashed in the WTC!” And as I watched this surreal image of the tower smoking, another explosion occurred. Even weirder, I actually saw the second plane live, crash into the other tower. Of course, at first I thought I had hallucinated, there could not possibly be a second plane crashing by accident in those towers.

The commentators said the explosion heard and felt was probably from the engine of the (first) plane, which would have exploded after the initial crash. I wondered about the plane I had seen myself. Then CNN found out that the engine exploding after the crash was not a very good explanation for the new explosion because it was located on the other tower. At this point it became really crazy. Nobody mentioned an attack, I still thought it was an accident. But now, with two planes crashing in two towers, that was unreal. My first thought was that some diabolical automatic piloting was the culprit, and that for some reason, planes were now forced to take this deadly course and crash into New York’s highest skyscrapers.

I thought, with disbelief, that maybe a third plane would come, that they would keep on coming. Then news of the Pentagon being attacked came on, and at that point, I don’t remember how I felt and what I thought. Except this: “Well, maybe this day will be referred to as a historical day, and I was there.” Not an especially noble thought, but for once in my life, I felt the entire world was together in this, and this was true.

The towers hadn’t collapsed yet, I think, and so I wasn’t aware of what was really going on. I thought the planes had crashed, there was smoke, but everything was so calm yet (from my far away point of view, no CNN journalist that I could see was on the ground per se). And then as this commentator from several miles away, atop another building, was commentating on the situation, one tower collapsed. As with the second plane, this made the whole thing take another dimension. I didn’t expect the tower to collapse. I couldn’t believe it when it happened.

Later on, the second tower collapsed, and I couldn’t believe it either.

That day I watched TV from 2 p.m. to around 3 a.m. in the night, maybe more. The following two weeks, every TV channel I received showed the towers collapsing repeatedly, over and over, again and again. I saw the planes crash over 200 times, and the same amount of times did I see the towers collapse.

The horror of it wasn’t made clear to me until afterwards, when we started seeing what people on the ground had filmed themselves. People jumping off the towers, plummeting downwards to certain death. People so small, and so hopeless that they chose to jump rather than to stay inside, in a hell I cannot imagine. To this day I get goose-bump thinking about that situation: between fire and a terrible fall. And to this day, this event – 9/11 – remains the most surrealist thing I have witnessed.

Doing some research on it recently, I saw footage of falling people. Footage of that woman waving from a smoky hole in the façade of the building. Footage of those two persons who jumped hand in hand, and fell together, still hand in hand, until the fatal crash ensued. That too gives me goose-bump as I write those very words.

9/11 marked the beginning of a new era, and the end of another. In my life, it ended my teenage years, and marked the beginning of my adult life. I was 19 when this happened, I am 26 now.

7 years later, I am about to terminate my studies, as I was about to begin them when 9/11 happened. What happened in between? Lots. I have been more hurt in that period than ever before in my life, and I’m not out of it. And yes, you are right, I could have been in those towers too.

Given that this chapter is public, I would like to address my most sincere condolences to anyone directly affected by this tragedy. I know what it’s like to lose someone you love, and I have suffered tremendously because of it, and I would like to tell you that you are not alone, that you have my sympathy, and that I love you. I don’t know you, but you are a human, and I believe all humans have this something in common which makes us able to love each other, and to know each other. We have more in common than it sometimes feels like, and I rely on this to offer you my sympathy, my faith, my trust, and my love.


06 September, 2008

Traditions & Remodernism

20th October 2007

The way traditions are perceived with Remodernism is probably a very important difference from the way Post-Modernism perceives them. While I am relatively unsure of what I am about to say, I’ll let you be judge on the accuracy of my statements. It seems to me that Post-Modernism focused on traditions as something to deconstruct, to undo, to challenge. Remodernism, I believe, sees them as useful structures to build upon.

I have already discussed in length the problem of focusing on the traditions for themselves. You spend more time challenging things that aren’t really interesting in themselves. Indeed, while I believe that traditions are the result of something that worked for a long time and whose efficiency has sustained the test of time, I also believe that they are good only insofar as they are used to make something, and it is that something which truly matters. In other words, the art. No one really cares about traditions per se, unless you’re an analyst and study structures, patterns, and the history or mechanics thereof. As art-appreciators, the traditions are tools to make good art, not entities in their own right that deserve worshipping.

To take a concrete example, let’s think of the portrait; that is the kind of tradition I am talking about. A portrait is the tradition of painting, or else, faces, to put it in the simplest way I can think of. Of itself, it’s not much. It becomes something when applied, not before. Of course it would be interesting to explore the limits of that tradition, to play with its old rules and such, to create art (and that’s the thing that matters) but if the art you create is only here to discuss the tradition of the portrait without further aims, then it’s not all that interesting. That is what I have always disliked about Post-Modernism as I understand it and contemporary art: it focuses on art instead of on life. No wonder the larger audience doesn’t care about art if the only art that’s being produced during their time is art that is like a dog chasing its own tail. Not everyone is an artist, but everyone lives. Never forget that.

Here’s a lousy example of a tradition challenged with measly results. Imagine a canvas folded about the middle, making the painting take a right angle. Well, obviously your painting has crossed the realm of bi-dimensional art into tri-dimensional art such as sculpture. While that may sound great, if you think about it for more than 5 minutes, it becomes rather dull, especially if there’s nothing else to the piece. Transdimensional art sure sounds good but what then? You’re not doing anything that wall-painters haven’t done all their lives.

I guess you see the point: it’s up to anyone to look at a painted building and think about how those walls exist in three dimensions and so does the paint on them. This is more like a thought-experiment, and less like art. I am not suggesting it’s inherently evil, just that this doesn’t make good art for me. I judge it for what it’s worth: it’s not bad, but I can’t say it evokes much emotion in me or makes me stand still and look at life differently.

Some branches of art haven’t been so badly attacked by Post-Modernism as others. Think of music, while you did have people doing strange things like recording a pianist coming on stage, sit down at the piano, wait 5 minutes and leave, that type of things rarely gets the popular seal of approval, and, it shall be said, nor does contemporary art in general (museum art). Music especially proves the usefulness of traditions. Can you think of any song on the radio that doesn’t use a chorus-verse-bridge structure? I can’t quite, but I am also aware that many people explore those structures and make very creative music with them. Please note I said with them, not against them. That, perhaps, is the difference between Post-Modernism and Remodernism; we do not fight against traditions, rather, we get along with them and don’t see them as important enough in themselves to deserve to be fought, undone, torn to nothingness.

(In the precedent paragraph, I did not talk of classical music, as there certainly is a lot more structural discussion that could be done there, but as I am not classical music expert, I chose not to enter the topic.)

I will end this article on something I once again noticed no later than last night. Post-Modernists, and the larger population, have a tendency to hate clichés. I hate certain clichés too, but a difference between hollow clichés and eternal things must be made. Good things are always good to say again, and it doesn’t matter that it’s not new. Traditions are by definition not new, but that is not a reason to dismiss them. So, last night I took a peek at a discussion about the Remodernism manifesto, and when spirituality in art was defined, the clever critique commented “no shit Sherlock”. This absolutely proves my point that Post-Modernists (whether they know they are or not) can’t stand things that aren’t new, no matter how right on they are. You know, Post-Modernists, it is allowed to say things that were true 1000 years ago, are true today, and will be true in 1000 years. We are not all treating life at face-value; most often, the better truths aren’t screaming at you, but softly murmuring to anyone who takes the time to take a look at what has always been there, and isn’t new.

Defining the Identity of Remodernism

20th October 2007

Before I say anything on the matter of Remodernist identity, let me make it understood that I don’t regard myself as any authority on the subject, merely a person trying to figure it out. So basically this text will be me talking to myself. Come on in and enjoy.

In my understanding, what makes Remodernism different from a lot of artistic movements is the fact that it is not defined so much by the art created as by the mindset of the creator. Should I be wrong on this, please feel free to correct me. However, I think I got that one down pretty well.

This implies that you can be a Remodernist no matter what your artistic style is, abstract, realistic, dark, impressionist, etc. It also means the media used can be anything. It can be digital art, sculpture, film, music, anything.

For those who only see the good side of this, I suggest you think about the risk. The risk is that such a vast disposition may loosen the identity of the movement. You can’t quite recognise a Remodernist painting from non-Remodernistic art, can you? I think not. You can recognise Cubist art because Cubism is based on elements that have to do directly with the art in question, whereas Remodernism – in my understanding – focuses more on the mind of the artist, regardless of what the artist does. Naturally, however, the ideas and beliefs and opinions of an artist do have an influence on his or her work, but it is a much less conspicuous influence than Cubism would be, for instance.

And the question is, is that enough to form a solid identity? I tend to think that yes, that is enough. It certainly is general and on a higher scale than Cubism, in that it’s not on the same level, I’m not suggesting it’s better or worse, just on a different scale, and because of its loftier nature (still scale-wise), it encompasses more, but less directly and less obviously.

Post-Modernism and Relativism

12th August 2007

You all know Relativism first-hand because you certainly faced it and even practiced it. I can't blame anyone for it, not even myself, because some Relativism is expected today, however, it may go too far. Let's take an example.

The classic illustration of Relativism is the question of Good and Evil, and yes, I capitalised those words. In today's world, 5 times out of 6, you're perceived as an uneducated idiot if you say you believe there's a Good and an Evil. What you have to say in order to sound endowed with a functional brain is the following words: it depends. Well does it really?

Let's now take an extreme example: crushing a baby's head underfoot. Even the most educated and learned will - usually - say that it's "bad" or "evil". But then they will add: "But it depends. If by this act you save the world (suppose an extraordinary circumstance makes this possible and that without a doubt as to the positive outcome of said skull-crushing), then it's not so bad or evil." Good point smarty, but you will agree that this is not the same as merely crushing a baby's head underfoot. Of course "it depends" if you add something else to it. Now take this example and add nothing to it: can it ever be deemed anything else but bad and evil? No. There is no question about it, there is no relativity here.

Smarty person then moves on to say that "perhaps a serial-killer or some other psychopath would derive pleasure from that kind of act; therefore it would be considered good." But smarty person forgets what I said just above: add nothing to it. A deranged mind functions on other standards; I'm talking about normal average humans. Those rarely even consider the crushing underfoot of an infant's skull. Why? Because it is Evil.

I know many of you may have some itching allergic reaction to admitting how much we rely on those archaic notions - Good and Evil - and yet, if you are honest with yourself, and if you are introspective enough, you will realise that most of your actions are based on whether what you do is Good or Evil. Typically, people don't obey laws merely because they are afraid of the possible punishment of committing a crime, but because they believe that the crimes in questions are Evil in the first place. Most people who feel a law is unfair or unnecessary will simply not obey it. May anyone who smoked pot in a country where it was illegal raise his or her hand. There you go. We obey the law insofar as we agree with it, and the fear of punishment never kept anyone from committing any crime, simply because whatever major crimes happen, they are never committed out of mere cold rational reasoning. No one does anything Evil for Evil's sake; even the worst atrocities are done in the name of Good, albeit a perverted Good. Sadists will derive pleasure from inflicting pain, but the point is that they enjoy this, and it makes them happy, and being happy is a good thing, just in this case it is only so for the sadist. Happiness and pleasure are good things, and they can be caused by evil acts, but it doesn't make the acts any less evil.

Another key element in Relativism is the Truth question. Can things be right or wrong? The "it depends" here again counts a lot for Relativists. You may also be scorned with the following words: "Do you still believe in objective truth?" And that's when you just throw the question back at the questioner. And they say "there is no objective truth." And then you got them, but they won't notice, so you have to explain. If there is no objective truth, then on what basis do you make such a statement? If there is no objective truth, you cannot say anything that would be "true", much less would you be able to say that there is no truth. Consider the following:

A) People who believe the truth exists, and that they have it.
B) People who think the truth does not exist.
C) People who don't know whether A or B are right, but keep looking.

What B usually don't realise is that they too believe that truth exists. If you state that the truth does not exist, you shoot yourself in the foot, because you're stating what you think is a truth. Smarty person may now suggest that I am toying around with paradoxes, and that, therefore, my argument is invalid. For one, I am not toying around with anything; for two, I don't see how this being a paradox would make the argument any less valid; for three, you brought this paradox up, I merely made it explicit.

When Relativists claim that everything is relative, they are making a very non-relative statement. It's dogmatic if anything.

Post-Modernists share this Relativism as a value, and so do a large part of people. This ideology isn't perceived as one since it is so widely shared. In most instances, it will be perceived as mere common sense, the kind that doesn't require backup. Don't let yourself be defeated or silenced by that. Demand arguments.

It's one thing to feel that everything is relative and everything "depends" and that you can do one thing and another and it will be the same. It's quite another to leave it at that and not question the veracity of this idea. I think it's too easy.

Don't take it for granted that everything is meaningless, and if you do, then live up to your ideas. I've never seen a Relativist suddenly truly act on his or her ideas. The idea that all is relative works well in the abstract, but as soon as you demand it to be applied, then "Relativists" just won't do it.

One of the problems with Relativism is that a large amount of people resent the simplicity of some things, things that sound "stupid" and not intricate enough for their ego and intellect. The notions of Good and Evil as explained above are simple enough, indeed, "too" simple for some. Simple is not a bad thing, stupid, however, is. The idea that something isn't "complicated" enough for our egos and intellects is a very arrogant and dumb idea. Indeed, some things are very simple, and very wisely so: excrements smell bad, that means "don't eat that", and good food smells good, that means "yummy". Cheese is a hybrid, I'll grant you that, but only because I'm biased about cheese.

Relativists will often tell you that you're "anthropocentric" or "ethnocentric". What they mean is that you see things from the point of view of a human, and of a human in a particular cultural setting. Relativists will often wallow in the mud of fallacy because they think that being able to point out anthropocentrism and ethnocentrism actually rids them of being a human in a given cultural setting. It doesn't.

Thus you have people who make fun of other people, arguing that it is hilariously stupid to think that you can say "God" is generous, loving, hating, etc, when all those attributes are human things. Right enough, doing so anthropomorphises "God" and it should not be taken for granted that "God" fits those human standards. However, it should not be taken for granted either that "God" does not share those features. We don't know either way, and merely because one side of the issue seems too simple, it doesn't mean the other side is any the righter.

I heard a Relativist talk about aliens. He said: "You shouldn't be so sure that aliens would want our best interest; you should not think they are like us." Right enough again, we shouldn't assume too much about what we don't know, but that goes both ways, smarty person. Just as much as you shouldn't assume aliens would behave like we would, you shouldn't assume either that they wouldn't. Some things might be universal, and until you can prove that there can't be (which itself would be universal, and thus a self-defeating find), you should suspend your judgement.

Relativism is one of the main pillars of Post-Modernism, both artistically and culturally. It is one of the main reasons why trying to undermine any belief we may have has become a reflex nowadays. I'm not suggesting that it's a bad reflex, I'm only saying that you should know how to use doubt. Relativism itself doesn't survive doubt very long; there's a difference between questioning and blindly sticking to a view which proves to be a lot more unstable than commonly believed.

There are more alternatives to Relativism than Fundamentalism, and in fact, Relativism is a kind of Fundamentalism. Most of those Post-Modern isms pass themselves as open-minded and educated when in fact they are both narrow-minded in the extreme, and poorly tested by doubt. You need to use doubt and questioning heavily, but you must not stop using it as soon as it undid something. Post-Modernists, it seems, merely stopped there. I do not condone giving up, and much less do I condone enjoying the apparent meaninglessness and chaos thus discovered. We can do better.

Spirituality, Religion, and Remodernism

11th August 2007

Someone somewhere raised the question of whether Remodernism could be "spiritual" without being "religious". For this reason, I will attempt to explain the situation.

In order to do so, we need to define "religion" and then "spirituality". All of this in view of the manifesto of Remodernism as written by Billy Childish and Charles Thomson. Here is what I understand from the manifesto: the difference between religion and spirituality - since the manifesto claims that Remodernism is the latter but not the first - is that a "religion" is somehow more strict and more defined that "spirituality" which is perceived as an inherently human quest that every person is liable to undertake.

In this Post-Modern age, many of us are quite cynical about things that were considered sacred in the past. Many even laugh at the word "soul". It could be this that made the authors of the manifesto fear at the word "religion", which they see as different from spirituality, and I cannot blame them for it. Too many religious people are not truly spiritual, but that is another question.

Thus, by spirituality, we mean an existential quest of the human soul, call it "consciousness" if you are afraid of the word "soul". True spirituality is defined by an intransigent quest for the Truth, and by "Truth", I mean "what is". In other words, an honest and genuine desire from the individual to look for the Truth, regardless of how hard, or even impossible, that may be. That, I think, is the spirituality referred to in the manifesto.

The emphasis on saying that Remodernism is not a religious movement may come from two things: either the word "religion" is of itself something too scorned in Post-Modern times, or merely that the authors wanted to define Remodernism in broader terms than a "religion" would seem to imply. I believe the latter is the one. And I do understand why some people can question whether you can be spiritual without being religious. It depends on your own definitions of those things, and all I will say here is that, to me, a truly religious person is de facto a spiritual one. But that only post-pones the question at "truly". What is a truly religious person? Well, a person who is truly spiritual. And on, and on.

The role of God, or "God" if the word scares you, is important in the manifesto. Bringing back God/"God" into the arts is stated as one of the goals of the movement. Yet it specifies that this God/"God" is not as was before, by which I understand that it is a broader version of God/"God" than the masses are used to. In other words, and in my own, a God that is not owned or copyrighted by the main organised religions of this world. Trust me, if there is such a God, He certainly does not belong to anyone and certainly is not copyrighted by any group either. (Let it be said, however, that not belonging to does not mean that said group is wrong in its belief; all I am saying here is that no one owns God.)

One thing I wanted to do with this article is show that there is a strong connection between materialism, scientific arrogance, and atheism, as well as with the general disenchantment of the world and the feeling of superiority too many of our fellow humans seem to share. Do not misunderstand me, however. I do not suggest that Remodernism should become a religiously affiliated movement; what I say, instead, is that Remodernism ties back with the spirit of Truth that made humans want to understand the world in which they live, who they are, and God (and you can call this entity with any name you want). I think all of this is stated in the manifesto.

Another important point is the notion of a "higher purpose" which I myself described as "Greater Good" in another chapter. Having your eyes on a Greater Good is what keeps you aware that what you do is not just about you, or at least that it shouldn't be. Art allows us to communicate on a different level, and that should never be lost from sight. And for those of you who feel that likening art to communication is cheapening, you need to do some re-thinking about the act of communication, because believe me, if it weren't for communication, most of us would have committed suicide. As humans, the burden of loneliness and the sheer awareness of our being a single person forever secluded from others in some ways, the weight of all this is quite heavy and communication saves us from unimaginable torments. Therefore, do not underestimate communication, and do not underestimate art's communicative powers.

Now, we need to highlight why spirituality matters in an artistic endeavour. Spirituality - as the existential quest for meaning and understanding of both oneself and the outside world - represents a lot of work and a lot of questioning and of research. Likewise, art is demanding. And likewise, art can be very fruitful. Unlike philosophy, the theoretical kind, both spirituality and art request you to act on your ideas. Thinking about painting will not make you a painter, and true spirituality has effects in your daily life (so would true religious behaviour, I'd argue, but that is another topic).

What is common to spirituality and art is devotion. I could name countless artists who devoted themselves with the most grandiose faith and will. Take someone like Vincent Van Gogh. Here is a man who believed in what he was doing, even though no one else, or so very few, did. This man was not only a painter, but a spiritual person. Yes, he was a Christian, but what made him spiritual was that he believed in the worth of a human life, and in the potential of art. To this he devoted his life. And I believe no one is an artist without this devotion, by which I mean that no one gets to practice an art if this person has no faith in it. Most artists aren't paid for their art, but they don't need to have money as a motivation. Their art itself is worth it.

Art is one of the few things that give your soul/consciousness its real importance. If food is important to keep us alive, humans weren't meant to live "by bread alone", and if you doubt this, imagine a life without music. I love music, and a lifetime without any of it sounds like a nightmare. Dying of starvation is certainly not pleasant, but no more would a lifetime without music be. Art is useful and if you think that "useful" is demeaning, think again. Nothing exists that has no use. Supposed "useless" art in the past still had the use of being useless, which itself was useful. Being beautiful, arresting, fascinating, etc, may not seem very useful in the short-run, but you will realise that the usefulness of things aren't all of the same nature, that they're all equally useful to you. We tend to place the needs of the body higher than those of the soul/consciousness; don't you forget that a desperate soul will still commit suicide despite having food at hand. And yes to your question, I believe art saves.

To conclude, I want to state that Remodernism is inclusive, not exclusive, as you can read in the manifesto, and that because of this, any religious person is most welcome, as is any non-religious person. Is an atheist person capable of spirituality? I don't know, but I certainly would not mind seeing that at work. Once again, and I can't stress this enough, spirituality is about wanting to know the Truth, whatever it may happen to be. Total devotion to the Truth, what is, is what spirituality means. Being spiritual means that you undertake this difficult and tricky quest; whether you do so as a Buddhist, a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu, or as an atheist does not really matter as far as Remodernism is concerned. What matters is that you search for the Truth.

Why Remodernism?

2007, this was written in the tone of a manifesto.

Because we are not the children of the Second World War. Or of the First. The trauma of this war was a major part of why movements like Dadaism and Surrealism were ever born. Dadaists were basically nihilists and challengers of conventions. In that challenging, I condone the movement and I understand and perceive the worthiness of such an endeavour. Challenging conventions makes sense when there are conventions to challenge. It made sense when Marcel Duchamp exposed a urinal on its back and called it a "fountain". Why did it make sense? Because back then, and mark my words - back then - it was worthwhile to ask oneself what art was, and what wasn't. You can discuss the worth of Duchamp's urinal forever, but the point is that at least he was doing something new, and if for no other reason, that was sufficient to deserve attention. Doing that nowadays, a century after, makes little sense to me. Thanks to the ambient mindset, anything is art, and thus, nothing is art anymore.

If a ready-made object is as much art as a painting, then there is no difference between a work of art and anything at all. While I too believe that everything has the potential to be art, just having this potential is not enough. Meaning: if you find a beautiful leaf, just taking the leaf and putting it in a museum won't make it more art than if you met said leaf in the forest; while if you take a photograph of said leaf, or paint it, or write a poem about it, then you use that potential of the leaf to create art. Never forget that art is intrinsically connected to your consciousness as a human being and that weren't it for this mysterious faculty, there would be no art. Leaves are beautiful to a conscious mind, without that, they just are.

I believe there is a difference between a mere idea and a work of art. Conceptual art, for all I know of it, thinks it's the same thing. Exposing ideas in a gallery isn't what art is about; naturally, I'm not suggesting that art never conveys ideas, far from that, but art isn't only about ideas. I will take the now famed example of the dead shark in a museum. Is this art? I guess you can call it art provided you write "God" as the author of the piece, or "Nature" or anything you want. Otherwise it's just a dead shark. The idea that anyone waited on whoever put that shark in the museum to consider that sharks had some beauty is a very pretentious idea, not to say a silly one. I liked it when Duchamp put his urinal in a museum because back then it hadn't been done, and it raised questions. Given the stuff artists do today, I wouldn't be surprised by anything at all, except maybe to see an art work which actually touched me deep inside and made me think. A dead shark doesn't do that because I have seen live sharks, and I have seen them in their own environment, and it beats a dead shark surrounded by cynical humans masturbating their egos with hollow praise of self-recognition of intelligence.

Why Remodernism today? Nowadays we have the impression that history is over, that all movements are done for and that everything has been done and there's nothing else to create. Because of the mostly scientifical approach we have towards the universe, we tend to think we know a lot more than we actually do, and most of us safely rely on scientists to know the things the average person is not aware of. That is, much like Medieval people who could not read, let alone read Latin, and who could not have access to the Bible, the paradigm maker of that time, people simply trusted the educated ones, those who could read, and read Latin. Nowadays, we cannot all study physics for 7 years and we likewise rely on scientists. Science is the true Church of our day, and its dogma is all the stronger as it is ever hardly perceived as such. No one thinks Science is dogmatic, thus it isn't seen as such. Yet, in a very dogmatic way, scientists unobjectively prefer to fund research on volcanoes rather than on UFO's, on viruses rather than on the existence of a God, on this theory rather than that one, etc. To name but one concrete example, examine how impossible it was, and is, to fund research projects on the origin of the universe that aren't in line with the Big Bang theory. While it is not a direct interdiction, and while no one actually takes the responsibility of it, such a research cannot be made, no more can you genuinely fund research on other alternative theories or subjects that seem "paranormal" or else. But enough on this.

The point of all this is that we are currently living in a cynical age. We think we know when we don't - thus sharing the idiotic and arrogant opinion of every century that the century just past was wrong and that we are right (when every century was always wrong) - and we look down on the universe as something to be merely decoded but that has nothing transcendental or worthy beyond being a riddle or a puzzle. During the 20th century, empires fell, institutions declined, beliefs and dogmas were proved wrong, and we realised we were on shaky grounds, and some of us decided that since this ground was shaky, no ground was safe to trust and that therefore we should never trust again. In other words, World War I put an end to the empires of Europe, World War II and Nazism put an end to our optimism in humanity, Auschwitz became the name of God's death as heralded by Nietzsche, JFK's assassination put an end to the people's trust in their leaders (which trust had only been abused just the same before, but things got public), the Vietnam War further hit on the nail's head, and by the time I was born, we had nothing but big hair bands to undo, which was done away with in the early 90's. Thanks to Nirvana and Kurt Cobain - whom I adore - whose obvious self-bashing and loss of faith in life and the world is typical of the first generation of the aftermaths of the death of all ideals after World War II, i.e. the X Generation, or the children of the hippies, who failed to change the world to a better one.

Now that we have witnessed the crumbling of it all, it is no longer needed to either testify of it, and no longer required to undo anymore. There is nothing left to destroy, deconstruct, or dissect. To do so in our day and age amounts to take a massive piss in the face of us all. This is no time for cynicism. This generation was born among ruins, and we must rebuild. Also, we must not remain faithless to ideals. Just because Nazis happened does not mean humans are worthless. Humans can be pretty bad, we all know this, but that is not a reason to give up on them, or yourself. Organised religions have failed us, do not let their failure taint your faith, and do not let them stop you in your quest for the Greater Good. So why Remodernism? Because when everything lays in ruins, someone must take responsibility to reconstruct, to rebuild. As Remodernists, it is our role and duty to prove to the world that art can be more than a pseudo-intellectual sorry little joke for the elitists to enjoy at the expense of the bulk of us. Therefore stop contemplating the ruins of this past century, and start to envision the monuments we will build together in the next one.

See the official Remodernist Manifesto.

Against Post-Modernism

2007, I think.

If you're not familiar with all those fancy names that we use to describe artistic movements of all kinds, here's a quick sum up of the ones you'll need here. Classicism is just what it says, being classic, as in usual, regular, etc. Then there is Modernism (Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, etc.) which was essentially a way to experience new things by using new means and things not traditional in Classicism. Keep in mind that these lines are blurry and that it's not always possible to categorise artists so easily, of course. But let's keep things easy here. Then there was Post-Modernism, as its name implies, a movement with little ambition.

To caricature the whole deal, say that if a Classicist book is just what you'd expect of a book, a Modernist book will challenge some of the standards, and a Post-Modern book will either be entirely made of blank pages or there will be shit plastered on every other page. In painting, that means you move from a Da Vinci, to a Monet, to a Picasso, to a Pollock, to just a monochrome made by some anonymous moron who somehow thought a monochrome was still interesting in the early days of the 21st century.

Art used to be substantial. Art used to say something. Now, my impression is that Post-Modernist art, which is just a failure to maintain the goals of the original Modernism, is merely a cynical act. Visit any contemporary art museum you want, you won't find anything very fascinating. But what I dislike most about it is that it's art that no longer deals with life and us as humans, but art that deals with itself, as art. What I mean by this is that it's not art that has a subject other than itself; you're no longer thinking about anything else than what it means to be in a museum looking at "art". Those Post-Modernist pieces just "question" themselves. You're looking at some piece of shit and it makes you wonder why you are doing so, what art is, etc. Often, that is the very goal of the artist, to make you wonder about those things. That would be perfectly fine for me if we were living in the early days of the 20th century.

Let's take a concrete example. Marcel Duchamp's ready-mades were basically just objects he picked up somewhere and placed in a museum and called it art. Doing that in the early 20th century had some relevance to it. It made you question what art really is, and etc. But today, when everyone shares the opinion that most modern art isn't art, that question is no longer up. We have spent a century destroying things and questioning what art was until eventually no one knows what art is anymore. Once you've questioned it all, for a century, and explored every possible silliness, maybe it's time to get back on track. Post-Modernism wasn't the next step in the evolution of art, it was a loop. And it's about to get back where it strayed.

The thing with Post-Modernism is that it doesn't have anything to offer; it just looks at something else and deconstructs it. So once that deconstruction is done, there's nothing else to run on, there's no more fuel. Once you've asked all the questions there are to ask about what a "painting" is, you can't ask anything anymore, and more importantly, you can't make art anymore. Questioning is fine, but that isn't the primary goal of art, if any of its goals should be primary. Art is creative, not inquisitive. Art is about making things, not merely criticising the things that came before. That's the "post" in Post-Modernism. And it's only sending dead letters.

I don't like the idea that art should be something reserved for an elite. Please don't make art some stupid private joke between a small group of learned artists. Seriously, if, as an artist, that is your only ambition, then you suck. Hopefully, new movements have emerged. I know of two: Stuckism and Remodernism. These two movements share a lot of common ideas, and I like them all. Stuckism believes that "art that needs to be in a museum to be art is not art" and that "a dead shark is not art". Remodernists are tired of the unsubstantial contemporary art and the lack of spirituality in artistic endeavours.

It's easy to see how Post-Modernism affected art in the popular area. If you ask anyone about the famous painters they know, most people will give you names of artists who lived in the first half of the 20th century. They'll say Picasso, Dalì, and then a bunch of other painters from the 19th century, like Van Gogh or Monet. Hardly ever will you get someone to give you the name of a painter that's actually living and successful. Why? Probably because after Modernism artists became tedious and cynically annoying, and that is not interesting to the large audience. No wonder we made people leave the museums for good if all we have to show them are stupid monochromes and other obscure pieces of shit whose meaning always seem a mere statement of the mental condition of its author. "Are you kidding me" is the title of most of these works of art. At least that is how the public in general views it, and the public isn't wrong. Sure, you can make any piece of art and have a ready explanation for it, but it won't make it interesting for so much.

I am not saying that we should forbid monochromes and pieces of shit, not at all, I'm just saying that we should not neglect other types of artists. There's nothing wrong with a realist and figurative painter who simply paints a beautiful painting; that should be enough. Contemporary artists shouldn't be ashamed of simply painting pictures, without an army of pseudo-intellectual concepts behind it.

I've visited a contemporary art museum recently, and I don't think I've seen a single realist painting. I like abstract art, don't get me wrong, but I find it hard to believe that there are no realist painters on earth today. If art reflects its epoch, what does ours reflect? What will people think of us in the future when they see our apparent fascination for yellow monochromes and video performances you'd never wish to ever see? They'll think we were fucked up, and we are.

Video performances. I've mentioned that. That's the summit if anything. Ok, I get the idea, and in a way it could be interesting because it forces you to look closely at something for some time, which in itself is always a good exercise. Now, I'm not suggesting you should stay throughout the 30 minutes of that video where someone smacks someone else. I understand the idea of focusing on details and getting something out of it (insofar as there's anything to get). But come on, that stuff should be done once and then that's it. It's not interesting or thrilling. They call that "performances" or "happenings". Let's face it, when I wake up in the morning and move about in my bed, I make better performances.

All of this Post-Modernism stuff has to do with our current ideology. And that has to do with Relativism. Everything's worth the same, everything depends, art is anything you call art. That's how you end up with a guy pissing in a glass and calling it art. I'm not against exploration at all, in fact I find that quite funny. I just see it for what it is. You're never going to change someone's life or even add anything to it by pissing in a glass. There's no emotional affect to the act of pissing in a glass. When you look at the art produced by the centuries before us, I feel like we are just kids playing around. Surely we're worth better than this, and having seen a lot of contemporary artists at work, I know we are.

I'm not against any type of art, or movement, I'm against a mindset of cynicism and all-encompassing relativism. Shitting on canvas and presenting that as art in a museum is cynical. Sure, you can call it art if you want, I'm not so concerned about the label as I am with the art itself. I think such artists are more concerned about the labels and concepts than the art itself. Call it art if you want, but then let's see what your art is about. Obviously, your art is a stain of shit on canvas... I don't want art to be a fancy discussion about concepts, notions, etc, it should be art, not a substitute of it. Contemporary artists might be too concerned with those things which aren't the core of art. I think we drifted a bit too far away from the basics. And now we all realise that this is going nowhere, and slowly so. The only living painter with success that I can name today is H.R. Giger. I think he's one of the few classic painters that actually walks the earth still. He's not cynical, he doesn't indulge and wallow into easy concepts and bullshit pseudo-intellectual babble. Instead, he creates. And that's what art is all about. He makes you think, yes, but that is because of his creation. Contemporary artists just try to make you think because of the absence of creation. They make a yellow monochrome, and you just wonder what the fuck that's about. Playing with obscurity to fake the semblance of worthiness is not what I call an interesting device. If your art is only interesting if it deals with concepts and notions (which, for the most part, the viewer has to think for him or herself) then it's not much interesting.