Sunday, November 14, 2010

Art, Zen, and Insurrection: Finding Personal and Social Change In The Art of Life Part I.1

I recently finished reading R.G. Collingwood's The Principles of Art. Collingwood is one of my major influences at this point, and I found the book very exciting. I decided to read it because my reading of Foucault and my reading about neuroplasticity kept pushing me towards the issues of creativity and expression. I kept realizing that all of Foucault's talk about transformation, all of my concerns about empathy and social interaction, all of my interests in Zen and life, that all of it came back to creativity in some way or another. So creativity became the central question for me. So, having already found Collingwood very compelling in The Idea of History and An Autobiography, The Principles of Art seemed like the best place for me to take my reading. And I believe that his work in that book has been incredibly helpful for me.


So what I want to tackle here is what I'm starting to see as the real purpose and scope of art and creativity. It is something that can be quite universal. Something that can be involved in the bulk of living. So the questions I can now try to answer are: what exactly is art? what is expressed by art? how much of life is art? how many of my actions can be creative and artistic? what would it mean to be an existential aesthetician? what good would it do to try and be an artist in every facet of my social life? what would that look like?


But I suppose the questions I have left to ask are: What exactly is language, in the sense that it is always creative? How does language work (reenactment/simulation)? How is this connected to empathy? How does artistic expression relate to the greater social world? Intimately. How does it intimately relate? What is the artist expressing about society? Can John Searle help me understand this? And what is the function of art in general in society? Does it function to increase the capacity for empathy? What is the relationship between creativity, empathy, and understanding? What is this corruption of consciousness Collingwood talks about? It seems to be the distortion of perspective, of awareness. When he says consciousness he means awareness it seems. What does this have to do with mindfulness and impediments to mindfulness? What does language have to do with violence? How does Zizek’s definition of violence help me grapple with this question? What connection does the artist have to violent social change? What would it mean to be a cultural insurgent or a violent artist?


In any case, I plan on breaking this whole thing down into five parts, each with a series of sub-sections. Part one and two are going to stick close to Collingwood's work to determine exactly what art is, and why exactly it is useful. Thus, part one will be called 'Defining Art Proper' and part two will be called 'The Use of Art: Emotional Expression for the Artist and the Community'.


In parts three, four, and five I will depart from Collingwood and try to integrate his analysis of art into my larger ideas about creativity, empathy, violence, and social change. These sections are my attempt to pick up on a line of thought that I initiated in my essay of 8/30 'The Genealogy of the Modern Mind' and that I continued in my essay of 9/10 'The Science and Art of Minds'. The general idea is that given Collingwood's definition of art, it would be possible to conceptualize our entire lives as an artistic project. That all of our social interactions could involve a degree of creativity and artistic expression that would be beneficial to ourselves and to others. This is what I was trying to talk about when I wrote of the 'Art of Minds'. Now, however, I feel like I have a much better grasp on what exactly art is, and how it is that life itself could become an art form. So, part three will be titled 'Becoming an Existential Aesthetician: Integrating Emotional Expression into Daily Life'.


In parts four and five I am then going to try and integrate the thoughts that I explored in my 'Society's Implicit War' essays that I produced in July and August. In those essays I generally explored the idea that all of social life was a war of sorts, and tried to understand how metaphors of war and struggle could apply to daily life. In the end of these essays I ended up concluding that it would be possible to think of ourselves as cultural insurgents, waging a war of ideas within our own minds and in our social interactions. I am thus going to try and figure out how this notion of everyday art could be conceptualized as a form of cultural insurrection. Part four, therefore, is titled 'The Artist as Cultural Insurgent', and part five is called 'The Artist as Spreading the Insurrection'.


I only have this outlined right now, so it feels very schematic to me. And I'm sure that my description reads very schematically. But as always, essaying is a verb. This is a quest that I am setting out on. In each part I'll provide an introduction to what is going on in that section. Because all of this sounds so schematic, it doesn't do justice to the nuance that I am hoping to produce within each section. This could perhaps be a quite long piece of writing. I doubt it will get as long as my Society's Implicit War essays did. I ended up publishing those serially. I will end up publishing this serially as well. Right now I am publishing Part I.1, titled 'Negatively Defining Art'. But here is a table of contents for everything that I have planned right now:


PART I: Defining 'Art Proper'

I.1. Negatively Defining Art

1. Artistic Expression in General: What is 'Art Proper'?

2. Art Proper is not Craft

3. Art Proper is not Magic

4. Art Proper is not Amusement

5. Concluding What Art Is Not


I.2. Positively Defining Art

6. Art is Imaginative Expression of Emotions

7. Expression as Exploration of our Emotions

8. Intellectual Emotions

9, Expression and Craft

10. The Imagination

11. The Imagination as the Space Between Sensations and Ideas

12. Imagination, Consciousness, and Art

13. Art as the Creation of Imaginary Objects


I.3. Art and Language

14. Art as Language: How Much Of Expression Can be Artistic?

15. The Technical Theory of Language

16. Language, Emotion, and Thought

17. Art, Language, and Reenactment: How Does Language Work?

18. Reenactment, Empathy, and Simulation Theory: Collingwood Anticipates Goldman and Frith

19. Social Interaction as the Imaginative Expression of Emotions: Zen, Mindfulness, and The Art of Minds


PART II: The Use of Art: Emotional Expression for the Artist and the Community

II.1. Art as Emotional, Social, and Historical

1. Art, Experience, and Empathy

2. The Artist and The Audience: How Does Individual Expression Relate to Collective Experience?

3. The Artist's Empathy With the Audience: Expressing The Quality of Contemporary Experience

4. The Audience’s Empathy and Collaboration With the Artist

5.. Knowledge of Self and Knowledge of Others: That Artist's Universal Expression as Enabling Empathy

6. Art and the Attitude of Modernity


II.2. Art and Status Functions

7. Art As A Means Of Understanding The Present: What Is The Universal Thing That The Artist Tries to Communicate?

8. John Searle's Status Functions and Specifying the Universality of the Artist's Expression: Understanding Society's Linguistic Structure as Understanding the Task of the Artist

9. The Artist as Enabling Freedom With New Status Function Declarations

10. New Status Functions as New Thoughts as New Brains: Art And Neuroplasticity


PART III: Becoming an Existential Aesthetician: Integrating Emotional Expression Into Daily Life

III.1. Identifying the Technical Theory of Life

1. The Technical Theory of Life: Modern Times and Overly Structured Existence

2. The Technical Theory of Society: John Gray and Over-Reliance on Science and Technology

3. The Technical Theory of Politics: David Harvey on the ‘Aestheticization’ of Politics


III.2. Defining the Aesthetic Theory of Life

4. Foucault's Aesthetics of Existence

5. Language and Social Life: Life as The Art of Minds

6. The Relative Nature of Art and Choice


III.3. Implementing the Aesthetic Theory of Life

7. Applying Artistic Expression to Daily Life: Waiting for Moments to Express the Underlying Structures of Life

8. Zen and Expressing Your True Nature in Every Moment

9. Applying Artistic Expression as Modifying the Content of Action

10. The Constant Project of Studying and Constructing Ourselves

11. The Task of Becoming a Better Listener: Simulation and Our Capacity for Thought


PART IV: The Artist as Cultural Insurgent

IV.1. Defining Cultural Insurrection

1. What is Politics?

2. What is Violence?

3. Zizek on The Violence Of Language and the Nature of Habit: Foucault, Ideology, and The Struggle of Life and Minds


IV.2. Specifying the Targets of Cultural Insurrection

4. Language, The Dangers of Theory-Theory, and The Fragility of Simulation Theory

5. Amusement, The Corruption of Consciousness, and the Dulling of Empathy: Nicholas Carr and The Battle Grounds

6. The Limitations of Vocal and Written Expression: Battling D-Mode

7. Language and the Rutting of Thought: Impediments to Creativity

8. Language and the Rutting of Neural Paths: Art and Creative Brains


IV.3. Implementing Cultural Insurrection

9. Foucault as Artist: His Autobiographical Monographs as Imaginative Expressions of Emotion

10. Fighting The Collapse of Magic: Reinvigorating Ritual and Small Talk

11. Zen, Simulation Theory, and Intellectual Insurrection: Battling the ‘Corruption of Consciousness’


Part V: The Artist as Spreading the Insurrection

1. The Problem of Foucault: The Individualization of Politics

2. Collingwood, Philosophy as Art, and the Reinvigoration of Moral Politics Through Moral Philosophy

3. The Will to Empathy: Fostering Daily Creativity Through Artistic Work

4. The Audience's Empathy as The Key To Political Change.

5.The Artist as Supplying the Audience the Means to Express Creativity

6. New Status Functions as Battling the Status Quo

7. The Artist As Providing the Means to Mindfulness: Zen Insurrection

8. The Artist As Modifying The Capital Of The Economy of the Imagination

9. Copyright Law and Creativity: David Shields and Economic Analysis of Art


So then, that is my outline. And here is my intro to Part I, and all of Part I.1, 'Negatively Defining Art'.

PART I: Defining 'Art Proper'

So, in this first section I'm going to be sticking very close to the text of The Principles of Art. I'm going to explain Collingwood's argument of what art is and what art is not. He says that his purpose was to clarify the terms that we already had, to take the common term art and to give it a precise meaning. He believed that art proper had to be the imaginative expression of emotion through some form of 'language', in the broadest sense of the term. He also felt, however, that the term art was often muddled and confused with other things that resemble art in some ways, but at their core are different. The things that Collingwood believed that the things most often mistaken for art were 1. craft, 2. amusement, and 3. magic. This is essentially the structure of Book I of The Principles of Art. So this will be the first things I'll explain. I'll explain quickly what this idea of art proper is all about, and then I'll explain why craft, amusement, and magic do not qualify as art proper. After that I'll look more closely at this idea of art proper by talking about expression of emotions, and then about the imagination. Collingwood actually devotes about 100 pages, all of Book II, to the the theory of the imagination. So explicating his theory of imagination will also be a big task for me in this section.


Again, I am pretty much echoing the structure of The Principles of Art here. Just like Collingwood, I'm going to explain what is art and what is not art, and then I'll talk about the imagination, and then I'll talk about its usefulness and applicability to general life. That discussion will then lead me into part II where I will explore the usefulness of art in more detail. Onto the first part, defining art proper.


Part I.1. Negatively Defining Art

1. Artistic Expression in General: What is 'Art Proper'?

Now, as I said above, Collingwood believes that art can only be defined as the process of imaginatively expressing our emotions. If we are using our imagination to express emotions that we feel, we are engaging in art. The actual piece of 'art' that is created, the physical painting or sculpture, the poem or song, however, is not the actual work of art itself. Collingwood believes that the work of art exists primarily as an imaginary object in the artists mind. The physical piece of art is only a representation of the artistic expression that is going on inside the mind of the artist.


But what exactly are the contents of the artist's mind that are being expressed is a crucial question. Because this focus on the private activity of the artist's mind doesn't imply something like solipsism. It isn't that the artist works entirely in isolation from other artists or society at large. In fact, the artist is intimately linked to his historical and social situation, and his expression of his emotions will reflect his connection to these larger forces. The discussion of the artist's connection to society at large is something that I will be leaving primarily for part II. But for now I just want to make it clear that art proper, as Collingwood defines it, is the imaginative expression of emotions that takes place primarily in the artist's mind. But I am pointing out for now that what the artist is expressing is not simply his mind, but the way that his mind relates to and is lodged in relations with society at large and relations with history.


To shed some clarity on what Collingwood means with this definition of art I will now do what he did – I'll explain how art is not the same as craft, amusement, or magic. Once I have established this line of Collingwood's thought, I will return to these ideas of emotional expression and imagination to further clarify his definition of art.


2. Art Proper Is Not Craft

Collingwood believed that craft was the number one thing that art was often mistaken for. He establishes six criteria to define craft, the most important being that craft is a process of converting a raw material into a finished product – it involves a distinction between means and ends. The other five criteria also include that craft is always a planned process in which the outcome is known before the project is begun, that the product is always distinct from the material, and that there is a hierarchical relationship between crafts in which one craft supplies "what another needs, one using what another provides" (16). Collingwood admits that he has not created an exhaustive definition of craft, but that the criteria he provides are enough to show that art is not a craft.


Collingwood believes that when art is made synonymous with craft we are missing out on the crucial aspects of art proper. When art is understood as a craft, he says, it causes a "special error which I call the technical theory of art: the theory that art is some kind of craft" (9). Collingwood wishes to expose the technical theory of art as false. "The question is not whether art is this or that kind of craft," he argues, "but whether it is any kind at all.... We all know perfectly well that art is not craft; and all I wish to do is to remind the reader of the familiar differences which separate the two things" (9). Collingwood's first task, therefore, is to explain how craft came to be associated with art, and then to show that art is different from craft.


He begins separating these two ideas by returning to ancient Greek philosophy. He believes that they were the first to precisely define craft. "The philosophy of craft, in fact," he says, "we one of the greatest and most solid achievements of the Greek mind" (17). But that after inventing the philosophy of craft "they were bound to look for instances of craft in all sorts of likely and unlikely places" (17). The Greek philosophers began to identify poets as crafters of sorts. They believed that poets were like cobblers or carpenters in that they created "for consumers; and the effect of [their] skill is to bring about in them certain states of mind, which are conceived in advance as desirable states" (18). Thus, Collingwood claims, that the ancient Greeks were the first ones to falsely identify art with craft.


The technical theory of art, however, did not die with the ancient Greeks. Collingwood believes that it has persisted at least up to the time of his writing, and I believe it probably remains widely assumed today that art is a kind of craft, and that any craft is a sort of art. I came across an interesting example from my personal life. I recently became a barista in Seattle, and when I was being trained someone told me that pulling shots of espresso was an art. Which they of course meant that pulling shots is a craft: it involves a skillful transformation of one thing into another. It involves a knowledgeable understanding of how to convert certain types of coffee into a quality shot of espresso. But that is not an art. That is craft. I think that this example captures pretty precisely what Collingwood is trying to refute. Interestingly, I am living seventy years after Collingwood wrote, and the common person in America still doesn’t have a strong grasp on the difference between art and craft. But just to summarize this section, Collingwood believes art is too often identified as some kind of craft, and that this completely misses the point of what art is really about. “As soon as we take the notion of craft seriously,” he argues, “it is perfectly obvious that art proper cannot be any kind of craft. Most people who write about art to-day seem to think that it is some kind of craft; and this is the main error against which a modern aesthetic theory must fight” (26). The starting point for a theory of art, therefore, is to disentangle it from the notion of craft.


This is Collingwood’s main task in The Principles of Art, and so I really want to stress how crucial this distinction between art and craft is. In daily speech I always hear people talking about how this or that is an art when in reality they mean it is a craft. I realize I have not yet adequately told you what Collingwood defines as art, but bear with me and for now recognize that it is not a craft. It does not involve a pre-planned transformation of a raw material into a finished product. There is overlap between art and craft, of course, but as Collingwood says, “what makes [something] a work of art is different from what makes it an artifact” (43).


From here I would like to talk about what Collingwood calls representative art and how it differs from art proper. He believes that representation is always intended to reproduce certain emotions in the audience. According to Collingwood, the two major types of representative art are magic and amusement. Collingwood defines magic as representative art that is intended to create and discharge emotions that are of use in daily life. Amusement, on the other hand, is meant to evoke emotions that are meant to be enjoyed only during the artistic event, and are not intended for use in daily life. I will now discuss each of these in turn.


3. Art Proper Is Not Magic

As I said above, Collingwood believes that art that is created with the purpose of arousing certain types of emotions in the audience it is representative art. The two main types of representative art are 1. magic and 2. amusement. Collingwood defines magic as any representative art that is intended to arouse emotions that will be useful in daily life. His use of the word ‘magic’ in this way was in direct response to anthropologists and psychoanalysts of the early twentieth century. He believes these fields had “concluded, [that] magic [was] at bottom simply a special kind of error: it is erroneous natural science. And magical practices are pseudoscientific practices based on this error” (58). Collingwood believes that his contemporaries had an ethnocentric view that prevented them from understanding the purpose of magic. “It makes a half-conscious conspiracy,” he argued, “to bring into ridicule and contempt civilization different from our own; and, in particular, civilizations in which magic is openly recognized” (60). Collingwood believed that psychologists were equally guilty of this error. He even calls out Freud: “Why should Freud, the greatest psychologist of our age, react to [magic] by losing all his power of distinguishing one kind of psychological function from its opposite? Are we so civilized that savagery is too remote from us to be comprehensible? Or are we too terrified of magic that we simply dare not think straight about it?” (64). In the process of making his argument about art proper, Collingwood is also attempting to reconceptualize the concept of magic and explain how it is in reality a form of representative art.


After critiquing the definitions of magic put forth by his contemporaries, Collingwood elaborates his own argument about the nature of magic: he claims that “[t]he primary function of all magical acts... is to generate in the agent or agents certain emotions that are considered necessary or useful for the work of living; their secondary function is to generate in others, friends or enemies of the agent, emotions useful or detrimental to the lives of these others” (66-67). A tribal war dance, for example, is a magical ritual that is meant to arouse emotions that will be useful when discharged in the actual moment of battle. The obvious conclusion for Collingwood is that social life requires a certain level of mental and emotional commitment and energy, and that magical rituals serve to create this commitment. Or as he says, “It means that, in warfare or woodcraft, nothing can be done without morale; and the function of magic is to develop and conserve morale; or to damage it” (67). Collingwood feels very strongly that one is not to take magical rituals at their face value. The people practicing certain rituals may not believe in their actual efficacy, but may simply feel comforted by the performance of the ritual itself. “It is a serious question,” he believes, “whether the real function of rain-making magic, so called, may not be to cheer up the cultivator and induce him to work harder, rain or no rain” (68). Magic is thus not a mistake on the practicers, but a crucial part of social maintenance.


That being said, Collingwood then uses his definition of magic to show that many of our Western traditions should be considered magical. In particular, he believes that patriotic art, funerals, dances, weddings, dinner-parties, religion, and sports can all be considered forms of magic. “They are ritual activities, undertaken as social duties and surrounded by all the well-known marks and trappings of magic: the ritual costume, the ritual vocabulary, the ritual instruments, and above all the sense of electedness, or superiority over the common herd, which always distinguishes the initiate and the hierophant” (73). Furthermore, “all these magical ceremonies are representative. They literally, though selectively, represent the practical activities they are intended to promote” (76). Each of these ‘magical’ practices can help us gain certain morale that we need to continue in our social life. Collingwood expressed the importance of utilizing magical practices when he said, “Magical activity is a kind of dynamo supplying the mechanism of practical life with the emotion current that drives it. Hence magic is a necessity for every sort and condition of man, and is actually found in every healthy society” (69). Magic is not to be looked down upon, but to be seen as a necessary form of expression and social maintenance. Ultimately, Collingwood believes that he is giving the word magic a proper and positive definition: “Now that we have given up using the word ‘magic’ as a term of abuse, and have decided what it means, no one need fasten it upon things because he dislikes them, or hesitate to use it for things which he respects” (73).


To summarize, Collingwood wanted to show that art proper was different from magical art. He began by correcting what he believed to be mistakes in the definition of the word magic. Instead of defining it as a foolish practice or a neuroses, he defined magic as a ritual that is meant to create certain emotions that are useful in daily life. He then showed how many tribal magical practices are perfectly sensible under this definition. Further, that many of our religious and cultural practices should be thought of as forms of magic. The result is that Collingwood has successfully disentangled the notions of art and magic, and has given magic a clear definition that states how it is necessary for any healthy society. Now I’ll talk about the other form of representative art: amusement art.


4. Art Proper Is Not Amusement

Apart from art as magic, Collingwood believes that there is another form of representative art that is often confused with art proper. He believes that representative art can also exist as ‘amusement’ art. Collingwood defines amusement art as any art that is meant to create emotions that are simply to be enjoyed in that moment. He says that amusement art exists

“If an artifact is designed to stimulate a certain emotion, and if this emotion is intended not for discharge into the occupations of ordinary life, [as in magic,] but for enjoyment as something of value in itself, the function of the artifact is to amuse or entertain” (78). Examples of amusement art are popular novels, plays, movies, or pornography. Any type of art in which “a make-believe situation [is]... created in which to discharge” emotions qualifies amusement art. (79). Amusement art is different from magical art based on what the created emotions are intended for. “The artist as purveyor of amusement,” Collingwood says, “makes it his business to please his audience by arousing certain emotions in them and providing them with a make-believe situation in which these emotions can be harmlessly discharged.... Hence, while magic is utilitarian, amusement is not utilitarian but hedonistic.” (81). Amusement is thus a form of art that is meant simply to distract people by creating pleasurable emotions that are to be enjoyed only within the realm of the make-believe.


While amusement may have positive benefits, Collingwood was deeply concerned with the role that amusement art plays in Western culture. He thinks that amusement is dangerous for two reasons. First, Collingwood believed that people were beginning to think that art proper was simply amusement art, distorting people’s perception of what art proper is. Second, Collingwood believed that the proliferation of amusement art signaled that a civilization was dissatisfied with its way of life, and that people were turning more and more frequently to amusement art as a form of distraction. He believed that the rise of popular novels and the spread of pornography were both signs that British culture was becoming dissatisfied with its way of life and simply wanted to be distracted from daily ‘drudgery’. Collingwood also thinks that our attitude towards pornography signals an unhealthy relationship with sex in general. He believes we no longer regard it as something fulfilling or worthwhile, but as simply another form of amusement. He believes that sex as mere amusement is a sign of dying society: “The truth may be rather that these things reveal a society in which sexual passion has so far decayed as to have become no longer a god, as for the Greeks, or a devil, as for the early christians, but a toy: a society where the instinctive desire to propagate has been weakened by a sense that life, as we have made it, is not worth living, and where our deepest wish is to have no posterity” (85).


The issue of amusement art is one of the most important things that Collingwood covers in The Principles of Art. He is deeply concerned about the way that British culture related to amusement art. He believed it signaled some very dangerous things about British culture. As I said, he believed that the rise of amusement art meant that people were largely dissatisfied with their way of life. I would like to use a long and potent quotation to show that Collingwood thought that amusement in society could be very dangerous: “Amusement becomes a danger to practical life when the debt it imposes on [our] stores of energy is too great to be paid off in the ordinary course of living. When this reaches a point of crisis, practical life, or ‘real’ life becomes, emotionally bankrupt; a state of things which we describe by speaking of its intolerable dullness or calling it a drudgery. A moral disease has set in, whose symptoms are a constant craving for amusement and an inability to take any interest in the affairs of ordinary life, the necessary work of livelihood and social routine. A person in whom the disease has become chronic is a person with more or less settled conviction that amusement is the only thing that makes life worth living. A society in which the disease is endemic is one in which most people feel some such conviction most of the time” (95). Doesn’t this sound much like what is going on in American culture? Aren’t most people concerned primarily with the ways that we can be distracted from the ‘meaningless toil’ of our work lives? How many people find their work dissatisfying and seek distraction in drugs, alcohol, and technological forms of amusement? Collingwood draws an interesting parallel to the role of amusement in ancient Greek and Roman society. He believes that the downfall of Rome was foreseeable when there was a class of individuals who existed solely to watch shows at the colosseum and eat the free bread the emperor threw into the crowd. While he admits that the parallel between Western culture and Rome is not perfect, he does think the similarities are startling and that we need to get a grip on how our minds are effected by amusement art.


I will have a lot more to say about amusement art later in this essay. But for now I just want you to know two things. First, that Collingwood believes that amusement art, i.e. art that is created simply to produce pleasurable emotions in the audience, is too often confused with art proper. Art proper, Collingwood believes, does not aim at creating certain emotions in the audience’s mind, but is rather about expressing emotions that exist in the artist’s mind and in the audience’s mind. Second, I want you to know that Collingwood believes that the proliferation of amusement art is very dangerous and is symptomatic of a social disease. He believes that a society that places too much emphasis on amusement art has become dissatisfied with its basic means of living, and that the downfall of that society may be a possibility. For now I am just working towards establishing Collingwood’s positive definition of art. But later on, in part III of this essay, I’ll have a lot more to say about amusement art and how I think our culture relates to it. In particular, I will try to connect this notion to Nicholas Carr’s recent book The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains. But let me wrap up these last three sections on what art proper is not.


5. Concluding What Art is Not

So to wrap up the last three sections on what art proper is not. First, art is not some sort of craft. It is not the process of converting one raw material into a preconceived product. Thus when many things are referred to as ‘arts’, we should ask ourselves if they should really be called crafts. Art proper is also not to be confused with the two forms of representative art identified by Collingwood: magical art and amusement art. In both forms of representative art the artist “knows how he wants to make his audience feel, and he constructs his artifact in such a way that it will make them feel like that” (53). Magical art is meant to produce emotions that will be useful in some facet of daily life. Amusement art, on the other hand, is meant to produce emotions that are meant simply to be enjoyed in the make-believe world created by the amusement art. “These various kinds of pseudo-art,” Collingwood argues, “are in reality various kinds of use to which art may be put. In order that any of these purposes may be realized, there must first be art, and then a subordination of art to some utilitarian end. Unless a man can write, he cannot write propaganda. Unless he can draw, he cannot become a comic draughtsman or an advertisement artist” (33). So while both forms of representative art involve a creative expression, according to Collingwood, they are not to be given the title of art proper.


So that is enough of a summary of what art is not. Art proper is not synonymous with craft, and it is not the same as magical or amusement art. Now let me go on to explain in more depth how art proper is ‘the imaginative expression of emotions’.

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