Arquivo para a ‘Pintura’ Categoria

Contemplation and the Self

29 Nov

The third chapter on Byung-Chul’s “Vita Contemplativa” begins with a text by Walter Benjamin on the painting Angelus Novus in ink, pastel chalk and watercolor on paper by Paul Klee from 1920, which is currently in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, in the Christian collection.

Describe Benjamin’s quote: “an angel is represented there who appears as if he were moving away from something he is facing. His eyes are wide, his mouth is open, and his wings are outstretched. The angel in the story must look like this. He turned his face to the past. Where a chain of events appears to us, there he sees a catastrophe that incessantly piles rubble upon rubble, sliding before his feet. He would very much like to linger, awaken the dead and bring the fallen together” (apud Han, 2023, p. 57) and continues.

Benjamin’s text ends with a sentence: “What we call progress is a storm” and thus begins the chapter “From action to being”.

Hannah Arendt was the first to understand the 20th century as a time of action, says the author, later in the text the author will remember that the anthropocene was the result (I would say the attempt, since nature rebels) of the submission of nature to human action, losing our autonomy and dignity, we “make” history by acting, he states.

What can we do about this catastrophic action on nature, Arendt confesses that she cannot offer any solution, cited by Han: “address the essence and possibilities of the action, which had never been shown so openly and revealed in their greatness and at their peril” (apud Han, 2023, p. 59).

She points out a path in thought that would be a type of “philosophy of politics” that would bring a reflection on the problematic of human action, in “Vita activa” she exposes (I think recovers) human action in its grandeur and dignity (page. 60).

Reflecting further on the figure of Angelus novus (above), “his wide eyes reflect his impotence, his horror. Human history is an advancing apocalypse. This is an apocalypse without an event”, the relationship with current events is remarkable.

Years before Arendt published Vita Activa, Heidegger had given a lecture on Science and Reflection where he said that as opposed to action that moves us forward, reflection brings us back to where we always already are. It opens up to us a being-there (Da-Sein) that precedes every doing, every action and that takes time (Han, 2023, pg. 62).

The same Heidegger will write in Black Notebooks: “What would happen if the presentiment of the silent power of inactive reflection disappeared?” and Han reflects: “the presentiment is not deficient knowledge. Rather, it opens up to us the being, the there, which escapes proportional knowledge. Only through presentiment do we have access to that place in which human beings always find themselves…” (page 63).

HAN, B.C. (2023). Vita Contemplativa: In Praise of Inactivity, transl. Daniel Steuer, USA, ed. Polity.


Life and contemplation

28 Nov

No, it is not about the art of observing nature or the universe, as the act of observing is also an “active life” as there will certainly not be any interpretation or detail that catches our attention.

It is about other meanings: listening without interpreting, looking with a purified gaze and understanding what is incomprehensible to human reason, so it is not a rational attitude, nor a madness or sensitive delirium, it is an exercise of “inactivity” writes Byung- Chul Han.

The author writes in Vita Contemplativa: ou sobre a inativa (Han, 2023, p. 11): “Inactivity constitutes the Humanum. What makes doing genuinely human is the amount of inactivity in it. Without a moment of hesitation or restraint, acting degenerates into blind action and reaction. Without rest, a new barbarism emerges.”

Therefore, contemplative inactivity is not to be confused with laziness, absence of action, but a rest for clairvoyant action and deep speech, says the author: “It is silence that gives depth to speech. Without silence there is no music, but only noise and noise. Play is the essence of beauty. Where only the scheme of stimulus and reaction, of lack and satisfaction, of problem and solution, of objective and action, prevails, life is reduced to survival, to naked animal life” (idem) and it is not by chance that it is confused with current modern life.

We are not machines always destined to function, the true life of conscious action begins when the concern for survival ceases and the need for raw life is born.

The confusion appeared because of the confusion between history and culture, not the history of ideas (in the sense of the Greek eidos), but that which ignores culture and deals only with the power and oppression of peoples, says the author: “action is, in fact, constitutive for history, but it is not the formative force of culture” (Han, 2023, p. 12) (paint: Contemplation of philosopher, Rembrandt, 1632).

And he adds in the same passage: “Not war, but celebration, not weapons, but jewelry, are the origin of culture. History and cultural do not coincide” (Han, idem).

“Jewelry” may seem strange, but the core of our culture is ornamental. It is situated beyond functionality and utility. With the ornamental that is emancipated from any purpose or utility, life insists on being more than survival” (idem).

The great religions have established the sacred in inactivity: Christian Sunday, the Jewish Sabbath, Islamic Ramadan, these are not just about inactivity, but a day of “contemplation”.

The “active” man searching for an “intense” and unbridled life of stimuli and responses falls into a void of meaning and into merely fighting for survival, little or nothing human resists, and if we want to return to the civilizing process, culture, the ornamental and the party must return to everyday life, time for Christmas and end-of-year celebrations, time to stop.

HAN, B.C. (2023). Vita Contemplativa: In Praise of Inactivity, transl. Daniel Steuer, USA, ed. Polity.


For a philosophy of the look

13 Apr

It already exists, I even looked for the roots and couldn’t find it and that’s where the problem lies, dialoguing with what is present in culture, philosophy and art about what the look is and how it is possible to develop it from there onwards in order to dialogue with contemporary culture.

For example, a good reading of Schiller we have already mentioned this week his “Aesthetic education of man”, in art I did not quote Gustav Klimt on purpose, he has elements of symbolism and all art literature recognizes it, but his “art nouveaux” brings something again (photo of his work the hug).

Edgar Morin, when analyzing “Mass culture of the 20th century”, emphasizes the multiple meanings of modern man: “the language adapted to this anthropos is audiovisual, the language of four instruments: image, musical sound, word, writing. A language that is all the more accessible insofar as it is the polytonic involvement of all languages” (page 45) and thus this look can be both dispersed and integrated, giving this new language a new look.

It is no longer specific to a single medium (sound, image and objects have existed as art since time immemorial), for Morin this is “of the game that lies on the fabric of practical life” (idem) and this symbolism in Klimt is in fact a vision integrated, but not specific to him, I also see it in Kandinsky his works also seem to have music and poetry, even though they are just pictures.

In cinema, the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, in one of the paintings of this film Life, integrates painting and cinema by giving movement to Van Gogh’s paintings, thus, more than multimedia, these artistic movements can be called transmedia, due to the fact that they integrate aspects of art .

This re-educates and stimulates the look, but there is the aspect of the possibility of dispersing the look, but nothing can do this more than modern horizontal monomedia and social “media” are not out of it, so the re-education of the look goes through the stimulation of other senses and the spiritual that is not that idealist (see previous post) that are separated.

So, despite being a symbolist, it is fair to think of Klimt as a member of “art nouveaux”, since he helped to create the Secession Movement in Vienna, whose objective was to break the conservative traditions that were rooted in history and create an internationalist and comprehensive vision. of contemporary and timeless artistic genres.

The integration of this vision in new media is the presentation at the historic Atelie des Lumiéres, in Paris, of a transmedia animation of Vang Gogh (foto), which inaugurated a series in 2018 precisely with the work of Gustav Klimt also animated.

For this reason, it is not a synthesis of opposites, but the fusion of artistic horizons in movement, the current crisis is the dualistic vision of the world, of art and of values that are timeless.


MORIN, Edgar. (1997) Cultura de massas do século XX (Twentieth-century mass culture(. trans. Maura Ribeiro Sardinha. 9th. edition. Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Forense ed., 1997.



What is beautiful for idealism

12 Apr

We contradicted in the previous post the vision of vision and beauty of the idealist sense, but Schiller himself is a descendant of this vision, even though he tried to rebuild “the unity of human nature”, in this he is right, he thought of rebuilding in the modern idealist way.

For Hegel, aesthetics, and therefore the Beauty, is the science that deals with the artistic beauty and not the natural beauty, for him the natural beauty is a product of the spirit (Geist), and, because it is a product of the spirit, it participates in the truth and what exists in nature, see that the spirit as well as the idealist “transcendence” is linked to nature and to the human, it is far from the mystical spiritual.

For an internal revolution to idealism, three currents of art are immersed in it: symbolism, classicism and romanticism, for many modern authors, I quote Byung Chul Han, the culture of the smooth, the flat and the “transparent” (glass, glass, etc.) plastics, etc.).

This pseudo-revolution that took place within idealist art is called self-overcoming, a kind of what was called in German idealism the New Hegelians, but it makes an even deeper division in art: painting, music and poetry.

Sculpture is considered a “noble” art, says Hegel: ““Sculpture introduces God himself into the objectivity of the external world; thanks to it, individuality manifests itself externally through its spiritual side” (Hegel, 1996, p. 113), again the exterior is objective, a sculpture and not a Being, the other and with him all his subjectivity.

Symbolism, on the other hand, was the one that “seeks to achieve the union between internal meaning and external form, that classical art achieved this union in the representation of the substantial individuality that addresses our sensibility, and that romantic art, spiritual in essence, surpassed” (Hegel, 1996, p. 340).

Seeing the consequences of this “romantic” thought, Hans-Georg Gadamer will criticize Dilthey’s romantic vision of consciousness, with serious consequences for modern historicism, almost all of which are idealistic and distant from reality, thus creating the “ideal” model for consciousness is for the beautiful and not to transform it as the idealists think to do.

I consider art nouveau, mainly by Antoni Gaudí (in the photo Casa Batlló, in Barcelona) the most faithful expression because it recovers natural elements (light, color, air and nature) without “affections” and traces of symbolism and romanticism, such as for example, present in the “Style Tiffany” in the United States or the “Style Glasgow” in the United Kingdom that has elements, in my view, of symbolism, although also called “art nouveau”.

Returning to the previous post, there is a confusing vision of ethics because it is separated from aesthetics.


Live life

23 Mar

The film Ikiru (1952) by the Japanese Akira Kurosawa translated as Viver, could also have the translation Vivendo or Viver a Vida, since in writing in idiograms the conjugation of verbs is different, also in the Portuguese language of Portugal the gerund is little used so instead of Vivendo it would be To be living.

Works this week on the issue of death, and the phrase of the philosopher Socrates: “an unexamined life is not worth living” may seem like just an appeal to erudition, but those who watched Kurosawa’s film realize that it is not about that, either. there, the theme is the examination of the life of a “bureaucrat” in the face of the drama of death, by the character Kanji Watanabe (Takashi Shimura).

The elderly bureaucrat discovers that he has stomach cancer and the first impact is that of depression and after examining his life, his relationship with his son and his service, where he had the nickname “Sutanpu” which means stamp, an allusion to the fact what problems were archived.

Thus, the film opposes bureaucratic life, the simple routine of empty lives, to the drama of the imminent death of the old bureaucrat, who, when examining his life, reminds him of ladies who always came to his department to complain about a muddy and dirty street.

The old man decides to take the problem for himself and even the ladies who complained are amazed, he decides to act to turn that dirty place into a park for children, and everyone in the department notices that he starts to revive, changes his hat, changes his face and decides to live life to the end, as Paul Ricoeur also proposes in his book cited this week.

The comments in your section are mean, maybe it’s a young girl, something must have happened in the old man’s life who now seemed like a different person.

The final scenes show him already dead, even the mean comments, and a street guard appears who says he saw that it was very cold and the old man on the swing (photo) in the park that helped to make it, but that he looked so happy, sang such a beautiful song that I didn’t want to disturb him.

When I watched the film in my youth, already a fan of Kurosawa, I went to the film with an expectation that Kurosawa would fail to deal with such a deeply existential theme, the film is ingenious and emotional.


Between the ordinary and the extraordinary

08 Dec

The immense universe and the images and research that the James Webb telescope is revealing show us more than the greatness of science, how much nature and human knowledge are tiny compared to the organic and mysterious richness of the universe.

These are not discoveries of other planets inhabited by organic beings like ours, but rather the limits of the very laws of physics to the point of questioning what absolute time and space is the greatest revelation of modernity and rationality, which is now changing by the laws of relativity and guided by the more exact notion of what we call eternity.

Also in everyday life there are extraordinary facts, not those proclaimed by soothsayers, false prophets or oracles of a wisdom that is already known to be limited, by the correct view of science itself, uncertainty and error is its safest path, or as Bohr wrote to Einstein : the root of all evil is the human idea that someone holds all the truth.

The Christmas period is for Christians the revelation of a new and extraordinary truth, in the sense that it is beyond all reason and human science, by divine desire God became man, in a Trinitarian relationship, desire of God the Father, conception of Holy Spirit in a virgin (see previous post) and a divine-human God among us enters the story.

The fact is extraordinary because history has changed and will change even more as the space-time dimension in which human life is immersed passes, everyone dies and others are born and a divine truth is revealed through the noosphere, the sphere that mind or spirit inhabits and which no one can deny, because even philosophical and theological errors and conceptions are immersed in it.

The biblical characters, sincere men despite being followers of Jesus, also doubted his conception, his life (walking on the waves of the sea, the multiplication of the loaves, the healing of the man born blind, the resurrection of Lazarus) in all 36 acts extraordinary works, of which 22 are cures, all of this will one day be known to science, it is possible, but they were done before this time, when science was taking its initial steps.

But there are only divine acts, such as crossing the sea on dry foot, seeing Moses’ burning bush, and the greatest of all extraordinary acts, the one that only divine revelation can confirm, and perhaps one day will bring about some phenomenon. extraordinary, the virgin conceived and God came to dwell among us, he too died, but the Christian belief is that he rose and lives in eternal life.

Even the virgin who conceived, the young Mary betrothed to Joseph, who, upon hearing the news announced by an angel, doubts what is happening to herself (Lk 1:29): “Mary was troubled by these words and began to think what the meaning of salvation would be”, so the biblical characters idealized by theologians and pastors, were actually very human and not superstitious (painting of Leonardo da Vinci, around 1472).

It is true that later Mary will sing her Magnificat, knowing that God has made her great, but only after walking kilometers to Cousin Izabel’s house, who also received the grace of remaining a virgin in old age, but in her case there is nothing so extraordinary, they are known cases in the history of women of advanced age who have conceived.

Faith is believing in the extraordinary, even if you don’t have it, knowing that God’s intervention in history is possible, and what Christmas represents is the great intervention that is the very coming of the God-child.



The palliative society or the absence of pain

13 Apr

Palliative society explains Byung Chul Han has nothing to do with palliative medicine, as the Korean-German philosopher explains: “Thus, every critique of society has to carry out a hermeneutic of pain. If pain is left solely to medicine, we miss its character as a sign” (Han, 2021).

It reminds us of a saying by Ernest Jünger: “Tell your relationship with pain, and I will tell you who you are!”, so a critical society is not possible without a hermeneutics of pain, the relationship with each suffering not only that produced by history, but that which is in the particularity of each Other.

“Survival society completely misses the point of the good life. Enjoyment is also sacrificed to high health for an end in itself” (Han, 2021, p. 34).

He recalls and quotes Agamben in his vision of homo sacer and via naked: “Without resistance, we subject ourselves to the state of exception that reduces life to bare life” (Han, 2021, idem).

In the palliative society “The art of suffering pain is entirely lost to us… Pain is now a meaningless evil that must be fought with painkillers. As a mere bodily affliction, it falls entirely outside the symbolic order” (Han, 2021, p. 41), emphasis added by the author.

So today, pain is removed from any possibility of expression, it is condemned to remain silent, and “the palliative society does not allow to enliven, to verbalize pain into a passion” (p. 14), emphasis added by the author.

Vargas, Cecília (2018) Systems of Pain/Networks of Resilience project in one gallery. Curated by Cecilia Vargas, Dickson Center at Waubonsee Community College, June 7-July 10th(foto).

HAN, Byung-Chul. (2021) The palliative society: pain today. trans. Lucas Machado. Brazil, Petrópolis: Vozes.



The Civilization Crisis

23 Nov

It is not just an idea of the apocalyptic, the pessimistic and the tragedies, dark spirits who do not really reflect on reality, it is those who think humanism, who look to a polarized, fragile and powerless life in the face of a pandemic (see Europa in the previous post) is the crisis of fragility that does not see itself as fragile.

Arrogants, pseudo-sages, and pseudo-prophets are on call, but even an optimist like Edgar Morin bends over when he sees a system that cannot deal with its fundamental problems, it disintegrates, thus began his recent lecture on the metamorphosis of humanity, he told the event : “he becomes even more barbaric”, but remember that this is not the first and probably not the last metamorphosis of humanity, we were at the origin (he said for over 100,000 years) hunters and gatherers.

There was no army, no state or classes, but little by little some groups wanted to dominate others, this happened in India, China and the Middle East, in the Andes where an Inca Empire was organized and in Mexico (where he gave the lecture).

These societies have metamorphosed for better or worse, he has not made a statement about this, but he thinks that a metamorphosis over our nation-states is possible.

It states that it is necessary to have hope, but hope is not certainty, the hope that in the past was a belief now, but if hope exists it is the necessary leaven for great transformations, and it is understood that this is the moment we are living this reality, in a postmodern or post-postmodern world, there is a transformation.

It remains for us to know which one leads us to destruction, and which one is truly the bearer of hope, it doesn’t give great tips, but let’s do an exercise.

The first great destruction is war, with the arsenal of ultra powerful weapons, even interplanetary, there are several objects around the planet, it is necessary to defend peace with the same force that we defend justice, a war would now be a catastrophe.

The second major destruction is social imbalance, insecurity and the lack of a sustainable plan for the use of natural resources, the large meetings only discuss the issue of pollution and deforestation in some regions of the planet, when they should discuss the planet as a All in all, nature shows signs of exhaustion and a greater imbalance in natural forces, of planetary proportions, is expected.

As Edgar Morin says, it is necessary to have hope, we have already gone through other stages of the civilizing process through similar situations, of course the proportion is now planetary.

Edgar Morin – Do esgotamento à metamorfose dos sistemas – YouTube



The cry of the afflicted

04 Nov

In many moments of personal difficulties, world conflicts and natural tragedies, there is always an apparent cry of despair and pain, but our time is a silent cry for those who lose their reason for living, the pandemic has also caused many anguish, loneliness and despair.

The famous pcitura Norwegian Edvard Munch’s The scream represents an androgynous figure in a moment of deep anguish and despair, with the Oslo fjord at sunset in the background, characterizes well what affliction means in our time, in addition to misery and lack of solidarity , the anguish and anxiety of the figure may be the author’s own, the phrase written at the top of the painting: “it could only have been painted by a madman”, analyzed by the Oslo National Museum concluded that it was the author’s.

The aspect of anxiety would remain veiled, were it not for this analysis, since the author stated on one occasion: “I have suffered a deep feeling of anxiety that I have tried to express in my art”, and this reflects our contemporary fears.

GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) is one of the symptoms of this condition, which can also be bipolar or some other type of lack of control, this type was generically called Neurotic Anxiety, but there are two others: Realistic and Moral.

Realistic anxiety refers to the fear of something existing in the outside world, so a pandemic or a natural catastrophe (hurricane, earthquakes, sudden changes in climate, etc.) is basically a kind of fear of something real happening but that puts us in a different adrenaline.

Moral is the one that refers to the feeling of guilt, which triggers a fear of being punished, and this leads to a situation of conflict in the interior, so the person loses sensitive aspects of their interior: the unconscious threatening to enter the conscious what it means in practice a loss of self-control.

But the afflicted are also the helpless, the abandoned and the rejected by society, the various types of prejudices on which current controversies are born.

In the Christian reading, the text of Matthew (5:4) although some translations put as “afflicted”, the translation we prefer here: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted!”, because beyond the aspect of “sickness “there is structural evil and social evil that push many people into this state, and blaming them just means adding to any kind of “affliction” the neurotic anxiety that is born of a disproportionate sense of guilt, and this is the great kind of current social pressure.

But what would be the comfort the bible speaks of, the comfort of those who believe is that the only evil they should fear is the soul, so contrary to what many moralistic interpretations say, it is a balanced morality and without the exaggeration of guilt that it leads to an inner state without this kind of anxiety.




The intermittents of death

31 Aug

José Saramago (1922-2010), in addition to his famous bookEssay on Blindness, written in 1995 and which later became a film directed by Brazilian Fernando Meirelles and scripted by Don McKellar, wrote many other novels: O memorial do convento (adapted from an opera), The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, Essay on lucidity, and many others, I highlight here As Intermitências da Morte (2005).

In 1998, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature, but two works seem prophetic for today: The essay on blindness, which we have already posted, and the Intermitências da Morte.

Skeptical and ironic, Saramago did not fail to notice the dramas of our time, but the unexpected way it ends. Lucidity, I would say using the Heideggerian metaphor that clearing is possible if we penetrate the existential drama of life.

In The Intermittencies of Death, he penetrates into the existential dramas of life, as a religious skeptic, he will also mock the outputs with an answer “from above”, that is, transfer to “another world” our permanently mundane dramas, among them, what it’s life itself.

He says in a passage on page 123: “It is possible that only a painstaking education, one of those that is already becoming rare, along, perhaps, with the more or less superstitious respect that in timid souls the written word usually instills, has led readers, although they were not lacking in reasons to manifest explicit signs of ill contained impatience, not to interrupt what we have been reporting so profusely and to want to be told what it is that, in the meantime, death has been doing since the fatal night when it announced the your return.” (in the photo a picture of Gustav Klimt’s painting).

After inquiring in every book about life, something unusual these days, because all you want is a return to frivolity, the normality of emptiness, the absence of life, consumption and false joys, the author will say in end of the book that death is normality, said like this:

“He stayed in his room all day, had lunch and dinner at the hotel. Watched television until late. Then he got into bed and turned off the light. Didn’t sleep. Death never sleeps.” (Saramago, 2005, p. 189).

And he concludes that his common irony in times when the pandemic was not even dreamed of (his pandemic was The Essay on Blindness), he says about death: “(…) I don’t understand anything, talking to you is the same as having fallen into a labyrinth without doors, Now that’s an excellent definition of life, You’re not life, I’m much less complicated than it, (…)” (Saramago, 2005, p. 198). Oh what a pity, a pity even that Saramago had never believed in a true life, this disbelief is also in all his work, especially “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ” (1991), but at least he was not indifferent to the theme, something “bothered him”.

SARAMAGO, José. (2005) The intermittence of death. Brazil, São Paulo: Companhia das Letras.