Art vs. Reality

I’ve seen some people pick up an adult magazine and complain about how “fake” the models look and how they’ve been retouched in Photoshop, blah, blah, blah.

On the flip side, I’ve seen others pick up the same magazine and admire at how gorgeous the models are and how they’d like to (for a better term) “meet” them.

The debate I often hear is: “Which is better? Art or Reality?”

Both views are valid.

As self-aware creatures with aspirations to be more than just “animals”, we tend to bend “the actual world” (reality) to fit our modified view of the world” (art…psychosis…or whatever you want to call it).

Once we experience something “better”, we tend to seek it out and/or modify our world to conform to that “better” experience. We moved from hunters and gathers to farmers. We went from walking to horses to cars. And we went from swords to guns to UAVs.

Our need for advancement draws us into the conundrum of accepting what “is” and changing the situation to what we think “should be”.

This conundrum has a very thin membrane of separation.

“Realist” (for a better term in this article) want to seek the truth. They don’t want someone telling them what should be. I believe they want to see the blemishes and faults of the world and they (probably) believe it gives the world character. They are the engineers and the builders of our society that need to see what “is” because anything else would be a lie or hidden flaw in the design. Perfection is accuracy. A noble and appreciated system of approaching life. They stay away from things that “fool” them and introspection is their rule. They are the builders of our world.

I’d like to separate “Realist” from “Haters”. Realist have a purpose for being “Real”, they are usually seekers of the truth for the sake of improving society. For example, a structural engineer should always favor the integrity of a building’s structure over the aesthetics…especially if people are going to operate in it. But Haters seek “a truth” so they can peddle their drama, they are hate mongers who ostracize anything different, and some artist’s vision/opinion just happens to be the victim of the day. These are the Drama Queens looking for attention and the only way they can find it is through the persecution of others and by leading and building hate with their rabble. Enough said.

Let me say that “Art for the sake of Art” has no place in this discussion. Kind of like “Drama for the sake of Drama” has no place in any kind of real relationship.

Artists (or should we say “Visionaries”) who base their works on reality and actual human related endeavors are the designers of our world and modeler of our species. From cave painters to Jesus Christ to Leonardo Di Vinci to Mohandas Gandhi to Jane Austin to Jules Verne to Kelly Johnson at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works to Gene Roddenberry to John F. Kennedy and NASA, they have inspired and shaped our visions of what could and should be, and allow us to appreciate what is. We follow them into the future and aspire to shape our world into their visions. These are the people we can’t understand in the moment but are drawn to their greatness through their works and vision much later in the day. Perfection is possibilities for these select few. They create and propagate their paradigms so we may participate in their virtual endeavors. Extrapolation is their rule. They are the leaders of our society and the designers of our world.

So where does “art” come into play? I believe “art” comes from Man’s visualization of what could and/or should be. Like an architect building a scale model of what he is about to build, his “art” gives him a visualization of what could be. Like reading romance novels give visualizations of how relations could/should be and like the art of pornography…well, let’s just say it gives us a goal to strive for. And of course, when Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in 1508 to help it’s patrons visualize Heaven, put them in a state of awe and inspire their faith; I’m sure someone said “that’s not real, God and Heaven look so FAKE!”…Right?

Art applied to reality gives us hope (among many things) by helping us visualize what could be, educating us to new possibilities, and romancing us to maintaining our beliefs and meaning for existence.

Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Artist know this, Engineers follow in their footsteps and only the very special can combine the strengths of both.

So to the “Haters” I say, “deal with it!” Without the extrapolated visualization of improvement and possibility developed through art, true improvement cannot happen and everything would seem impossible…like your own life probably seems to you.

To the “Artist” I say “keep our dreams alive, but don’t distort the true beauty of the things we cannot change”; some documentaries are meant to stay documentaries and people need to understand when they’re made into dramatizations, and if they choose to engage the latter, appreciate the conversion for what it is.

And to the “Realist” I say, “keep building our dreams”.

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