27 March 2006

rambling philosophical musings that probably don't make much sense right now.

i really should get better about writing in this. i keep coming up with so many things to say, but only end up having the time to say a few.

philosophy has been on my mind. in particular, why do i find that i have such a strong reaction against plato? and why do i tend to agree with aristotle more. well... at least when it comes to the ideas behind aesthetics.

plato. oh man. plato. so much there (of what i've read) that gets to me. first off, i guess i tend to read his argument against allowing mythologies to be told as an argument for canon and for the side of media effects that tends toward children can't tell the difference between reality and stories. a similar argument is going on now with games vs. reality. and earlier in the 80s with D&D. and i suppose it will always go on.

maybe i should clarify. plato takes the stance that falseness is bad. in all its forms. and i disagree. sometimes a lie is more capable of telling the truth. and i think that this stance has appeared throughout art history and comedic history. satire. dada. the daily show. and he argues that children need to be protected from this because they don't have the capacity to discern the difference between truth and fiction. i don't think so. i think kids are often smarter than we give them credit for. and instead of deciding to censor things, it's better to have open discussion about controversial things. not talking about it only serves to cause a festering wound.

and maybe i just tend to bristle at the idea that he has the right to tell people what is and isn't worth studying or reading. but maybe that's me coming from my own stance of hating it when people do this to me. maybe i just feel that anything that you're interested in, if examined deeply and thoroughly, can lead to a develpment of critical thinking and also build up and branch out to other topics. for example -- the main reason that i started studying the history of modern art has its roots in my love of punk music and many hours spent on the internet reading about the history of punk music and related subcultures. i'm sure plato wouldn't think punk music is a valid form of study.

i also tend to disagree with him when it comes to his idea of imitation and images. that true art is when an artist produces a true to life representation of an object. but that the replication is somehow secondary to actually making an object. i feel that he wrongly puts aside the subjective. everything leads towards the objective. and everything has its perfect ideal.... platonic ideals. pah. this is not my cup of tea, nor do i think he's right.

aristotle, on the other hand, i think has a better feel for subjectivity, and in particular, the thing-y-ness of things. how without materials, there would be no production of any objects. he, too, disagreed with plato. maybe it's just a nice change after hating plato for the past few days.

one more reason to hate plato:
his discussion of who should be allowed to tell a lie. he argues that the state is the only one who should be allowed to tell a lie if it's "for the public good." i don't think this is right. the public should decide the public good. the public should be informed. the public should care.

and, sadly enough, i don't think the public is informed ... i know i'm not.
people shouldn't be afraid of their governments. governments should be afraid of their people.


  1. wow - you should post something new!

  2. its amazing how the way u discribe plato draws the perfect image of a republican. i imagine that is why u dont like plato.