Imagine A Stick — On Arts and Psychology, and a Minuscule Bit of Politics

Talking about Art and Psychology, but might also con­tain a bit of insight on Politics.

They say imag­i­na­tion encir­cles the world. That’s a good view, but it’s also way too utopic. Truth is, even though imag­i­na­tion may not nec­es­sar­i­ly be “finite”, it is still sus­cep­ti­ble to human lim­i­ta­tions. These lim­i­ta­tions vary from per­son to per­son, and affects many instances of our lives (and even our beliefs).

How do you find out the lim­its of your own imag­i­na­tion?

First close your eyes.

Imagine a stick. Imagine it detailed, with con­tours and rough­ness. Imagine the edges are sharp, and could poten­tial­ly prick some­thing. Can you do that? Yes? Good!

Now imag­ine TWO such sticks. Imagine both of them as they are: indi­vid­ual sticks, not a clus­ter.

Imagine THREE indi­vid­ual sticks, each one with its details. Can you do that? Barely, but still pos­si­ble, right?

Now imag­ine FOUR indi­vid­ual sticks. Keep adding one, and don’t lose sight of either of those indi­vid­ual sticks.

Eventually you’ll real­ize that, after a cer­tain num­ber of sticks, it’s either hard or near­ly impos­si­ble to keep “imag­in­ing” the num­ber of sticks, with their indi­vid­ual details. Instead, your brain auto­mat­i­cal­ly falls back on assum­ing that these sticks are, in fact, a “clus­ter”. A “group”. A col­lec­tive is much eas­i­er to imag­ine than too many indi­vid­ual sticks with their own sep­a­rate nuances. The brain can’t cope with han­dling too much infor­ma­tion at the same time, so it defaults to “group­ing” prac­tices, even at the cost of strip­ping away the diverse qual­i­ties of each indi­vid­ual stick. It’s eas­i­er to “con­trol” a data as col­lec­tive, reduc­ing ele­ments to their bare com­mon­al­i­ties.

insert anal­o­gy of Individualism (Liberalism) vs Collectivism (via Authoritarianism / Feminism / Communism / Fascism) here

Another exer­cise: Find a per­son you’ve known for, like, a LIFETIME. Look at their FACE for ten whole min­utes.

Now get away from them. Close your eyes, and try to recon­struct what they look like. Every con­tour. Every pre­cise curve. Every strand of hair. Every shade of col­or. Every pores of their skin.

Can’t do it, can you? Now that might make you think a lot of things there. Feel free to take some moment to con­tem­plate on what that means.

They always ask me what are Arts use­ful for any­way. What kind of “val­ue” can Arts ever give to the world. My answers are usu­al­ly unique, depend­ing on con­texts, because Arts have con­tributed so much to the soci­ety.

But, for an Artist, it is also often a way to exer­cise their aware­ness. Even with­out hav­ing any kind of “Social Message”, Art can get you in touch with real­i­ty “as it is”, in its blunt­ness, harsh­ness, and yet its most beau­ti­ful. Striving to make their imag­i­na­tion “bet­ter” via con­stant prac­tice. Making your innards capa­ble enough to con­nect with the out­side world in pre­ci­sion. Being able to soak in the moment as they come to their fullest, and not crash­ing by being so over­whelmed like a Windows 95 com­put­er.

There’s a good rea­son they call Arts “med­i­ta­tive” in a lot of regards. When you’re seri­ous about it, it usu­al­ly is!


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