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Fighting Evangelical Tendencies

Practicing Bikram Yoga in the nude every day

For almost a year I practice every day
Bikram of course, in the nude, on the nude
For almost a year I look myself in the raw
My eyes find myself beautiful in my own eyes
Physical honing catching up with my spiritual perfection
Precisely because I seek my own improvement above others

Learning, comparing, connecting
The dots behind the religions
Over a year in the quiet
Remembering …

I saw her in Krishna’s kitchen, an ordinary woman
Running her maidens hither and thither, spicier and spicier
I saw her by Krishna’s altar, beside her husband
Both elders, both leaders, leading a false temple in His name
With all others of their spiritual kind, an international breed
Dissimilar though they all may be in race and creed.

Preaching subservience to her husband,
She practiced domination;
Addressing every man as a lord or brother
She treated them worse than dirt;
And they in turn passed it on gladly to others
What goes around kept going around
In ever widening spiraling circles
Of half-empty packages, half-digested information!

But the worst of their sins lay in none of the above,
It lay in their preaching, it lay in their teaching;
I listened to their distortions,
To their rampant wishful fantasies;
Turning Krishna, dear to millions
Into a little boy to be a plaything of older lascivious women;
Ignoring His magnificently heartbreaking work
In destroying evil for a little while
To give the world a fresh start.

An evangelical heart seeking easy bites
They could only regurgitate chants
Simple visions, pranks of a child,
Gerber morsels of behavior
Quickly digested by rootless followers.

Forgotten sight from abandoned eyes
Paints people with weightless limbs
Unhampered by shadows or perspectives
Offered to strangers and acolytes alike
As evidence of Krishna’s life and art

No history, no causality,
Just a long chain of ill-heard hearsay
But hearing no evil only purifies its potency
No gravity, no anatomy,
Mere shapeless wraiths covered head-to-toe
But seeing no evil merely intensifies its power

Blind and deaf beautiful girls
Only birth a religion for fearful boys
Some incentive to join a mangled religion!
That spreads fear amongst its devout!

For a lifetime I have looked at others covered
Cloaked in dignity, cloaked in knowledge,
Covered in scripture, oozing spirituality,
Dressed in worldly wisdom,
They’ve never been in that room of practice
Putting to practice what they believe
Within the discomfort of their own sweat
They trade their untested offerings to each other
In an ever widening circle of half-empty packages
And half-digested information

Learning, comparing, connecting
The dots behind the religions
Over a year in the quiet
Remembering …

A pencil drawing of a piteous damsel
Did her copious tears lead to the birth of religion?
Drawn unconsciously behind a bougainvillea watercolor
Did my action indicate a source of a problem?
She drawing away from the honesty of a flower
Leaving its lesson of continuous course correction
On its path to a union of the physical and the spiritual
Towards the imaginary heavenly arms of some defender.
Some incentive to start a new religion!

Yoga in America

Bikram Choudhury’s “Bikram Yoga – The Guru Behind Hot Yoga Shows the Way to Radiant Health and Personal Fulfillment” was published in 2007. At the time I was practicing at the first and the original Bikram Yoga studio in Dallas. I didn’t buy it then thinking that it would contain the same information as in his earlier book published in 2000 called “Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class”.

Last year when I began practicing at home intensely, I finally bought the 2007 book. What the heck, I thought. I had bought two copies of the 2000 book and given it away to family and friends after reading it and deciding that the teaching in the studio was more helpful to me. Why not finally buy this book that I had resisted buying before!

I bought it. I read it. It was written from the heart. And it spoke to mine. I shared most of the opinions expressed therein. So I started making notes in the margins, not so much to make corrections but more to add my two cents worth of thoughts on what Bikram was saying. It was a vindication of what I had been realizing about how Hatha Yoga works. You will see what I mean shortly.

Chapter Four titled, “Right Road, Wrong Direction: How American Yoga Lost Its Way”, begins with a quote from Paramahansa Yogananda, “The theory advanced by certain ignorant writers that yoga is “unsuitable for Westerners” is wholly false, and has lamentably prevented many sincere students from seeking its manifold blessings. Yoga cannot know a barrier of East and West any more than does the healing and equitable light of the sun.” Fair enough. It continues on like so.

“But Bikram,” I can hear you saying, “why do you keep yelling at us that we need to do yoga? We are doing yoga! You of all people should know how popular yoga’s become in the United States in the past 10 years or so. Maybe you need to wake up, open your eyes, and realize we’ve already taken your advice. What’s your problem?”

Of course, my friends, I know that yoga is now trendy, popular and a subject for glossy magazine covers; I even read somewhere over 20 million people in the United States say they practice yoga. And that’s a big number. But numbers can lie. To explain, I will ask you a question: What kind of yoga are all those people doing? Bogus yoga, that’s what kind. That’s my problem, and your problem. It’s an obstacle that continues to block the liberation of the West, individually and collectively. It’s the next speed bump you have to pass on your drive to the perfect life, and it’s a big one. …”

According to Bikram,

“… Swami Vivekananda was the first Indian spiritual master to visit the modern West. He came to the United States in September 1893 (when he was 27) to speak at the World Parliament of Religions, part of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. His speech on Vedanta and Raja Yoga was so well received that he was subsequently booked for a lecture tour throughout the United States. When he left America, Vivekananda told people that another yogi would follow him, and named his successor Swami Paramahansa Yogananda, my guru’s older brother. Remarkably, at the time of Swami Vivekananda’s prophecy, Paramahansa Yogananda was less than one year old.

The famed author of Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, came to Boston in 1920 and stayed there five years, teaching the eight limbs of yoga according to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. In addition, he taught his disciples an advanced yogic breathing and meditation technique that he called Kriya Yoga, “the airplane route to God.” In 1924, Yogananda went on a spiritual campaign across the United States, spreading the messages of Self-Realization. Hundreds of thousands of Americans filled lecture halls to hear the great Indian swami’s impassioned speeches. In 1925 he established the International Headquarters of the Self-Realization Fellowship in Glendale, California.

In the early 1930s, Yogananda and his youngest brother, Bishnu Ghosh, traveled together throughout the United States giving lectures and demonstrations of physical culture including bodybuilding and Hatha Yoga. At Yogananda’s request, my guru also started teaching Hatha Yoga at the Self-Realization Fellowship. Ghosh inspired both children and adults to strengthen their bodies and minds. My guru also originated bodybuilding contests in America, founding the Mr. Universe contest and acting as its chief judge in 1948. He was an Olympic judge, a member of the International Weightlifting and Body Building Federation. He also became a visiting professor at Columbia University, though he continued to return to India often in order to train yogis at his own school, Ghosh’s College of Physical Education, in Calcutta.

Following my guru and his son-in-law, Buddha Bose, three more significant yogis came to the United States. The first to arrive was Bishnu Devananda, who was followed by Swami Satchitananda. They were both disciples of Swami Sivananda and considered powerful yogis. Then, in the early 1970s, B. K. S. Iyengar, a yogi from Pune, near Bombay, arrived. Unfortunately, these three yogis and others felt that the American people and their bodies were just not capable of practicing real, traditional Indian yoga. They responded by changing the true yoga they’d been taught into something they thought Americans could more readily accomplish and understand. Frankly, they didn’t think you could handle the truth.

What did they do because of their lack of faith in Western people and the sacred teaching of their gurus? How did they screw up their sacred duty? First, they changed some of Patanjali’s original 84 postures to accommodate the inflexibility of American bodies, and stopped teaching other postures they thought would be too hard. Another of the worst bastaradizations was that they loosened or abandoned the rigorous discipline with which yoga must be taught, the way they themselves came to be yoga masters. Americans, they mistakenly believed, should not be pushed out of their “comfort zone.” Next came all the bizarre props, including ropes, straps, chairs, pulleys, benches, whips, chains, clamps and other unnecessary crutches to try to help Western bodies get into the postures. Iyengar used so many props in his method that he’s called “The Furniture Yogi” in India. All of this compromised the true way and diluted Hatha Yoga.

…”

Having turned just 50 almost two weeks ago, I wouldn’t know about most of the people who Bikram mentions. But I have practiced (tried is a better word, but let’s be charitable) Iyengar Yoga here in Dallas. I can see why he’s called “The Furniture Yogi” in India. So many props are used that one actually goes to sleep instead of awakening to one’s own true potential. When so many helping hands come forward to ease you into postures so you can say you too do yoga, why bother with the correct and the hard way! After all, Americans are all about making money and want results now, now, now! Such bald-faced lies! This absurd opinion is held about people who still use a jury of peers to determine a person’s guilt instead of just letting a judge decide. This is the opinion held about people who worked out and continue to work out checks and balances to curb executive, legislative and judicial powers! Bah humbug, I say!

And finally, to my mind, here’s the pièce de résistance:

“… American yoga teachers invent posture after posture, modification after modification, making up their own Sanskrit names, and then selling their defective wares to the uninitiated. Now you find, to list just a few, things like Kundalini Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga, which never existed in India. … these things (and so-called Vinyasa Yoga) are not part of the original yoga; there is only Hatha. Bikram Yoga is Hatha Yoga.

These days, the yoga “brands” are getting even more ridiculous; you’ve got Easy Yoga, Sit-at-Your-Desk Yoga, Yoga for Beginners, Yoga for Dummies, Yoga for Pets, and Babaar Yoga. It’s all Mickey Mouse Yoga to me. …”

Could not have said it better myself.

NOTES:

Books on Bikram Yoga that I find useful in my practice are as follows:

1. Bikram Yoga – The Guru Behind Hot Yoga Shows the Way to Radiant Health and Personal Fulfillment, Bikram Choudhury. Copyright 2007 by Bikram Choudhury.
Q: Why do I like this book?
A: It took me so long to even buy the book that I knew that (a) I was not ready for its teachings until last year, and (b) its teachings will prove to be a rich and profound source of investigation, validation and inspiration.

2. Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class, Bikram Choudhury. Copyright 2000 by Bikram Choudhury.
Q: Why do I like this book?
A: It was the first book on Bikram Yoga I bought. Even then it took me a while to purchase it and then read it. I liked it enough to buy copies for family and friends who did not have easy access to a Bikram Yoga studio near where they lived.

3. Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class, Bikram Choudhury. Copyright 1978 by Bikram Choudhury.
Q: Why do I like this book?
A: I love this one. It’s got illustrations by Bonnie Jones Reynolds that are plain hilarious, and very true at the same time. A daily practitioner can look at them and think, “So that’s what I look like in that pose!”

Ayn Rand’s Romantic Manifesto: Installment 25

AYN RAND

THE ROMANTIC MANIFESTO
A Philosophy of Literature
Revised Edition

Chapter 1: The Epistemology of Art
Installment 1, Installment 2, Installment 3,…

Chapter 2: Philosophy and Sense of Life
Installment 4, Installment 5, Installment 6,…

Chapter 3: Art and Sense of Life
Installment 7, Installment 8, Installment 9, Installment 10, Installment 11, Installment 12,…

Chapter 4: Art and Cognition
Installment 13, Installment 14, Installment 15, Installment 16, Installment 17, Installment 18, Installment 19, Installment 20, Installment 21, Installment 22, Installment 23, Installment 24, …
… contd.

Chapter 5: Basic Principles of Literature

The most important principle of the esthetics of literature was formulated by Aristotle, who said that fiction is of greater philosophical importance than history, because “history represents things as they are, while fiction represents them as they might be and ought to be.”

This applies to all forms of literature and most particularly to a form that did not come into existence until twenty-three centuries later: the novel.

A novel is a long, fictional story about human beings and the events of their lives. The four essential attributes of a novel are: Theme – Plot – Characterization – Style.

These are attributes, not separable parts. They can be isolated conceptually for study, but one must always remember that they are interrelated and that a novel is their sum. (If it is a good novel, it is an indivisible sum.)

These four attributes pertain to all forms of literature, i.e., of fiction, with one exception. They pertain to novels, plays, scenarios, librettos, short stories. The single exception is poems. A poem does not have to tell a story; its basic attributes are theme and style.

A novel is a major literary form – in respect to its scope, its inexhaustible potentiality, its almost unlimited freedom (including the freedom from the physical limitations of the kind that restrict a stage play) and, most importantly, in respect to the fact that a novel is a purely literary form of art which does not require the intermediary of the performing arts to achieve its ultimate effect.

NOT TO BE CONTINUED. BUY THE BOOK IF YOU NEED MORE INFORMATION.

Sparking Practitioner Tendencies

Practicing Bikram Yoga in the nude every day

For almost a year I practice every day
Bikram of course, in the nude, on the nude
For almost a year I look myself in the raw
My eyes find myself beautiful in my own eyes
Physical honing catching up with my spiritual perfection
Precisely because I seek my own improvement above others

Learning, comparing, connecting
The dots behind the religions
Over a year in the quiet
Remembering …

A young girl selling her evangelical belief
In return for her friendship in sincere earnest
Please take my belief seriously! I recite it daily to myself!
I recite it to as many others as I can!

Her artistic eyes saw clearly her own practice
A practice of an ancient dance she spoke of with passion
– A half-empty pot to be filled with next day’s practice

For over ten years I practice Bikram yoga
My eyes learns to look at others as they truly are
Dressed skimpily or not, (no nudes in the studio, darling)
In the practice room none can hide what they are
Distractions abound always, yet the truth lies revealed
Quickly hidden as they leave the room relieved
Relaxed they revert back to what they want to be
Remain struggling between their own potential and their desire

Learning, comparing, connecting
The dots behind the religions
Over a year in the quiet
Remembering …

A young woman, her line
Full of grace and elegance, I saw her
First in a long dress of deepest queenly blue
She looked to her duties with full possession of her faculties
I was glad to have her as a friend and confidante
Yet a young girl lay hidden who stole my painting
And used it as a stick to beat her parents for their ignorance
If she had but asked I’d have fleshed it out better
– Not just in stark black with no face nor feature.

For almost a year I practice every day
Bikram of course, in the nude, on the nude
For almost a year I look myself in the raw
My eyes find myself beautiful in my own eyes
Physical honing catching up with my spiritual perfection
But only in movement, and only in action
Do I see this beauty!

Beautiful for Him was only a placeholder
for him who grew more handsome with years
But the truth remains unsaid
Beautiful in My Own Eyes
Is what this Vain Yogi desires

So my daily practice continues
Catching up on those days missing
With doubles on days to fall in my hand
So recommends Bikram’s instructions
For a continued life of truth and beauty for us.

Fighting Christian Tendencies

Practicing Bikram yoga in the nude

For almost a year
I practice my fave yoga
Bikram of course,
In the nude
On the nude (no mat nor towel darling)

Any position
Testing spine bends
In all four directions
In alignment, in tandem
First the right, then the left
Bottom goes forward, bottom goes up
No chained scribbles to hold them back

Practice goes better, than in class
Some distractions, some accidents
Learning in leaps and bounds
Every time, no thought to begin
Husband asleep, without a care
No holding up silly straps

Learning, comparing, connecting
The dots behind the religions
Over a year in the quiet
Remembering …

That desperate recitation of the old WalMart greeter
A recitation of some old Vedic hymns
Is it time yet? I’ve had all the knowledge lying here

That offer of a pie and an invitation to the church
Videos of indigenous tribes in Northeast India
Converting to Christianity in repentance for their barbarity
Come! It will be fun! You will be saved too!

That proselytization of a young Evangelical girl
While waiting for the mid-morning fast local to college
Deaf to the church bells around her
Blind to the devout praying before a full work day
Believe in Christ! He will save you!

A proselytization of a young Evangelical boy
To us girls relaxing in between learning how to build
Not a boy really, but a fighter in a grove of knowledge
Deaf to the treasures on art, architecture, technology
Blind to the flowering of his own magnificent culture
Believe in Christ! He is The Savior! There is none to come after Him!
Oh yes there is! Another was born about 200 years ago! Why not accept him!

A proselytization turns into an argument
A foreshadow of things to come, in our lives!
No revealing of the truth!
Just another bloody war!

Fought for whom? And why?
That pie-wielding old lady gleefully awaiting an ignorant convert?
A vanguard of some upcoming granny state law?
That babbling young girl earnestly hoping for a proof of promised revelation?
A vanguard of the coming big-tent-burkha-hijab revolution?
Both of them against that fighting young boy in their aims
The one proscribing his actions, the other his vision!
Yet all three seemingly the same, ain’t religion wonderful?

Practice in a warm-not-hot room
Alone with my old problems
Being broken down one after another
Practice in a cool or cold room
Alone with the same problems now intertwined
Being solved, dissolved in the acid of an awakening mind

Learning, comparing, connecting
The dots behind the religions
Over a year in the quiet
Remembering …

Watching the Passion of Christ with my husband and wondering
Was it necessary to flog and crucify a cross-bearing Jesus?
To demonstrate his credentials? To prove his point?

Thinking about the life of his father Joseph and questioning
Was it necessary to raise a child not his own?
To show his love and support for his pregnant bride?

Pondering what sort of woman might Mary be
Accepting such gruesome sacrifices of those nearest to her?
A Kali reborn on a different battlefield?
Satisfied with nothing but the slow-drawn blood of Man?

Practice in private, practice in public
Learn to sketch graceful ballet dancers
See the elegance of a stretched out limb
An arm, a leg, a hand, a foot
Against its actual length and ponder
Remember my own beauty revealed only in an asana

Learning, comparing, connecting
The people, the practitioners of the religions
Over a lifetime in the melee
Remembering …

A boy in the rear seat watching his father
Return to an abandoned home, no warning, nothing
Was it not cruel to take one man’s child and give it to another?
Was it really so necessary to express solidarity with women at the expense of a child?

A girl in a new home watching her mother return and go away
Wondering if this really was her mother, so unlike her loving father
Was it not cruel to take one man’s child and give it to strangers?
Was it so very necessary to express solidarity with women at the expense of a child?

A strong willed child carrying its father’s strength and determination
Ignorant of his identity, but knowing of his reputation through its mother
Was it wise of you to keep me if I am my father’s child carrying half his genes?
Are you not afraid because you don’t know precisely what blend I inherited?

And these mothers answer as follows:
It is still our intention to sacrifice men, to sacrifice Man
We did it before to Jesus, we’ll do so again to his followers
And as they fall by the wayside, as they surely must
We’ll bring on the big-tent-burkha-hijab revolution
To create a new world of restrictions, darkness, and ignorance
‘Cos its our nature
we are unrestrained (don’t be so old-fashioned!)
we are blind (we rely on relative positioning in the pecking order!)
we don’t know ourselves (we change much more than you!)

And you!
You can’t teach us!
Try as you might
You can’t reach us!
Because
You are not us!

Fighting Islamic Tendencies

Practicing Bikram Yoga in skimpy clothes

On a fine day I practice my fave yoga
Bikram of course,
In a lacy yellow underwired top
& a red-orange-yellow bottom

Front row position
Tested spine bends in all four directions
Top held firm
Underwire inspired a high chest lift
Bottom remained firm
Customized with orange chained scribbles

Class went well
No distractions, no accidents
Went back the next day
Class still went well
No distractions, no accidents

Both times, a thought remained
In mind – my husband
Was holding up the straps
Teacher was focused on teaching
Practitioners were focused on following
So it proved
Both times.

Alas!
This caused major acid reflux
To a few hens in class
Sigh!
There are a few clucking denizens
Here too!

A few days later
When I went back
I was reprimanded
About dress code
Published in some FuckBitch,
Sorry! FaceBook denizen’s page!

Wonder if the hens were on Islamic payroll?
A vanguard of the coming hijab ruling?
Wonder if the hens had no trust in themselves?
A vanguard of some upcoming nanny state law?
Wonder if the hens hated their own femininity?
A vanguard of some new biological asexuality?
All wearing tents, burkhas, hijab to you Westerners!
Hiding all curves, all weapons – AK-47, Uzi, anyone?
A new twist on the old
Conceal-and-carry weapon, natch!

Next I practiced
In peachy-orange-red halter top
And the red-orange-yellow bottom
A few days later

Class went well again
No distractions, no accidents
Same thought as before
Remained in mind
Evil lay not in the teacher
Evil lay not in the teaching
But in the minds of hens on Islamic payroll
Wanting, oh so desperately,
To bring on the big-tent-burkha-hijab revolution!

Today I practiced
At home in that oh-so-objectionable
Lacy yellow top & red-orange-yellow bottom
Alas!
Top strap slipped
Many times
Bottom distracted
Times too numerous to mention

Where were the hens to object?
Or does it not matter
If errors, mistakes, sins
Are committed, hidden
From public eyes?
Is this the much vaunted
Maternal protection provided
By these clucking protectors of morality?

Not really! It’s still about wanting
To wear those tents, burkhas, hijabs
To hide their corporeal sins
To convey conceal-and-carry weapons
How do you know
Who is inside that tent?
A man? A woman? Both?

Me! I like to wear
Fitting clothes
A Bikram yogi
Hides no sins
But reveals
To remove

As for those hens
Their intentions
Ain’t that clear
Hidden behind
Sins too numerous
To mention.

Becoming Partners

Becoming Partners - the beginning of a window of opportunity

Becoming Partners – the beginning of a window of opportunity

In sketching this piece, I stayed here for quite a while – lost in admiration at how this duo was emerging. Sometimes the result of one’s own efforts is so amazing as to seem miraculous. The line work itself without the shadow-work was exquisite in its clarity of delineation. But the shadows emerging were proving to be something else.

Flame of the West

The Flame of the West - A Young Ayn Rand

The Flame of the West – A Young Ayn Rand

The only flame of the west that I know of, worthy of the title.

Sketched today, Friday, August 22, 2014.

A Window Of Opportunity

A Window Of Opportunity, sketched by me through a process of delight in catching the expressions on the dancers' faces.

A Window Of Opportunity, sketched by me through a growing process of delight in catching the expressions on the dancers’ faces.

The model used for the sketch is a photograph by Leslie E. Spatt (copyright 1968 Leslie E. Spatt) taken of Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell in The Sleeping Beauty, 1968.

Antoinette Sibley joined The Royal Ballet in 1956 and became one of the foremost ballerinas of her time. When Anthony Dowell created the role of Oberon opposite her Titania in Frederick Ashton’s The Dream in 1964, he was yet to achieve fame as one of the century’s leading classical dancers. Their performances together propelled them to fame as one of the Company’s most successful dance partnerships.

- Ballet Calendar 2013 sponsored by the Royal Ballet titled Great Ballet Partnerships – Photo sourced from Royal Opera House Collections

When two dancers tap in time
To a melody created by one
For the pleasure of the other
A window of opportunity emerges
Through the flames of the purges.

A fire in the mind of one
Lights an answer in the other
The window glazes with their heat
As an inferno blazes to his melody
The window tightens to her swaying feet.

The sleeping beauty laughs
The sleeping beauty smiles
The two dancers tap
The tap dancers skip
As two friends rejoice
And tap to a new beat.

Ayn Rand’s Romantic Manifesto: Installment 24

AYN RAND

THE ROMANTIC MANIFESTO
A Philosophy of Literature
Revised Edition

Chapter 1: The Epistemology of Art
Installment 1, Installment 2, Installment 3,…

Chapter 2: Philosophy and Sense of Life
Installment 4, Installment 5, Installment 6,…

Chapter 3: Art and Sense of Life
Installment 7, Installment 8, Installment 9, Installment 10, Installment 11, Installment 12,…

Chapter 4: Art and Cognition
Installment 13, Installment 14, Installment 15, Installment 16, Installment 17, Installment 18, Installment 19, Installment 20, Installment 21, Installment 22, Installment 23, …
… contd.

If a gang of men – no matter what its slogans, motives or goals – were roaming the streets and gouging out people’s eyes, people would rebel and would find the words of a righteous protest. But when such a gang is roaming the culture, bent on annihilating men’s minds, people remain silent. The words they need can be supplied only by philosophy, but modern philosophy is the sponsor and spawner of that gang.

Man’s mind is much more complex than the best computer, and much more vulnerable. If you have seen a newspaper photograph of brutes smashing a computer, you have seen a physical concretization of the psychological process now going on, which is initiated in the plate glass windows of art galleries, on the walls of fashionable restaurants and of multibillion-dollar business offices, in the glossy pages of popular magazines, in the technological radiance of movie and television screens.

Decomposition is the postscript to the death of the human body; disintegration is the preface to the death of a human mind. Disintegration is the keynote and goal of modern art – the disintegration of man’s conceptual faculty, and the retrogression of an adult mind to the state of a mewling infant.

To reduce man’s consciousness to the level of sensations, with no capacity to integrate them, is the intention behind the reducing of language to grunts, of literature to “moods,” of painting to smears, of sculpture to slabs, of music to noise.

But there is a philosophically and psychopathologically instructive element in the spectacle of that gutter. It demonstrates – by the negative means of an absence – the relationships of art to philosophy, of reason to man’s survival, of hatred for reason to hatred for existence. After centuries of the philosopher’s war against reason – they have succeeded – by the method of vivisection – in producing exponents of what man is like when deprived of his rational faculty, and these in turn are giving us images of what existence is like to a being with an empty skull.

While the alleged advocates of reason oppose “system-building” and haggle apologetically over concrete bound words or mystically floating abstractions, its enemies seem to know that integration is the psycho-epistemological key to reason, that art is man’s psycho-epistemological conditioner, and that if reason is to be destroyed, it is man’s integrating capacity that has to be destroyed.

It is highly doubtful that the practitioners and admirers of modern art have the intellectual capacity to understand its philosophical meaning; all they need to do is indulge the worst of their subconscious premises. But their leaders do understand the issue consciously: the father of modern art is Immanuel Kant (see his Critique of Judgment).

I do not know which is worse: to practice modern art as a colossal fraud or to do it sincerely.

Those who do not wish to be the passive, silent victims of fraud of this kind, can learn from modern art the practical importance of philosophy, and the consequences of philosophical default. Specifically it is the destruction of logic that disarmed the victims, and, more specifically, the destruction of definitions. Definitions are the guardians of rationality, the first line of defense against the chaos of mental disintegration.

Works of art – like everything else in the universe – are entities of a specific nature – the concept requires a definition by their essential characteristics, which distinguish them from all other existing entities. The genus of art works is: man-made objects which present a selective re-creation of reality according to the artist’s metaphysical value-judgments, by means of a specific material medium. The species are the works of the various branches of art, defined by the particular media which they employ and which indicate their relation to the various elements of man’s cognitive faculty.

Man’s need of precise definitions rests on the Law of Identity: A is A, a thing is itself. A work of art is a specific entity which possesses a specific nature. If it does not, it is not a work of art. If it is merely a material object, it belongs to some category of material objects – and if it does not belong to any particular category, it belongs to the one reserved for such phenomena: junk.

“Something made by an artist” is not a definition of art. A beard and a vacant stare are not the defining characteristics of an artist.

“Something in a frame hung on a wall” is not a definition of painting.

“Something with a number of pages in a binding” is not a definition of literature.

“Something piled together” is not a definition of sculpture.

“Something made of sounds produced by anything” is not definition of music.

“Something glued on a flat surface” is not a definition of any art. There is no art that uses glue as a medium. Blades of grass glued on a sheet of paper to represent grass might be good occupational therapy for retarded children – though I doubt it – but it is not art.

“Because I felt like it” is not a definition or validation of anything.

There is no place for whim in any human activity – if it is to be regarded as human. There is no place for the unknowable, the unintelligible, the undefinable, the non-objective in any human product. This side of an insane asylum, the actions of a human being are motivated by a conscious purpose; when they are not, they are of no interest to anyone outside a psychotherapist’s office. And when the practitioners of modern art declare that they don’t know what they are doing or what makes them do it, we should take their word for it and give them no further consideration.

(April – June 1971)