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Blame 28 February 2006

Posted by EDITOR in Arts, GUESTS, Philosophy, Politics.
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GUEST POST

Note: This week’s post is by Imran Javaid. Imran is a Virginia-based lawyer, an amateur playwright and an intermittent presence on othermatters.org.

I often find behind my thought, when I am conscious of thinking, fate’s specter casting shadows. I think about it constantly–or rather, I’m captivated–or… well, exactly. Who’s to say?

Sometimes I think that all great art (or all art I deem great) evokes at least to some degree the questions we associate with fate. What room is there for free will in that pre-temporal “Be”? What room for me?

What if art did more than pose the question? What if art were itself a metaphor for fate. (And my so unexpectedly, and oh so artfully, replacing the question mark at the end of that last sentence–and the one that will never appear at the end of this one–with a period preordained.)

Think of the passivity of the aesthetic experience, that sense of being confronted with something outside of yourself. So are life and the infinite mechanisms by which it is sustained–our heart beating, our lungs filling, our cells metabolizing–outside of us, unwilled by us, utterly independent, there.

Now think of the spontaneity of the aesthetic experience (you knew this was coming), that co-creative act that makes art possible between the seeing and the seen, the hearing and the heard, the touching and the touched, that act of intelligence announcing to each of us–quietly, in confidence–our undeniable, individual presence, here.

But I was going to write about Iraq. About whether one could blame violence not just on the violent but on those who helped create the conditions for it and on those who, having watched the evening news, stand ready to blame. About how art might knock the wind out of blame and annihilate annihilation.

It’s sometimes hard to remember that the ink is dry when a bomb explodes. It’s sometimes hard to imagine the many many worlds spilling from a pen.

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