Art and Professionalism

I think I’ve made an error in thinking about art as something on the “fringe”. The problem with both art and, earlier, love, is that they are too “geometric”, art is associated with fragmentation and love with isomorphism. The hope here is to think about professionalism, which is something, in fact, I will argue, quite similar to love and art, but is more grounded, ie, historically specific (so that I think that, while I’ve made errors, the development here is still progressive.)

Here are a bunch of stuff from my notes that say mostly the same thing:

“Art is nothing but an initiation into a way of life.”
“Art seeks to pass on an inheritance”
“Most people don’t realize that art seeks above all to be understood and not misunderstood.” (Ie, in opposition to the notion that art can be interpreted whimsically based on one’s perspective.)
“Benjamin wrote for the Jews.”
“We are old school materialists.” (Ie, the emphasis on work, historically grounded, etc.)

Our basic error with art was that we were still simply giving a description of it (“geometric”), or, we understood its superficial forms and distortions without understanding the underlying history, specificity, seriousness, etc.. So in my notes, I was heading towards a more grounded, “serious”, more “selfish” notion of art — and therefore solidifying the link between art and success in society, the fringe with the heart if you will. I think this was an implication all along here (or perhaps something I forgot) — our understanding of love for example, as “isomorphism”, is emphatically selfish and not altruistic — we love someone who is just like us, even if “existential isomorphism” means that they are our “opposite”.


Let’s consider La Belle Dame Sans Merci — and Keats is certainly a very strategic choice when thinking about art and professionalism, since he was neither one nor the other, one could say. Our basic effort here is actually the attempt to characterize the difficulty of inheritance. Keats was “liberal” enough not to ever attempt a descriptive text on mannerisms or something (which is actually a legitimate effort, at least) so that all of his poems were written “with excitement” — ie, he considered who his being, his professional or inheritable being, as someone who is “at work” in the midst of something. But this, too, may be naive, this, too, may run into the same problem as the (more widely acknowledged as naive) descriptive method above, precisely because it does not take into account the difficulties of inheritance and the specificity of his own labor. That is, there is the sense that Keats’s “ideological” concerns (ie, the difference between liberal and conservative), oftentimes, prevented him from understanding the inheritance was not merely the task of presenting the miseducation by the other side, but that there were essential problems here. (These essential problems are, basically, nihilism and (self-)exoticism — and we will attempt to relate these two things to our concerns below.) In other words, the engagement in the contemporary world gives a “structural” view of the self that never arrives at materialistic understanding of the historical self. Ie, it’s like the error of thinking about nature as an escape from the rat race.

Now, with LBD, there are many figures who insist on their specificity, including Keats himself. The basic movement here, we will argue, is the that of a “shrinking down” of the core of the inheritable, as we move from a descriptive or dramatic understanding of the self (ie, that we spoke of above) to a more “pure” understanding of the self. Our earlier of art as “purification” of love, the min-maxing of art, is very similar — the attempt to understand “what it is I (or “one”) really does / can do”.

… TBC: The Core of The Inheritable


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