View Full Version : Are patterns of Art, including Poetry, Archetypal in their Appeal?

October 29th, 2018, 02:56 AM
This began as a post in the Workshop, where it was suggested as a topic in its own light. I agreed, and re-posted it here.

[When I was an undergrad, I asked a prof what 'DISCUSS' meant on exam/essay questions. She said, "Stay on the topic and show that your perspective expands or adds fuel in some interesting way to our understanding of the topic"].

Keeping that sense of 'Discuss' in mind, I suggest that this entire thread [ref. to the poem under study in the Workshop ] is some good minds expressing good thoughts about a fascinating albeit irresolvable subject. I haveargued elsewhere that nervous over-emphasis on AUDIENCE--"beauty is in the eye of the beholder"--will push the argument into aesthetic nihilism and the silliness that there is no such thing as Art, there is only the individual perception of Art, and of course the corollary of that proposition is that anyone's sense of art is as 'good' as anyone else's sense of art. So Art evaporates, becomes an amorphous impression of the existential impressionss of any individual that vocalizes. . . 'something': "TO ME, that five-day-old roadkill over there, teeming with ants and maggots, is Beauty. That is the ultimate Art. Pure poetry". Misguided 'democracy' and out-of-control PC would agree: "it is not my place to impose my views on this person."

Oh please! Impose your views on this person! Better yet, just say "good luck with that". . .and move away from them completely

EVERYONE avoids this polar position, a sort of Jungian proposition that over tens of thousands of years of inner evolution, humans have developed an indefinable part of consciousness that recognizes the form and line and juxtaposition of visuals that result in a sense of Art, regardless of medium, that will hold for the Chauvet cave drawings (35,000 years ago) in France and the scatter-page formats of Charles Olson's Maximus Poems.

Keats must have had something like this in mind in the closing lines of "An Ode to a Grecian Urn" -

"Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty"
That is all ye know on earth--
And all ye need to know.

Is this 'Jungian position'--that in a work of Art a concept/sense adheres independent of individual experience-- as viable an argument as ART being in the eye of the beholder?

TL Murphy
October 29th, 2018, 04:08 AM
I don't understand the question. Can you boil the entire comment down to 25 words and ask a real question? This comment is 25 words.

October 29th, 2018, 09:46 AM
Tim -- I didn't have any problem discerning the question in the first place, but here it is as "a real question". . .and in only 19 words:

Are there archetypal patterns within a work of Art that define it, independent of human minds that perceive it?

Or, 'Is art in the thing or in the eye that looks at it?" . . .13 words.

When I presented this issue on a poem's thread, YOU pointed out that it should be a question in its own right. That's what I'm trying to do. I'd like to frame the question in a clear manner that will promote productive argument. If you still think the question unclear, please simply re-write it. I'm open. Thanks.

TL Murphy
October 29th, 2018, 02:26 PM
Hmm, okay I see. It’s two different approaches to the same question. The first question seems to encompass wider understanding by invoking “archetypes”. And I think the deeper question you are asking is: Do archetypes exist outside of human consciousness and do those archetypes define art or is art define by human perception? (20 words). That’s really two questions but the second part depends on the first part. But I don’t see how archetypes could exist outside of human consciousness unless there is a God or gods. Jung expressed archetypes as symbols that are shared within a common human consciousness and I’m not exactly sure how he labeled that... “the unconscious”? But I don’t think he equated it with deity. And it’s not entirely clear to me whether he envisioned this common consciousness as a kind of telepathy or if he saw it as growing out of culture. But anyway, going back to the God thing... that’s a question I can’t answer, so I would prefer to leave God out of the discussion and that leads me to the only other option: that archetypes cannot exist outside of human consciousness, which is some kind of innate shared knowledge and whether it’s cultural or telepathic doesn’t really matter for the purposes of this discussion. So going back to the second part of the question: is art defined by archetypes or by human perception... I believe that Marcell Duchamp nailed it in 1919 when he said - for art to exist (happen) three things have to come together, an artist, a venue, and an audience. Notice he does not say there has to be an “object”. In that sense, art is an “event” that can only happen in a relationship between the artist and the audience through some kind of medium. That says to me that the “art event” happens where expression meets perception. That’s why we are so damn keen to have others read our poetry. So according to this definition, art is defined by perception, not the “thing itself” or even archetypes but archetypes play a vital role because the artist relies on these shared symbols in order to make his expression understood, but I would not say that the archetype defines the art. Archtypes are more of a “language” that the artist uses to convey ideas and the viewer perceives the ideas through recognition of the symbology.

December 19th, 2018, 12:18 AM
I'm no expert, but since there are patterns, an archetype is always arguable.
One way of looking at it is that artist is able to express a shared idea.
Whether or not we see it the same way is irrelevant, I think it has to do with how much it speaks to us as an individual.
Think of it as a cause and effect situation; an artist experience, he then expresses. A person sees that expression(cause) and it attracts their attention through some conscious or subconscious mechanism(effect).
Whether or not there is a general archetypal appeal is self-referential as I see know quantifiable way to register it as a whole.
What we can recognize is the expression and transfer of ideas from one person to another, so in my opinion it depends on your perception of art and life in its totality.

January 21st, 2020, 09:50 PM
The art is only art because of the emotions it evokes. What's art to one person might not be to someone else. I'd argue that art has nothing to do with what it is, but only with the emotional response. This quote (from the tv show Daredevil) sums it up pretty well: "I tell them it's not about the artist's name or the skill required, not even about the art itself. All that matters is, how does it make you feel?" I'm not quite sure if my line of thought makes much sense to anyone else, but this was the best way I could put it