Energy, Scripts, and Images: A Theory of the Humanities
It is important to evaluate, but it is also important to describe, because if we have a good description, we are better able to understand, and therefore better able to evaluate - meaning better able to untoxically judge, and therefore better able to think about strengths and weaknesses and, in the process help people and artists grow.
In this blog post, I'm going to attempt a description of the humanities, meaning music, literature, and art, as well as hybrid forms, which I like to think of in the context of ekphrasis. And I am going to describe the humanities in the context of energy, scripts, and images. What do I mean?
Let me start with energy. Energy is tone. Energy is the feeling of the words, and therefore the meaning we create, or imagine, based on the feeling, the tone, the energy. Energy in a work of art creates, along with scripts and images, depending on the emphases and priorities of the work, the genre, and the art form, moods, atmospheres, climates, settings. It is the colors of the work, the landscape, the interiority, in some sense, of the characters. It is largely why we respond to other works, along with scripts and images, and why we don't to others works.
The energy of a work is also based on scripts. Scripts are internalized voices. Scripts might appear in a work of literature through the voice of a poem, play, novel, short story, or graphic novel. In that sense, the voice is covert, although what really makes a voice, along with the energy of it, the feel of the words, the adjectives we used to describe it, is the unconscious meanings behind and animating it, or in other words the unconscious messages, the subliminal messages. If a fake person says something, but there is a barbed feeling behind it, you can probably assume there is something unconscious in them they haven't worked on, or, if they don't grow from this description and evaluation - a perception - then there might be something shady about them, an unreliable narrator, someone refusing to look, to come to terms with the ratios of art and truth.
The image of a work is the inner picture, how we imagine it, and also the overt picture, if we are looking at a work of visual art. Visual art has more of an emphasis on the overt image, and the verbal arts more of an emphasis on the covert image, though both involve the imagination. An image also can be a kind of memory of the beloved.
If we can use energy, scripts, and images to describe the humanities - music, for example, is a kind of script, and a kind of energy, though it does not involve images as much as literature and art - but we want to have a psychological account of the humanities as well, then we also have to talk about art and truth.
What is art, and what is truth, and what is the difference? Art is in some sense the inner image, the imaginative quality of a work of art, something that sustains and consoles and comforts and shocks and educates and delights and disturbs and gives life. It is in some ways, along with love, what makes life worth living.
What is truth? Truth is the damage down by people to people. Truth is the inner child that hides inside of us, with a rash on his or her face, in a kind of sewer, hunkering down to escape endless emotional or physical or intellectual or spiritual abuse.
If that's true, what is the relationship between art and truth? Art nurtures the damaged child, and gives him or her different energy, scripts, and images. In that sense, all art is heretical, because it replaces one narrative with another. Art itself is an act of ekphrasis, because it describes something by describing something else.