Saturday, May 10, 2008

Is It Art?

By definition, when an object is art it does not induce us to go out and do something. Beginning with Aristotle's idea that tragedy produces an emotional catharsis, aesthetics has usually argued that art produces static emotions.

Propaganda tells you what to think and then tries to get you to do something about it. Perhaps to vote for a candidate; perhaps to join a revolution. Advertising tries to get you to buy something. Both try to get you to take action; neither counts as art.

This is why-- in case you were wondering-- psychotherapists, beginning with Freud, have had been so averse to to offering advice and guidance. In their view your life is an unrealized work of art. They would not be helping you to bring it to realization if they were offering guidance about how to conduct your life.

This is why so many therapists insist that life is a story and that cure involves becoming your own fully realized creation... the author of your own psychodrama.

The real question is this: why do therapists need scientific training to produce living theater?

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