Modern Art and Tradition

“Make it new!”, was the rallying cry of the early 20th century, and novelty and the advant guard become the main measure of success in the art world. Since the late 19th century, with the ascent of the machine and the new urban experience, the western world was changing into something new and unknown, and art was expected to express this change and progress. Since Darwin, Freud, Marx and Nietzsche at the fin de siecle, the official position of the academics and intellectuals was athiesm, and art expressed this bleak view, and the so called absurdity of existence. The long march of modernity, with its deification of reason and science, from the Renaissance to the modern world, left some artists in favor of the changes, and others in marked opposition to it, particularly as this “progress” led to the horrors of World War I. Soon the art of the past was seen as not relevant anymore in this new world of machines, industrialization and large cities.

With the destruction of World War II and the horrors of Auschwitz, this atheistim and bleak existentialism was felt even deeper, and the art of the rest of the century expressed a meaninglessness and despair unparalleled in human history. The march of progress continued though, as new electronic inovations happened at breakneck speed, including the TV and computer, and the art of the past seemed hopelessly inadequate to deal with the new changes and attitudes of the modern world. In fact, it seemed that anything that hadn’t been on the TV was considered irrelevant and superfluous. By the end of the century post modernism declared all cultural productions to be deconstruct-able to meaninglessness, but I doubt this was truly the successor of modernism, since it still retains its predecessors complete atheism and nihilism.

Now as the new 21st century is dawning before us I feel a new art is necessary, one that reintegrates the traditions of art present since the beginnings of humanity, and helps heal the spiritual malaise that plagued most people in the past century. The proud traditions of faith, beauty and hope found in art prior to the 20th century can serve as signposts to lead us back from the brink of destruction to a reconciliation with nature and the transcendent, and a healthier, more balanced attitude towards existence on this planet. An art that moves beyond the atheism and despair of the 20th century, and expresses a renewed spiritual grounding, may be truly fitting to call the successor of modernism.

If you liked theae thoughts, may I suggest you check out my previous newsletters at kloschinskyblog.com.

You can also check out my poetry, photography and songs at kloschinsky.com.

Thanks for your support of my music,

In Song and in Spirit,

Paul Kloschinsky

Logos and Spirit

The long march of reason and science to its present supremacy has not been without its casualties. Starting with Socrates and Plato, who insisted on using their reason to approach the problems of life, the discipline of philosophy was born. Although it was overshadowed by religion in the middle ages, reason again surfaced in the Renaissance with the rebirth of humanism, or the idea that man can use his reason to evaluate things, and not just accept religious dogma. This led to the 18th century Enlightenment, where reason was crowned as the monarch, and philosophy and science flourished. This climaxed in the past century with the breathtaking discoveries of science, and the mesmerizing magic of the engineers.

It seems now that modern humanism not only asserts that man can use his reason to evaluate things, but in a hubric fashion asserts that reason and science are the only way of evaluating things, and all will be intelligible to the intellect. Indeed, as its proper field of study is the objective world, or matter, science has determined the hard mathematical constraints of the outer world, and has discredited superstitions and magical thinking. After Darwin it has been believed that the material world is all there is, with its hard rules and bleak final outcomes.  Lost is a sense of mystery, and a humility, in front of life’s deepest questions. The thorough debunking of religous dogma by science has left people without a spiritual anchor, and Logos in its long march to dominance has claimed Spirit as it’s casualty in the 20th century.

I believe it is in the subjective world that Spirit is found, which lies beyond reason and science, and is by its nature surreal and ultimately unintelligible. Just as Galileo asseted the findings of science when the pendulum had swung too much in the favour  of irrational, religous dogma, so now it has swung too much to the realm of rational, scientific materialism at the expense of Spirit. Perhaps our task in the 21st century is to accept the miracles of science and engineering, but also to reassert the transcendence of the spiritual, that so many hunger for, with a faith that can accommodate the scientific facts.

My photography, poetry and songs can be found at http://www.kloschinsky.com.

in Song and in Spirit,

Paul Kloschinsky

Television, Meaning and History

Its been around for 60 years now, has proliferated so it is everywhere, and is the way most people spend their leisure time. And it sends one message – everything is random, cling to life as desperately as you can,  and the best you can do is to skew your odds as much as you can based on the scientific statistics. The television, with its ubiquitous screens, seems to me to represent a collective ego, which is young, petrified of death, and consumed with worry about all sorts of issues. I think living in this artificial media world on a constant basis leaves people neurotic about all sorts of possible tragedies, and in a state of denial about the inevitable facts of the life cycle and mortality, and trivializes the best way anyone has ever had to face these hard facts – a faith in a higher power, a purpose to our time here on earth, and the golden promise of a just afterlife.

I wonder if people realize that, regardless of all our technological progress, the brevity of the lifecycle and the inescapable finality of a cold winter’s tombstone is unavoidable and here to stay, an acknowledgement of which would enlighten people about how to best to spend their limited time here, instead of living, and eventually dying, in a state of denial about the hard stony facts of life. Indeed, the only valuable stage of life that the TV tells us is youth, and it is completely lost what are the advantages, and what is appropriate, at all the stages of the life cycle, including eventually dying.

I think a lot of people’s sense of history and culture are from what they have seen on the TV, thinking this mainly junk food diet is all that is important, and missing all the sources of meaning to be found in historical cultures prior to JFK and the Beatles, or in leaving the media world behind sometimes to embrace the cathedral of nature.

If these thoughts resonate with you may I suggest you check out my other newsletters.

You can also check out my poetry, songs and photography at http://www.kloschinsky.com.

In song and in spirit,

Paul Kloschinsky

Science and Mystery

There have been breathtaking advances in science and engineering in the past century, as we continue to be dazzled by the next new thing in electronics, that seem to be perpetually making our lives easier and more fun. With all this progress, it may seem to many that the engineers and doctors have everything under their control, and have it all figured out. The big bang and Darwin’s theory of natural selection are thought to explain creation, with the universe and human beings being the machine like, or computer like, deterministic products of random forces.

Unfortunately, the past century has also been a time of wide spread existentialism, with its atheism, despair and to many a bleak view of modernity and humanity. For all its technological wizardry, modern life seems to lack something fundamental, a sense of meaning and a connection to something greater than ourselves. It seems to me that although it is advanced in its understanding of the material world, science has not solved the fundamental mysteries that have engaged humanity since its beginnings, and we need to look elsewhere to have an understanding of the spiritual questions that are still with us, regardless of our technologically advanced lives.

Some of the mysteries that have not been solved by science to me include:

1) How the world was created. Darwin’s theories being just one way to explain what was driving the evolutionary process, as the intricate balance and beauty of nature seems to me more likely to be the product of a designing consciousness, rather than random, purely materialistic forces.

2) Is there a higher power? Regardless of how they’ve tried, the existence of a hidden, guiding higher power has not been proven impossible by science.

3) Is there an afterlife? This whole damn journey seems absurd if it all ends up as dust in the desert.

4) How and when a person will die. For all modern medicne’s advice on the healthy lifestyle, it is always a mystery until it happens how we will eventually perish, and the only certainty is that we all will one day.

It seems to me that it is time to acknowledge what we have figured out with our science, and to also admit its limitations, so we can turn to other sources, such as religion, philosophy and the arts, to meet our famished needs for meaning, purpose and courage in the face of mortality.

If you liked these thoughts, may I suggest you check out my other newsletters at http://www.kloschinskyblog.com.

You can also check out my work in poetry, songwriting and photography at http://www.kloschinsky.com.

In song and in spirit,

Paul Kloschinsky

Morality and Masochism

Before the fall Adam and Eve where quite content in the Garden of Eden. Innocently enjoying the garden and each other, they lived in natural contentment. Then they ate the apple. The knowledge of good and evil. And they suddenly became ashamed of their bodies and desires and were cast out of paradise. It seems to me that the apple can repesent only one thing – the birth of morality.

It was then that people were masochistically turned against themselves and their desires, creating a labyrinth of our minds, hiding the beast of repressed cravings, and making human nature something sinful. It seems to me that this harsh light of moral purity casts the deepest, darkest shadow, creating the most contrast between the good and not so good parts of a person’s character. Indeed, the soft light of tolerance for normal, natural  human desires and behaviour casts the weakest shadow, thereby avoiding the intensity and barbarism of the return of repressed needs.

For me, the guides of our behavior, like the containing banks on the river of our will, is love, tolerance and compassion. Treating people not as objects to be moved around as you wish, but rather as subjects, with feelings, desires and dreams, that should be acknowledged and nutured, to allow a person to grow as they are naturally inclined. I call this ethics, or how you treat people, in contrast to morality, a set of standards that deny human nature and our authentic needs.

If you like these thoughts and would like to read more, please check out my previous newsletters at my blog – http://www.kloschinskyblog.com.

I also want to invite you to check out my work in poetry, photography and songwriting at http://www.kloschinsky.com. I recently released a new single. “Better Late Than Never” , which is available on iTunes.

In song and in spirit,

Paul Kloschinsky

Civilization and Faith

As I enter the second half of my life and have lost some of the people that cared about me when I was young, I find it necessary for my well being that I believe in something more than juat the material world of the senses. A faith that I will see my deceased loved ones again, that there is a higher power and things will make sense in the end, that good actions are rewarded ultimately, and that we all have an immortal soul. Faced with the brevity of life on this planet, I need to believe that all the work I have put in to love, learn, and grow can be taken with me when my time here is over, and it will not ultimatly just be dust in the desert.

 

It is just this faith that I never get from the conventional media, and when I do watch the TV, I am bombarded by the existential logical positivism that is the official philosophical stance of our culture. It seems to me that we live in a technologically advanced but spiritually impoverished civilization, and anyone with a spiritual orientation is portrayed as a nut. Indeed, my faith and well being is constantly challenged by this society, and my response is to touch something greater than myself in the mysteries of nature, and the great art of past epochs. Like remembering a tranquil summer meadow in the midst of a fierce winter’s ice storm, it can be difficult though.

 

I  would like to invite you to check out my work in song, poetry and photography at http://www.kloschinsky.com.

 

In song and in spirit,

 

Paul Kloschinsky

The Modern Mythology

Myths are as old as humanity, and traditionally taught ethical values and provided context for the different situations life can present one with. They also explained how we got here and the origins of natural phenomena like the seasons. Ancient myths were complex and challenging, like life itself.

It seems to me that mythology is still alive and strong in our modern society. Science has provided us with our current creation myth, the purely materialistic, unproven theory that natural selection drove the evolutionary process, without a Divine hand, as proposed by Darwin. A theory responsible for the atrocities of the 20th century, which were commited by the so called “fittest”, who thought they could get away with murder and genocide.

The stories people are told about life and it’s values are certainly on the TV and in the movies from Hollywood. Most spend every evening watching the sitcoms and dramas, and many weekends at the cinemas. I find these heros and villians too easy to classify, the answers and values put forth too simplistic, and the ridicule directed towards anyone lying outside a narrow notion of normality arrogant and destructive. Life is a lot more complex and challenging than these stories portray, and as the traditional myths of the past show us, the answers are more sophisticated, difficult and subtle.

Finally, I think the modern deity is now presented as the celebrities. Those extremely beautiful, smart and talented people that are so far above us normal mortals. Indeed, many people actively follow their trials and tribulations, larger than life lifestyles, and look to them as having special powers. I suspect that in truth they are just as flawed and human as the rest of us, and perhaps we should reserve such special status for the truly divine.

I would like to invite you to check out my work in photography, poetry and song at http://www.kloschinsky.com. I try to make my work as spiritual and authentic as possible, and hope you might find there something you can relate to.

In Song and in Spirit,

Paul Kloschinsky