Monday, 18 March 2013

Knight of Faith

It’s inevitable, dare I say it, doubting ones own authenticity - feeling like a series of reflections of the environment. I could be mistaken but I read somewhere that Barnett Newton cut himself off critically and socially for a spell in a bid to escape it. Anyways I found myself also heading back towards the existentialist territory.  It is always rather attractive at first and then you don’t necessarily find answers you want, but more answers and references to a load of other philosophers you haven’t read. I came across Adorno’s The jargon of Authenticity – it was just and inkling really - kinda to do with the book project but probably more to do with the condition mentioned above.

Reading through the introduction at some point he began refuting Kierkegaard’s idea of ‘radicalinward love’, Adorno found this love uncannily similar to the spiritual love of Christianity. The book attempted to rattle a kind of pseudo mysticism he identified in German existentialist philosophy and its community. Adorno critiqued the ideal of the autonomous intellect, and reckoned that retreating inwards (to exist serenely) was the life of a dominated individual. For him existence unaffected by the ‘concrete’ world and its dictates was impossible.

He was obviously talking on a grand political scale, but (as he might admit himself) you can attempt to apply these ideas/theories to anything. So what does that say of the ‘creative subject’ who struggles to find assurances about what they put in the world? What makes someone an artist? Is there a set of criteria and would we all be in agreement upon what they are? Probably not, which is why so many factions exist so people can agree to agree – implicit, complicit, whatever you want to call it…

But in cutting that hairball - I think I had submitted to making something badly, but keeping that conviction and hope in arriving somewhere through the uncertainty. Isn’t that what Kierkegaard would call a ‘Knight of Faith’? We’ve all become accustomed to the idea of getting closer to yourself or a higher being through ritual. Considering Adorno’s critique, perhaps the existentialists were just acknowledging the need for transcendence, no matter show rational or irrational it is.

It just is…