The Artist and his Gloves


Here’s a quote I read a couple of days ago. I will quote it here in its entirety:

“The artist is originally a man who turns from reality because he cannot come to terms with the demand for the renunciation of instinctual satisfaction as it is first made, and who then in phantasy-life allows full play to his erotic and ambitious wishes. But he finds a way of return from this world of phantasy back to reality; with his special gifts he moulds his phantasies into a new kind of reality, and men concede them a justification as valuable reflections of actual life. Thus by a certain path he actually becomes the hero, king, creator, favourite he desired to be, without pursuing the circuitous path of creating real alterations in the outer world. But this he can only attain because other men feel the same dissatisfaction as he with the renunciation demanded by reality, and because this dissatisfaction, resulting from the displacement of the pleasure-principle by the reality principle, is itself a part of reality. “

I like this quote and I felt like posting it here. Perhaps you might like it too. There is nothing much to elaborate upon really, other than that the text speaks for itself. And even this is saying to much. But I would like to add only this – artists are not the only folks in town who are creating alternate realities out of wishful thinking and fantasy. Our beloved doctors and teachers are entangled in their respective ideals of health and education, which carry no validity beyond their cultural and social matrix. Our lawyers and politicians confuse the rule of law and the maxim of justice with arbitrary conventions and historical accidents. And I, Magnus Formica, abuse the common sense left and right, exaggerate and generalize without evidence, and engage in the fruitless exercise of obscurantism by trying to suit the words and meanings to my ends and to spin the world to my trumpet. No job can be done, nothing can be said or written without an element of trickery and the essential component of wishful thinking. Without the devil inside no man can become a saint. Language is not a means of communication, but, rather, an elusive barrier designed for self-defense and concealment. Survival demands fantasy. To live is to pretend. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but never without it. You need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps to stand with both feet on the ground. And if you want to touch reality and experience transcendence, don’t forget to wear your gloves. A helmet and an umbrella might also come in handy. Perhaps, what appears as a sunshine is nothing but a rain drop in disguise. The frog is a princess. And the mountain is a see. My torso is a flower and your eye is a bee.

Oh, I almost forgot – the quote comes from Freud.



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11 responses to “The Artist and his Gloves

  1. This reminds me of plato in some ways, yes? The artist imitates an object which is in itself an imitation of the Ideal Form? It’s been over 15 years since reading plato & freud. There’s much dusting off of cobwebs in my memories. Sadly, those books are packed away for now. I always liked freud, there is an unbreakable elegance to his arguments. What does one say to someone who turns the unknown workings of your unconscious mind against you?

  2. I have to admit I’ve been holding off a migraine all day. So more later on Freud. I saw Robert Motherwell’s painting, In Plato’s cave at the Worcester Art Museum year’s ago. I think it was part of a series, the one they have is V. Regardless, I laughed out loud when I saw it. It is very large and mostly black, so for now I will share an image of it with u and write more later.

  3. As to the question, I raised concerning Freud… what does one say to someone who turns the unknown unconscious workings of your mind against you? I don’t have a clear cut answer, which is one of the reasons I see an unbreakable elegance to his arguments. In a counter-argument with Freud, I see a bit of a trap. And I offer a bow and some applause. But I keep that question in mind in reading Freud, regardless of how much I admire Civilization & Its Discontents. And I especially keep that question in mind when it comes to the American psychoanalytics, who defined many things as pathological that I see as a warping of Freud’s work.

    • Are the unknown unconscious workings of mind the same as the unknown workings of the unconscious mind? Or was it just a “Freudian slip”?
      I am still at loss for words when it comes to understanding this tongue twister.
      If you ask my verdict, I think that Freud was a fraud. But a brilliant storyteller nevertheless.

      • It was me typing from my mobile rather than cutting & pasting on a computer. Looking at the two phrasings… the unknown unconscious workings of the mind seems to be what freud was attempting to describe/define. He bases much of his definition of the unconscious mind as unknowable to the self without the aid of the psychoanalytic. The Philosophy of the Mind is intriguing stuff. I took a class called Consciousness & Naturalization in college. Good times. It was one of those high level 3 hour seminars of the philosophy department. There were 5 of us & the professor. I was the only chick in the class & the only one w/o philosophy as my major. 3 of the others had double majors happening, math, biology, & neuroscience. I started a bit of a war in class when I stated that science is the religion of our time. It was the same type of reaction that some jews had during the class on the old testament. Frothing at the mouth rage. Aaah, yes good times. The stoner brings some lateral thinking into the mix. Regardless, we read Crick & his claims of discovering the root of free will in the brain based on research with TBI patients Darling ant, who isn’t a fraud to you? Or is that more of your intellectual schoochiness?

    • Who isn’t a fraud? That’s a valid point. People play games with each other. That’s what we do. And the first rule of the game is that it isn’t really a game.
      Interesting that you mentioned your college experience and Crick’s “hypothesis”. I have read it twice, from cover to cover. It’s one of my all time favorite books on consciousness.

      • What sort of medicine are you looking to get into? Does specialization between branches concern you? The more specialized research becomes, it seems as though there isn’t enough interdisciplinary discussion. Certain aspects of Crick’s work are very important, i’m not sure viewing things in chemical reaction terms is misguided. I see the body as an ecosystem. And I worry that overspecialization narrows understanding. Personally, I am interested in the adrenal system and it’s interaction with neurotransmitters. I’d like to see more research crossover in that area xx

  4. I am actually now looking to get out of medicine and return back to my roots – humanities. We’ll see whether those dreams will materialize in some shape or form anytime soon.
    Some kind of specialization seems inevitable. No ant – not even a great one – can grasp the whole picture at once. But if you are God, anything is possible.

    • Yes, an omniscient, omnipotent being (or beings) is infinite in possibilities. That’s what makes such a being so glorified and seductive to us mere mortals. That’s what makes institutionalized religion so powerful. God is Totalitarian.

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