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Free Markets, Creativity, Art, Fake Art and Genuine Art

If we cannot label art as either good or bad, because “there’s something to be learned and gained from every piece of art,” even if that something is bad, should we say that angels and demons are not good or bad?

Creativity allows us to view and solve problems more openly and with innovation. Creativity opens the mind. A society that has lost touch with its creative side is an imprisoned society, in that generations of people may be closed-minded. It broadens our perspectives and can help us overcome prejudices. A creative person has the ability to invent and develop original ideas, especially in the arts. While the The 1984 Republican Platform tries to encourage creativity using  a Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger paraphrase:  “The arts and humanities flourish in the private sector, where a free market in ideas is the best guarantee of vigorous creativity,” it leaves out an important prerequisite –  vigorous debate.”For a free society to prosper, a marketplace of ideas is required, vigorous debate is encouraged and the best ideas emerge victorious” – Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Not long ago, vigorous debate used to take place in universities. Now the universities have become indoctrination and propaganda distribution centers, where propaganda in the broadest sense is the technique of influencing human action by the manipulation of representations. 

Vigorous debate is not found in social media, television, mainstream media, or even on the halls of Congress.  Why? Because he who controls the chart of accounts controls the narrative. He who controls the narrative and the legacy media controls the people and the establishment controls the media.

Scholarly interest in creativity is found in a number of disciplines, primarily psychologybusiness studies, and cognitive science. However, it is also present in education, the humanities (including philosophy and the arts), theology, and the social sciences (such as sociology, linguistics, and economics), as well as engineeringtechnology, and mathematics. These disciplines cover the relations between creativity and general intelligence, personality type, mental and neural processes, mental health, and artificial intelligence; the potential for fostering creativity through education, training, leadership, and organizational practices; the factors that determine how creativity is evaluated and perceived; the application of creative resources to improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning; and the fostering of creativity for national economic benefit. According to Harvard Business School, it benefits business by encouraging innovation, boosting productivity, enabling adaptability, and fostering growth.

What is good art? 

Art is creating something out of something that already exists, for good, or bad.

The Catholic Catechism (279)“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Holy Scripture begins with these solemn words. The profession of faith takes them up when it confesses that God the Father almighty is “Creator of heaven and earth” (Apostles’ Creed), “of all that is, seen and unseen” (Nicene Creed). We shall speak first of the Creator, then of creation and finally of the fall into sin from which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to raise us up again.”

While  Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger explains “Life is not just a succession of events or experiences. It is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise our freedom; it is in this – in truth, in goodness, and in beauty – that we find happiness and joy.” 

Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents, Adam and Eve,  lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy. Scripture and the Church’s Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called “Satan” or the “devil”.The Church teaches (CCC 391) that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: “The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing.”

Abrahamic religions often depict angels as benevolent celestial intermediaries between God and humanity. Other roles include protectors and guides for humans and servants of God. Abrahamic religions describe angelic hierarchies, which vary by religion and sect. Some angels have specific names (such as Gabriel or Michael) or titles such as seraph or archangel. Those expelled from Heaven are called fallen angels, distinct from the heavenly host. Angels in art are usually shaped like humans of extraordinary beauty. They are often identified in Christian artwork with bird wings, halos and divine light.

Some argue against labeling art as either good or bad, because “there’s something to be learned and gained from every piece of art.”  Would that be the same argument for labeling angels and demons good and bad angels?

Kurt Vonnegut, in A Man Without a Country encourages the arts: “If you want to really hurt you parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

Dominick Albano, director of digital engagement for The Catholic Telegraph, credirs Vonnegut’s advice for changing his life. “Kurt Vonnegut’s 2005 New York Times bestselling book, A Man Without a Country, changed my life. Without this book, I don’t know that I would have published two books, recorded an album, painted original works (that only my mother could love), written poetry or even if I would be writing this article.”

Other labels used to classify art, include: Imitationalism- Art is good when it imitates reality. Not only does imitationalism lack creativity and originality, Oscar Wilde said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”

Formalism- Art is good when it masters the artistic elements and principles. According to The Art Story, Formalism is a critical and creative position that holds that an artwork’s value lies in the relationships it establishes between different compositional elements such as color, line, and texture, which ought to be considered apart from all notions of subject matter or context.  Not sure about the critical or creative part. Formalism sounds more like a PowerPoint presentation where form is more important than content, yet the planning is more important than the plan. Churchill said, “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential,”

Instrumentalism- Art is good when it communicates a message. Political cartoon try to communicate a message and some do so succinctly.

Simon Sinek argues his Golden Circle explains why some leaders are able to inspire, while others aren’t. Likewise, the Golden Circle of Hate explains why some leaders are able to promote hate. And if Sinek is right, the reason the Anti-Semitic message is so sticky and motivational is because it’s simple to communicate: “God is Love. Allah is Hate:”

Emotionalism -Art is good when it evokes an emotional response. The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers insight into the experience of emotion: “The passions are natural components of the human psyche; they form the passageway and ensure the connection between the life of the senses and the life of the mind” (CCC 1764).  Our emotions aren’t that extra dose of a chemical that God mistakenly threw into the mix when creating us. As inconvenient as a bad mood may be, God created us with emotions for a reason, because through them, He communicates with us. Our passions are like a speed dial communication between our senses and our mind and God can use them to help us respond to the world around us:  The term “passions” belongs to the Christian patrimony. Feelings or passions are emotions or movements of the sensitive appetite that incline us to act or not to act in regard to something felt or imagined to be good or evil.” (CCC 1763

The Catechism makes clear that it’s not what we feel but what we choose to do with our feelings that matters: 
In themselves, passions are neither good nor evil. They are morally qualified only to the extent that they effectively engage reason and will. Passions are said to be voluntary, ‘either because they are commanded by the will or because the will does not place obstacles in their way.’ It belongs to the perfection of the moral or human good that the passions be governed by reason (CCC 1767).

To a certain extent, what we feel is out of our control. What is in our control, though, is how we handle these feelings. 

Paraphrasing Pope Francis, The Holy Spirit inspires creativity and simplicity. Shibui” is used to describe an aesthetic principle that values simplicity and the subtle beauty of minimalism. The seven essential factors of shibui are simplicity, implicitness, modesty, silence, naturalness, everydayness, and imperfection.”

Genuine Art vs Fake Art

Is AI-assisted or God-assisted?

Is it transformational or merely entertaining: satisfying.The truly beautiful does not merely entertain; rather it invades, chooses and changes the one to whom it deigns to appear.

Is it affirmation of moral greatness?

Is it affirmation of artistic greatness?

Is it affirmation of theological greatness?

Does it evoke and glorify, in faith and adoration, the transcendent mystery of God?

This spiritual beauty of God is reflected in the most holy Virgin Mother of God, the angels, and saints.

Genuine sacred art draws man to adoration, to prayer, and to the love of God, Creator and Savior, the Holy One and Sanctifier.

If we cannot label  art as either good or bad, because “there’s something to be learned and gained from every piece of art,” even if that something is bad, should we say that angels and demons are not good or bad?

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