Apperceptive Mess #12: Materialism and The European Renaissance, Commodified Relationships, and Philosophical Meditation
|Jurvis Tan||May 4|
I am into week 8 of my quarantine here in Arizona, and I am happy to report that I am finally finding some cadence around this life!
This week I published an essay titled How The European Renaissance Shifted Humanity’s Relationship with Art. While it started as just another innocent writing assignment from school, the themes John Berger explores around our image-centric diet struck out to me.
From the essay:
My favourite chapter of the book was when Berger articulated how the object-centricity of the European Renaissance found a way to its art and humanity’s relationship with images. Illuminating how materialism came to bear on art through a rising middle class, the chapter featured their perspective of owning a painting of a thing being the same as owning the item itself. This shift in the way of seeing art, Berger suggests, enveloped art’s traditions with cynicism and, by extension, our social fabrics. Exhibiting the way paintings evolved through this new perspective, Berger is hopeful that keen observers will be able to distinguish outstanding art from the average.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did putting it together. Approaching art will never be the same for me ever again. I have since even enrolled myself in an Art History class for the second half of the semester!
Meditation of The Week: Social Scripts (Narratives) and Authenticity
In the past week, I've spent a substantial amount of time thinking about the relationship between our well-defined social scripts and authenticity.
Now that most of our interactions take place over video conferences, I cannot help but wonder if the feelings of isolation fatigue may be attributed to the fact that our social interactions are now dominated by performance, rather than just being.
The option to sit behind a screen and carefully curate and organize your social interaction during the day does feel robotic. Now that serendipitous social interactions are fewer and farther between, combined with the Internet becoming the de-facto "brokerage" of our human relationships, signaling now encompasses a majority if not all our activity.
That scares me.
If you're anything like me, work can sometimes feel like waves over waves of anxiety washing over you until a tsunami comes at you without warning. You feel like driftwood struggling to keep your head above the water.
This article introduces a potential solution to alleviate those feelings of anxiety: philosophical meditation. By clearing our mental desktops, it all starts with three simple questions:
What am I anxious about?
What am I upset about, and with whom?
What am I currently feeling excited or ambitious about?
The exercise follows-up with more in-depth inquiries, and actively engages the individual to dig deeper within their consciousness and reveal what's really bothering them beyond initial associations and impressions.
I have started incorporating this exercise into my Morning Pages routine, and have already seen it pay great dividends in helping me regulate my anxieties, provoke a deeper creative relationship with myself, and help me prioritize the things I want to achieve daily.
For those of you suffering the same waves of work anxiety as I do, I highly encourage you to try that out with any tool of your choice and let me know how that goes!
That is all we have for the week! I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it. If you have any questions, suggestions, complaints, or feedback, please feel free to reach out by replying directly to this email!
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See you next week 👋