What is a good sense?

January 19, 2014

One of the best phrases that can be used to define the concept of “a good sense” is certainly “the ability to judge and act with wisdom(1),” but we could also say that it is the result of a logical, albeit elaborate reasoning.

September 21, 2010 by Luca Speranza at Fruttalia.it

Contrary to a good sense, a common sense often times condones the most farfetched ideas as if they were acceptable norms or rules of behavior. And so it is that ordinary men and women with a common sense seem nonchalantly to hold views resulting from a purely stereotypical nature. It may seem tempting to agree with such a habit which would reinforce a judgement bias as well as a sense of separateness. Thus, people would relate to each other as if they were images or the result of a collective phenomenon, rather than as they really are individually.

Although reductive, these preconceptions of preference may also seem practical if they would contain differences between civilizations and cultures in order to establish boundaries. Consequently, conditioned by such beliefs, ordinary men and women will hardly restrain themselves from a myriad preconceived notions rather than looking for qualities in people as they really are individually. And so, they would prefer to attach themselves onto a system derived from forms of inequality.

With the mere comparison between any Latin and any Anglo-Saxon civilization, one implies(14) and manifests such differences as if they were isolated worlds, i.e. for example, Italians are like ‘that’ while Americans are otherwise. The human condition is hence transformed into classifications that are dependent upon physical aspects or historical attainments. Thereby, we reason the systematization of superficially external qualities such as what would be Hellenized, Latinized, Anglicized, Slavicized, Africanized, Sanskritized or Brahmanized, Sinologized, Pacificized or even Aboriginalized, o Indigenized, etc., etc. … Fundamentally, we are speaking in terms of a type of reactionary and traditionalist sectarianism—banal and insular–instead of a common ground beyond linguistic and cultural differences: A common basis of interdependence, not on the ground of habits, appearances or absolutism, but in fact the product of a mind open to examination, inasmuch our reality has no true resting place.

Ricardo Morin 11/11/13

Ricardo Morin 11/11/13

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Prayers to a Tyrant

January 14, 2014

Thank heavens! It will be enough if our determination to overcome great obstacles is possible, without letting us be intimidated by the huge challenge that lies ahead. God willing! It can be that our misery may be drowned by the courage to observe it as it is. Let it not be ignored! It seems that in meeting our fears, perhaps fear itself has weakened our resolve, if it were not for an order that has to prevail, notwithstanding any ignominy.

God, let it not be said that, at any time, we have surrendered into servitude. A tyrant can not prevail as long as he does not do what he wants, while rotting in his decay. As far as we know, one’s defeat can only be the result of one’s own blindness. May God help you and hold you to annul the cruelty of your own heart. Let’s keep it among ourselves! Do not be ashamed that we support your repentance. It is just a pity that you do not realize your life is cruel, and that you do not have the interest, passion, intensity, flame, to find an order to it all.

Let it be known that we are all responsible: You are just a reflection of our collective feebleness. I say this, so that you may understand. Can we accept any responsibility if we sink into our own barbarity, our somnolence? No one can be dissociated from this possibility, without the courage of facing oneself. Every day and every moment, we lose our identity as human beings owing to our indifference. Let it not be so! Is it possible that we have hated you? It should be enough for us to wish to proffer the compassion that you have denied us.

Before it is too late, we urge you: All one can do is to see the total disorder that is inside and outside of oneself. Observe it! One could see this disorder all at once, and it may be the only thing that matters, that is to say: to observe all instantly without contradiction. When one sees the danger of disorder, there is instant action, which is the total negation of all the culture that has led to it, which is within oneself. It is easy for it to be true. Well, it shall be true, unless you sink into the lethargy of indolence.

New York City, 01/14/2014

Ricardo Morin, Yale University, MFA ’83

You Are the World, and the World Is You

December 31, 2013

Politics (from Greek: politikos, meaning “of, for, or relating to citizens”) is the practice and theory of influencing other people on a civic or individual level.

Excerpt from ‘Wikipedia’, the free encyclopedia 29/10/13

It is no coincidence that since ancient times, many great thinkers have argued that, without ethics, politics are worthless. In the course of our lives we have had the opportunity to reflect on the inability of politicians to avoid discord and war, as we have also seen laws which can not enact peace and harmony among us. And it is possible to reflect on how our very survival seems to be predicated by this incapacity. One could argue that this condition is due to an inability pervaded by aggression and indolence.

 There is the inability of the United Nations, as evidenced by their own lack of determination. Urgent issues on genocide, on the prevalence of slavery, poverty and illiteracy worldwide are evaded due to the supremacy of greed and the fear to resist it at a level of total indifference.  As a mediating institution its sole mission is, in effect, reduced to organize for the sake of being organized without an effective solution to anything. Just as the political ideologies of all nations (in democracy, fascism, capitalism, communism, socialism, either left, center or right) constantly clash in a vortex that make them all useless.

The real revolution is repressed by our drowsiness, an insensitivity of our senses, when hypnotized by our collective entertainment on the everyday demands we inhibit ourselves from a good understanding of our despair. To this we must add the banditry and corruption prevailing in the world with the abuse of common goods to patent for profit even our own biological cells.

And then we wonder how not to be part of a decaying system, when peace and politics seem so disparate, one in contrast to the other. Although this seems to be an irrevocable fact, when one denies any form of association with this system of duplicity, one can be truly responsible, one can face all iniquity with courage and common sense. But one must be independent of any divisive identity, sectarianism, of all barbaric tribal mentality, ie., without any political ideology whatsoever, of any nationalistic sentiment, regionalism, patriotism, idolatry of religious books and saints, the cult of leaders, human exploitation, greed and all of its obligations. One would have to be devoid of any sense of superiority, indifference and selfishness which divide us violating our sense of humanity.

The real revolution is not a mass movement, but an internal revolution of the individual, within each of us, knowing oneself in peace and harmony with all our relations. When our responsibilities are met, peace exists within, all fear disappears, and the world is the better for it, but when we can not resist fear, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy or envy, quite known from ancient times, the world can also be influenced by such sentiments.

New York City, 11/04/2013

Ricardo Morin, Yale University, MFA ’83

Fidel Castro’s infamy invades Venezuela

December 30, 2013

Castro_Chavez copy

What virtue can there be in Venezuela today, as one loses freedom, justice, peace and life itself in the name of an obsolete regime like the Castro’s? These are invaders, vampire gangsters, installed to establish a system that has nothing to do with any system, Marxist or socialist, who purport to be justified by virtue of comparing themselves to the alleged failures of other political systems.

A political system should be primarily moral, otherwise is not worth a damn. How many times have we witnessed an idealistic revolution as a neurotic manifestation which invariably results in genocide? This is the fate of the current battle without truce imposed by the lawlessness that grips Venezuelans today, thanks to the Castro brothers and followers.

It may sound respectable to speak of justice when in fact it is an irrational power struggle, when the poor are worse off than ever before, when gangland spreads, a parody of decency, a mockery of human rights. The solution is not in the books or in the time that it might take to educate the masses. The solution lies in purging the ignominious character that has been sown in the heart of the Venezuelans. The victims do not belong to a single sector but everyone at the hands of a narcissist delusional dictator like Fidel Castro in his effort to bring us his latest nefarious legacy. I urge you to join the protest of conscience and oust the Cuban invasion!

Metaphors of Silence

November 24, 2010

An artist’s Manifesto by Ricardo Morin: Viewing of his Jersey City art-studio where he engages with his paintings [2005-10]; some artworks are in progress and some are part of a recently finished hanging scroll series, entitled Metaphors of Silence. http://www.ricardomorin.com/

“The Acts of Individual Talent”

October 2, 2009
Triangulation Series 225

Triangulation Scroll Series Nº 225, 49 x 68 inches; oil on canvas; 2008

  • The usage which the visual arts serve is a complex demonstration of varying dimensions whose expression seeks not to explain meaning but express its intent:  If you will, to bring about a clearly independent act of interpretation, over which the artist exerts no control as creator.  From this, arises the sublimity of the psychological condition that is partly visual delight and passion renewing and nourishing a spirit of partnership with its mode of expression:  The intend expresses  ‘one is what one perceives;’ i.e., a quality of energy and a temperament independent of the intellect, separate from the craft itself and apart from the images’ residue .

RM- Confessions of an Ever Emerging Artist

A harmful but enticing, state of affairs develops in the visual arts when the ethnocentric-artists align themselves with the adjuncts to commerce and their proxies (commercial institutions and art dealers on the one hand, and foundations and curators on the other), all of whom serve as instruments of indoctrination and publicity for the dictation of style, theme and content, and in giving markets:  The entertaining ‘circus’ of mass culture.

The Zeitgeist of multidisciplinarity and the crossing of frontiers seek to justify the relevance of the visual arts–in its sales and resales–through their contortions of its contextualization, validation of its avant-gardism.  The study of the methodological principles of interpretation gauges the arts’ importance and place in the world of gimmickry and fashion, which are far removed from the dynamics of origins.  As such the visual arts find themselves in approximation with the modalities of narrative but expressed in the language of commerce.  The artist now is succumbing to an ethos of expanding academic sophistry (the parcels-for-sale of commercial art-history and the critics from the mass media).  The result is not so much a lack of insight but a desperate impulse to cultivate greed and to strive for status; this indication of a bourgeois, sentimental enlightenment and authority avert any derogatory notion of a therapeutic or hobby genre as anything other than menial and disenfranchised.

And so it is that the ensuing adaptation of analytic discourses into politics, philosophies, semiotics, linguistics, psychologies, and mathematics outline the obvious while absorbing the seeds of self-destruction.  In other words, the universal urge of a visual necessity finds itself transmogrified into commercial success.  Self-expression compares to commodification: Personal fulfillment is to be equated with making money.  Can we suppose this mercantilism arises out of the genre paintings of the 17th century with the emerging power of the bourgeoisie to decorate their homes with this style of painting?  Ultimately, these merchants of taste and consumerism seem to have missed the point that one’s perception of an image cannot be replaced by its description.  To do so would be to substitute a jargon–piece of gossip for the visual intend.  Visual signification derives from internal intend:  For example, an encoded tag of a work of art can never replace the joy of experiencing it.  Art is a manifestation of observation as such is basically immeasurable.  Passion and quality of energy need not require explanation, or, in particular, its manifestation should not be interpreted neither for its pecuniary worth nor for its valuation–or enrichment of a given elite[1].

There is a tendency on the part of any artist in his/her approach to consolidate the supremacy of their egos and minds, with the verbal and the visual in a hieratic creative process; at this very moment this rationalization extinguishes both probability and logic (in other words, it becomes dead!).  The lame allusions to the Conceptual, self-aggrandizing conceits; or to the simplistic Kitsch of popular iconographies, biases turned into cliché; to the orientation of Gender or Identity, affirmations of self-discovery, or to the flaunting of Geo-Environmental Installations, with its fixed dimensional constants; all fall short of their promise to deliver something new or important:  Declarations of approval however abound.

Many of today’s mainstream-artists mythologize the uprooted specimens derived from the trivial and the prosaic.  Coming from a world we know about and live in, instead of a world we don’t know yet; these agents celebrate derivatives of tyrannical forms of erudition.  Rather than enhancing our sense of perception, they extend an alienation that comes out of ambition and ownership, and make ubiquitous desire for the object enveloping our ordinary lives.  This gregariousness and massive consumerism disconnects and makes us slumber in a technological era that purveys everything except sensitivity and human interconnectivity.

Collectors, museums and galleries—today’s greedy usurpers of culture–welcome the glitz by which they turn art into a commodity and their power as plutocrats to satisfy the ignorance created through their Circensian parade of market indices. By definition the mythomania of stardom promotes only the few; every selection of one is a rejection of many [The Rise of the Meritocracy[2]].  The result of complacency fuels the alienation of 90% of active artists and creates therein an artificial paucity of resources, thus giving value to those market indices which ultimately result in the excessive struggle for survival.  Rather than art giving strength to the collective unity, a sense of sectarianism separates everyone into a race of competing ideologies over commerce.  The truth of art is left to search among competing opinions over what is relevant.  These unstable times of ours, of hunters and the hunted, of plunderers and the exploited repeat themselves in the annals of history.  A true analogy might be made, concerning the ignominy of certain Papal legacies or some of the horrors of inquisitorial prosecutions; there come to mind the 15Th–century iconoclasm of bonfires, or more recently the failure to denounce the Third Reich; or the failure of other venues to condemn the despotism of certain States, be they communistic, imperialist, autocratic, under the banner of revolution; or those economic manifestations promoting greed, unbridled political power, genocide, and the suppression of human rights.  Just as those who readily burned and suppressed the great works of humanism as products of heresies and apostasy, contemporary avatars of absolutism and abrogation overwhelm us with a new age of barbarism.  Globalization, investing itself only in economics and not in the diversity of mankind itself, leads societies into the stupor of self-destruct consumerism.  The arts, humanities and sciences, certainly, have become a lucrative ploy for products and technologies that reduce the “meritocracy” of employment, and the access to education; in the worse case scenario they have increased the parameters of extreme poverty.

Whether it be for the sciences or the humanities, history has taught us that the authority of any given period is radicalized by the struggle of an individual or groups of individuals, who were dissatisfied with the status quo ante.

This still remains true.  Yet conformity, indifference, defining ourselves by the supremacy of personal success obscure inquiry on the disadvantaged.  It is an empty gesture for one to defend the free market progress in the arts of today, or of any other given period.There have been innumerable artists whose accomplishments did not depend on a resplendent financial support or an irrefutable explication of competing narratives; sometimes, their ultimate measure of accomplishment came about despite the obstacles they had to endure–as well as the mores and instability of cultural vanities which opposed them.  Their works may have come to have a great deal of recognition either towards the end of their lives (as in the case of a Paul Cézanne, who preempted 20th-century Modernity throughout his first forty years of obscure labor before landing a first one-man-show); after their deaths (as in the case of a popularized Vincent Van Gogh, recognized for his sublimely “outsider” creations); or even centuries thereafter (as in the case of great works by anonymous artists from Greek and Roman Antiquity, plundered, destroyed and stigmatized during the Dark Ages; their interest was not to be revived until the 16th and 18th centuries), when the capricious dictates of fashion made them relevant.  And then, there are those who lose or regain their relevance, as in the case of François Boucher during the French Revolution, whose reformulation awaited until after the fading of a Neoclassicist Age-of-Reason –towards the end of the 19th century.  In the same manner, we have had the banal chasing for “the new” through the shooting stars of the late 20th century.  And finally, there are those who will soon revert to oblivion in our incipient 21st century, dependent on the accelerated whims of fashion and marketplace; and, as they are sifted by a system of valuation and the codification for time-tested relevance!  Whether caused by the destructive qualities of our own cultural care (high-, middle- and lowbrow), this constant striving of our own vanities, our emphasis on pleasure seeking and its discontent, or what is today a manifestation of the Capitalist market-place, this obfuscation with profit margins has demonstrated sufficiently to be an unrelenting allegiance resulting from acquisition powers and schemes:  The root of a dominion of power struggles, competition and divisiveness, a movement far removed from generating social equity in any endeavor.

What is to be done to liberate us from such schism? The answer is not to be found in a newly utilitarian bartering-system or in any bartering system at all:  Monetary or otherwise, in the corrosive belief that competition breeds progress.  The answer could be encountered in the rejection of a collector’s system of greed, or rather, the recognition that the quality of artistic creations cannot be pursued as a commodity to glorify a meritocratic elite or any other historical determinant derived from caste and political power while getting the better of a global community.  The answer cannot be attained by dulling our senses by the taxonomy of the intellect, but by a different kind of enlightenment.  The answer is to be found in the recognition that our own perfidy overcomes us, that any form of exploitation or alienation, either based on excessive power, intellectual hubris or superstitious belief, is not only undesirable but also destructive of our collective well-being.  The answer is to be found in an egalitarian preservation and enduring cultivation of all the arts as a transcendental testimony of our most profoundly sensitive sense of humanity–not in a fixed system derived from extremes forms of inequality, supported by factors of social stratification, hierarchical regulations, fashion modalities, ideological greed, or lucrative obsession.  If support for the arts were to be sought after, would we not need to start by assessing the irrationality of our oppressive system of valuation, perhaps our own cultural irrationality?  Isn’t this internalized and mechanized social and economic miasma outwardly manifested enough?  Where do we project the future of humanity, if it is not merely a reflection of our chaotically obsessive past, our own abandonment? Have we perhaps abandoned, as individuals, our realization of a Summum Bonum, the supreme good from which all others are derived, that the whole of mankind may live in peace and harmony, in simplicity and without distinctions?

Ricardo Morin and Billy Bussell Thompson


[1] It is hard to recognize nascent art forms when they are on the rise, and  by the time they are widely appreciated their best days are behind them= a pertinent excerpt from Blank  Slate: the Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker; 2002

[2] Michael Young, Rise of the Meritocracy, 1870-2033: The New Elite of Our Social Revolution, (New York: Random House, 1959), p.12 [London: Thames & Hudson, 1958].  Young’s pejorative conception, set in a dehumanized [dystopian] future is based on the existence of a meritocratic class that monopolizes access to merit and the symbols and markers of merit, and thereby perpetuates its own power, social status, and privilege.

Triangulation Series 555

Triangulation Scroll Series Nº 555; 49 x 33 inches, oil on canvas, 2008

Destruction of Ancestral Icons

September 20, 2009

icons-installation

The art of the hunter-gatherers, Australian Aborigines, since the early Seventies, has been disseminated, not solely from an anthropological point of view, but through its commercialization; thus disrupting the revelatory paradigm of concealment inherent to its culture.  As such the iconography from their rituals and bodily expressions of temporary characteristics, as well as from impermanent sand drawings—derived from communions with nature– has been translated onto a new protocol of objectification destined to paintings on boards or permanent murals on metal laminates, with the expressed intend to bridge the curiosity of an external audience: a process, which breaches confidentiality through its commodification as art objects.

With a few exceptions, admittedly welcomed by its naive producers, the secrecy of ancestral iconography has been transferred into precious objects of acrylic paintings inevitably to be transgressed and purveyed among Western collectors and their publications; thus introducing a not-so-unexpected consequence for a dilemma. We refer to a dilemma that erodes the indigenous protocols of initiation, as the narrative of their imagery requires viewing and understanding of themselves. Evidently, it is not sufficient to isolate the undesirable Western dissemination from the eyes of the aborigines in the confluence of a global community.

It is no longer possible to maintain the initiation rituals part of the cycle of their communal tribal powers while their objectified iconography becomes appropriated, or rather trapped between pecuniary bemusement and the attraction of a strange collector. In the effort to appropriate with the merits supposedly derived from admiration, an ancestral culture is corrupted with an external force that cements its adverse influence and dominance over their native communities rather than a mere preservation of the indigenous cultural acquis.

A disruptive influence is imposed onto the fragile ecological balance of these cultures by the colonizing destructive powers brought forth by researchers and their acolytes, anthropologists and their funding institutions, collectors and their propagandist entourages, as well as insensitive local governments who are so hungry for international attention, perhaps in a misunderstood concept of atonement for their colonizing powers.

RM

Sept 20, 2009

Cape Cod 2009

September 9, 2009

IMG_0009

On a bright sunny day with temperatures in the mid 70’s, we rambled through the trails surrounding a delta-like Long Pond, after which came the much larger adjoining Mashpee and Wakeby Ponds, first in the morning sun, before lunch, and then in the cooler afternoon from 3 o’clock. On the shores, we saw men and women with their pets at water-play.

The clearing views, unforgettable in the midst of the surrounding forests, were bathed by sun light. They blended verdant patterns rivaling those of timid Gothic structures made by man’s effort to imitate nature. Emerald moss-covered roots stepped up into translucent tunnels where we were led by random colonnades buttressing airy canopies. Freshly aromatic air filled to the exhilaration of the errant heart through gullies and groves; in peace with the rhythm of my accompanying soul.

Platonic Scroll Series 2009

August 6, 2009

Platonic Series #99, 2009

Platonic Scroll Series #99, 2009

The aesthetic beauty and symmetry of the Platonic Solids have made them a favorite subject of geometers for thousands of years. They are named for the ancient Greek philosopher Plato who theorized that the classical elements were constructed from five regular solids: the dodecahedron, icosahedron, octahedron, hexahedron and tetrahedron–there are no other possible regular polyhedrons. The 92 Johnson Solids are irregular polyhedrons which, as the Platonic Solids, are also made out of triangles, squares and pentagons.

The Platonic Scroll Series serve as analogy to our inter-connectivity and the imponderable quality of harmony that unify us.  It is to be noticed that there is no set manner as to how these manifestations may be perceived by any observer. Our reality is ever so much more interesting than any image representing it or anything that can be explicated.

A Dialogue On Truth and Beauty

April 23, 2009

MN> The film My Dinner with Andre was recently canceled in Caracas.

RM> This is coincidentally one of my favorite movies of all times.

MN> There is also  “Wings of Desire” (Der Himmel über Berlin),  one may see them apart but with some connection…

RM> Having a profound impact during the Eighties, I came to own DVD’s for both of these films; you have just reminded me to view them again, like re-reading a good book. These days I seek a better understanding by reading J. Krishnamurti’s innumerable publications [Krishnamurti Foundation of America].

MN> Have you read through Osho Rajneesh? or traditional G.I. Gurdjieff?
There is another movie kind of interesting Meeting with Remarkable Men by Peter Brook…

RM> I understand that in either instance leadership and methodology overshadow search for truth.

MN> That is right but the info is all about the same methods for increasing your consciousness…Sufi and new Indian…Interesting comments found on Powels book Gurdjieff. Also a very interesting approach to the knowledge in Ouspensky’s Fragments of an Unknown Teaching

RM> I am mostly leery of anyone who pretends the attainment of truth through a technique, a method or a system, a belief or a dogma, for in doing so he/she succumbs to divisiveness. As much as I admire Krishnamurti, I don’t follow anyone’s authority: neither Jesus’, nor Muhammad’s, nor Buddha’s and much less any ashram’s or famous guru’s.   I find it useful to recall a quote from J.K. which is very much apropos: “Beauty (truth) is in experiencing, not in experience.  Reality has no resting place.”   The understanding I take is that our collective past does not belong to anyone, though knowledge of it may be useful to establish its limits.

MN>Yes, the path is the one taken by a mind alone; I do share the same perspective about freedom.  I used to say to my friends that I was a man of no land and no heroes.. or maybe not only was I mentally ill but, perhaps, socially disabled.   It is very pleasant to communicate with you.  In rare occasions does one truly have a dialogue.

RM> You meant not inclined to gregariousness, as opposed to socially disabled or unsociable. Though disability in terms of sociability is tantamount to the inability of compassion, I do see you as a most compassionate human being.

MN> Thanks for your kindness.

RM> Be well

MN> And you too my friend.  We’ll talk again soon.

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