Art and Ethics

"Art and Ethics" is a complex topic. It can focus on the legalistic balance between the freedom of expression and ownership, and as society enters the information age, we must reestablish the fundamental balance between our commitment to democratic ideals and property rights. Despite the timeliness of this issue, however, I shall only in passing quote the words of Jesus: "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God that which is God’s," and let that serve as a guiding light towards finding a balance.

Time in Chinese Landscape Painting

"The Tao which can be expressed in words is not the eternal Tao; the name which can be uttered is not its eternal name."

If time is, as Plato asserted, the moving image of eternity, then the inability of that image to achieve closer has lead to two fundamentally different attitudes: One is to stop the flow in order to capture the image of eternity. This approach, however, results in an image frozen in time. It is the inevitable consequence of the analytic attitude, which seeks to separate the perceiver from the perceived. Though this posture serves as the foundation to the achievements of Western science, it stands in the way of a more sympathetic relationship between the perceiver and the perceived that is necessary in art. Because Chinese thought accepted the limitations of consciousness, it did not seek this separation. Since becoming was considered to be a part of being, they sought to create an art in harmony with becoming. For the Chinese, art was not a vehicle for depiction, but a vehicle of moods. This contrast between the East and the West highlights the classic problem of being and becoming. Western thought, embedded in Neo-Platonism, articulated the problem as a dialectic between realities and appearances. This dialectic lead, inevitably, to the desire to freeze ever-changing appearances to a permanent state of reality. For the Chinese, since being and becoming were not opposites, but interpenetrating polarities. The path to being was not through the rejection of becoming but through participation with its rhythmic unfolding. To become is to dance the dance of creation.
Art and Technology

Modern society is characterized by an ambiguity. Progress is tightly bonded to man’s relationship with technology; yet it is technology which threatens to take away our humanity. This anxiety resulted in the dual modernities of the sciences and the humanities The Enlightenment was equally committed to human understanding and liberation. Under the strain of urban industrialization, Modernity manifested itself as an open hostility between the scientific quest for progress and the humanistic desire to preserve the human spirit. Positivistic Modernity entrusted human destiny to rationality’s ability to produce a culture of optimistic, and benign technology. Aesthetic Modernism, suspicious of technology, sought its constrain in order to safeguard freedom and morality. Fearful of technology’s domination of human caprice, the arts in particular practiced the hermineutics of suspicion; appointing themselves as the watchdog of human sensibility. In the mist of this dispute, the growth and the expansion of the market subverted both the sciences and the humanities. resulting in a contemporary landscape in which both progress and morality must stand on the grounding of profit.