Saturday, June 30, 2012

Can a Jackson Pollock painting have a moral effect?

Art helps train us up in the complexities of the world. Jackson Pollock's paintings are statistical fractals, reflecting the complex nature of the world. Humans are comfortable within an upper and lower range of fractal complexity, and Pollock investigated this range throughout his drip painting period. As a result, viewing a Pollock painting can help train up the brain to experience more complexity precisely because it is viewing such fractal complexity at an abstract level. If viewing a Pollock helps us to see the world as it is, in its fractal complexity, then we have a more correct view of the world. When we have a right view of the world, we are more capable of performing a right action. Ought implies is. If we can't do it, then it's not moral. And if we know what actions will in fact have the outcomes we desire, our actions are ethical. By having a truer understanding of the world, our actions will be more likely to have the effect we desire, meaning our actions will be more likely to be ethical. A right understanding of the world allows us to match our moral rules to create ethical action. Art helps us understand the world. The better we understand the world, the better we can match that understanding to our moral instincts, resulting in ethical action. As a result, a Jackson Pollock painting can have a moral effect precisely because it helps us to understand truth. “Art treats illusion as illusion; therefore it does not wish to deceive; it is true” (Nietzsche, PT 184). From that foundation, combined with our moral instincts, art can result in ethical action.
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