Those of you without any prior knowledge of the concept of Tabula Rasa, I suggest visiting: en.wikipedia.org...
In short, it describes "the mind as a blank slate" and is usually depicted by a blank canvas..
This little analogy is fairly simple, but somehow manages to outline my own perception-system very neatly (though my explanation might not be simple
and neat haha..) perhaps just because I am a painter and musician it "resonates" with me especially and the connections seem clear, but please ask
any questions you might have! I am here to learn first and foremost
the pursuit of "Truth" by ALL
paradigms in Human Culture and History, seem no different than the goals of a *true* artist and often
Truth becomes obscured and unreliable in the same way that an artist's depiction may not entirely communicate the experience it was based upon. I am
going to describe the metaphor in terms of three types of artists on a spectrum..
At the FIRST extreme - we have the "SERIOUS" artist who is a rigid fundamentalist with his technique and aesthetics. This person has studied "all
of the right things" and prides himself on his wealth of knowledge and effort, perhaps more than the art itself! This includes most high-school
art-teachers and relatives who "went to school for art but haven't painted much since then.."
The categories of "right" and "wrong" suffocate the Creative-Curiosity and were this mentality to be followed to its TRUE extreme, they would say
"I will only paint with black and white because they contain the essence of ALL colors and to limit oneself to them, is to maintain purity"..
This is no different than a religious-fundamentalist that believes in duality and opposites like "God versus Satan" and feels that one must align
themselves to the forces of "good" for their lives to be worth living.. it follows that the fundamentalist-painter who is NOT a hypocrite, could
never use both extremes (black and white) in harmony and would always obligate himself to paint the canvas entirely black or white..
Hence another fundamentalist could walk up to the painting and say "oh, i absolutely know what you mean" with complete sincerity..
the next extreme - The "liberal relativist" who says "everything goes" and is usually always on the look-out for the next "fashion" or "trend"
in art, instead of painting from their own imagination.. these are the people who might have a drive for art, a vast-knowledge of art history and
schooling, but doesn't understand/respect the contents of this knowledge beyond its face-value.. and love Andy Warhol haha..
these are the artists who are entirely satisfied with working for a company, drawing magazine-ads and working on commercials.. a lot of "energy" to
offer but no focus and hence no substance..
followed to it's logical extreme, they would say "one must use as many colors as possible
and constantly aspire to convey 'the Truth'
all-at-once!" leading to an oversaturation and ambiguity to the relevance of their art. Think of all those nice 6'X6' canvases in HUGE museums
that have a single red-dot or something equally simple, and the price is hundreds or thousands of dollars..
This mentality, as applied to "those who pursue Truth", can be equated to folks like the New-Agers and pseudoscientists. These people might INDEED
have some Truth inside their systems of thought, but they are mixed and buried with piles of convoluted rubbish, and more likely to confuse the hell
out of you, than offer any beneficial thought processes. "Gurus" can only lead you to doors that *might* lead you to where you want to go, but you
have to know where you want to go in the first place..
Just as with threads on ATS, if you know what you are looking for, you can find hours of entertainment and profundity..
If you don't, it's likely you may become absorbed in Doom-Porn (which you may also be looking for.. haha)
It is ultimately CHOICE which is in question here..
which leads me to the last aspect of my metaphor:
The Third Extreme
- This is the artist who is only DEFINED
as an artist by others, because his acts are Creative in the realest sense -
both practical and innovative..
This is the artist who is not loyal to only ONE medium, but uses no more and no less of the materials he needs to convey his 'message'
This is the artist who does art without any price-tag on the piece being created, while it is being created. He feels it is his Work and Craft
and somehow his Duty to create his creation, and any claim or mark of his Ego are nowhere to be seen in the work itself..
This artist Sees
"Art" in far more places than that which he creates, so he is always learning from The World, so he better-knows what to
without relying on any dogmatic system..
any system that he DOES adopt, is simply for the intents and purposes of researching the system in the first place
; interpreting this Knowledge
as "suggestion" instead of "law"..
This artist builds understanding and experience with the primary colors
and not memorizing the words of other
artists. Here, he learns how to achieve his aims and mix the colors to conjure the image he desires, but these colors are seen as tools
instead of boundaries
When applied to "the pursuit of Truth" with this mentality, you might already have noticed that THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE
artist, and that of a person who pursues Truth entirely within their own means
; using the teachings of others to guide him to new ideas and
perspectives, but ultimately relying on experience before considering dogmatic assumptions...
These people live their entire lives as if it were a continuous, cross-medium, Art Project and it is to this mentality which i think the term Tabula
before any paint touches the canvas, his mind/imagination is a blank
this is NOT to say that "blank" means "white" or "black" but rather as if the canvas were a clean sheet of glass, acting as a window for the
artist to observe his target
entirely un-obscured by preconceived notions, and portraying it by obscuring his view of it (with paint upon the
"glass canvas"), and leaving space where his conclusions about his Target are most uncertain
My ultimate point:
it seems like the goal of ANY artist is to learn to communicate using common experience (as with the fundamentalist painter) and integrate it with a
context/style that is entirely his own; hence being able to portray the world in a way which is outside of common-experience, but still
The artist with a mind of Tabula Rasa realizes that both goals are two extremes of the same spectrum, and the artist with a mentality of Tabula Rasa
can oscillate between these extremes
without feeling obligated to stagnate on ANY part of the spectrum..
He realizes that "searching for meaning" leads to studying the work of others
and while he may indeed become versed in A medium and/or
process, he risks losing his Inspiration to "analysis paralysis"; "denying the existence of 'meaning itself", only leading to work which depicts
He has only to learn from his surroundings and depict what he sees
... perhaps once THIS is refined, his creations no longer must be
confined to a canvas at all..