Resolved: Art is secularly sacred, or it is profane
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Resolved: Art is secularly sacred, or it is profane
Resolved: Art is secularly sacred, or it is profane. That is, art is the best of creative expression in man, or it is his worst expression. For purposes of this debate, it is one or the other; we cannot argue that it is both. This is an economy of scale; either the greater quantity of artistic expression is one or the other. The two terms, sacred and profane, are to be debated in strictly a secular realm, even though some art is religious in nature, either as sacred or profane, the religious aspect of it is to be completely removed from the argument, other than by reference as a contribution to the total array of artistic expression. Voting cannot consider it but by its reference as such, and not on the basis of it’s religiously sacred, or profane nature.
Definitions: [according to the OED]
Art: [as a count noun] 7. Any of various pursuits or occupations in which creative or imaginative skill is applied according to aesthetic principles in the various branches of creative activity.
Secular: adj. 1. Of or pertaining to the world
Sacred: adj. b. Dedicated, set apart, exclusively appropriated to some person or some special purpose.
Profane: adj. 3. Of persons, behavior, ect.: characterized by, exhibiting, or expressive of a disregard or contempt for sacred things ||full stop|| end of OED, but I add: i.e., sacred in the sense of that word’s definition in this debate.
r1, r2: argument, rebuttal, defense
r3: no new argument. Rebuttal, defense, conclusion
All arguments of declarative statements that might, otherwise, be consider as opinion must be accompanied by formal referenced sources of scholarly origin, as the CoC, Voting Policy, and Debate Instruction on the debate text entry form stipulate. This is a voting protocol requirement. It is not necessary to cite sourcing on common knowledge matters. For example: “the Earth orbits the Sun” needs no source citation. Whereas, “Our Solar System orbits the Milky Way Galaxy at an average velocity of 828,000 km/hr” would be prudent to source.
Shared BoP for each side
I Argument: Introduction
I.a Art, including, to mention just a few of that count noun’s multiple iterations, painting, sculpture, music, illustration, and literature, is either sacred or profane in an exclusively secular sense. To be sure, religion of a variety of its multiple and diverse denominations has a strong influence on art of the varied expressions noted above, but, for the purposes of this debate, those religious versions of both sacred and profane will be ignored. This is sacred, or profane of a world’s perspective. The debate has not even much relevance with the U.S. First Amendment of the Constitution, that which guarantees the various forms of freedom of speech. Including artistic expression. In fact, it may have more to do with the Constitution’s Article I, section 8, clause 3, to wit, “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States…”
I.b My argument is that art is sacred, i.e., it complies with sacred’s given definition from the Full Description of this debate: adj. b. Dedicated, set apart, exclusively appropriated to some person or some special purpose. We’ll concentrate on the latter phrase: “…or some special purpose.” That purpose is much greater than that referenced first [decoration] by the 20thcentury Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso, who said, “Art is not for decoration; it is an instrument of war.” Yes, we tend to hang paintings on walls, place sculpture in key indoor and outdoor places, music in a compatible listening space, etc., as features of decoration and appreciation.
I.b.1 But, Picasso, himself, made good on his quote by his celebrated, and rather large monochrome painting, Guernica,now housed in the Prado Museum [Madrid, Spain], where I traveled recently just to see it. Its size is large enough for a battlefield; 4 x 8 meters, occupying the whole of one long wall in the museum. It was painted as a protest against the Spanish Civil War [therefore, “an instrument of war”]. It happens to be my personal favorite of all paintings by all artists, including mine, of which half-a-dozen are featured on my house walls, though all mine are matters of entertainment, if they must be placed in a genre. I’m an abstract impressionist with a dash of cubism; either that or rather direct, if whimsical illustration. I do all the artwork of my book covers.
II Argument: Art is sacred on two counts
II.a My BoP is that art is sacred in the secular sense, as noted. By that, I mean that art represents the best and purest mode of human communication. As the Balinese say, “We have no art. We do everything as well as we can.” This quote is the perfect foil for my argument. It does not say so much that art is the reflection of the best of human activity, but that it is a communication mode that speaks as much to the heart as it does to the mind and soul, if one considers that we each have those three receptors of communication. It is a realization of John Keats’ poetry [itself, an art], Ode on a Grecian Urn, which concludes:
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
II.a.1 Thereupon turns the debate: is art “truth,” and not just beauty, and, therefore, sacred? I will demonstrate my BoP by two separate arguments from Leonardo da Vinci’s sapere vedera: seeing well enough, and seeing deep enough.
II.a.2 Some art may be judged harshly as ugly; something far from beauty. But that would contradict Leonardo da Vinci’s philosophy of sapere vedera,or, “knowing how to see.” Da Vinci proposed a kind of visual literacy, which had two constructs: 1. Developing a sense of seeing well enough to be able to visualize something and draw it from memory, and 2. Developing a sense of seeing deep enough to reveal something’s essence through drawing.
II.b. Seeing well enough to draw from memory sounds easy in the suggestion. See an apple. Now, draw it from memory. Ignoring that some of us, regretfully, could not draw the shape of an apple if they traced it in pencil on paper. First, most would try to lay the apple on the paper on its side such that the stem is away from the artist and the base of the apple closest to them. Then, trace around the apple. The result is likely a poor representation. A better method: slice the apple in half from top to bottom, just off center, and, holding it in the same orientation, take another thin slice off the larger piece, resulting in a disk-like shape; in fact, a near perfect profile of the apple. Now, trace that.
II.b.1 But, that’s a messy proposal. Much easier, and simultaneously more difficult from memory. Just draw the profile, an outline. Easier said than done. Now, what colors were on the apple? It is not a solid red, nor green, nor pale yellow, nor any solid saturation of any of those colors, is it? It varies from top to bottom; side to side. How did the light fall upon it to further vary the colors. Were there actual highlights, a bright spot or two where the source light falls directly on the apple at a pure perpendicular angle that is truly more white than red [or, other colors]? Did the surface on which the apple was placed reflect its own influence of color onto the apple? Were there blemishes on the skin? A worm hole? Etc., etc. Just how acute was your initial observation such that these details are firmly rooted in memory? This will take practice. Over and over and over…
II.c Seeing deep enough to draw the apple’s essence is the second construct. Is the apple newly harvested, perhaps water-spotted, or dried water spots? Is it older, beginning to lose its shine, beginning to brown with rot in spots or whole sections? Is it softer in spots, rendering a subtle shadow? It is the second construct that allows art to demonstrate both beauty and truth from something even as “ugly” [in ordinary sight] as rotting, palsied, fly-infested apple skins and cores after the pressing to obtain a fine, unfiltered juice.
II.c.1 A Therefore, even ugliness can be appreciated as beauty and truth, and, therefore, art. One might witness the example of Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, a dark reversal-of-fortune tale in which the title character, a society gentleman, is, in truth, a scoundrel, and worse. In his early adulthood, he has a painting, a portrait of him done. The portrait’s allure, if one is attracted to ugliness, and magic is that while Gray’s character descends into deeper debauchery, it is his portrait that bears the results, the consequences, of his ugly character, while the person remains pristine, handsome, and youthful. It is the art that suffers, not the man.
II.c.2. This argument may seem to favor Con’s side; that art is profane. What can be more profane than the magic of the art bearing the burden of a man’s profane lifestyle? However, I argue that this is, rather, a confirmation of da Vinci’s sapere vedera, by the second construct that beauty, and truth, are represented in Dorian Gray’s portrait; a perfectly beautiful debauchery, if only one can see deeply enough to recognize that even in debauchery, there is an elegance to be witnessed, such as seen by Alexander Pope, whose Essay on Man said:
“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”
III. Conclusion, r1
III.a I have demonstrated that art is sacred in a secular sense in that it represents the best of human communication to/from one’s heart, mind, and soul. It does so to the extent that we educate and train ourselves to employ da Vinci’s philosophy, sapere vedera, knowing how to see, to achieve two objectives, or constructs of either appreciating, or creating art; they being, 1. Developing a sense of seeing well enough to be able to visualize something and draw it from memory, and 2. Developing a sense of seeing deep enough to reveal something’s essence through drawing.
I close my r1, and extend the brush, keyboard, mallet, and pen to That1User. Please have fun.
I.b.1 The resolution as stated has been ignored by Con for purposes of presenting a logic that, while certainly a topic of discussion that can be had, is not relevant to the four corners of this debate. Con’s rebuttal is the square circled; that is, presenting argument that is within the confines of a circle whose arc meets the points of the square, but, as a result, includes areas beyond the limits of the square. See the image shown in this reference of a circled square. When a white square is defined as the resolution, can argument that ignores the white square in favor of the area of the four gray circular segments possibly be relevant to the resolution? No, these segments comprise Con’s ‘Z’ from the formulae [the last formula] above in I.a. It is the gray circle, not including the white square within the circle. Con’s argument, is entirely outside the square, which is the resolution.I.c I submit that this referenced image of a circled square is exactly the graphic representation of the resolution; that the white square represents sacred art in a secular sense, and the gray area that is only outside the white square, defining the circle, is not even profane, but is element ‘Z.’ Therefore, I rebut, and have demonstrated logically and graphically, that Con’s course of argument is outside the confines of the resolution, and, therefore, cannot rebut the resolution. Con must find argument within the context of the white square; Con cannot merely claim the white square is not there at all. I will demonstrate this failure by noted examples, even drawn from Con’s own sources, in the following three sections, II, III, and IV, below.
Art: [as a count noun] 7. Any of various pursuits or occupations in which creative or imaginative skill is applied according to aesthetic principles in the various branches of creative activity.Sacred: adj. b. Dedicated, set apart, exclusively appropriated to some person or some special purpose.
"“Little c” can refer to children’s creativity, the creative potential that people possess at any age, or to creativity in a domain—“"
"Creative insight depends in part on new combinations of existing ideas, concepts, and perceptions that have been stored in the brain over time. : “Part of creativity is the brain accessing that non-declarative memory, the learned experience. Humans use preconceived experiences in their creativity, but not always at the level of conscious awareness, as illustrated by how often people experience creative insights when they’re doing something else, when they’re distracted, when they’re not forcing an idea to come.”
I.a Con might have argued in his r2 rebuttal that the white square example of a circled square I presented in my r2, I.b.1 is effectively negative space, but then he must explain why the four, gray circular segments][i] represent just the profane argument of the resolution, as still in the X or Y formula, above [I.a], as the proper argument. He did not.
I.b Con might have argued that the white square, and the four gray circular segments, are really both white spaces. But that, again, is a separate argument, as in neither X nor Y, but Z. But, no, he did not argue this, either.
I.c Con argued for a central point, and erased that point. That is also the neither X nor Y, but Z argument; Z being the central point, erased. Arguing non-existence is not the point of the resolution. Con argues that “By declaring an either/or the resolution itself can be negated, for every thesis has an antithesis, by asserting either/or is true, neither can also be true.”
I.c.1 Sure, Con can use that strategy, but it is flawed; the logic of neither X nor Y, but Z falls outside the resolution. As the Instigator, I define the resolution. The resolution is X or Y, period. Therefore, Con is outside the parameters of the debate resolution. He might as well argue, if the resolution were, “Shakespeare was a poet,” that there never was a Shakespeare. But, does that argument meet the conditions of the resolution? No. Then it must be voted as such: not meeting the conditions of the resolution. The resolution is: Art is secularly sacred or profane, period. Con is either held to the confines of the resolution, as stated, or he cannot win the debate.
I.c.2 Logic is like that, and effectively, saying otherwise changes the conditions of the debate, the which neither of us can do and maintain the integrity readers and voters expect of a debate. Con accepted the debate as resolved, and cannot then change the resolution to suit his argument.“Z is not ignoring the white square,” Con alleges in his r2 to conclude this section of his round, “it is questioning the existence of the square itself.” Does the resolution question the existence of the nature of art as sacred or profane? No, it’s stated resolve is that art is either sacred or profane, and thus says it is either / or, and only either / or. Con, therefore, changes the conditions of the resolution.
II Rebuttal: Con: Art is an instrument of war, repeated.
II.a Con’s r2 argues that as an instrument of war, “…art… cannot be dedicated, set apart, or exclusively appropriated for a specific person or purpose…” but then proceeds to describe how it does just that: “…[art] is both used as a means of war and creative/imaginative expression, applying skill and aesthetics to creative activity.” Take note that this is a virtual quote of my definition of art [see Description, Definitions]. However, coupled with the previous quote from Con regarding exclusivity, etc., note that these words are a virtual quote from my definition of “sacred,” and not of “art” specifically. [See Description, Definitions]. But Con offers no scholastic sourcing for his declarative statement that art is not dedicated or set apart, etc. His claim is insufficient to the task. By contrast, my round 2 offered a statement by art critic, Eric Gibson, who praised Picasso’s Bull’s Head as, “…a moment of wit and whimsy…both childlike and highly sophisticated in its simplicity, it stands as an assertion of the transforming power of human imagination…”[ii] Transformed, I allege, to a status of sacredness.
III Rebuttal: Con: Art has no exclusivity of purpose
III.a Con’s argument declares the lack of exclusivity of purpose to art, that it is actually “…multipurposed, excluding exclusivity of purpose…” Excluding exceptions of exchanging excursuses by excruciating excavation of holes in arguments excoriating excludable excursions of excisional nature from the exclusive resolution, the definition of exclusivity belongs to sacred, not art. Is that excrement clear?
III.c.1 Far from being exclusive of purpose, as Con argues, and because not everyone is creative, regardless of Con’s allegation, art sustains a wide variety of purposes. As the Balinese suggest, and which Con has not rebutted, “We have no art; we do everything as well as we can.”[vi] But, that’s just the Balinese. Has anyone else made that claim? Is that exclusivity sufficient for everyone?
IV Rebuttal: “Art as/is not Scared”
IV.a Con’s argument t that art “…is multipurposed, excluding exclusivity of purpose,” does not qualify either its sacredness, nor lack of same. The qualification of “sacred” in the secular sense I defined [see Description/Definitions] rests in its dedicated setting apart [from things that are ordinary and mundane], exclusively appropriated to some person or some special purpose. I used as exemplary the Bull’s Headsculpture by Picasso, of which a critic I quoted above, II.a, and in r2, observed its being set apart, “…a moment of wit and whimsy…both childlike and highly sophisticated in its simplicity” and appropriated to special purpose, “…it stands as an assertion of the transforming power of human imagination.” Thus, by applying the terms of my “sacred” definition, Mr. Gibson has appropriately called the piece sacred, in a secular sense. I allege that in like manner, such artwork as Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony,Picasso’s Guernica,Shakespeare’s Hamlet,and Michaelangelo’s Pièta,qualify the designation: sacred in a secular sense.
V. Conclusion: Art is Sacred in a Secular Sense
V.a I declare I have met the BoP of the Pro side of the resolution: art is secularly sacred, by the evidence contributed by sourcing of declarative statements, first by Leonardo da Vinci’s sapere vedera, and its two factors: Seeing well enough to draw from memory, and seeing deep enough to draw an object’s essence. Of course, da Vinci spoke of drawing. The same applies to creation of music, sculpture, writing, and other modes of artistic aesthetic as I have demonstrated by the list below.
V.a.1 I demonstrated by example Picasso’s Bull’s Head and Guernica, Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn, Pope’s “Essay on Man,” the declaration by the Balinese, by reference to Beethoven, Shakespeare, and Michelangelo, and even by Con’s reference to the MET and its exhibits of ancient art, that art meets the resolution’s proposal of being sacred in a secular sense.
V.a.2 I have successfully rebutted Con’s attempt to re-define the resolution as being open-ended, even capable of being re-defined, by my logic formulae as presented in r1, r2, and r3. I ask for your vote for Pro. Thank you.