Sunday, December 12, 2010

André Malraux.

He looks quite a bit like Nabokov in the photo I used for this post. Maybe it's a staple of photographers to try and capture the "darkness" of a writer, staring lurching and heaving in the corner, sacrificing an animal in the middle of a dinner party. You have to be dark to write, and you have to suffer. And an artist doesn't need to study, they need to create. And to be an author you have to study the great works of literature. And to be an author you had to have been something, anything beforehand (do all the past jobs I've had count?). And so many other stipulations - are they in the best interests of aspiring authors or are they blockades to try and preserve the market?

Malraux once stated "Art is the rebellion against man's fate." This has stuck in my mind due to its implications. On first glance I thought it mirrored artistic rebellion against political oppression, but then it seemed like it spread deeper into how an artist wants to change the past and form the future, to escape their the people in their lives. Just come face to face with what's disturbing you and try to change it. Like the recent scandal at York University where I study - how could someone who was a university professor, married, and described as being an outgoing positive person also be into child pornography?

On the subject of Malraux, I believe those interpretations I listed are all dependent on whether or not the idea of fate is to be believed. Personally I don't believe in fate - I believe existence is to be lived in the best way we can try to live it. That sounds like the whimsy of youth but it should be upheld. Fate is reminiscent of the Calvinist doctrine's idea of absolute predestination, which states that certain people have been selected by God to go to Heaven and some haven't. This type of selective thinking is unnecessary but people buy into it. I apologize if you're a Calvinist and reading this, but no one should blindly follow any religion without questioning it and placing it in the greater context of their lives. Neither should anyone believe that their religion is better than others, or force their beliefs on other people.

It could be argued that fate is a method of classification, and in many instances classification is a form of control. A society where a domineering train of thought is to control other people isn't what I have in mind when I think of the place I'd like to spend my days. These days I'd rather be in a Bohemian atmosphere, where people want to go out on adventures where the people are friendly and mature and considerate, the architecture's nice and the air's always fresh, and she's there. You can write that off as being trite and unrealistic, caught in a flailing North American dreamscape, but it holds a lot of promise for me. To get older and say to myself "I just kinda go with the flow" isn't what I would commit to.