The painter poet Lewis claimed

“Just Life” or soi-disant “Reality” is a fourth quantity, made up of the Past, the Future and Art.

This impure Present our Vortex despises and ignores.

For our Vortex is uncompromising.

We must have the Past and the Future, Life simple, that is, to discharge ourselves in, and keep us pure for non-life, that is Art.

I don't expect anyone to take me seriously, but I think I have a means to extract art from life, and make it simple. Lewis, quite famously, means to keep the two separare, apparently via the opposite process, discharging into art, perhaps becasue of his excess vitality, as in his character Tarr (p16), usually taken to be his mouthpiece:

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So has any philosopher claimed that would be a desirable quality to life?

  • What have you found so far?
    – Joseph Weissman
    Jul 23, 2017 at 16:38
  • 1
  • @Conifold nice quote, i guess you take him to mean the opposite, that without art we could not cope with or understand life?
    – user25714
    Jul 25, 2017 at 0:46
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    It was Nietzsche's inversion of the ancient witticism that we have art in order to live the truth. The inversion was supposed to call the meaning-giving status of "truth" into question along with offering art as a substitute. Indeed, art is one of Nietzsche's "healthy fictions", unlike the sickly one of morality.
    – Conifold
    Jul 25, 2017 at 1:17
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    Highly related might be Alan Watt's argument "Life is not a journey", though I don't believe he chooses to draw the distinction between discharging into art and taking from art.
    – Cort Ammon
    Jul 25, 2017 at 1:36

1 Answer 1


I don't think we extract art like we do iron ore. I would expand on your point "vitality". Culture is a byproduct of civilization, it is essentially sublimated libido. Why would we need to turn our endless sex drive into art/culture? Civilization requires us to self-govern our instincts. We are not self-transparent, there is always a part of us which motivates us "behind our back" so to speak.

  • bless BLAST ;) !
    – user25714
    Aug 2, 2017 at 16:19

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