My friend is an artist and she has to answer this question but is not sure of the meaning. What does it mean, do you think?

I find you to be incredibly productive and driven, as someone who as Rilke says:

"Surely all art is the result of one's having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can go any further. The further one goes, the more private, the more personal the more singular an experience becomes, and the thing one is making is, finally, the necessary, irrepressible, and, as nearly as possible, definitive utterance of this singularity." can you relate to this?

  • There might be a good question in here, but it is not well formed. Although certain questions of this type have been accepted in the past, we generally expect specific questions related to the academic discipline of philosophy rather than simply asking us to interpret something for you that may or may not even be philosophy-related at all. This isn't hermeneutics, and we prefer not to have open-ended discussions as answers. A question like this is perhaps best for chat. I'm going to close this question for now, pending revisions that focus it substantially. – stoicfury Jan 25 '13 at 5:41
  • Is this an artistic work? Then no. Duh. – Tyler Langan Jan 26 '13 at 1:22
  • If you act misunderstood they'll probably buy it. Just get meta about it. "Like I really don't think art is something to speculate, man. You know?" – Tyler Langan Jan 26 '13 at 1:25

I'm reading 'Residence on Earth' by Pablo Neruda. He's a South American poet who spent five years in the far east as a consul, and he wrote this during that period.

They speak essentially of his spiritual isolation and alienation. His poetry I imagine was a response to this suffering.

His famous youthful song was called 'twenty love poems and a song of despair'. Despair for him then was a minor note, in 'residence' it becomes a kind of existential crisis. Later, he repudiated the work as it for him was a song of death. He'd moved beyond that singular point (so in a sense that point was not singular).

Rilke often spoke as silence and aloneness as a condition for his poetry. Whereas for Neruda it was put upon him. It's not enough of course to have these feelings in a deep way, plenty of people have them without becoming artists, one must also have the talent and opportunity to learn to express it.

If art is the response to suffering, then it is not surprising that madness, and so called schizophrenia is associated with it. They're the outward form in the personality of an inward singularity.

Having said this, Susan Sontag (literary critic) said that there is a certain fetishisation in european culture that asks its artists to suffer as a sign of authenticity. Could this be connected to the suffering christ? Just because europe has desacrilised over the last century or so, does not mean that the inner form of its spirit is dead. John Gray (philosopher) wrote of both communism & capitalism as being forms of christianity on the level of ideology. What is true on a political level could also be true on an inward level.

Tagore, an Indian poet, rebuked his fellow poets for embracing European modernity, as a contracting movement rather than an expanding one. One should note that modernity was born after European-wide civil warfare. One could suppose that modernity was a reaction to this, certainly Dada, Surrealism and Primitivism was. Although there are notes of melancholy, there are moments of transcendence, joy, hope and enjoyment of sensuality in Tagores poems.

There is also a romantic ideology which elevated sensibility against an increasingly materialistic & industrialised European society.

I'm not sure one could characterise Rilke as being incredibly productive, he wrote little and slowly (the duino elegies took ten years), but what he wrote was of lasting significance and read still today. He is essentially a religous poet, a poet of the sacred.

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  • agree with the western fetishisation of it, which was exactly the previous guy's problem. – Andrew Welch Jan 23 '13 at 23:38

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