Mastering the various components of our future worldview in the making and producing visual signs of that worldview at the attention of all seem in my view to be the only wise choice that we have left as a specie.
What do I mean by that?
I follow Ilya Prigogine when he says "I believe that what we do today depends on our image of the future, rather than the future depending on what we do today. We build our equations by our actions. These equations, and the future they represent, are not written in nature. In other words, time becomes construction. Of course, we have some conditions that determine limits of the future but within these limits are many, many possibilities.
Therefore, since no deterministic prediction is likely to be valid, visions of the future--utopian visions--play a very important role in present conduct."
In the case of the re-balancing of the world economy some refuse even to consider the possibility of even the idea of Asia and particularly China becoming dominant because one is unable to imagine an Asian attitude that would be different from one's own. Even if one does not like to talk about it, one knows perfectly well what the Western attitude is all about and also what its application would be like in the future. So the projection on others of the knowledge of one's attitude in situation of power monopoly is building one's motivation to recourse to retrograde authoritarian policies in one's present internal policies and foreign relations in the hope to stop what one thinks will be an attitude as one's own at the hands of others.
Such unwise attitude is fraught to bring disaster.
Our future worldview in the shaping will shift radically from our present day deterministic view of some kind of historical straight line toward progress. Our future will be composed of novelty, of random change so trying to extrapolate what the future will be, from our present day worldview that gives us our perception of our present reality, is fraught to end in disaster.
Everyone on this earth will in the future undergo the influences of a new worldview that is starting to shape presently out of the confrontation of the fast growing body of scientific knowings with philosophic wisdoms and will thus be confronted with the feel of an existential obligation to make his this new worldview, be it consciously or unconsciously.
Looking toward the past is a feel good distraction that costs time and energy while looking toward the future somehow shortens the distance between now and the future.
As I wrote earlier, when this reasoning becomes crystal clear one feels the urge to do something about it.
Knowings: fast increasing scientific discoveries and knowings are the driving force of change in our economies and in our perception of ourselves and the universe. States are presently the principal financial backers (investors) and sponsors of fundamental science because the fact is that the nation of birth of a new knowing owns somehow much of the applications derived from it that will generate future incomes. This is a very divisive reality, it costs humanity much of its past conflicts and it will inevitably cost much future conflict. Would humanity not be better off if fundamental science was considered a gift for humanity instead as for the nation of its birth? I don't know what can be done about that, but I also don't understand why this should not become one of the most pressing questions that a globalized humanity has to face.
Knowledge: the rationality of the logic of capital has succeeded to impose itself over all aspects of human life. It is rational for the logic of capital so be it, that's at least how most of us think, and thus follows that any contradicting human thought should then logically be repressed.
Humanity follows a mechanic that is out (not in) of its own being, it acts as if it had been robbed of itself and, drawn and haggard, brainless it follows the movement. One can't stress enough this mechanical character of our collective behavior. The scientific concept of "singularity" goes even further that implies that humanity reaches fast a threshold in its chaotic development from which the points of bifurcation leading to our future are out of our rational grasp, meaning that we will just not be able to apprehend the consequences of our acts any further. After passing this threshold, humanity will be blind to the consequences of its acts but we know for a sure fact that science de-multiplied the power of our acts in such a fashion that we now have the power to blow up the principle of human life and more.
Here we are thus confronted with this singularity and the simultaneous power of our actions to destroy ourselves. One would think that the conscience of this enormity should bring us back to our senses and deliberately drive us to ask for the application of some knowledge in our actions but will this conscience crystalize in sufficient quantity for humanity to survive this dangerous path? Not sure. From a philosophical standpoint, I should add that the eventual disappearance of humanity is not important at all, indeed this disappearance would only be detrimental to humanity itself but not to cosmic harmony.
I hope that the conscience of this enormity gives us some dose of wisdom and understanding of the human need to confront scientific knowings with philosophical wisdom. The knowledge derived from this confrontation is our last chance to develop our postmodern worldview towards maturity. But one of our biggest problems is that knowledge finds only marginal respect in our modern societies, not being imposed any longer by the men of power on all the members of our societies, the men of knowledge are left to compete with all kind of charlatans for the attention of the citizens... not very encouraging indeed.
The visual signs of our postmodern worldview: art died in the last decades of the twentieth century. What is meant by that is that art lost total contact with its historical functionality and thus fell into the absurd, that is where art died. The century had nevertheless started with great questions and an ultimate rejection of the past but not successful at defining a sense beyond early capitalism art, modernity got finally stuck in merchandise, form had overtaken content and substance that had been trivialized and finally the absurd started to reign in absolute master of the visual arts.
I have the weakness to think that it would be kind of presumptuous and stupid for artists to reject the functionality that art served from its origins to 1900. What came after 1900 is only 100 years on some 50,000 years of human cultural activities, in other words, no more than 0.2 % of all the history of art. Today, right in the middle of humankind's existential void and the fear inspired by its future, the necessity for art to fulfil its historical role and societal functionality appears as if it was multiplied, never I think, has the necessity for art been greater in all of our history. Never has the need for visual signs of a worldview been so eagerly awaited by the citizens of a society than today. Mostly everyone is indeed on the outlook for sense.
But we should recognize in all honesty that artists have not really been prepared for such a role:
- where is the story to tell? In earlier times, the artists' job was to illustrate the stories at the hands of the men of knowledge in their times. Where are the men of knowledge today? Where are the stories of knowledge that artists should illustrate? Mum...
- where are the men of power who should help diffuse the signs of the worldview in the making? Even if contemporary men of power were willing to help in the diffusing of the visual signs, how would the selection operate of the signs to diffuse?
We are kind of stuck in a quandary: where is the knowledge, how to put the artists in the know of that knowledge and finally how to diffuse the visual signs? Viewed from this perspective, the task seems to be an impossible one.
Perhaps should we look at it from another angle. Perhaps should we need to go back at the origin of arts, what about looking at animist times as a model?
The artist would then need to become a man of knowledge or the man of knowledge would need to become an artist. It seems to me that this is perhaps the only feasible path in our days but it implies a revision of traditional roles. Artists at your books, scientists at your brushes!