Ceci n'est pas un post

Posted by I'm the penguin | Posted in | Posted on Monday, November 08, 2010

I love Magritte, his illustrations are rich and beautiful, and have a meaning deeper than may appear, or so I love to believe.

This special work is pretty, but it is actually more valuable because of its meaning. Ceci n'est pas une pipe- This is not a pipe.

Sure, at first you'd think "Of course it's a pipe, he's just stating the contrary to the obvious" which wouldn't be wrong, I guess, but is not the point.

The point is making the partition between representation, concepts and reality. That's truly not a pipe, but a group of shades and tones that form a figure that has enough characteristic features that resemble the image of what the object named "pipe" looks like.

It is not a pipe, but the representation of the concept. And that's a partition worth observing, because in real life we constantly encounter ourselves mistaking the concept with the real with, and vice versa. Now, I might be inflating it more than it was intended to, but how I see it, it is an awesome critique of how ideas work in society.

There the real thing, the atom made structure that exists in reality. And then there's the concepts that inhabits in electric impulses and a social network of collective memories. And being very objective, the atom-based structure existed already (in case of non-human made objects) without us, it was us who made it an idea, packed it inside a name and gave it life within the realm of ideas. Like a tree. The cells that conform it where there and will be there with or without naming, yet I don't have to put a picture of one for you to think about it, because we've wrapped the thing inside a concept and a name so we can carry it on our mind pockets.

And there are so many things that inhabit the world of ideas, not only the concepts, but meanings too. When I write tree maybe not only the image of a tree comes up, but also the peace and quite trees commonly have as a connotation. The atom-based structures don't posses these properties per se, we assign them and conform a context and meanings. And so in the world of collective ideas that we create, begin to exist conjuncted meanings, concepts and feelings. Forming a whole network of thoughts and meanings that become more complex than the actual atom-based world (in some ways only).

It doesn't rest at that, the world of ideas often is used to explain the world of atoms, and as long as the world of ideas makes sense to itself, the world of atoms is condemned to be described any way it is. But I'm setting it too dramatic, for the atom world cannot actually worry about it, or does it? Weren't we atoms realizing their own existence?(topic for other post). Anyway, this world of ideas is also very particular, because it is in constant change, reformation and reinterpretation. And so it is an unstable flux of ever changing ideas.

And so we're left with two worlds: the real world and the world of ideas. And being cultural animals as we are, we need to question every chance we have, in which world are we living? And which are the consequences of our interpretation of the world based on what reality are we choosing to live?

I'll just leave it at that, saying that this is precisely why I love this painting so much. (Sorry Magritte, I know you said no to look too deep into it, but to be me I had to...)

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