• Janus
    7.5k
    There are studies that look at these things and how they differ.I like sushi

    You still haven't told me just what studies you are referring to.
  • Janus
    7.5k
    Description involves linguistically mediated thought, and imagination involves thinking in terms of sensory patterns; visual, aural, olfactory, tactile, proprioceptive. They are all different kinds of thought. With movies the visual and audial are given to you; the rest must be imagined. With novels the visual and audial are not given to you, and must therefore be imagined.

    That has been the only point I have been making. If you think there is something wrong with the distinctions I have made between the different kinds of thought then say what it is you think is wrong. Don't try to change the subject by claiming that I am saying there is necessarily no imagination involved in describing or making some are other equally false and unrelated assertion.
  • ZhouBoTong
    289
    I haven't been arguing that literature is somehow "greater" than film, just that it requires more imagination by virtue of the fact that in the case of literature you are being presented with descriptions rather than images.Janus

    Fair enough. I just have a couple of disjointed thoughts/questions on imagination. I am not sure if I am disagreeing with you, or just trying to understand your position...

    I think that using less imagination on imagery, setting, etc might open up room for my imagination to delve into other areas. I think that has been part of Terrapin's point (admittedly, a small part).

    And just to be sure, we can agree that sometimes an image requires more imagination to understand than words...right?

    Finally, isn't visualizing verbal imagery about the simplest form of imagination possible? You just barely have to imagine anything (the "better" the author, the more vivid the description, the less I have to work to imagine the scenario). Hell, the more I read, the better I am at skimming through and ignoring character descriptions, because they matter very little to the part of the story I do care about.

    Isn't..."gee, I wonder how I would feel/respond if I were in that situation" the most significant imagination that takes place with works of fiction? That would be the same, whether, poetry, prose, film, plays, or any other version of story telling.

    You have definitely highlighted that "imagination" is just another word in these discussions where I suddenly realize that we all think we mean the same thing when we use the word, and yet we don't mean exactly the same thing, do we?
  • Janus
    7.5k
    Finally, isn't visualizing verbal imagery about the simplest form of imagination possible? You just barely have to imagine anything (the "better" the author, the more vivid the description, the less I have to work to imagine the scenario). Hell, the more I read, the better I am at skimming through and ignoring character descriptions, because they matter very little to the part of the story I do care about.ZhouBoTong

    For me that kind of imagining is automatic. When I read a (good) novel I am immersed in the imagined world the novel evokes for me; the characters, the scenes, the events and how they all look. When I watch a film I don't need to imagine the world to the same degree; I witness the characters, the scenes and the events on the screen (of course I may still imagine what is not shown but the same will be true of what is not described in a novel). So, there just is extra imaginative work, presuming the content to be equal, for me to do when reading a book, as opposed to watching an equivalent film.
  • ZhouBoTong
    289
    Art is not about extracting (intellectual) insights.Henri

    As I tend to view art as entertainment (even when we learn, the "art" made learning more fun/engaging - there is always a more direct way to learn something), I agree.

    People were saying Shakespeare is better than Transformers because of what it can teach. That is why I asked for examples.

    While we're at it, I could also use a novel to level a desk, by putting it under one of the desk's legs. And I am still waiting for an example where a DVD with a movie is a sturdier leveler for my desk than the hardcover, 200-page novel.Henri

    No question that a book is a better brick than a DVD. But a DVD flies farther when thrown. It also reflects light better :razz:
  • Brett
    550
    Art is not about extracting (intellectual) insights.Henri

    This was taken from your response to another post and I’m not sure if you are raising what they said to question it or because you believe it to be true.

    Art could be said to be raising intellectual insights about art, could it not?

    Edit: actually I would go further and say some visual art offers insights about how we see things.
  • ZhouBoTong
    289
    Those who view Shakespeare as a great writer of plays displaying ideas of morality, human nature, conflict or right and wrong, are behaving exactly the same as those who believe Michael is a great director portraying the same ideas, or Saul Bellow or Bergman or Joyce or Tennessee Williams.Brett

    Yep. No problem with that.

    How and why it should find its way into education is another matter? Outside of school people can act on their preference by choosing or ignoring a book or film. Inside of school the work is pressed on them by those who chose the curriculum. Actually, that’s not necessarily the case, the teacher is allowed to chose an artist or writer that he/she can use to work within the demands of the curriculum.Brett

    Outside education, I don't have a problem. We each like what we like. Additionally, outside education, art has been monetized, so I don't have to worry. People willing spend billions on Transformers movies. Much less on Shakespeare. People vote with dollars and asses in seats. But once it comes to education, we let the elites decide for us; and most of us just assume they are right (until I had to re-read Shakespeare as an adult, I assumed I just didn't get it - now I know I get it, and I like it even less).
  • Brett
    550
    But once it comes to education, we let the elites decide for us;ZhouBoTong

    I’m not sure this is exactly true. We’re all coming from different parts of the world here so our experiences might differ. But my experience is that the elites are not imposing their views. Though a Principal might draw the line at certain works being used in class.

    Where are you seeing this, and what work are you seeing?
  • Arne
    363
    as true as the starting point may be, many seem to argue that there is nothing wrong with opinion being the basis of what constitutes art, but only object to whose opinion ought to matter. the deeper issue is what is art aside from the various constituencies who feel entitled to have their opinion determine the issue.
  • Shamshir
    425
    Art is art - shapes and shades.

    All opinion does is fill up one's bag with groceries. Whether you fill it with oranges or mangos, portraits or a few squiggly lines, is all the same.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.7k
    If you think there is something wrong with the distinctions I have made between the different kinds of thought then say what it is you think is wrong.Janus

    What's wrong is that you're attempting an idiosyncratically gerrymandered distinction ad hoc-designed to support a dubious claim--a claim you're forwarding out of some combination of personal preference, personal dispositions and apologetics for a silly bit of conventional wisdom--where I don't believe that you'd endorse the idiosyncratically gerrymandered distinction in other contexts.

    So for example, you'd have to say--given the distinction you're attempting--that devising character personality traits, as well as dialogue, characters' thoughts, etc., when writing fiction involves no imagination.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.3k
    [A]rt seems to be man made (unless you believe in a God), and all things man made have a foundation, a set of rules or agreement for it to function or be accepted. Except with art we can’t seem to find those rules.Brett

    [My highlighting.] It's the emboldened bit I have a problem with. Do you think that's true? Have you any justification to offer? Yes, there are examples of man-made things to which your description applies, but I don't think we can extend that to a blanket cover of all man-made things, can we?
  • Henri
    184
    Art could be said to be raising intellectual insights about art, could it not?Brett

    You could extract insight from anything, essentially. From reading a news article, having a blister on your hand, observing a toddler. And from art too, of course. But that's not what art is for. So, if one only takes some insights from art, he or she is missing on what art provides.

    Maybe a metaphor would be seeing a gate of a city, but not the city itself as a whole and with all the details. You still saw something of a city, an outer gate, but you miss everything else about the city. And at the same time, the gate exists because of a city, as a sort of a consequence of building a city, not vice versa.
  • Coben
    82
    Outside education, I don't have a problem. We each like what we like. Additionally, outside education, art has been monetized, so I don't have to worry. People willing spend billions on Transformers movies. Much less on Shakespeare. People vote with dollars and asses in seats. But once it comes to education, we let the elites decide for us; and most of us just assume they are right (until I had to re-read Shakespeare as an adult, I assumed I just didn't get it - now I know I get it, and I like it even less).ZhouBoTong

    You think the elites don't decide how to distract and addict you? That tastes are not created? The people who create the Transformer movies are rich, powerful and have at their disposal experts in a kind of cognitive science that relates directly to addiction. And this leads to certain products being promoted and others not seeing the light of movie screens. Now of course people's tastes are involved, but these tastes have been built up by television and gaming. Fortunately some television has been moving in directions where one is both entertained and challenged, iow a richer experience. But in general people are being trained to have shorter adn shorter attention spans - the length of scenes in movies has been going down for decades, shorter and shorter - and this shortening is not based on what we as humans most enjoy. In fact its somelike like the putting of sugar and salt in all processed foods, where people's senses are dumbed down via overload and intensity. Addiction, addiction created by rich powerful people, who can hire technocrats to develop your tastes.
  • Arne
    363
    I agree. and the notion that Shakespeare's plays are "contrived" (I believe that was the word) is in and of itself relative. They may well be contrived by today's standards, but can the same be said regarding the standards of his day, whatever they may have been? So again, are people upset because the standards seem to be based upon opinions or are they upset because the opinions upon which they are based do not include theirs? and that is a fair question.
  • Henri
    184
    I tend to view art as entertainmentZhouBoTong

    Being entertained is certainly a slice of what you can get through art.

    But it's a very small segment out of all experiences you can get. And I would say, among the most shallow, fleeting experiences at that.

    If you measure art by the level of how entertained you are, your measuring instrument is not calibrated to measure all there is, but only to measure some there is.

    In that case it's baseless for you to claim that you understand art better than people who get all what art provides. You are the one that gets less, not them. It's like colorblind person arguing with people with regular sight, explaining how those more colors they (regular-sighted people) see are in fact something less, not more. Being colorblind is a reduction of capabilities, just like getting one aspect of human experiences out of art.
  • Janus
    7.5k
    So for example, you'd have to say--given the distinction you're attempting--that devising character personality traits, as well as dialogue, characters' thoughts, etc., when writing fiction involves no imagination.Terrapin Station

    No, wrong again. Perhaps if you were to lay out the reasoning that you want to claim leads inexorably from what I have said to what you claim here I therefore must agree with I will be able to show you where you went wrong.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.7k
    Perhaps if you were to lay out the reasoning that you want to claim leads inexorably from what I have said to what you claim here I therefore must agree with I will be able to show you where you went wrong.Janus

    The reasoning is this: in what way is devising character personality traits, for example, thinking in terms of one of these sensory patterns: visual, aural, olfactory, tactile, proprioceptive?
  • ZhouBoTong
    289
    I’m not sure this is exactly true. We’re all coming from different parts of the world here so our experiences might differ. But my experience is that the elites are not imposing their views. Though a Principal might draw the line at certain works being used in class.

    Where are you seeing this, and what work are you seeing?
    Brett

    The way I have described it in that sentence makes it sound much more intentional and conspiratorial than I intend. In fact, the "elite" domination of English classes is more of a status quo at this point. The fact that 4 years of English education is required when one only needs 2-3 years of math (depending on the state) shows the power of artistic elitism (even if it is an unintentional cultural force). Most of English class focuses on art. Generally speaking, art has been almost entirely eliminated from schools as frivolous. But literature and poetry are still going strong (to the point that I am required to learn more literature and poetry than biology, chemistry, physics, history, math, philosophy, etc). Why do we all just accept this?
  • ZhouBoTong
    289
    ↪ZhouBoTong Seriously?I like sushi

    I have no idea what you are on about.
  • I like sushi
    1.1k
    The fact that 4 years of English education is required when one only needs 2-3 years of math (depending on the state)
  • ZhouBoTong
    289
    The fact that 4 years of English education is required when one only needs 2-3 years of math (depending on the state)

    So you think literature and poetry is more important than math, science, and history?
  • ZhouBoTong
    289
    Or do I need to specify that I am referring to the 4 years of high school? Maybe you thought I was talking about K-12?
  • I like sushi
    1.1k
    I was just shocked at 2-3 years of math!? What kind of backward country is that??
  • ZhouBoTong
    289
    Oh thank zeus. Yes, and America wonders why we lag behind the rest of the world.
  • ZhouBoTong
    289
    And I know you told me not to apologize, but I was being a bit prickly there...sorry :smile:
  • Brett
    550
    You could extract insight from anything, essentially. From reading a news article, having a blister on your hand, observing a toddler. And from art too, of course. But that's not what art is for.Henri

    Well it’s possible that that’s exactly what art is for and anything else is not art.

    If a painting is working within the idea of realism, where the painting reproduces the observed accurately, a landscape for instance, then what is the artist really doing? Is that painting really their experience of that landscape, just this artificial reproduction of what was before them? A photo can do that. The post-impressionists and cubists tried to show us that that’s not how we see.

    The painting that looks exactly like the landscape the painter stood in front of is not what he was really seeing, that’s not how we look at things, with that passive frozen attitude. Our own sensibility and understanding are always at work as we look, so that reproduction that the artist has made, the landscape, ‘so real’, as people say, is in effect just a painted surface, it’s just something beautiful to look at.

    Cubist paintings include all, or many sides, of an object, because we may not see it but we know there is another side to the bottle, or box, or guitar, and we know that we are in the same space, and we know that the object also stirs up memories and emotions at the time of painting. So the painting is the experience of the artist just as it is for us observing something.

    That’s how we really see, it’s not just the appearance of things before our eyes. So art does offer intellectual insights.

    Some books do this, though they may have other agendas: about memory, or how we I think and act. Some posts here have said film can’t do this as well as books can do, but I wonder if films do do it just as well, in fact so effectively that we hardly even notice it happening.
  • Brett
    550
    I don't think we can extend that to a blanket cover of all man-made things, can we?Pattern-chaser

    I’m not sure. It seems to me that if you do something twice then it’s no longer random, you’re applying a set of ‘rules’, or chain of events’, to make it happen again and you have to do that every time to get the same result. My mind is a bit sluggish at the moment but I can’t think of anything we do that isn’t done this way.
  • Brett
    550
    As I tend to view art as entertainmentZhouBoTong

    Well then you’re talking about entertainment. That’s different from art. ‘Transformers’ is entertainment. So is Shakespeare, or was. Now it’s an idea, of what art is. Once you begin viewing everything through the prism of entertainment then you have a few basic parameters to judge it by: dollars and asses.

    So your attitude to art is very warped by your entertainment expectations. Other than that you have education: art as an instrument of instruction. So for you art is just utilitarian.
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