Sunday, October 17, 2010
Is there a hegelian Spirit of an Age? Does the concept of Kunstgeschichte or that ideas belong to their time due to some common rational ( determanistic?) movement have merit or is some other force at work?
The notion that ideas (and by extension works of art) are products of a specific time and cultural need, or force is attractive because it allows us to give them rational justifcation and order. Artworks are "products" of the ideas and currents of an age is simply the extension of the self as creator to the scale of the society. But in all actuality there could be no egocentric order to it. As much as the we would like to find the common thread and predictability or at least "road map" to why a culture acted and created in a certain that was to some dgree controlled by us, it may be a projection of man's desire to find order in it. The abstraction of order projected upon the world around us, is fundamental to the human condition. From man's first attempt at demarcating space, to the development of religion, science and philosophy, the application of the abstraction of order has followed man's metaphysical need to understand his place in the universe. Anywhere there is a complexity of ideas, current events, biology, news, human psychology etc there is an organizing superstructure of order- even if that order may not fit neatly into the categories in which we want to place them.
However could the organzing principals themselves determine the outcome? Could it be that ideas are determined by pure coincident, morphological process (such as with languages) or event based causality and not some rational abstraction? Could Hegel's concept of history really be a response to the rational determinism of the 17th century?