Has any philosopher argued that the point of life is to extract art from it?


The painter poet Lewis claimed

“Just Life” or soi-disant “Reality” is a fourth quantity, made up of the Past, the Future and Art.

This impure Present our Vortex despises and ignores.

For our Vortex is uncompromising.

We must have the Past and the Future, Life simple, that is, to discharge ourselves in, and keep us pure for non-life, that is Art.

I don't expect anyone to take me seriously, but I think I have a means to extract art from life, and make it simple. Lewis, quite famously, means to keep the two separare, apparently via the opposite process, discharging into art, perhaps becasue of his excess vitality, as in his character Tarr (p16), usually taken to be his mouthpiece:

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So has any philosopher claimed that would be a desirable quality to life?


Posted 2017-07-23T07:08:53.400


What have you found so far? – Joseph Weissman – 2017-07-23T16:38:18.443

1We only have art so as not to die before the truth - Nietzsche – Conifold – 2017-07-25T00:01:43.137

@Conifold nice quote, i guess you take him to mean the opposite, that without art we could not cope with or understand life? – None – 2017-07-25T00:46:57.150

@JosephWeissman i've gotten nowhere as yet, hence the question (it's always easier to find more once you've got started). the lack of an answer suggests no-one has, though someone suggested wilde to me?

– None – 2017-07-25T00:50:51.650

1It was Nietzsche's inversion of the ancient witticism that we have art in order to live the truth. The inversion was supposed to call the meaning-giving status of "truth" into question along with offering art as a substitute. Indeed, art is one of Nietzsche's "healthy fictions", unlike the sickly one of morality. – Conifold – 2017-07-25T01:17:21.153

@Conifold yea i read that. thanks for the reply, tho not what i'm looking for... – None – 2017-07-25T01:27:12.960


Highly related might be Alan Watt's argument "Life is not a journey", though I don't believe he chooses to draw the distinction between discharging into art and taking from art.

– Cort Ammon – 2017-07-25T01:36:24.137

note, what i liked best about tarr was his humanity, how e.g. at close of part I Bertha, he leaves his fiance, apparently just because he's not who she wants. maybe of some relevance to the Nietzschean idea @Conifold i don't know – None – 2017-07-25T10:22:55.333

unclear what lewis' goal was in this join, seeing as according to the preface we're meant to judge tarr too, and as not living up to his ideals. but yeah, authourial intent, anyway – None – 2017-07-25T10:31:53.153



I don't think we extract art like we do iron ore. I would expand on your point "vitality". Culture is a byproduct of civilization, it is essentially sublimated libido. Why would we need to turn our endless sex drive into art/culture? Civilization requires us to self-govern our instincts. We are not self-transparent, there is always a part of us which motivates us "behind our back" so to speak.


Posted 2017-07-23T07:08:53.400

Reputation: 21

bless BLAST ;) ! – None – 2017-08-02T16:19:27.780