Is atheism iconoclastic?
(02-25-2016, 01:13 PM)richgr Wrote:
(02-25-2016, 12:07 PM)PrairieMom Wrote:
(02-24-2016, 05:12 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: I think it's more a matter of whoever conquers a given culture intuitively knows that to destroy the art, architecture, signs and symbols of the conquered is to erase their connection with their past and their roots. It's not explicit to atheism. Muslims are also vicious iconoclasts. Gangbangers spray over their rivals Graffitti etc.


Because of the transmission of ideas that occurs in the arts, you need to erase it if you want to conquer. Atheism in the West, in some respects, wants to obliterate art (hello, deleting arts education from schools!) precisely for this reason. It's not conscious, but an extension of this idea of taking something over.
To wax philosophical, I would say that the iconoclasm present in Islam or gang graffiti is a different kind of iconoclasm than what would occur in atheism. Obvious the end effect of destroying certain pieces of art or depictions is the same in both cases, but the motivation must be fundamentally different for each. For Islam, I wouldn't say it's a matter of exerting power for its own sake but to spread the proper worship of God in their conception--hence destroy idolatrous depictions. For gangs, it would be a matter of power and marking territory. Of course, power is exerted in both instances, but the motivations are clearly different.

But in atheism, we would have a pure iconoclasm for its own sake because *all* stories, mythologies, territories, traditions, etc. are arbitrary and ultimately meaningless and incoherent. All things must end in destruction and chaos. I don't think there is any way for an atheist to escape this core aspect of atheism: it must be nihilistic and fragmented.

Good points. However, I think the argument could be made that both things also apply to atheism - the spread of proper worship and marking power and territory. Atheists overwhelmingly worship science (vs. art), and power and territory comes from the godlessness of marketing and consumerism.
Art or architecture (the high culture style not the empty degenerate modern buildings) are frozen music. If you look at old churches and castles they nourish the soul. The aesthetics of them grow from the human soul and the truth of Gods beauty. [Image: a75b3b3f6896850336f42a65b3881d6a.jpg]

[Image: 19c2d397356f451eec258151e537db1f.jpg]

Every act of such beauty is a revolt against the modern world. The destruction and disappearance of fine art and beauty are nothing more then a reflection of the diminishing of mans soul in proper odder toward God.

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Satan hates the Church and beauty because it represents God. As such, it would make sense that his modern tools of destruction would hate it too.
I was an atheist until around age 24... and I always liked art. 

There is a different reason why totalitarian governments are iconoclastic and that has to do more with control than a lack of aesthetic appreciation.  It would seem they understand the impact of aesthetics better than many religious people in modernity. 
(03-02-2016, 04:56 PM)ermy_law Wrote: I was an atheist until around age 24... and I always liked art. 

There is a different reason why totalitarian governments are iconoclastic and that has to do more with control than a lack of aesthetic appreciation.  It would seem they understand the impact of aesthetics better than many religious people in modernity.

Its not only totalitarian regimes but the whole ethos of modernity--the obsession with innovation, with breaking down old forms, with movement (to quote the devil in Hart's delightful novella The Devil and Pierre Gernet, "dynamo, not the Virgin"). Just look at modern art and how itself is iconoclast.

Also, many of the more crude and violent outburdts of iconoclasm, like in the French revolution, were expressions of hate and not calculations for population control (that comes at a later stage, with the more Apollonian discipline of Napoleon).
Well, I don't think that modern art is itself iconoclastic.  It is just different than the sorts of art that preceded it in that there was a movement from abstraction to realism.  Now there is a movement again in the direction of abstraction.  It isn't bad or good, just different.

You're right about the idea of the destruction of art as a manifestation of hatred of concepts.  In our times, that is due to a lack of care for permanence -- we live in a throw-away culture.  But I think that people still appreciate the accepted classics of art: we are not at a point where people would torch the Mona Lisa because it represents an old form that we no longer tolerate. 

Indifference is a much greater problem, in my opinion, than overt hatred leading to a desire to destroy.
Well, I suppose we'll jusy have to agree on disagree about the existence of neutral art. I simply don't think such a thing exists--it either forms or deforms. And of course, modern art is the very face of modernity, the sum of all heresies.
I should recommend Ekstein's Rites of Spring for a bit of a connection between modern art, the modern spirit and modern society.

Every age is modern to the people living in it. And it comes with its own spirit that influences its art and culture. Modernity is not the sum of all heresies. To crave the past simply because it is not the present is an incredibly heightened form of nostalgia. Recognition that the spirit of the times is neutral in itself paves the way for living in the present in an ordered fashion. Many things are neutral until analyzed by the subject, in that sense.
St. Pius X Wrote:And now, can anybody who takes a survey of the whole system be surprised that We should define it [modernism] as the synthesis of all heresies?

You're just committing the silly mistake of arguing with etymologies. Modernism does not simply means "today". Nobody uses the term that way.
And of course, I'm not simply lamenting changes. One can be traditionalist today. One is not compelled by the force of fate to have the mind of today--much less the mind of a modernist.

Anyway, with all due respect, I don't think you know what I'm talking about.


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