By Wilson Hurst, Cohort ’13
Responding to the conditions that are existent, using the apparatus of sensation constitutes perception. The requirements of universality ensure a certain level of functional similarity offering the possibility of communication. Yet all things perceived also recede beyond their immediately given aspects. Awareness involves sensation activation leading to perception, while critical observation requires attention. The necessary distinction is indefinite between stimulation conditions that will produce, or not produce, a perceptive observation. Although attention may herald, establish, or just accompany an observation, it most generally involves pattern recognition based on experience of similarity comparison. To be engaged in works of creation is to generate, produce, and construct by straddling the universal/particular and the objective/subjective divides. In this way, the artist-philosopher’s task is endless. He/she does not accept the total validity of pure reason standing apart from nature. Rather the artist-philosopher is part of nature, reacting to his/her internal and external environment.
Relative to the important tension between objectivity (universal) and subjectivity (particular), the artist-philosopher’s construction of knowledge is motivated by free will and control of identity. The degree of subjective control or free will exercisable by an individual is a problematic context against which inquiries strive. In this regard, the speculative hypothesis is the primary intellectual instrument in art and philosophy. Even when not correct, speculations can lead to new discoveries, as suppositions can be employed as useful thought experiments without being strictly believed. A vital and functional human being straddles the gap between internal subjectivity and external objectivity. Meanwhile, the artist philosopher engages a critical and reflective attitude to promote originality and freshness of perspective. Many simultaneous hypotheses supplement equivalent observational inquiry, allowing for inherent variability. Progress is the ability to grow and adapt as a function of dynamic experience. All mental modalities contribute to this progression.