Of the Tree of Knowledge

(I wasn’t sure this belonged in the process journal. But it does.)

The rise of AI artworks makes me sad and a little freaked out about the future. I figure we’ll adjust and somehow find our humanity in this – or adjust to the (potential) truth that everything we do in our brains, with our brain is formulaic. We let go (most of us) of the Ancient Greek idea of a genius – the external spirit that inhabits a person we then call an artist.

But we haven’t let go of this idea of our exceptionalism.

If we can appreciate “art” in the absence of a human artist – then isn’t the act of appreciating art inherently a purely narcissistic act of introspection – and not one of communication?

Might not AI artworks ultimately isolate us from one another entirely? Are we left discussing how AI allows us to view our selves? Art as a tool for self-expression and communication becomes a tool for introspection and indoctrination?

Aren’t we creating the “creature” that will in turn create us? Have we now stumbled onto the truth of our own delusions of free will and “consciousness”?

I think every sci fi writer has already asked these questions. It no longer feels like hypotheticals and speculation.

I don’t know what will happen to any of the arts. Looking at that sentence, I am hearing editing advice from college: why are we stating the obvious here? There is a rubric that I have learned that determines “good” writing: often lazily equated with “effective” writing. Language is a tool. It has an immediate purpose as well as a subjective pleasure.

Maybe it will be liberating for all of us when the arts are no longer tied to economics and social hierarchies. Maybe the part of “art” that is about feeling/recognizing a human connection will go back to the body. Everything will be about breath and movement again. Not about intellectual legacy.

Maybe there will be an admission of collaboration on a level that exposes the delusion of *individual* contributions to a culture?

I am thinking about how I crave recognition for my art. Crave it, quite honestly. How it was supposed to serve as some kind of key to get me into the penthouse – rich OR famous. My exceptionalism recognized and acknowledged within the cultural system I live in. “Followers”. Money.

Isn’t this the real fear? We tell ourselves that artists have a unique ability to convey through one or another medium the truth of the human experience. What is there is truly nothing exceptional about artists. That who gets/has gotten what recognition for a moment of collective “understanding” is determined by the hive’s algorithm. Kind of random.

We talk about how important education is for the arts – for art “appreciation”. We ooo and aaah over the occasional “natural” talent.

What if it is all a sham? Our concept of the “human experience”.

Does this mean that all that is left is … *being* human?

Huh. Now I need to walk the dog.


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