This entry is a continuation of previous thoughts expressed here: Became the time.
Indoctrinate is defined as:
-verb (used with object), -nat·ed, -nat·ing.
1. to instruct in a doctrine, principle, ideology, etc., esp. to imbue with a specific partisan or biased belief or point of view.
2. to teach or inculcate.
3. to imbue with learning.
Dealing with ideas as complex as existentialism, ontology and art, topics which can be maintained with a religious fervor, often become contentious once we encounter the emotional component to an individual’s belief system or their connection with a larger community aimed towards a higher, shared truth. Easily, we can see this equation and outcome contribute to war, discrimination and disbelief. Increasingly, though, we experience heated debate and reaction on religion’s place within education and secular/civil discourse: (religious) believers affirming that separate does not equal proper education or governance; non-believers believing such beliefs belong beside being, segregated to the communities which practice them and only taken up by outsiders at one’s option.
My view of the discourse on art is that it is less militant and less damaging to those involved when opposing parties meet and disagree on the interpretation of any such work. After all, the argument is on works of a human hand and not nature (or implied omnipotence) itself. (Though it would be an interesting debate to posit this against the work of artists like Andy Goldsworthy or Robert Smithson.)
What distresses me is that education, which begins at birth such that behaviors are our most imitable knowledge, generally lacks a worthy survey of the world’s belief systems, relying on familial tradition to instill this through youth and then transferring that responsibility to a self at a certain adolescent age. What makes more sense to me is a formal presentation of the major institutions of this type of thought to, at the very least, expose children in a non-mass-media, non-nightly-news way about how people think. A shocking concept to non-believers and atheists, the addition of religious studies into a secular practice, but wouldn’t we better arm ourselves against radical and damaging belief systems if we were to inoculate humans at an early age from charismatic convincibility?
It is a base idea that would require delicate shaping, as well as properly trained administrators… a whole other discussion and debate on the state of education in the United States for sure. We educate children on mathematics and science because we incontrovertibly know them as true. Relying on the individual (or their guardians) to provide knowledge on the controvertible exposes society as a whole to deceit and unfairly submits children to fictional or fairytale conceptions of life, human society.
Being raised in a Catholic household (pseudo- at best,) and schooled at a religious elementary institution, I know firsthand of the experience of being told one thing, believing it for a significant period of time, and then doing one’s best to remove such indoctrinations at a later age after the education of experience and emotion clearly paradoxes the soundbites and clichés heard during one’s formative years. And frankly, is there really value in trying to convince kids that a man gathered up all the wildlife in pairs to save the world ahead of a storm? Do we need to dumb down kids?
Is there value in creative misdirection? Like an artist who hides his wares or deflects direct explanation to benefit the experience of the viewer at a greater multiple, perhaps there is something to be said for a larger fiction created on the premise of science versus belief. My desire is to err on the side of actual truth and save the creative interpretations for arts education. In moments of retrospect, I see experiences where I felt as if it was intelligence that helped to solve a problem, I can now attribute creative reasoning as the genesis of solution, not textbook knowledge.
My works of the past three years are centered around the deconstruction of my personal belief system. An idea on top of an idea to create structure. Removing an idea, like a house of cards, and experiencing the subsequent dissolution. Richard Diebenkorn utilizes this tool with color in his Ocean Park series; Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt the reverse, with their specific objects and cubic constructions, respectively.
The beauty of many ideas coming together, like the human texture of a bustling university or the woven nature of a symphony, is where the ultimate solutions of truth lie. Many coming together researching towards definition, or the solitude of examining something created to be greater than oneself. To define experience away for another before they meet it head-on themselves is sin.