In my previous post ‘Artistic Regression‘ I outlined two possibilities that I could explore to give meaning to my work: Reconnecting with the inner child artistically, or philosophically. Here, I will expand upon each idea.
The idea of expressing an outlook of positive nihilism stems from the observation of differences between how children and adults think and what we can learn from their naivety. Cause of upset for young children is much more instinctive – If they are hungry/thirsty, are uncomfortable (too cold, too hot, soiled nappy etc.), lonely or in immediate danger (for example, maybe a big scary dog barked at them.) You do not see young children worry about the way they look or whether they have been productive enough for the day. Young children do not comprehend racism or sexism and they don’t care if their peer is less intelligent than themselves so they do not limit their social interactions.
As adults, there are many things we worry about or give strength to that are simply not necessary or absurd so the idea of positive nihilism is a reminder to release ourselves of the un-necessary stresses we put on ourselves due to societal or personal pressures. It is a reminder that in the great span of the universe we share, our lives are insignificant and meaningless, that there are many things we do not know – if there is an afterlife or correct religion. Thus, we should embrace the potentially short life we have and live as happily as possible and in harmony with our habitat and peers. It is illogical to worry about the things we do not know and it is daft to debase our experience of life with un-necessary upset.
The website below defines the stages of critical thinking development.
The imagination of the child is perceived as being much less limited than that of an adult. As adults, we are more likely to be perfectionist and/or curb our artistic limits to the perceptions of others. We often limit our expression with notions of beauty, sanity and directly observable skill. However, give paint to a child and they will happily scrawl away. A child could be at the age where they are only able to produce nonsensical scribbling or at the age where they are starting to be able to depict content. Either way, they appear to find more joy in the process than the finished artefact. As adults, we have far more life experience, we have observed more arts and potentially had more surreal dreams. [1.] Thus, the content of our imagination should surely be more expansive than that of a chid? Perhaps then, it is simply our inability to access our imagination without disruption that leads us to believe children are more imaginative?