Book is a good friend essay

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book is a good friend essay

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It's like trying to convince someone by shouting at them. The way not to be vulnerable to tricks is to explicitly seek out and catalog them. When you notice a whiff of dishonesty coming from some kind of art, stop and figure out what's going. When someone is obviously pandering to an audience that's easily fooled, whether it's someone making shiny stuff to impress ten year olds, or someone making conspicuously avant-garde stuff to impress would-be intellectuals, learn how they. Once you've seen enough examples of specific types of tricks, you start to become a connoisseur of trickery in general, just as professional magicians are. What counts as a trick? Roughly, it's something done with contempt for the audience.

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If you want to know what the basic human reaction to a piece of art would be, you can at english least approach that by getting rid of the sources of error in your own judgements. For example, while anyone's reaction to a famous painting will be warped at first by its fame, there are ways to decrease its effects. One is to come back to the painting over and over. After a few days the fame wears off, and you can start to see it as a painting. Another is to stand close. A painting familiar from reproductions looks more familiar from ten feet away; close in you see details that get lost in reproductions, and which you're therefore seeing for the first time. There are two main kinds of error that get in the way of seeing a work of art: biases you bring from your own circumstances, and tricks played by the artist. Tricks are straightforward to correct for. Merely being aware of them usually prevents them from working. For example, when I was ten i used to be very impressed by airbrushed lettering that looked like shiny metal. But once you study how it's done, you see that it's a pretty cheesy trick—one of the sort that relies on pushing a few visual buttons really hard to temporarily overwhelm the viewer.

And then of course there are the tricks people play on themselves. Most adults looking at art worry that if they don't like what they're supposed to, they'll be thought uncultured. This doesn't just affect what they claim to like; they actually make themselves like things they're supposed. That's why you can't just take a vote. Though appeal to people is a meaningful test, in practice you can't measure it, just as you can't find north using a compass with writers a magnet sitting next. There are sources of error so powerful that if you take a vote, all you're measuring is the error. We can, however, approach our goal from another direction, by using ourselves as guinea pigs.

book is a good friend essay

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If you go to see the mona lisa, you'll probably be disappointed, because it's hidden behind a thick glass wall and surrounded by a frenzied crowd taking pictures essay of themselves in front. At best you can see it the way you see a friend across the room at a crowded party. The louvre might as well replace it with copy; no one would be able to tell. And yet the mona lisa is a small, dark painting. If you found people who'd never seen an image of it and sent them to a museum in which it was hanging among other paintings with a tag labelling it as a portrait by an unknown fifteenth century artist, most would walk statement by without giving. For the average person, brand dominates all other factors in the judgement of art. Seeing a painting they recognize from reproductions is so overwhelming that their response to it as a painting is drowned out.

For one thing, artists, unlike apple trees, often deliberately try to trick. Some tricks are quite subtle. For example, any work of art sets expectations by its level of finish. You don't expect photographic accuracy in something that looks like a quick sketch. So one widely used trick, especially among illustrators, is to intentionally make a painting or drawing look like it was done faster than it was. The average person looks at it and thinks: how amazingly skillful. It's like saying something clever in a conversation as if you'd thought of it on the spur of the moment, when in fact you'd worked it out the day before. Another much less subtle influence is brand.

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book is a good friend essay

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My goal is not to compile a complete list, just to show that there's some solid thesis ground here. People's preferences aren't random. So an artist working on a painting and trying to decide whether to change some part of it doesn't have to think "Why bother? I might as well flip a coin." Instead he can ask "What would make the painting more interesting to people?" And the reason you can't equal Michelangelo by going out and buying a blank canvas is that the ceiling of the sistine Chapel is more. A lot of philosophers have had a hard time believing it was possible for there to be objective standards for art. It seemed obvious that beauty, for example, was something that happened in the head of the observer, not something that was a property of objects. It was thus "subjective" rather than "objective." But in fact if you narrow the definition of beauty to something that works a certain way on humans, and you observe how much humans have in common, it turns out to be a property of objects after.

You don't have to choose between something being a property of the subject or the object if subjects all react similarly. Being good art is thus a property of objects as much as, say, being toxic to humans is: it's good art if it consistently affects humans in a certain way. Error so could we figure out what the best art is by taking a vote? After all, if appealing to humans is the test, we should be able to just ask them, right? For products of nature that might work. I'd be willing to eat the apple the world's population had voted most delicious, and I'd probably be willing to visit the beach they voted most beautiful, but having to look at the painting they voted the best would be a crapshoot. Man-made stuff is different.

Instead tastes are a series of concentric rings, like ripples in a pond. There are some things that will appeal to you and your friends, others that will appeal to most people your age, others that will appeal to most humans, and perhaps others that would appeal to most sentient beings (whatever that means). The picture is slightly more complicated than that, because in the middle of the pond there are overlapping sets of ripples. For example, there might be things that appealed particularly to men, or to people from a certain culture. If good art is art that interests its audience, then when you talk about art being good, you also have to say for what audience.


So is it meaningless to talk about art simply being good or bad? No, because one audience is the set of all possible humans. I think that's the audience people are implicitly talking about when they say a work of art is good: they mean it would engage any human. 4 And that is a meaningful test, because although, like any everyday concept, "human" is fuzzy around the edges, there are a lot of things practically all humans have in common. In addition to our interest in faces, there's something special about primary colors for nearly all of us, because it's an artifact of the way our eyes work. Most humans will also find images of 3D objects engaging, because that also seems to be built into our visual perception. 5 And beneath that there's edge-finding, which makes images with definite shapes more engaging than mere blur. Humans have a lot more in common than this, of course.

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No matter who you pick, they'll find faces engaging. Of course, space aliens probably wouldn't find human faces engaging. But there might be other things they shared in common with. The most likely source of examples is math. I expect space aliens would agree with mother us most of the time about which of two proofs was better. He called a maximally elegant proof one out of God's book, and presumably god's book is universal. 3 Once you start talking about audiences, you don't have to argue simply that there are or aren't standards of taste.

book is a good friend essay

Babies can recognize faces practically from birth. In fact, faces seem to have co-evolved with our interest essay in them; the face is the body's billboard. So all other things being equal, a painting with faces in it will interest people more than one without. 1, one reason it's easy to believe that taste is merely personal preference is that, if it isn't, how do you pick out the people with better taste? There are billions of people, each with their own opinion; on what grounds can you prefer one to another? 2, but if audiences have a lot in common, you're not in a position of having to choose one out of a random set of individual biases, because the set isn't random. All humans find faces engaging—practically by definition: face recognition is in our dna. And so having a notion of good art, in the sense of art that does its job well, doesn't require you to pick out a few individuals and label their opinions as correct.

art that achieves its purpose particularly well. The meaning of "interest" can vary. Some works of art are meant to shock, and others to please; some are meant to jump out at you, and others to sit quietly in the background. But all art has to work on an audience, and—here's the critical point—members of the audience share things in common. For example, nearly all humans find human faces engaging. It seems to be wired into.

You have to decide what to do next. Would it make the painting better if I changed that part? If there's no such thing as better, it doesn't matter what you. In fact, it doesn't matter if you paint at all. You could just go out and buy a ready-made blank canvas. If there's no such thing as good, that would be just as great an achievement as the ceiling of the sistine. Less laborious, certainly, but if you can achieve the same engelsk level of performance with less effort, surely that's more impressive, not less.

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December 2006, i grew up believing that taste is just a matter of personal preference. Each person has things they like, but no one's preferences are any better than anyone else's. There is no such thing as good taste. Like a lot of things I grew up believing, this turns out to be false, and I'm going essay to try to explain why. One problem with saying there's no such thing as good taste is that it also means there's no such thing as good art. If there were good art, then people who liked it would have better taste than people who didn't. So if you discard taste, you also have to discard the idea of art being good, and artists being good at making. It was pulling on that thread that unravelled my childhood faith in relativism. When you're trying to make things, taste becomes a practical matter.


book is a good friend essay
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