For some fifteen years I have been studying, amongst other branches of philosophy, the subject of ART.
The reason for this is: Art is the least codified of human endeavors and the most misunderstood. What is Art? is one of the least answered of human questions.
Art abounds with authorities. It was chosen because “that field containing the most authorities contains the least codified knowledge.” The obvious invitation is to answer the question and codify the subject. This has now been done.
The subject was originally brought up in a conversation with Donald H. Rogers at 42 Aberdeen Road, Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1950.
As this zone of human activity seemed to stand outside the field of Dianetics and Scientology, I thereafter worked with it on a casual basis.
Having published 15,000,000 words between 1929 and 1941, I was not unacquainted with the arts. Since 1950 I have worked with other arts than that of literature in order to make an advance on the general subject of ART.
I have made a breakthrough at last in this matter. And I find it is applicable to what we are doing and therefore also has practical value.
To make it a matter of record rather than a filed sheaf of notes, I am publishing these findings as an HCO B. I also feel they will be of some assistance in forwarding Scientology.
As in the case of all “pure research” (by which is meant study without thought of possible application) there is a sudden pay-off in these answers including the better dissemination of Scientology and the rehabilitation of the artist.
My incidental studies in the fields of photography and music materially assisted these discoveries.
Approaching the state of Clear has also assisted in comprehending this rather vast subject of ART. It is adventurous to state one has solved such a sweeping subject but here at least are the fundamentals and basics.
The following are rough notes but are in fact the basis of that branch of activity we call ART.
ART is a word which summarizes THE QUALITY OF COMMUNICATION.
It therefore follows the laws of communication.
Too much originality throws the audience into unfamiliarity and therefore disagreement, as communication contains duplication and “originality” is the foe of duplication.
TECHNIQUE should not rise above the level of workability for the purpose of communication.
PERFECTION cannot be attained at the expense of communication.
Seeking perfection is a wrong target in art. One should primarily seek communication with it and then perfect it as far as reasonable. One attempts communication within the framework of applicable skill. If perfection greater than that which can be attained for communication is sought, one will not communicate.
Example: A camera that shoots perfectly but is not mobile enough to get pictures. One must settle for the highest level of technical perfection obtainable below the ability to obtain the picture.
The order of importance in art is:
1. The resultant communication,
2. The technical rendition.
2 is always subordinate to 1. 2 may be as high as possible but never so high as to injure 1.
The communication is the primary target. The technical quality of it is the secondary consideration. A person pushes 2 as high as possible within the reality of 1.
A being can take a lot of trouble with 2 to achieve I but there is a point where attempting 2 prevents 1.
If the ardures of 2 prevent 1, then modify 2, don’t modify 1.
Perfection is defined as the quality obtainable which still permits the delivery of the communication.
Too much time on 2 of course prevents 1.
It is usually necessary to lower a standard from absolute perfection to achieve communication. The test of the artist is how little it is lowered not how high it is pushed.
A professional in the arts is one who obtains communication with the art form at the minimum sacrifice of technical quality. There is always some sacrifice of quality to communicate at all.
The reduction of mass or time or impedimenta or facilities toward the ability to render a result is the exact measurement of how much technical perfection can be attempted. The rule is if one is being too perfectionistic to actually achieve a communication, reduce the mass, time, impedimenta or facilities sufficiently low to accomplish the communication but maintain the technique and perfection as high as is reconcilable with the result to be achieved and within one’s power to act.
No communication is no art. To not do the communication for lack of technical perfection is the primary error. It is also an error not to push up the technical aspects of the result as high as possible.
One measures the degree of perfection to be achieved by the degree of communication that will be accomplished.
This is seen even in a workman and tools. The workman who cannot accomplish anything but must have tools is an artistic failure.
”Art for art’s sake” is a complete paradox as a remark. “Art for the sake of communication” and “Attempted perfection without communicating” are the plus and minus of it all.
One can of course communicate to oneself, if one wishes to be both cause and effect.
One studies art only if one wishes to communicate and the search for artistic perfection is the result of past failures to communicate.
Self-improvement is based entirely on earlier lack of communicating.
Living itself can be an art.
The search for freedom is either the retreat from past failures to communicate or the effort to attain new communication. To that degree then the search for freedom is a sick or well impulse.
Searching for and discovering one’s past failures to communicate an art form or idea about it will therefore inevitably rehabilitate the artist.
However, due to the nature of the Reactive Mind, full rehabilitation is achieved only through releasing and clearing.
How much art is enough art? The amount necessary to produce an approximation of the desired effect on its receiver or beholder, within the reality of the possibility of doing so.
A concept of the beholder and some understanding of his or her acceptance level is necessary to the formulation of a successful art form or presentation. This includes an approximation of what is familiar to him and is associated with the desired effect.
All Art depends for its success upon the former experience and associations of the beholder. There is no pure general form since it must assume a sweeping generality of former experiences in the beholder.
Artists all, to a greater or lesser degree, need comprehension of the minds and viewpoints of others in order to have their work accepted; since the acceptability of a communication depends upon the mental composition of the receiver. Scientology then is a must for any artist if he would succeed without heartbreak.
In any art form or activity one must conceive of the beholder (if only himself). To fail to do so is to invite disappointment and eventual dissatisfaction with one’s own creations.
An artist who disagrees thoroughly with the “taste” of his potential audience cannot of course communicate with that audience easily. His disagreement is actually not based on the audience but on former inabilities to communicate with such audiences or rejections by a vaguely similar audience.
The lack of desire to communicate with an art form may stem from an entirely different inability than the one supposed to exist.
Professionals often get into such disputes on how to present the art form that the entirety becomes a technology, not an art, and, lacking progress and newness of acceptance, dies. This is probably the genus of all decline or vanishment of art forms. The idea of contemporary communication is lost. All old forms become beset by technical musts and must nots and so cease to communicate. The art is the form that communicates not the technology of how, the last contributing to the ease of creating the effect and preservation of the steps used in doing it. A form’s reach, blunted, becomes involved with the perfection alone, and ceases to be an art form in its proper definition.
A communication can be blunted by suppressing its art form: Example, bad tape reproduction, scratched film, releasing bits not authorized. This then is the primary suppression.
On the other hand, failing continuously to permit a non-destructive communication on the grounds of its lack of art is also suppressive.
Between these two extremes there is communication and the task is to attain the highest art form possible that can be maintained in the act of communicating. To do otherwise is inartistic and objectionable.
These, therefore, are the fundamentals of ART.
[See also HCO B 29 July 1973, Art, More About, Volume VIII-196, which refers to this HCO B.]