ESSAY: Reality, Art, and Truth

I. The Self
Discuss the avocado idea of the self and explain at least one version of the idea that human beings have a shared essential nature. Contrast this account with the artichoke idea of the self (drawing upon phenomenology and existentialism to develop your account) and a discussion of how the modern/avocado and postmodern/artichoke ideas of the self differ. You may use your analysis from the Week 2 and 3 discussion assignments to develop your account in Part I.
II. Truth and Reality
Discuss how these ideas of the self are disclosed in art by choosing an example of a character/narrator/subject in a work of art (novel, poem, film, graphic novel, short story, television show, song, painting, etc.) who you think captures the avocado/modern idea that we have an essential, shared human nature and that the self and the world are distinct entities. Then, choose an example of a work of art that you think illustrates the artichoke/post-modern idea of the self. Consider the following ideas and questions in your analysis of these two examples:
Are the self and the material world distinct entities, as Descartes thinks? What are some examples of representative art that illustrate the idea that the subject/mind and the object/world/body are distinct? Alternatively, are the self and the world organic unities, as Schelling argues? How might artistic creation express this unity of subject and object?
Is art mimesis/representation (as in Platonism and Aristotelian aesthetics) or is it a means of transforming the self and reality? Might it be aspirational, allowing us to achieve catharsis, as Aristotle suggests? Consider, too, how the idea of art as representation is akin to the avocado view while the idea of art as transformative is more like the artichoke view.
III. Art and Philosophy
What is the relationship between art and philosophy? Do you agree with Descartes that logic and critical thinking are the best means of achieving certainty about reality and existence, or is your view more akin to the perspective of Keats, Schelling, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and/or Heidegger that art is the ultimate expression of truth? How are these views a rejection of the natural standpoint we see adopted by empiricism and rationalism and rejected by phenomenology?
Do some kinds of art (music, for example) express the truth more fully than others? How so? How does the idea and purpose of art differ across cultures?


  1. Self

The Avocado Idea of the Self

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Firstly, self refers to the tendency of a person to establish his/her own existence or way of living in the society. All human beings therefore have the tendency to establish their individual personality in the community/society. On the issue of avocado for self, it is common knowledge that an avocado is a fruit with one seed in the middle. It is also green in color and has a pear like shape. When the fruit falls, it has the ability to germinate again. This implies that the fruit has the ability /tendency to grow on its own and create multiple generations and hence establish itself in society. The idea of self is thus manifested when it tries to ever establish itself, its persona and its ego and flourish. This is a direct replica of what humans do on earth since the human desire is to have a family which will grow from generation to generation. It is for this reason that human beings will strive to achieve a name and fame in society and also benefit upcoming generations. Just like an avocado, the rule of man/nature is that we live by desire for a better tomorrow.

Artichoke Idea of the Self

The artichoke is known to be a layered flower but without a central part, neither fruits nor seeds. With this scenario, there is no possibility for further growth as there are no seeds. Besides, since the fruit only flourishes once, it is easy for the Artichoke to be forgotten after one season. Having the knowledge of Artichoke, we can easily contrast with the human being. We can as well give an idea about existentialism which is based on individual choices as well as freedom of individual survival/existence. From the perspective of existentialism, individuals make choices of what exactly they want from life without necessarily receiving pressure from external factors. Individuals decide what they want from life and whether to terminate the life or allow it to grow. The idea of Artichoke is thus like that of a believers of existentialism since he chose to stop the existence of life with himself.

It is important to recognize the fact that both avocado and artichoke are used as food. There exists several differences that may have been captured already in previous sections. Whereas the avocado has seeds at the middle and hence can grow further to form a tree, the artichoke cannot grow further since it has no seeds. Secondly, whereas artichoke has layers, the avocado has no layer but rather hollow inside.

  1. Truth and Reality

Ideas of Self in Art Little exists in literature about these two ways of analyzing self. However, the two are well narrated in the book “Roots of Wisdom” as edited by Mitchell. The idea of the narrator in the literary art was to infuse some non-Eurocentric…

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