I recently read Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. Murakami brings up many fantastic themes in a very complicated plot, but simple writing style. I would like to focus on a very often overlooked function of art.
“Writing things was important, wasn’t it?” Nakata asked.
“Yes, it was. The process of writing was important. Even though the finished product is completely meaningless.”
This quote reminds me that most of the time artists create to express themselves; to explore something that is bothering them, maybe. When interpreting a work, we often forget about this. This brings to mind two things. First, maybe we don’t have any right to judge a work of art. The work could be completely meaningless to everyone except the artist, but it did its job. It helped the artist through something. Who are we to judge whether it is good or not? Second, if we are to make judgments, write papers, critique, interpret, etc, then we really should take into consideration that the work could be meaningless to us.
This seems to have some interesting ramifications in analyzing math as an art form. When the lay person looks at a truly beautiful proof, all they get is something that is meaningless. The mathematician (eh erm, Andrew Wiles), may have been tormented by the concept for years. The end product that gets spewed out is something that the mathematician “needed” to do. It is a personal thing that doesn’t need to make sense to others.
This post is sort of interesting, since now that I finished this novel I am moving on to what I am calling the “Gravity’s Rainbow Challenge.” I will attempt to read (and probably write here about what I read) all of Gravity’s Rainbow in a two month period. This work is often considered one of the most challenging novels of all time. I need to bookmark this post to remind myself that despite thousands of Ph.D. thesis and many full length books being written on how to interpret this novel, the novel could be something that the author needed to get out and is not supposed to be something that outsiders get.
In other news. I gave up on that proof from the last post. It is too difficult, and was sort of a spur of the moment thing that I don’t have enough interest in to finish.