Four perspectives by four people around the above line which I have been quite affected by recently.
1. Aldous Huxley writing in a 1963 essay titled 'Culture and the Individual'. :
" BETWEEN CULTURE and the individual the relationship is, and always has been, strangely ambivalent. We are at once the beneficiaries of our culture and its victims. Without culture, and without that precondition of all culture, language, man would be no more than another species of baboon. It is to language and culture that we owe our humanity.(......) Since human beings respond to symbols as promptly and unequivocally as they respond to the stimuli of unmediated experience, and since most of them naively believe that culture-hallowed words about things are as real as, or even realer than their perceptions of the things themselves, these outdated or intrinsically nonsensical notions do enormous harm. Thanks to the realistic ideas handed down by culture, mankind has survived and, in certain fields, progresses. But thanks to the pernicious nonsense drummed into every individual in the course of his acculturation, mankind, though surviving and progressing, has always been in trouble. History is the record, among other things, of the fantastic and generally fiendish tricks played upon itself by culture-maddened humanity. And the hideous game goes on...."
2. Terence McKenna from a talk given at St. John the Divine's Cathedral, Synod Hall, New York, April 25, 1996:
"Culture is not your friend, no matter what your
culture is. And this is sort of not a Politically Correct thing to say,
because in the present ambience, (sort of, those who haven't gotten
the word) there's a lot of attention to recovering our ethnic roots and to
expressing our unique ethnicity, and so forth and so on -- I think that's
the beginning of understanding. But all terms that stress ethnicity are
words applied to groups of people. Have you ever noticed that? Have
you ever noticed that you're not a group of people, you're a person? So you
may be "Jewish", you may be "Black", you may be this, you
may be that but there is no obligation to take upon yourself the
generalized quality of these things, because the generalized qualities belong
to thousands of people examined at a time. If you misunderstand that
you become a caricature. You act out your ethnicity as a caricature.
So culture is not your friend, ideology is not your friend... Who's your friend? Well, to my mind, the felt presence of immediate experience is the surest dimension, the surest guide that you can possibly have. The felt presence of immediate experience."
3. Julia Kristeva writing in Revolution in Poetic Language, trans. Margaret Waller (New York: Columbia UP, 1984).
"Finally, in the history of signifying systems and notably that of the arts, religion, and rites, there emerge, in retrospect, fragmentary phenomena which have been kept in the background or rapidly integrated into more communal signifying systems but point to the very process of signifiance. Magic, shamanism, esoterism, the carnival, and "incomprehensible" poetry all underscore the limits of socially useful discourse and attest to what it represses: the process that exceeds the subject and his communicative structures. But at what historical moment does social exchange tolerate or necessitate the manifestation of the signifying process in its "poetic" or "esoteric" form? Under what conditions does this "esoterism," in displacing the boundaries of socially established signifying practices, correspond to socioeconomic change, and, ultimately, even to revolution? And under what conditions does it remain a blind alley, a harmless bonus offered by a social order which uses this "esoterism" to expand, become flexible, and thrive?"
4. Jonathan Meese published a manifesto in the January/ February 2009 issue of Art Review magazine:
1. Art is Total Baby
2. Art is Total Joy
3. Art is Total Power (no human power)
4. Art is no Culture
5. Art is Total Humility
6. Art is Total Leadership
7. Art is no problem, Art needs no victims, Art needs no humans
8. Art is Total sweet Metabolism
9. Art is the only political party of the future
10. Art is no Ritual