Marks and Remarks
Food for the Mind and Eye

No. 0119, April 15, 2017


Of Human Interest

Copyright 2017 by S. W. Paul Wyszkowski

     "Prickles," I address myself to our resident art critic and sunshine appreciator who also happens to be a hedgehog, "you're not human, perhaps you could give me a non-human perspective on this 'human interest' stuff? How do I engage my fellow humans' interest?"

     "Gladly," she says. "You humans think you're so special. You're totally obsessed with yourselves. You think everything exists exclusively to serve your ambition to become the Masters of the Universe. Therefore 'human interest' excludes anything that does not pertain to human ends and means. To be of 'human interest' it has to play to human beliefs and desires. Otherwise, humans are not interested." Another extraordinarily extensive speech from Prickles who is normally inclined to minimalist comments of just a few well chosen words.

     In the main, I can't disagree with Prickles. But I think the definition of "human interest" is not so hard edged. There's a fuzzy boundary to it that allows certain intangibles to percolate into our consciousness which, while not directly pertinent to our conscious intentions, nevertheless, mysteriously contribute to our quality of life, our capacity for enjoyment of being.

     In fact, if it wasn't for the fuzziness of the concept of "human interest" I might despair of having any relevance as an artist. In my art I do not refer to anything recognizably human or of human origin except that the art itself is of human origin (assuming I qualify as human). Yet there is, in my opinion, something in my art that appeals to the human psyche. My theory is that it has to do with an instinctive sense of "rightness" with respect to the dynamic balance between chaos and order. And that's as far as I'm willing to go in trying to explain this phenomenon. Prickles thinks there may be something to it - something shared by humans, hedgehogs, crows, octopuses and all other species of life on this and other planets. Of course, the depth of appreciation depends on the viewing creature's capacity for perceiving complexities and subtleties of art, but that's just a matter of degree not of principle.

     "Actually," Prickles adds, "I think you might get more appreciation for your art from hedgehogs than from humans." She may be right.

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