Cover artwork by Giovanni Berton.
It is often engaging to look at a painting, a work of art and try to understand its meaning in depth. Trying to grasp what its author wanted to express and also what emotions the work manages to arouse in the audience.
The truth is that beyond the effect intended by the author, a work of art calls forth many different emotions in us they depend on our sensitivity and sensibilities, our ability to perceive or even understand the significance of what we are looking at.
At this point, we can ask ourselves several questions: can we separate a work of art from its author? Must we necessarily perceive the same thing that is perceived by the author when he/she find themselves in front of his own work? And what makes the difference between a simple work of art and what is considered a masterpiece?
The point is that if it is difficult to separate a work of art from its author, it is equally difficult to try to understand it without understanding the same; not at the level of technique used, but rather at the level of general expression and emotions. So perhaps everything doesn’t just depend on the technique, or the method, perhaps we need to read between the lines and try to understand the nuances; which are probably the ones that best manage to create the connection between the author and his/her work, making them become one… like Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro or Da Vinci’s soft, almost realistic lines.
The difficulty of understanding or explaining a work of art or its author becomes even more evident if, in a not very realistic but still possible simile, we consider the actions of an individual to be their works of art; then the questions that arise could be: can one define a person starting only from a single action? Or can all of his/her actions lead to a definitive understanding of a person or do we also have to look into the different nuances?
In his book, Discourse on Method, René Descartes stated that: ” the diversity of our opinions does not derive from the fact that some are more reasonable than others, but rather from the fact that we make our thoughts go along different paths and do not consider the same things ”. Starting from this assumption, perhaps the considerations to be made are not trying to understand the direction or meaning of our thoughts or what we consider or not, not that they are not important, but are instead, mainly the Method we are using.
This is simply because thought, which can be defined as the faculty relating to the formation of mental contents, can have different origins: “origin understood as the set of actions, perceptions and even feelings that lead to the formulation of a thought” . Just as it can have different senses and directions; that is, the same actions, among different individuals the same perceptions or even the same emotions do not necessarily lead to the formulation of the same thought.
It evidently follows that, when faced with a certain piece of information, our reactions cannot all be completely the same, as we tend to use what is commonly called common sense.
But can common sense exist without a certain knowledge base? Can our common sense always be considered reliable?
According to Descartes, common sense (which he considers to be our ability to distinguish true from false), ” is among the things in the world the most equally distributed “, but, however, adds that, “everyone thinks he is so well endowed with it, that even those who are more difficult to satisfy with respect to any other goods, do not usually desire more of it than they have .”
Practically, if common sense can be considered a fairly reliable guide in making considerations or dealing with various topics, it is not possible to state, a priori and with absolute certainty, whether one has common sense or not; or in what “percentage” it is present in an individual.
In his considerations to try to address every type of topic in the most objective way possible, René Descartes chooses to rely on a series of rules:
- The first rule was to never accept anything as true, without knowing it as such through evidence: that is, to scrupulously avoid haste and prejudice; and not to include in my judgments anything more than what had presented itself to my reason so clearly and distinctly as to leave me no occasion to doubt it.
- The second, to divide each problem examined into as many parts as possible and required to resolve it more easily.
- The third, to conduct my thoughts in an orderly manner starting from the simplest and easiest things to know, to ascend little by little, as if by degrees, up to the knowledge of the most complex; also assuming an order among those that are not naturally in a sequence.
- And last, to make in all cases such perfect enumerations and such complete reviews, as to be sure of omitting nothing.
Within this set of rules, one can note what has been called methodological skepticism or more commonly Cartesian doubt; that is, try not to take anything as “true” or “not true” without having done the needed in-depth investigations on the topic in depth; then, proceed to set up a methodological progression, and to divide the whole into smaller or simpler elements and then organize those elements in such a way as to place them in a precise and easier to understand order.
Gaius Tsaamo was born in 1986 in Douala, Cameroon. He arrived in Italy in 2008 to study medicine. He is passionate about literature and poetry; his first book was released in 2013 with the title: “L’école de la vie” by the publishing house (On demand) Lulu. He collaborated with “Multiversi” and participated in the creation of “Under the sky of Lampedusa 2- No man is an island”. His first novel in Italian “Maya, the world of spirits” was released in 2015 by qudulibri.