The Bright Side Of Ignorance: Thomas Bernhard Analysis Part II

September 12, 2010 § 2 Comments


In the past few months, three former classmates of mine have committed suicide; they were all friends of mine and kept me company with their arts for almost the whole of my life and were the ones who really made my existence in the least bit possible. The musician killed (shot) himself because people had no ear for his art. The painter killed (hanged) himself because people had no eyes for his art. The scientist, with whom I even went to primary school, killed (poisoned) himself because people, in his opinion, had no head for science. All three had had to withdraw from life because they were in despair over the fact that the world no longer had the feelings or abilities to take in their art and their science.

Clearly, artists are capable of being utterly frail and perplexingly impenetrable. It should also be noted that even though this was written in 1978, its truths have only inflated over time in both respects that people in general are losing deference for, and appreciation of, art as a whole and that the artists themselves have become all the more selfish and naïve, of which is relevant to a true artist as well as a wishful joke. When Bernhard himself said in his Gargoyles novel that “everyone speaks a language he does not understand, but which now and then is understood by others. That is enough to permit one to exist and at least to be misunderstood”, I feel he was making a similar reference in that one’s blindsided attempt to appease his ego isn’t as imperative as the enforced reaction of a saved spirit, for even though you may not perceive something you do as significant, it can be repossessed by another in a vibrant light. In fact, to bring up Oscar Wilde again, “No great artist ever sees things as they really are.  If he did, he would cease to be an artist”.

A question to ask the world: How can you experience something profound and have its meaning fly right over you? How thick must one be to ignore a progressive passion? It’s noteworthy to pay attention to how Bernhard had the three artists die. The musician went out with a bang for he felt his music would never. The painter ended up being the most grotesquely beautiful and symbolic still life in his generation. The scientist used his own chemical art just to show himself he knew so. A bitter truth remains?

The progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality.
-T.S. Eliot


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§ 2 Responses to The Bright Side Of Ignorance: Thomas Bernhard Analysis Part II

  • Winter, you make regret temporarily quitting fiction.

    Again, and this might be the last time I state the obvious, it’s a beautifully written essay; both parts.

    As for the the bit about the scientist as artist, if we define one characteristic of art as all that does not serve a utilitarian purpose, how can something so rigidly presumptive of its own utility still be art? I’d much sooner liken it to a game where nobody seems to know the rules except for the one who killed himself.

  • wintertriangles says:

    I appreciate the comments as always 🙂

    I only related the scientist to an artist so as to utilize my point, because what you say here: “I’d much sooner liken it to a game where nobody seems to know the rules except for the one who killed himself.” holds completely true outside any realm pertaining to numbers rather than substance

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