Sunday, August 16, 2009

Corrupt art and why it is dangerous

Negative thoughts and negative emotions in every form unrealistic are dangerous food for the heart.

Now food and water consumed properly add up to a wholesome appetite. Parallel to this negative thoughts and negative emotions manifested in forms of depression, jealousy, lust, and panic among other forms are a diet whose consumption is purely destructive.

Unfortunately most people have still to figure this out and so not only do they fail to consciously protect themselves from these emotions they often indulge in them.

A student of literature and a scholar on Allama Iqbal, Khurram Shafique said “Art is a mirror to the soul” i.e. art helps you see your inner most self.

The function of art thus revealed has helped me differentiate between good art and bad art. Naturally if we indulge in art that will leave us ‘gasping for breath’ – exasperated, it will disturb us as long as we are left thinking that our soul is as dark as the art that we witnessed.

Given how hope, love, self-respect and hard work resonate with us much stronger than despair, hatred, low self-esteem and lethargy we should be able to tell from this dynamic in our own nature that our soul is good and pure not vile. [If we follow our own nature we will realize we are not vile either and that we can always turn back to the road of hope and positivity.]

We should never be confused about this. It would be our greatest failing.

As for art a gauge that is useful to tell good art apart from bad art is: “Good art makes a statement proclaiming “Nature is Beautiful” whereas Bad art diabolically injects the notion ‘Nature is not beautiful’.”

Be careful then what you watch and what you read. You should protect yourself from trash whether in the form of corrupt people or corrupt art.

A comment made by somebody follows:
With due respect, Faraz, I have to completely disagree with you, on this one.
Use of the word 'corrupt' indicates that you are making a moral judgment. To do so regarding works of art, be they visual art, literature or any other kind, is laughable, at best.
Art mirrors life, but not necessarily in a way that means your life will be 'influenced' by it.
I'll talk about writing, since I do. One writes what one knows, one writes about life - whether it is beautiful, dark, uplifting or terrifying.
The best literature, you will find, is not always the one with a happy ending, but the kind that finds both darkness and light that resonate.

The reply:
Art can represent experiences and by extention a certain state of mind.

This state of mind can be uplifting in itself or interestingly one that is bent on self-destruction such as the mind of a person suffering from depression.

Work so produced should be recognized as work of such a state of mind.

Unfortunatly every individual exposed to art is not mature enough to protect himself/herslef from its influence.

Through an accident of glorification, through art, to internalize this state of mind would be a corruption one should avoid.

Interestingly by means of imagination, at times, art goes into realms darker than most people's experiences.

A lot of people are not even able to detect an ethical wrong in glorifying or pursing self-destruction in its many forms.

This is also true of the glorification of lust.

An addendum to the reply:
Art produced by a mind [that is in a state of corruption] is what I call 'corrupt art' and because everybody cannot identify it so I therefore call it dangerous.

Another comment made by somebody:
Faraz! Excellent piece indeed..but who is the final authority to decide what is GOOD and what is BAD..what is CORRUPT and What is UN CORRUPT ...The theory of RELATIVITy is at work..if we write 6 on a piece of paper and sit opposite each other ..I wl say its 6 while u on the other side may bet your life that its not 6 but where is the TRUTH then...what we may percive as GOOD today may become BAD...the 1857 war for muslims of Indo Pak was "War of Independence" while European History calls it"The Mutiny"....the Talibans were hero for US and welcomed in White House as special guest but what now....Terrorist! There is nothing absolute so no judgement shud be given as to what is good and Art,Literature, politics etc....More follows..

First Reply:
At the root of your query is the question: "Is anything Real?"

My observation is that there are certain patterns in Nature that are:
1. Singular i.e. one set of rules
2. Universal i.e. exist in all parts of universe
3. Constant i.e. these rules don’t change with time

And we can see this in the alternating of the Day and the Night. In fact it is only because of this that we have any faith in Science! Only because of this that science has been of any use to us.

The question then is does "Human Nature" follow patters just like the rest of the Universe?

It seems Iqbal seems to think so for he said:
"Khudi ko kar buland itna kae har taqdeer sase pehlae
Khuda bandae sase khud poochae, bat teree raza kya hae"

I think if everything about human nature was relative how could i possibly evolve to such a point? In fact how could I evolve at all?

A reply by Khurram Shafique:
I agree with Faraz. Besides, I guess, things can be judged from their good and bad EFFECTS. Literature too has effects, and they can be guaged.

An addendum:
The following is a link to a post that contains - An Excerpt from Iqbal's -The Secrets of the Self.

Here he talks about the "true nature of poetry".


  1. Dear "Somebody",

    This blog post is also a piece of art, so please don't laugh at it ;)

    By using the phrase "best literature" you have made me extremely curious to find out who decides what is best literature? Please let me know.

  2. See the comment I just posted on RR latest blogpost celebrating Rashid today, August 19th because it relates to this challenging and effective post. Thank You for your insights!