Context: (Art) – “Lost Love” by Damien Hirst.
In so many ways – unacknowledged, subterranean, perhaps unintelligible – humanity’s relationship with knowledge, theory and science is deeply inflected by our basal instincts, our visceral orientations and our complex neurochemical and emotional experience, our essential relationship with the world and the endlessly extensible theories and frameworks which seek to explain it.
We find ourselves endlessly aspiring towards procedurally patterned symmetries of refinement in an iterated and accelerating aspiration towards beauty, knowledge and (what is at essence) control – of ourselves as much as of others or of the world. There is however a deep and problematic enigma here: our implicit orientation or angular emotional momentum towards an Object of desire, of knowledge and structured control is also that equation of difference by and through which our own psychological subjectivity and, further, substantive cognitive method or lived, emotional experience of sentience and self-awareness is defined.
What this means is that we are unable to ever attain our Object, our control or understanding or the completeness and resolute certainty we seek because in so doing, in acquiring that consummation of intelligibility or theoretical mastery we entirely, irrevocably, inevitably completely and utterly disassemble and invalidate our selves; this is to discover that you never were, that your dependence on and interdependence with that Object of representation, control, of that model of your own self that you cherish – although putatively real – was, is, could only ever be entirely insubstantial, built on shifting sands, and is in essence profoundly fictional.
We inhabit these self-inflating conceptual and emotional spaces of dissonance and it is through the difference and distance we find or cultivate here that we find a contingent, ephemeral or transient validation and certainty. The extent to which that certainty is fragile is endemic to physics and to mathematics or logic, in very special ways, so it should not be surprising that we find ourselves unable to find peace or satisfaction in any ultimate sense. The extent to which this provides cultural opportunities in an ecological niche of competitive and adversarial communication is self-evident: procuring narratives of certainty and completion invoke that psychological and subjective certainty by which we seek comfort in the face of the facts of endless material, emotional and cognitive disassembly.