It has been a long time since I have written, due to a number of things, a vacation, a busy work schedule, working toward a more appropriate Eisenhower Memorial, and teaching students at Hillsdale College. But I am back now, with a great deal to write on for the upcoming weeks, I hope all of you will be reading and giving good comments.
The primary purpose for this blog is not to provide commentary and criticism of the architectural issues of the day in regards to specific issues or projects. Rather its purpose is to explore the philosophical principles underlying those artistic debates, both to provide a laboratory for my own thoughts and writing, but also to provide a foundation for others to debate these issues, today and in the future as well.
Sadly, even at the best of schools, much of today's artistic and architectural education is entirely lacking in philosophical training. This lack of a philosophy education leaves students and practitioners of art an architecture adrift without an anchor, giving their beliefs no more justification than their own taste or opinion. Thus most architectural debate today is much like political debates on cable news, whoever speaks loudest and most hysterically grabs the biggest headline, but few are convinced and little is really changed.
I've embarked then on trying to discuss the arts, what they are, what they are for, in a purely philosophical manner so that we can see a real renaissance of beauty in the arts, both private and public. What will be necessary to this task of rejuvenating a sense of beauty is to look at the principles underlying the mainstream thought both in the art world and the culture as a whole, and to refute what is false, nurture what is true and in need of growth, and to plant seeds of truth wherever we can.
So to that purpose I will be looking at a short work by Friedrich Nietzsche translated as On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life but alternately titled in English: The Use and Abuse of History. The critical points I will be discussing will be his the three-fold division of history into monumental, antiquarian, and critical history. Each of these senses of history is entirely active in our public debate today about the state and future of art and architecture, though few realize how they are at work. It is my hope that by looking at what Nietzsche means about each historic sense we might come to understand a bit better how to make the right choices in art.