I place a higher value on written word as an art form than any other. I came to this realization by thinking about Kant, sensibilities, and concepts. If you remove the sensibilities of a novel, you’re left with an idea, some sort of concept that can exist solely in the mind without any sensible construct. When viewing a painting or a photograph, sculpture or architecture, you are using a sensible construct to render a positive aesthetic experience. In the written word, there are no sensibilities that are required, and often you can be left with pure reason as the textual content.
Examples would be any philosophical text, in which reason and thought alone are used to construct a coherent text; Nietzsche being the prime example of combining reason and prose to get an often bombastic point across that otherwise may not have been gotten across.
If you take a novel such as On The Road, and remove the plot, characters, and keep only the ideas that they are referencing, it is about a spiritual quest of Kierkegaardian dimensions. First Sal Paradise doesn’t want to be Sal Paradise. Then Sal Paradise wants to be Dean Moriarty. Then Sal paradise wants to be Sal Paradise. Unconscious despair, despair to be someone else, then despairing to be yourself.
If you look at a painting or a sculpture, you are relying on the senses to share an idea, where in the novel the entirety takes place in the imagination.
Film holds to the potential to rise above both as it is a combination of both sensible and ideal. It can tell a story visually, and share ideas visually with a coherent plot that exists over a time spectrum in the mind. Once a scene is over, it will never again be experienced the same way, by the same person (as you can never step into the same river twice, is it just because the river has changed, or have you also changed?).
The outlier in the formulation of this thought is music. Music does not represent strictly any ideas or sensible concepts. We don’t try to recreate nature in music, and we don’t try to convey ideas via music. It’s a building of tension and release of cathartic emotion.
Which again brings the synthesis of film to the foreground, it can incorporate music to enhance both visual and ideal concepts making film a supreme specimen of artistic expression.
Of course each of these categories can be broken down and reexamined as individual movements within each overarching category have different modus operandi, however as categories on a whole, this is how they can be viewed.
As an example, poetry uses idealism to capture nature on occasion, such as Walt Whitman. Or Jackson Pollock can use his abstract expressionism to attempt to convey an emotion via the sensibilities. These aren’t hard and fast rules, but generalized ideas that come about through a quick analysis remove each adjective used to describe any overall category of artistic expression.
Do you disagree or have a dissenting opinion? Share it with me. I’m trying to place value on things in my life based on my experience, and I would love to discuss other opinions.