I’m going to start this essay with some of the most basic data about art available from LRH.
ART is a word which summarizes THE QUALITY OF COMMUNICATION.
The order of importance in art is:
(1) The resultant communication
(2) The technical rendition.
HCOB 30 August 1965R Art
If you look at or listen to any work of art, there is only one thing the casual audience responds to en masse, and if this has it then you too will see it as a work of art. If it doesn’t have it, you won’t.
So what is it?
TECHNICAL EXPERTISE ITSELF ADEQUATE TO PRODUCE AN EMOTIONAL IMPACT.
And that is how good a work of art has to be to be good.
TECHNICAL EXPERTISE is composed of all the little and large bits of technique known to the skilled painter, musician, actor, any artist. He adds these things together in his basic presentation. He knows what he is doing. And how to do it. And then to this he adds his message.
And how masterly an expertise? Not very masterly. Merely adequate.
HCOB 29 July 1973 Art, More About
The return flow from the person viewing a work would be contribution. True art always elicits a contribution from those who view or hear or experience it. By contribution is meant “adding to it”.
HCOB 26 September 1977R Art And Communication
Successful works of art have a message.
HCOB 10 March 1984 Message
These are the most basic principles of art. Ron spent many years doing art and many years thinking about it in order to come up with some answers to the most fundamental questions about it. And in the above, he codified them. There is far more to know about it, and you’re welcome to track down the Art Series to read the rest of what Ron wrote on the subject. The above are the most basic data. They are not dogma; you’re free to believe whatever you like. I happen to agree with Ron on these matters.
Ron’s primary claim to fame as an artist was as a fiction writer. From time to time, he dabbled in poetry, photography, music and the like. But he was primarily a fiction writer.
Now I’m going to make an admission which will probably get me attacked by many. It is not a popular stand. And it may look like I’m attacking Ron personally. I am not. I am simply being honest.
Aside from his fiction, I am not a fan of Ron’s art. I haven’t cared for his poetry. Photography is hard to classify as “art”, and you can read more about that in the Art Series. But I’m not a fan of his photography. And I’m not a fan of his music. I’m not saying he was no good at these other things. I’m merely saying that I was not a fan of them. His fiction is excepted. I generally liked that, except for Mission Earth, which I disliked because I’m not a fan of satire.
I’ll get into why in a moment. But first, I want to discuss one more thing about art which Ron never talked about.
I, too, have spent years looking at, listening to and experiencing art. I’ve even created some art here and there, which has been well received. And one observation I’ll make about art is that into each piece of art is injected, by the artist, an aesthetic wave. It draws the audience in, as expected, and is experienced by them just as surely as the red hues in a painting and the notes in a samba. This part of the art is not created by putting pen to paper or brush to canvas. It is actually instilled into a work of art by the artist and becomes a permanent part of the work. The artist himself may be long dead when you view his work, but you will still sense this wave. It is a permanent feature (or not) in any work of art.
For example, I do calligraphy. I can do a rather poor piece of calligraphy, but if I imbue it with an aesthetic of sufficient magnitude, you will call my calligraphy brilliant and attractive. A static or thetan is always drawn, one way or another to an aesthetic, which is why it has been used often in the past when constructing theta traps. In fact, were I OT enough, I could probably simply put out an anchor point, postulate that it generate an aesthetic wave, and then watch the thetans gather round to admire it or at least satisfy their curiosity about it. One can marvel at Michelangelo’s Pieta or David, at the technique and expertise it took to carve these pieces, but if Michelangelo hadn’t infused these pieces with a deep aesthetic, I think these pieces would just be more or less artistic curiosities.
By contrast, you can find “art” which has none or very little of this in it. For whatever reasons, the original artist never imbued the work with anything. They simply created it using whatever technical expertise they had, and then went on about their business. Is it art? Yes it is. because there was enough technical expertise used to create the work. Will it be great art? No.
One might call this aesthetic wave “passion”. It has been called that before. Some of the greatest works of art ever produced by Man are those produced out of religious fervor, something this aesthetic has also been called. And so this aesthetic is mixed with other things, as is often the case. To that extent, they become part of the message of the piece. In fact, beauty may be the only message communicated by a piece. But then you have a work of art with a very shallow message. One note in what could otherwise be a symphony of lust, jealousy, joy, curiosity or suspense.
Now considering this aesthetic can be left out and you can still see an effect created in an audience for a work, is it an essential part of a work? No. Ron was exactly correct that demonstrated technical expertise is all that is necessary to produce art. But I would argue that the reaction to a work is indexed to some extent by how much aesthetic is instilled in it. The more of an aesthetic is added, the more is the reaction.
I should also note that in the higher wave bands, there is not only “high wave beauty” but also “high wave ugliness”. This depends on the shape of the waves, as they might be read on an oscilloscope. A brief discussion of this takes place in the book Scientology 8-80. So one could, theoretically, imbue a work with ugliness. I believe many of our famous artists have done exactly that. Most of them had contempt for the public and their fans, and certainly the critics, who would often cite such ugly works as the best works of their creators. Shows you how much critics know.
But you’re still waiting for the punchline, aren’t you– why I’m not a fan of much of LRH’s non-fiction art (exception: Ron’s non-fiction writings; I don’t consider them art, though they do prove his ability to write clearly). Simple. Because I believe it lacks this last component, or contains too little of it to be noticeable. I could be wrong. That is simply my perception of the mass of his non-fiction works. Perhaps he simply went after technical expertise alone, knowing well the axioms above. I do not know.
You’re free to disagree with me in your opinions of Ron’s art. This essay isn’t really about that. The reason I wrote it, though, was to try to explain why I’m not a fan of Ron’s art.
And I think I’ve done that.