Fifty Six Concerning anti-mimesis

Have you ever heard the phrase “life imitates art?”

It is a concept called Anti-mimesis which is a philosophical position which is directly opposite to mimesis, which is the proposition that (in a nutshell) art imitates life. Anti-mimesis is a concept that was highly favoured by Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. It has been around since ancient greek times when it was proposed by Aristophanes and it is a concept that is normally applied to classics and fine art having an influence on the way people live their lives and the way people perceive their surroundings.

It is also a concept that I have been thinking a lot about recently…although I confess I did not know the term anti-mimesis or the history of the concept until I decided to write this blog. I have been considering it in conjunction with vastly different concepts to the artistic and poetic ones espoused by Oscar Wilde, but I think they are concepts that hold true to the ideal. I have been considering this:

To what extent have science fiction writers of the past shaped our present? Well, not only early science fiction writers of the past but writers who are still writing excellent books today, but who wrote ground breaking science fiction works 15 – 20 years ago. The concepts and technology in some of these books seems almost common place when read now. Some of it has permeated so far into modern life and language that it is almost unbelievable that within living memory it was futuristic, far-fetched or unheard of.

I have plenty of photos to choose from that are influenced by sci-fi / cyberpunk culture, here are a couple of very different character:

 

These photos are an illustration of the influence Sci Fi has had on my thinking, but I suspect they are better examples of art imitating art rather than life imitating art (art imitating art happens all the time…it is affectionately known as inspiration). So what am I talking about when I refer to modern sci-fi writers influencing our present?

Think about the technology in the world around you, and consider how much of it has been influenced by the episode of star trek the inventor watched as a child, or the book they read.

Mind you…there is a large degree of it happening the other way round too…so possibly life imitates art which imitates life which imitates art. Before you know it we are stuck in a mimesis – anti-mimesis cycle and have lost the ability to figure out where the original influences came from. Which is, I think where this blog ended up with a tiny tiny brain explosion on my part. This explains a) a lot about my brain and 2) why this blog has been in the draft section since October!

It is worth looking up 🙂

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Six: Concerning the nature of books

Originally Posted 4th February 2011

Today’s post is number six, this is definitly getting to be a habit, and people actually seem to be reading it if the site veiws are anything to go by. I have to say I am surprised, both that I am still doing this (and enjoying it) and that people are reading it I wonder who you all are! Anyway, today I am continuing the theme of obsessions and am going to talk about another of mine. The photo I have chosen to go with it was taken under  bridge by the thames on a photo adventure.

This photo actually shows off quite a few of my obsessions, it tends a little towards yesterdays repeating pattern and abstract photography obsession. It also shows by obsessions with Black and white photos and shallow depths of field. It is not, however, here to represent a photographic obsession; today’s obsession is books.

I have read books ever since at the age of 2 or 3 I said to my Mum “I’m sick of reading the pictures Mummy teach me to read the words” In all honesty I don’t really remember saying that but my Mum told me many times that I did!

A book can hold so many things, they can tell fine tales, hold new ideas, preserve traditional feelings; they can hold adventures and excitement or knowledge and experience. They are all doorways into somewhere new, reading a book can open your mind to something you have never considered before or it can comfort you with familiar well loved tales. Whichever of these you prefer, and there is no need to choose only one, or indeed one at a time, it is true for all books that they take you away from yourself in a way that other media can’t. There is no way to read in the background while doing something else, the reading of a book requires your full attention and therefore takes your full consciousness to another place. I consider reading a book as not so much looking at words printed on a page as stepping inside another world constructed partly within the pages and partly within my head.

There is a tactile quality to books that should also be mentioned; the feel and smell of the paper hold an appeal beyond just the words they contain. It is something that can never be entirely replaced by e-readers or computers. Now that being said, i like the idea of being able to carry thousands of books in a device the thickness of a pencil, thousands of new worlds there at my fingertips, it would be something of a waste of time for me however as I would insist on owning the physical book as well as the e-book!

As you might be able to tell I hold books in very high regard, anyone who has tried to borrow a book from me will know this. I have a odd attachment to any book I own and am not really comfortable letting them out into the care of other people! Irrational as I know this to be, it seems to be something I have difficulty changing, possibly because of being brought up to believe that books are valuable and important items!

Now I am aware there are people out there who don’t read but I don’t understand it! There is a book out there for everyone, so if you are one of those that doesn’t think to read, then I encourage you to try again, open you mind to the worlds within the pages!