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 🙂