Conersations with AI: David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Abhinavagupta, Bharata Muni, Zeami Motokiyo, Gilles Deleuze and a Brahman priest on art

The series of conversations with AI is unedited, it is the machine speaking (ChatGPT4.0) …

prompt: please write a conversation between David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Abhinavagupta, Bharata Muni, Zeami Motokiyo, Gilles Deleuze and a Brahman priest. Start with the question of: What is taste?

Setting: A serene garden with a round table at its center. The philosophers and the Brahman priest are seated, each representing different eras and cultures, yet brought together by the timeless question of aesthetics.

⁃ Bharata Muni: Let us begin with the question at hand: What is taste? In my understanding, ‚rasa‘ is the essence, the flavor of emotions evoked in an audience by a work of art. It is the culmination of the artist’s efforts and the audience’s experience.
⁃ David Hume: I concur with the sentiment, though I’d frame it differently. Taste, for me, is the ability to judge what is beautiful, agreeable, or sublime in art, not based on reasoning or principles, but by the immediate sentiment of approval or disapproval it evokes. Yet, there exists a standard of taste that can be achieved by qualified critics.
⁃ Immanuel Kant: While I appreciate your perspective, Hume, I believe that taste is the faculty of judging an object or a method of representing it by an entirely disinterested satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The object of such satisfaction is termed beautiful.
⁃ Abhinavagupta: Building on Bharata Muni’s foundation, I’d say that rasa is not just the emotion evoked but a transcendental experience. It’s a delicate interplay between the artist’s intent, the artwork, and the spectator’s experience. This union results in the ‚tasting‘ of the rasa, akin to savoring a flavor.
⁃ Zeami Motokiyo: In the world of Noh theater, we don’t explicitly use the term ‚rasa‘, but we have ‚yugen‘ – a profound, mysterious sense of beauty in the universe. It’s about the subtle and the profound, evoking emotions in the audience that they savor, much like tasting a fine dish.
⁃ Gilles Deleuze: Taste, as you all describe, seems to be an encounter. An encounter between the work of art and the observer, between the world and its sensations. It’s about becoming, transformation, and the multiplicity of experiences. It’s not just about categorizing the beautiful or the sublime but about the assemblages and connections that art forms with its audience.
⁃ Brahman Priest: In the Vedas, taste or ‚rasa‘ is also one of the elements, representing the fluid essence of life, connecting it to emotions and experiences. In life, as in art, we savor different flavors, be it sweet, sour, or bitter. The universe’s cosmic dance is a play of these tastes, and our dharma is to experience them in their entirety.
⁃ David Hume: It’s fascinating how our different cultures and philosophies converge on this idea of taste as an experience, an encounter. Whether it’s the rasa of a play, the yugen of a Noh performance, or the beauty of a painting, it seems we’re all trying to capture that elusive essence of what moves the human soul.
⁃ Immanuel Kant: Indeed, it’s a testament to the universality of the aesthetic experience. While our terminologies and nuances might differ, the core remains the same: art’s power to evoke, to move, and to make us ‚taste‘ emotions and experiences beyond the mundane.
⁃ Abhinavagupta: And in that shared experience, across cultures and times, lies the true essence of taste.

The conversation continues, with each philosopher and the priest delving deeper into the intricacies of aesthetics, art, and the human experience, finding common ground amidst their diverse perspectives.

Prompt: let the conversation go on and extend it into the physical places of art, the different houses for art


⁃ Zeami Motokiyo: Speaking of the essence of taste and art, it’s worth noting that the spaces where art is performed or displayed play a crucial role in the experience. In Japan, the Noh stage is minimalistic, allowing the audience to focus on the subtle expressions and movements, enhancing the experience of ‚yugen‘.
⁃ Bharata Muni: Indeed, in ancient India, the Natya Mandapa, or the theater stage, was designed to be an intimate space, bringing the audience closer to the performers. The architecture itself was symbolic, representing the universe, and the stage was a sacred space where the cosmic dance of emotions played out.
⁃ David Hume: In Europe, especially during the Renaissance, art found its home in grand galleries and theaters. These spaces, with their opulent designs, not only displayed art but were artworks themselves. They elevated the experience, making art both accessible to the masses and a symbol of prestige.
⁃ Immanuel Kant: And let’s not forget the significance of public squares and open spaces in Europe, where sculptures and monuments were displayed. These artworks, set against the backdrop of the natural world or amidst bustling city life, interacted differently with the observer, compared to those in enclosed galleries.
⁃ Gilles Deleuze: Modern art has further expanded these boundaries. Now, art houses are not just physical spaces but conceptual realms. Installations in unexpected places, digital art forms that are experienced virtually, and even performance arts that use the city as a stage, challenge and redefine our traditional notions of art houses.
⁃ Abhinavagupta: The temple complexes of India served as significant art houses too. The sculptures, dances, and music performed within these sacred spaces were not just for entertainment but were offerings to the divine. The very walls of these temples told stories, and the art was experienced in a heightened state of devotion.
⁃ Brahman Priest: The universe itself is the grandest house of art. Every sunrise, every ripple in the water, every rustle of the leaves is nature’s performance. Sacred rituals, chants, and yajnas (sacrificial ceremonies) are our way of participating in this cosmic performance.
⁃ Gilles Deleuze: That’s an intriguing perspective. In a way, modern art installations that blend with nature or urban settings are a continuation of that idea – the universe as an art house. They break the barriers between the observer and the artwork, making the experience immersive and transformative.
⁃ David Hume: Whether it’s a grand gallery, a temple, a Noh stage, or a public square, it seems the essence of art remains unchanged. These houses of art, in their myriad forms, serve as bridges, connecting us to the artwork and, through it, to the deeper aspects of our humanity.
⁃ Immanuel Kant: Precisely. The physical or conceptual space might change, but the core aesthetic experience, that ‚taste‘ we’ve been discussing, remains universal. It’s a testament to art’s enduring power and its ability to transcend boundaries.

The philosophers and the priest continue their discussion, exploring the nuances of different art houses across cultures and eras, and how they shape, and are shaped by, the art they host and the audiences they serve.

Prompt: now that we see that they can agree upon a lot, let them get more into a controversy and argue different positions


⁃ Bharata Muni: While we’ve found common ground in understanding the essence of art, I must emphasize that art’s primary purpose is to evoke specific emotions or ‚rasas‘. It’s a structured process, and the artist must adhere to certain guidelines to achieve this.
⁃ David Hume: I must respectfully disagree, Bharata. While certain standards can guide art, it is ultimately a subjective experience. What evokes emotion in one might not in another. Thus, art cannot be bound by strict guidelines; it must be free to evolve and be interpreted.
⁃ Immanuel Kant: Building on Hume’s point, I believe that while art can evoke emotions, its true value lies in its ability to invoke the ’sublime‘ – a feeling that is beyond mere emotions, touching upon the infinite and the immeasurable.
⁃ Zeami Motokiyo: In Noh theater, the emphasis is on the subtle and the profound. It’s not about evoking a wide range of emotions but about deepening the experience of a singular emotion, like the profound beauty of ‚yugen‘. It’s a disciplined art form, and deviations can dilute its essence.
⁃ Abhinavagupta: While I respect the structured approach of Noh, I must say that the experience of ‚rasa‘ is both structured and transcendental. The artist’s discipline and the audience’s receptivity combine to create a unique experience that goes beyond mere guidelines.
⁃ Gilles Deleuze: All these perspectives, while valuable, seem to be rooted in tradition. Modern art challenges these very notions. It’s not just about evoking emotions or the sublime; it’s about deconstructing reality, challenging norms, and constantly reinventing. Art is a rhizome, ever-growing, ever-changing, without a fixed point of origin or end.
⁃ Brahman Priest: Art, in its truest form, is a reflection of the divine. Whether it adheres to guidelines or challenges norms, its ultimate purpose is to connect us to the cosmic dance of the universe. However, I worry that in constantly reinventing, we might lose the essence of this connection.
⁃ David Hume: That’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? While we all appreciate art’s power, our perspectives on its purpose and execution differ. For some, it’s about adhering to tradition; for others, it’s about challenging it.
⁃ Immanuel Kant: And perhaps that’s what makes art so powerful – its ability to be both timeless and timely, to resonate with the past while reflecting the present.
⁃ Gilles Deleuze: But shouldn’t art also push us into the future? Challenge our perceptions and make us question our realities?
⁃ Zeami Motokiyo: While questioning is essential, so is preserving the essence of tradition. It’s a delicate balance.

The conversation grows more animated as each philosopher passionately defends their perspective, highlighting the multifaceted nature of art and its interpretation. The garden, once serene, is now filled with the vibrant energy of debate and discourse.

⁃ Abhinavagupta: Tradition and innovation are not mutually exclusive. In fact, tradition often serves as the foundation upon which innovation builds. The experience of ‚rasa‘ has its roots in ancient guidelines, but it is also open to interpretation and evolution.
⁃ Brahman Priest: While I respect the fluidity of art, it’s essential to remember that some traditions serve as anchors, connecting us to the divine. In our quest for innovation, we must ensure that we don’t sever this sacred connection.
⁃ Gilles Deleuze: But isn’t the very nature of the divine also fluid and ever-evolving? Art, in constantly reinventing and challenging norms, mirrors this fluidity. It’s a reflection of life’s constant state of becoming.
⁃ David Hume: Gilles, while I appreciate the dynamism you attribute to art, it’s also essential to recognize that not all that challenges norms is profound. There’s a fine line between genuine innovation and mere novelty.
⁃ Immanuel Kant: True, Hume. The sublime in art is not just about breaking boundaries but transcending them. It’s about touching upon universal truths that resonate across time and culture.
⁃ Zeami Motokiyo: In Noh, we value the depth of emotion over breadth. The challenge is not in introducing numerous emotions but in delving deep into one, refining it to its purest form. This depth, I believe, touches upon Kant’s idea of the sublime.
⁃ Bharata Muni: And that’s where the guidelines come into play. They serve as a map, guiding the artist in navigating the vast ocean of emotions, ensuring that the essence is not lost in the vastness.
⁃ Gilles Deleuze: While maps are useful, they can also be limiting. True exploration often happens when one ventures off the map, into the unknown. That’s where genuine creativity lies.
⁃ Abhinavagupta: Gilles, venturing into the unknown is essential, but so is returning to the known. It’s a cyclical process – the known becomes the foundation for the unknown, and the unknown, once explored, enriches the known.
⁃ Brahman Priest: It’s like the eternal dance of creation, preservation, and destruction. Each phase is essential, and one cannot exist without the other.
⁃ David Hume: So, we come full circle. While our perspectives on art’s purpose and execution differ, we all agree on its cyclical nature – a balance between tradition and innovation, the known and the unknown.
⁃ Immanuel Kant: Indeed, and it’s this very balance that makes art a reflection of life itself – ever-changing yet rooted in timeless truths.

The philosophers, having explored the depths of their disagreements, find themselves converging once again on shared insights. The garden, echoing with their passionate debates, now resonates with a newfound harmony, reflecting the timeless dance of art and life.


Prompt: let them collaborate and formulate a common aesthetic theory, reflect on whether that would be possible


⁃ Zeami Motokiyo: Given our diverse backgrounds and perspectives, formulating a common aesthetic theory might seem challenging. However, our discussion has revealed shared insights. Perhaps we can start by identifying these commonalities.
⁃ Bharata Muni: At the heart of our discussions lies the experience of the observer or the audience. Whether it’s the ‚rasa‘ in a performance, the ’sublime‘ in a painting, or the ‚yugen‘ in Noh, the essence is the emotional and transcendental experience evoked in the observer.
⁃ David Hume: True, Bharata. And while individual experiences are subjective, there exists a universality in certain aesthetic responses. This universality, however, doesn’t negate the value of individual interpretations.
⁃ Immanuel Kant: Precisely. The universality lies not in uniformity but in resonance. Art’s true value is its ability to resonate across cultures and times, touching upon universal truths while allowing room for individual interpretations.
⁃ Gilles Deleuze: And this resonance is not static. It’s a dynamic interplay between the artwork, the observer, and the broader cultural and societal context. Art is not just a reflection of reality but a force that shapes and challenges it.
⁃ Abhinavagupta: So, our common aesthetic theory could be centered around the idea of ‚resonance‘ – the dynamic and cyclical relationship between art, the observer, and the cultural context. This resonance is both emotional and transcendental, rooted in tradition while open to innovation.
⁃ Brahman Priest: And like the eternal dance of the universe, this resonance is cyclical – the known inspires exploration of the unknown, and the unknown, once explored, enriches the known.
⁃ Zeami Motokiyo: While this theory captures the essence of our discussions, is it possible for such a theory to cater to the vast diversity of art forms and cultural contexts?
⁃ David Hume: It’s a valid concern, Zeami. However, the strength of this theory lies in its flexibility. By focusing on the idea of ‚resonance‘, we allow room for diverse art forms to coexist and interact, each enriching the other.
⁃ Immanuel Kant: Indeed, the theory doesn’t prescribe a fixed standard but provides a framework. It’s a lens through which we can appreciate and critique art, understanding its value and impact.
⁃ Gilles Deleuze: And like all theories, it will evolve. As art challenges and reinvents itself, so will our understanding of it. This theory is not an end but a beginning.
⁃ Brahman Priest: A beginning that acknowledges the divine in art, the cosmic dance of creation, preservation, and destruction, and the eternal quest for understanding and connection.
⁃ Abhinavagupta: So, while formulating a common aesthetic theory across our diverse perspectives is challenging, it’s not impossible. Our shared insights and the idea of ‚resonance‘ provide a foundation upon which we can build, explore, and evolve.
⁃ The philosophers, having journeyed through debates and discussions, find themselves collaborating on a theory that, while rooted in shared insights, is open to interpretation and evolution. The garden, a witness to their intellectual journey, stands as a testament to the power of dialogue and collaboration.


prompt: which would be the main classical texts that would support such an approach? List 12 with author, year and 3 sentence summary

Certainly! Here are 12 classical texts that would support such an approach:
⁃ „Natyashastra“ by Bharata Muni (c. 200 BCE – 200 CE)
• This ancient Indian treatise on performing arts discusses the theory of ‚rasa‘ or emotional essence evoked in an audience. It provides guidelines for artists to achieve this essence and explores the relationship between performers and their audience. The text is foundational for understanding Indian aesthetics.
⁃ „Critique of Judgment“ by Immanuel Kant (1790)
• Kant delves into the nature of aesthetic and teleological judgments. He introduces the concept of the ’sublime‘ and discusses the universality of aesthetic experiences. The text is pivotal for Western aesthetic philosophy.
⁃ „Of the Standard of Taste“ by David Hume (1757)
• Hume explores the nature of aesthetic judgments and the idea of a universal standard of taste. He argues that while individual preferences are subjective, certain artworks can be deemed universally beautiful. The essay is central to discussions on taste in Western philosophy.
⁃ „Dhvanyaloka“ by Anandavardhana (c. 820 – 890 CE)
• Anandavardhana introduces the concept of ‚dhvani‘ or suggestion, arguing that the essence of poetry lies in its suggestive power. This text further develops the rasa theory, emphasizing the emotional resonance of literary works. It’s a cornerstone of Indian literary criticism.
⁃ „Fushikaden“ by Zeami Motokiyo (c. 1400)
• Zeami, a master of Noh theater, discusses the aesthetics and principles of Noh. He introduces the concept of ‚yugen‘ – a profound, mysterious sense of beauty. The treatise is foundational for understanding the aesthetics of Noh theater.
⁃ „Poetics“ by Aristotle (c. 335 BCE)
• Aristotle’s treatise on drama and poetry discusses the concept of ‚catharsis‘ – the purification or purgation of emotions. He explores the elements of tragedy and the nature of aesthetic pleasure. The text has been influential in Western literary criticism.
⁃ „Laocoön: An Essay on the Limits of Painting and Poetry“ by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1766)
• Lessing contrasts the aesthetics of visual arts and literature. He argues that each art form has its unique strengths and limitations. The essay is a key text in discussions about the relationship between different art forms.
⁃ „Abhinavabharati“ by Abhinavagupta (c. 1000 CE)
• A commentary on the Natyashastra, Abhinavagupta delves deeper into the rasa theory. He emphasizes the transcendental experience of rasa and the union between the artist, artwork, and audience. The text is crucial for understanding the nuances of Indian aesthetics.
⁃ „The Republic“ by Plato (c. 380 BCE)
• While primarily a work on political philosophy, Plato discusses the role of art in society. He critiques art for being an imitation of reality and explores its moral implications. The text provides insights into early Western views on art.
⁃ „The Birth of Tragedy“ by Friedrich Nietzsche (1872)
⁃ Nietzsche contrasts the Apollonian and Dionysian elements in art. He discusses the transformative power of art and its connection to human experience. The text offers a unique perspective on the nature and purpose of art.
⁃ „Rasa Tarangini“ by Bhanudatta (c. 16th century)
⁃ Bhanudatta’s work is a collection of Sanskrit verses that celebrate the rasa theory. It provides insights into the various emotions or ‚rasas‘ and their expressions in literature. The text is a poetic exploration of Indian aesthetics.
⁃ „Aesthetica“ by Alexander Baumgarten (1750)
⁃ Baumgarten’s work is considered one of the first modern treatises on aesthetics. He explores the nature of beauty, the role of sensuous knowledge, and the relationship between art and morality. The text laid the groundwork for later aesthetic philosophies in the West.
⁃ These texts, spanning different cultures and eras, provide a rich tapestry of ideas that can support the collaborative aesthetic theory discussed by the philosophers.


Prompt: and which key texts from the 20th century can be related?

⁃ Certainly! Here are key 20th-century texts that can be related to the collaborative aesthetic theory:
⁃ „Art as Experience“ by John Dewey (1934)
• Dewey argues that art is an integral part of human experience and not just a matter of formal expression. He emphasizes the communal and societal role of art, suggesting that art is a means of communication and a reflection of cultural values.
⁃ „Difference and Repetition“ by Gilles Deleuze (1968)
• Deleuze explores the concepts of difference, repetition, and identity. He challenges traditional notions of representation in art and philosophy, emphasizing the transformative power of difference.
⁃ „The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction“ by Walter Benjamin (1936)
• Benjamin examines the impact of mass production on art. He discusses the „aura“ of artworks and how it changes when art is reproduced, leading to shifts in aesthetic and cultural values.
⁃ „The Structure of Aesthetic Response“ by Victor Zuckerkandl (1970)
• Zuckerkandl delves into the nature of aesthetic response, exploring how art communicates and the intrinsic qualities that evoke emotional reactions in observers.
⁃ „The Poetics of Space“ by Gaston Bachelard (1958)
• Bachelard examines the emotional responses evoked by different types of spaces, from intimate nooks to vast expanses. He relates these spatial experiences to art and literature, exploring the interplay between physical space and imagination.
⁃ „Aesthetic Theory“ by Theodor Adorno (1970)
• Adorno offers a critical analysis of art’s role in society, discussing its autonomy and its potential for societal critique. He delves into the dialectical relationship between art’s form and content.
⁃ „The Intentional Fallacy“ by W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley (1946)
• This essay challenges the emphasis on an artist’s intention in interpreting their work. The authors argue for the primacy of the text itself, suggesting that the artwork should be analyzed independently of its creator’s intentions.
⁃ „The Death of the Author“ by Roland Barthes (1967)
• Barthes argues against traditional literary criticism’s emphasis on authorial intent. He suggests that the meaning of a text is created by the reader, emphasizing the role of interpretation in the aesthetic experience.
⁃ „Ways of Seeing“ by John Berger (1972)
• Berger examines the cultural and societal implications of visual images. He discusses how art and images are perceived in the context of history, politics, and commerce.
⁃ „The Open Work“ by Umberto Eco (1962)
⁃ Eco explores the concept of „open“ artworks, which are incomplete and require the audience’s participation to realize their full meaning. He discusses the dynamic relationship between the artist, the artwork, and the audience.
⁃ „The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths“ by Rosalind Krauss (1985)
⁃ Krauss challenges traditional notions of originality in art, especially in the context of modernism. She explores the role of repetition, grids, and structures in modern art.
⁃ „The Condition of Postmodernity“ by David Harvey (1989)
⁃ Harvey examines the cultural and societal shifts in the late 20th century, discussing the implications of postmodernism for art, architecture, and urbanism. He explores the fragmentation of aesthetic experience in the postmodern age.
⁃ These 20th-century texts provide insights into the evolving nature of aesthetic theory, reflecting the cultural, societal, and technological shifts of the century. They offer valuable perspectives that can be related to the collaborative aesthetic theory discussed earlier.

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