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art, philosophy, and efficacy 189 Throughout Rand’s writings, one can find a persistent emphasis on the process by which human beings articulate the tacit dimensions of consciousness . This theme is implicit in Rand’s theories of concept formation and emotion. The concept formation process is largely dependent on an act of measurement omission, which takes place in the mind whether people are aware of it or not. By articulating the tacit principles by which people form concepts, Rand attempted to provide an objective foundation for human knowing. She suggested that even though measurement omission is a tacit process, it is necessary to make explicit its reality-based principles in order to defend the objective integrity of our knowledge. The Objectivist theory of the relationship between reason and emotion stresses a similar articulation process. By delving deeply into the­ inarticulate contents of the mind, and the habitual methods by which the subconscious integrates these contents, we can make explicit that which is­ implicit. Rand sought to provide an objective account of human emotional response. Even though we may be unaware of the cognitive roots of many of our emotions, she argued, it is both possible and desirable to initiate a therapeutic articulation process. Thus both in concept formation and in emotional discernment, Rand’s Objectivism aims to bring implicit elements of consciousness into more thoroughly explicit, articulated form. She suggested that knowledge and emotions are not mysterious, ineffable phenomena beyond our 190 ayn rand fig. 8. Ayn Rand in the driveway of her ranch in the San Fernando Valley in the 1940s. (Courtesy of Barbara Branden) art, philosophy, and efficacy  191­ comprehension and control. Understanding the components of our consciousness enables us to better integrate—and alter, if necessary—the contents and methods of awareness. Rand extended this impulse toward articulation into the realm of­ aesthetics and ethics. She attempted to show how the interaction of the conscious and the subconscious can move people toward acts of spiritual and material creativity. the function of art In this section, I am concerned with Rand’s view of the fundamental ­ nature of art and its function in human life, rather than with Rand’s personal­ artistic tastes, or her specific views on literature, painting, music, aesthetic judgment, or beauty.1 One of the most distinctive aspects of Rand’s theory is her belief that “the source of art lies in the fact that man’s cognitive faculty is conceptual.”2 For Rand, the central function of art is not social, but epistemological. Certainly art reflects the cultural milieu, but its essential function pertains specifically to the nature of human consciousness. The mind grasps the infinite complexity of the world by reducing the number of units with which it must grapple. As we have seen, concept formation and definition also serve this cognitive need for unit economy. By abstracting various aspects from a totality and forming relational units, our minds synthesize an ­ infinite number of similar concretes under a particular concept, designated by a particular word. The efficiency of our cognitive processes depends upon how well we have automatized and integrated these units.3 Art is the product of a comparable tacit process in which the artist’s “metaphysical value-judgments” are concretized. As we have seen, such metaphysical abstractions pertain broadly to the nature of existence. They are usually held subconsciously, in an implicit form, as a component of our sense of life. Metaphysical value judgments are core evaluations of the self, the world, and other people. For most people, they are not consciously deduced judgments, but are an unintended, emotionally charged consequence of innumerable life experiences, from the earliest moments of childhood on. While an art work, like every human creation, involves the application of both explicit and implicit knowledge, articulated and tacit skills, it remains far more dependent on the artist’s subconscious integrations than on any conscious philosophical convictions. And “since artists, like any other men, seldom translate their sense of life into conscious terms,” they are just as 192 ayn rand likely to produce works of art that project all of the tensions and contradictions of their inner worlds.4 Rand defined art as “a selective re-creation of reality according to an ­ artist’s metaphysical value-judgments” (Romantic Manifesto, 19). Guided by their sense of life, artists automatically isolate and integrate those aspects of reality which epitomize their unique views of the world. Their creations therefore emphasize the aspects they regard as important. Since the building blocks...


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