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I’m going to talk about my views on life and how it influences my art. My views are heavily influenced by science and biology. As a disclaimer, what I’m going to talk about has been a topic dating back thousands of years, it’s nothing new.
I believe we, just like any other animal, have no free will. Many people who don’t believe in free will do so because they believe in destiny. I don’t believe in destiny; I believe we are biological robots. I’m sure this statement sounds crazy to some of you reading this, but I’ll try to explain.
To start, I’m going to make a few key points that are essential to the argument that we are biological robots.
We are made up of non-living molecules ordered in ways that result in the formation of living cells. Cells are then organized in complex ways following the instructions from our genetics to make functional tissues and organs which carry out the biological tasks necessary to keep us alive. These tasks, like the beating of the heart and the digestion of food, are all automated and not in our conscious control. The successful automation of these tasks is the result of millions of chemical, physical, and electrical signals between our cells.
Now, it’s fairly easy to accept the fact that many of our bodily functions are automated and not in our conscious control, but what about the brain? How does the brain function? Is it different?
Scientists and the results of experiments say no. The brain functions the same way as the rest of our body. The function of the brain is the result of automated signaling between cells.
Now, what about our consciousness? This is where people tend to disagree or stop believing in the illusion of free will. Some people believe our consciousness is our soul. Some, like myself, believe that it is a phenomenon created by our brain. Either way, science has no answer to how the consciousness actually works. We have no idea how a bunch of cell signals consisting of molecules somehow results in our conscious mind; a very abstract idea that is hard to grasp or comprehend.
Regardless of exactly how the cell signals transform into a conscious thought, I firmly believe our conscious decisions are predetermined by our unconscious mind through automatic cell signals.
Now, how does this tie into my art? Let’s look at one of my recent pieces, “The Last Prayer”. I have taken the painting, “Sermon On The Mount” by Carl Bloch and drastically changed its message. In the focus of the piece, we see a fiend holding up a sort of symbol or idol. The surrounding crowd of fiends are all reacting in different ways. Some are excited, and some are horrified. Each fiend (or person) is unique in their own (genetic) way and reacts differently to the symbol being held high. What the symbol represents is arbitrary and up to the viewer.
The idea is that a group of people, whether it be a religious or ethnic group, is the way it is because of the natural reactions they have had to their environments resulting from automated and unconscious brain signals. The actions and reactions of people are not in their full conscious control. The crowd of fiends getting influenced by the symbol, whether it be a good influence or not, are not in control. If you were in the same time and place, with the same genetic makeup, you would react the same way.
This is not to say that people or groups of people should not be held responsible for their actions, but it’s just a way to view the world a little more objectively. With a little more empathy and forgiveness. But then again, how you react to any situation or event is completely valid, given that your reaction is a natural one resulting from your very natural brain signals.
I hope you biological robots have a great rest of your day.