The Problem of the Work of Art

In Jean-Paul Sartre’s The Imaginary: A Phenomenological Psychology of the Imagination

The Portrait of Charles VIII by Jean Perréal

Merely looking at this portrait, we understand that king Charles VIII is an object, but it is not the same object as the painting, the canvas, and the actual layers of paint used for this painting. So when we contemplate what constitutes this painting separately namely the frame and the canvas, the main aesthetic object which is ‘king Charles VIII’ won’t emerge in our contemplation. According to Sartre, this image of king Charles VIII is not hidden, but the reason for its disappearance is that the consciousness is not fully aware of this image. So this image will reappear at the moment when consciousness is carrying out its work of imagination. The rationale for this occurrence, as stated by Sartre, is that one cannot see and contemplate both the image of King Charles VIII and the other things that constitute that painting simultaneously. In other words, the intentional act that apprehends the image as being king Charles VIII is sufficient in itself, it is complete and exclusive of the intentional act that grasps the frame, the canvas, and the layers of paints used for this painting.

So according to Sartre, to get the full aesthetic apprehension of this painting, it is essential that this depicted king Charles VIII must correspond with the intentional act of imagination within the consciousness. What is required for the imaginary process to occur, according to Sartre, is an analogon, which is an equivalent of perception. So, when we contemplate this painting of King Charles VIII (which is a material analogon) we conjure a mental image of King Charles VIII himself. Through the imaginary process, the analogon loses its sense and takes on the sense of the object it represents.

In this case, we know that King Charles VIII is unreal or imaginary, and since he can be comprehended on the canvas, he is an object of aesthetic appreciation. Then, we tend to ascribe the feelings we have about king Charles VIII to his painted image. In so doing, we can say he ‘moves us,’ or he is painted with intelligence, power, grace, and so forth. In this sense, we are made aware that an analogon can attain new attributes based on our intention toward it, we are also aware that the aesthetic object in a painting is imaginary. However, Sartre asserts that what is real are the marks of the brush strokes, the impasting of the canvas, its texture, and the varnish spread over the colours for the finishing touches. Even though all these are real, they are not the object of aesthetic appreciation. In other words, they are not beautiful. So according to Sartre, what is beautiful is something that cannot be given to human perception; to be precise something beautiful is transcendent and imaginary.

In conclusion, Sartre asserts that the real is never beautiful. Also, he asserts that beauty is a value that can only be applied to the imaginary and that carries the nihilation of the world in its essential structure. Aesthetic contemplation of real objects has the same structure as paramnesia, in which the real object functions as an analogon for itself in the past. But in one case there is nihilation and in the other there is creation. Finally, we must understand that paramnesia differs from the aesthetic attitude as memory differs from imagination.

The Age of Enlightenment

Once you reach your Age of Enlightenment, you will realise that some things which you believed as truth — such as the concept of god, religion, race, marriage, nationality, news and so on — are fabrication. Also, some scientific facts are insufficient. We humans only have a little knowledge about life, but we tend to fabricate concepts to fill the void of our ignorance.

The Greatest Mystery

All creatures, including humans, are parts and pieces of Nature, and Nature itself is parts without a whole. Besides, what we call life, our planet, the universe or multiverse and our notion of God are not completed in themselves. In a nutshell, all we call existence, reality, and deity remains the greatest mystery.

The Mysterious Self

The Mysterious Self

Like life I’m an open book
Yet a complex mystery
Like the ocean I lay plain
Before you yet vastly deep

Thereby be careful when next
You try to figure me out
I’m a mystery that is
Vastly deeper to explore

The Mystery We Call Dream

The source of dreams is a mysterious realm, so humans don’t usually last long in this realm. This realm is known as the subconscious mind. Despite the humans’ knowledge about the subconscious mind, its contents and how it functions remains a contested subject, especially in the academic field of philosophy and psychology. So, in this short article, a few mysterious aspects of dreams that emanate from the subconscious mind will be discussed briefly below. And this will bring about a few questions.

The first mystery is that many people can only have a specific dream once. However, a few people claim to be having particular dreams repeatedly. Thus, if this is possible, why is it only happening to a few people? Besides, can this type of dream be significant in any way?

The second mystery is that most people cannot continue a dream once they wake up during a dream. However, a few people, especially lucid dreamers who can induce their dreams while asleep, can continue to have the same dream if they wake up and go back to sleep. Therefore, if this is possible, why is it only possible for a few people? Also, can such a dream still be coherent in any way?

The third mystery is that most people usually dream about what they have done and think about in the past. Or dream about some unresolved emotions they have before they go to sleep. However, a few people claim to have the ability to dream about future life events. So, if this is possible, why is this ability given to a few people? In addition, can this type of dream be accurate with reality?

In a nutshell, the answers to the above questions remain a mystery in the academic field of philosophy and psychology. Finally, there are various myths concerning dreams in some human cultures and societies. Yet, all these myths combined are not enough to offer us a comprehensive understanding of the mystery we call dream.


Throughout life our personality, needs, and goals will change. Also, the people we hang out with and those we want in our life will change over time. Those changes that occur in us through the course of life are normal, as the self is not a stable entity. Life itself is not static, and change is the only integral part of life which is constant.

Cherish Yourself and Embrace Humanity

One Humanity by Geeta Biswas

We are not the same but we are equal
According to the laws of creation
Melanin determines our complexion
We are parts and pieces of creation
Who are we to judge one another?
Among us are philosophers and scientists
And we still live in hatred and confusion
Nature is there staring at us and smiling
While rubbing its immortality on our faces
I won’t live my life being a colour
I see human beings beyond complexion
I see one humanity not various human race
I see billions with beautiful bodies and souls
People are dying of inferiority complex
Cosmetic surgeries are rampant this age
People has ventured into skin alteration
The pale wants to become tanned
The tanned wants to become pale
They stuck between the complexion spectrum
Is it true that human nature is defective?
That slight difference makes us unique
We must be pleased in our various skins
Biology and culture regulates our lives
We must utilize wisdom as we live

Image credit: One Humanity by Geeta Biswas.

From Death To Life

Life and death by Charles Sabourin.jpg

DEATH is what is believed to be the end of all living creatures. As a result, death remains the greatest fear and loss to generations of humans. Everyone living would love to live forever but no one wants to die, as most people lack the understanding that death is not the end of life. Life and death are intertwined, and this makes them difficult to distinguish. For instance, think about the death and regeneration of human body cells over time, in that sense, one is constantly dying while living. Besides, life and death are not static for they continuously evolve progressively. Thus, when death terminates the biological functions of a living creature, that occurrence gives rise to another form of life. Although life and death are intertwined, many humans still consider death as one unpleasant phenomenon. Death is inevitable, as it signifies the completion of a natural life cycle. Besides, humans should always remember that dying is also an act of living.

Living life positively is a choice for each human being who is aware that death remains inevitable for all creatures. Therefore, humans must learn and choose to live life positively and worry less about death, since it is inevitable. Death is not the greatest loss in this world, the greatest loss is when life dies inside a human while such a human is still alive. No one asked to be born into this world—it just happens—which is why it is called ‘the gift of life’. Life is the greatest phenomenon, it is priceless and unique to everyone alive, and if you want to enjoy this phenomenon, start celebrating this event called LIFE.

Image Credit: Life and death by Charles Sabourin.

Meelick Road, Spring Afternoon

I service my iron horse and get ready for usual Saturday leisure bike ride. Afterwards, I ride up the country road at a snail’s pace to feel the essence of Nature. I listen to the songs of birds, the whispering of trees, and the mooing of cows on the roadside. The gentle wind mixes those sounds into a smooth serenade, which I enjoy as I slowly ride up the road. I dismount at the top to enjoy the panoramic view of Limerick city, which now seems to be at my feet. I take a few pictures and start heading back home. Riding down the road, I hear a car approaching from behind. I slow down and remain on the edge of the road. The car pulls up right beside me at arm’s length. A lad climbs up from the sunroof and catapults a canned drink at me. Instantly I think I’m doomed, so my vision grey out slightly. Then a rocket swooshes past my face. How it does not hit me remains a mystery. I am utterly terrified as I watch the car fade out of sight.

a clear and calm sea . . .
a bold osprey dives down
with a mighty splash