Even amongst wildly-varying creation myths there runs the common theme of a singular unity undergoing a division to define the self in the context of everything else. A fundamental consequence of this division is the need for interaction between that self and things beyond it; without this, the self lacks the context it sought to in the first place, and is basically stuck where it began. Alternately phrased, without the means of interacting beyond the self, there is no experience of a universe. From this it is reasonable to say that “communication” – in the myriad of forms it can take – is not merely important, but essential.
So what does this have to do with art? We see art – the language that communicates directly to the heart without reliance on (and sometimes in defiance of) intellect – as the purest language of subjective consciousness. In any attempt to establish a science of the subjective, there must be way to communicate aspects of subjectivity. Words – whether in poetry or descriptive prose – are certainly part of the solution, but can also be counterproductive. We too easily fool ourselves into accepting words as an exacting representation of meaning, forgetting that words too are metaphorical in nature and effuse different meanings for different people.
ICRL focuses on art for several reasons. We believe that it will be an essential component of a science of the subjective, the means by which subjective “parameters” will be measured and described. We hope to improve our fluency with art as a language, to refine how we use art as an expression, to the point where it can be used in the context of the scientific method (for example, in addressing the extension of ‘repeatability’ into the subjective realm).
Beyond this, we also see art as being a crucial mechanism by which to engage with, teach, and learn from others. People learn with amazing efficiency through theater and cinema, derive insights about themselves and the world around them as they paint, see new dimensions through the lens of a camera, and touch emotional depths through music. ICRL believes that art has a critical role to play in education, and that effective pedagogy must leverage the language of art in order to be effective.