@ CK MacLeod:

It depends on how flexible your definitions of "selected" and "exaggeration" are.

Thoughts, patterns, concepts are all part of life. If anything, the definition becomes tautological at some point of anyalysis.

@ Joe NS:

My point is that we think in terms of our bodies a lot of the time, so is it any wonder that artists might take that and deconstruct it in various ways for various effects.

A Theater Prof I had defined art as "the selected exaggeration of life". I have not encountered a better one since then. It is wonderfully innocent of the "beauty" and "uplifting" sentiments that sometimes cloud discussions of art.

As for bad language, personally I cleaned up my mouth when my daughter was born. Now if one of the 7 words escapes my lips, people are aghast. Yes, we have become desentitized to these words, but their referents are still the same, and the use of that language carries an aggresive quality that frequently does diminish us. So maybe it's worthwhile if ithis kind of art to remind us of that.

@ Joe NS:

The Biblical notion that man was formed from the dust seems to me to cover all the bases without luridly dwelling on the viscera, which are not representative of man.

No shit? That's the heart of the matter, I can feel it in the pit of my stomach, what you said really pisses me off, come again??

We use the visera and their products to describe the human condition all the time.

"luridly" is pretty much the point of this kind of art. Personally, I'm kinda surprised it still seems to work.

@ CK

And I say almostbecause the dynamic you describe, pretty much describes history. I mean the idea that, finally,Our People, in all of human history, has stumbled upon, been revealed to, invented, a "universal community whose precepts would re-make the world" has been pretty much universal.

What I mean to suggest is that the dynamic of conservative and liberal is a biological adaptation encoded in our genes, and played out in our brain chemistry, and then our thoughts and actions.

Figuring out where the boundary between adaptive and destructive social behavior will always be a dynamic process because it is part of how homo sapiens behave.

That some people tend in one direction or the other is part of what has made human society successful.

The jumble and contradictions you describe is who and what we are, both as individuals and as societies.@ CK MacLeod:


There’s a constant attempt – it’s almost definitional for the “right” – to guard the border between us and them,

It's not almostdefinitional, it isdefinitional.

The border may be spacial, genetic or ideological.

This is a necessary function, and in evolutionary terms, reasonalbly easy to define. Heightend senstivity to threat by some of the ingroup is an evolutionary adaptation that allowed stone age people to survive constant danger.

However, taken too far, the ingroup shrinks too small to survive.

Which is the role of the Ur left, to expand the ingroup, to make alliances with other ingroups to provide the critical mass needed for defense - as long as it doesn't go too far and dilute the ingroup's control over itself.