Vent'anni d'opposizione al restauro del Cenacolo vinciano
I Vizi Capitali - The Seven Deadly Sins

Dipinti e disegni in mostra


Mario Donizetti

(copyright Mario Donizetti - 1997/2000 )  


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Mario Donizetti è considerato fra i massimi esponenti dell'arte figurativa e tra i maggiori ritrattisti della pittura del nostro tempo. Ha pubblicato nel 1992  "Perchè Figurativo", nel 1995 "Razionalità della Fede e della Bellezza", nel 1996 "Lettera a Parmenide", nel 1997 "Lettera a Platone", nel 1999 "Argomenti di estetica".
Time magazine ha pubblicato in copertina alcuni suoi ritratti fra i quali il ritratto di Papa Giovanni Paolo II (1985) oggi alla National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution di Washington.
Nel 1983 ha ricevuto dalla "Pinacoteca Ambrosiana" di Milano l'onore di un'esposizione antologica di dipinti e disegni nelle Sale del Museo. Una sua crocifissione è fra le opere esposte al Museo Tesoro della Basilica di
S. Pietro in Vaticano. Collabora a giornali e riviste con saggi di estetica e diagnostica del restauro.



Dear Professor,
hegel-s.jpg (9333 byte)            I have before me, for rereading, two “tomes” in which your “Aesthetics” is printed. I believe I am one of those to whom your lessons are addressed and am writing to you today because I have come to learn of the scientific proof that your Aesthetics, as I had always suspected, is actually a castle in the air.

            I believe that the error taken as the foundation of your doctrine is already to be found in the introduction to your ponderous work. A foundation which admirably expounded in your “Science of Logic” deliberates that “the finite” is not true being: you decide to make it disappear into the infinite by saying: “that which is, is only the infinite” (Hegel, Scienza della logica, Laterza 1996, page 139). You decide without convincing that finite things as such are a “merely illusory presence” (Hegel, Estetica, Einaudi 1976, page 57).

            This vision of yours is perturbing. I do not believe that “finite” things are only the objects which we perceive and which through pure anthropocentrism imagine to be orbiting around us. Our rational being is also finite.

            And if that which is rational is real, as you say, one who rationalises this real will be real and not merely illusory. So when the rational thinks that the finite is real and is not an illusory presence, what will be illusory is that infinite which escapes rationality, becoming incomprehensible, and which you on the contrary consider “true being”.

            You thought that physical living beings were “finite” in the sense of the opposite “infinite”.

            You believe that totality is not “infinite” because you think that each “finite” being is such thanks to its “opposite” which as the opposite of finite things cannot be reduced to a finite sum.

            But this creation of truth at writing table convinces only dreamers. In fact I could, with your method, invent the entity “opposite” to a work of art, omitting that the opposite is the absence of the work of art but indicating this absence with a name that gives the illusion of its existence as an entity opposite to the work of art, and thus the work of art would be such thanks to the existence of the relationship with its opposite. But it is evident to anyone that the opposite of the work of art is the simple absence of the work of art, which is to say an entity that in reality does not exist. All of which also means that each work inasmuch as it is willed by teleological design is a work of art, and that it is only by degrees that works are great or small, but the small and the great are not in opposition among themselves. This has happened to that “infinite” of yours which does not exist but which, having been given a name, seems to.

            You will object, once more and always, that the totality of finite things cannot be infinite but finite totality. But then I ask you how a finite totality can disappear into an “infinite” which in refusing to be totality claims for itself a nature different from the finite, otherwise it would be the same totality. This infinite defined by you as the sole reality claims a difference of nature in comparison with the numerical infinite. But the “finite” is conscious of both itself and the numerical infinite because it is a part thereof. The personal existence of finite beings is unique and unrepeatable therefore their simple and sole existence makes them “be” in reality and not in an illusory manner. In its awareness of self the finite then determines by itself its own limit. To be able to have the idea of being finite, the finite necessarily has the idea of infinite (as totality). It thus possesses awareness of the infinite and therefore is rationally a part thereof. You maintain without limitation, and hence erroneously, that what is rational is real, and so our finite being should be real inasmuch as it is rational, and if one of the two must perforce disappear it must be that infinite you imagine, since it lacks awareness of itself and is therefore outside all rationality. Thus your infinite has, in this absence inasmuch as it is an absence, the limit which annuls it as infinite and brings it back to being only the totality of the finite, and so that which “is” is only the finite that constitutes the totality.

            Professor, it seems to me that what must disappear is the illusion of the “pure” infinite, the pure of each being and non-being, pure art and “supreme needs”, because when the wicked “accidents” are removed from reality nothing remains of reality, and in fact there is no neuronal response in the encephalon when an impure, relative, sensible, finite image is not perceived, and this you will see at the end of my letter; and don’t tell me that the intellect thinks also what the senses do not perceive, because it is scientifically untrue. In fact, “if sensorial perception of an environmental stimulus is experimentally modified, the structure of the encephalic region assigned to its integration is modified. One example comes from G. Moruzzi: upsetting visual perception by placing in front of one eye, from birth, a permanent lens that turns images upside down, results in a structuring of the occipital cortex that is inverted with regard to the contralateral.” (Vittorino Andreoli La norma e la scelta – Mondadori 1984, page 25).

            This fact demonstrates that the structure pattern of the brain depends on sensorial stimulation from the external world. And given that rationality, which is to say the function of the brain, depends on the latter’s structure, rationality necessarily depends on stimuli from the external world and in any case in simultaneity with the external world.

            One understands how the structure pattern of a foot is simultaneous with its functional ends. If one could by contrivance replace the astragalus bone of the foot with the sphenoid bone of the nose, the foot would lose its logical function which is, logically, that of walking.

            So brain and intellect must necessarily have the same relationship as the foot and walking. The logic of thought would be modified or impeded if the structure of the brain were modified or impeded or upset, as in the function of the foot. Thus the logic of thought, which is to say thinking, is the logical function of the brain just as walking is the logical function of the foot. Consequently, if thinking depends on brain structure and the latter on sensorial perceptions, there can be no contradictions between thinking reality and perceiving reality. It is necessary that there be no difference in content between rational or encephalic reality and the reality external to the encephalon.

            And yet this does not mean that the idea we have of an object represents the whole reality of the object.

            Reality is necessarily greater in quantity than the encephalic idea thereof. The idea of reality takes from reality only that which is of vital project-related interest thereto. This grasping from reality what is useful to our ends is that which evolves reality for the subsequent intervention of our project.  If it were not thus, reality would be immobile.

            The mechanism seems to me to be as follows: through the senses certain parts of reality pass representatively and teleologically into the encephalon and are established in the memory. With this data the artist elaborates a new form, obtaining the institution of a relationship of analogy of the finality of the artistic form with that of the form of nature.

            Unfortunately this analogy of the forms of art known as “resemblance” to the forms of nature is at the root of an error: that of thinking that a simple copy of a natural form (if such a copy were ever possible) is the content of art. But the term “resemblance” is not equivalent to the term “analogy”. The former refers, through carelessness of reason, to forms alone and not to their functions. And since every form is unique and unrepeatable, because a form identical to another would have a function identical to another and therefore be useless in the economy of nature, “resemblance” among forms is of necessity due to carelessness of reason, as I said. The concept of analogy, on the other hand, is founded on the form of the finality and not on the illusion of resemblance. You will ask me what this finality formally  consists of in the work of art. As I am writing to tell you that only form is content, I reply that the artist’s finality or project is rendered concrete in artistic form through exclusion of formal elements of nature and the inclusion of other formal elements of nature. The former excluded because they are not suitable for the artist’s project and the latter utilised to highlight it. This selection of natural form transposed into artistic form is highlighted through comparison of the artistic form with the form of reality. The difference between artistic form and genetic form is concretely formal, meaning concretely finalised. In this sense modern “expressionism” was right on target with regard to this truth, though guilty of excessive exclusion and of the excessive inclusion of finalised forms. The images,  teleologically exasperated, lose credibility. I mean that the expressionist artist’s statement takes on a binding, insistent value that contains an imposition. The artist’s proposition, if it is not to annoy but be accepted by the beholder, must be humble even if firm, available even if intransigent, interpretable even if univocal.

            In brief, it must be like nature: open from the project-related viewpoint but subject to law.

            The work of art being a part of nature, being a constituent of the evolutionary process of a living being, takes origin from the genetically transmitted. Project-related or artistic form cannot claim a revision or a denial of  the genetic but only propose an evolution of the genetic. On the other hand, the physical geometry alone of natural objects transposed into the technical work, which is to say a mere copy, would reduce the work to passivity. But this is in any case an impossible occurrence because a double, which is to say a “copy”, is impossible.

            Thus with its finality the artistic form acquires analogy with regard to the real form. It assumes project-related form without separating itself from natural form.

            (An example may clarify the distinction between analogy and resemblance: there is nothing in common between the form of an hourglass and a wristwatch with regard to geometrical resemblance or functioning, but they have the same finality, so we say that the two objects are analogous. It is clearly seen that “analogy” and “resemblance” are two distinct elements. And this analogy is the content of artistic forms and not the resemblance to the natural form, which would mean basing the content of art on an illusion given by carelessness of reason).

            So artistic content consists in the proposal of a form in a relationship of analogy with the finality of nature. And the the peculiar feature of art is precisely this: that it produces a new synthetic form with objective analytical parts of a form anterior to the artist’s project, and this new form in being analogical to a real form may also seem a resemblance thereof. And once more we must not think, as you thought, that the finality of the artistic form can separate itself from the finality of the form of reality. We must not think that the finality of art is the theme of the “interests of the spirit”, of that spirit which in order to be “unique reality” as you say would annul form and therefore also the form of art.

            The illusory “resemblance” moreover does not impugn the analogical content of art. It is not possible to reduce to opposites the efficiency that moves and that which is moved, merely out of hatred for the illusion of resemblance, impossible to avoid. In fact in the form of a being, be it genetic or artistic, there is always something which is only partially pertinent to that being; I say “partially” and not  “accidentally” as you yourself would have it. When we own a donkey we also own its ears and the hairs in its ears. I mean that the donkey is all of its parts, including those which you define as being accidental. To me it seems impossible to possess the “content” of the donkey, which is to say the “pure” donkey, a donkey “regenerated by the spirit” (Hegel, Introduction to Aesthetics). All in all it does not seem to me possible to think of the “species” of the donkey without thinking of all donkeys, so that the “idea” of the asinine species appears to me simply as a multitude of ideas, each one referring to a real donkey. It seems to me that the content of a form is all its “accidents” and what is true for a donkey is true for art. Thus the content of a work of art is its finalised form, precisely that form which you hold to be accidental like the hairs in the donkey’s ears.

            Let it be supposed that for unknown reasons certain donkeys are born without hairs. You will say at once that they are still donkeys without the accident of hairs. Let it then be supposed that some are born without ears. You will say that they are still donkeys. Let it be supposed that they are born with horns, with six legs, two tails. You would begin to have difficulty in admitting that they were still nevertheless donkeys. When an animal then did not have all the “accidents” of a donkey but had others, you would find yourself having to coin a new term to designate the “essential” content of the new animal, thus implicitly admitting to have made your concept of asinine content or “species” dependent on the “accidents” which certain animals have in common by analogy with others. Admitting, and this is serious for you, that there is no content and, if there is, it is identified in accidents finalised with regard to a personal project, and in this finality, for a donkey and for every living being with hairs, the very last hair is also essential because a hair too is like any other part, such as the liver, the brain or other parts. And since it is right that I should be hard on your heels as you were on mine, I repeat: if the idea of work of art refers to the content of the work of art just as the idea of donkey refers to the content of the donkey, and the content of the donkey, as is evident, is the same finalised form of the donkey, the content of the work of art is its same finalised form (and cannot be its non-finalised form) which you, contrarily, define as “accidental”. Thus the abstract idea of donkey. The metaphysical idea, the idea of “species” which Plato held to be anterior to all donkeys whatsoever and which you believe to be true substance as against the “lowness” of “accidents” and given quite apart from “accidents; well, this idea does not exist, nor may we possess in our stable such a donkey without its essential accidents. So pure art too, which is to say without the “ballast” of accidents, does not exist: what exist are only objects that are more perfect or less perfect in form, or rather, suited in their form to their purpose. The metaphysical idea of object seems to me to be a reference to the project-related use of the accidents of an object. Our project-related aim maintains and defines as “accidental” that which in the object is held to be useless, and defines as substantial that which is held to be useful. But these definitions concern the functions which we assign to objects and are not properties of the objects even though the objects permit our definitions. So the metaphysical idea of “art” actually seems to me to refer to the object when it is suited to our project and not to the metaphysical “pure substance” of artistic “species”. Thus “pure” art appears to me as the product of a game of chance because for the construction of the “metaphysical” concept of art one also needs the most “accidental” of formal signs constituting the artistic object, just as the concept of the donkey also needs the very last hair of a real donkey.

            My dear Professor, even the idea of “being” is derived from a real being, which is to say from its “accidents” and therefore from its “flesh”, which you have much vituperated.

            Parmenides had already attempted a definition of the concept of “being” and first of all had to reduce it to the “one”, but as Plato replied, the unity of a real being is impossible since from the reality we must exclude its “parts” which are a multitude and a multitude cannot constitute the “one”, which is to say the unity of “being”, thus no being is possible in a concept that is not derived from its parts, or rather from its accidents. But the extraordinary fact is that you, after more than two thousand years, did not seek the truth but limited yourself to plagiarizing the thinkers of “being”.

            I note that, removed the form, your so-called content disappears: without the “accidents” there is no “being”. In fact between the form of reality, or “accidental” form, and its “substantial” artistic representation there is only our project-related use of accidents.

            It thus remains that between things and the idea of their substance there is nothing other than the use we make of “accidents”. So that which is real, both in art and genetic nature, is only the form which you define as “temporal accidentality” (Hegel, op. cit. page 107). Therefore the real content is what you call “accidentality” which in your opinion would be the contrary of ideal content, all of which seems to me a simple blinding. The semiologist Umberto Eco, an enthusiast of problems of knowledge, has recently admitted the difficulty of defining the “species” of a “strange” animal called the “duck-billed platypus”. This difficulty is due precisely to the idealist vice that thinks of the real as accidental and posterior to the ideal. Classification of the new animal in accordance with knowledge already acquired about other animals might also be impossible, resulting in the need for a new classification, and this because the ideal classification is posterior to the real animal, as we have said with regard to the donkey.

            All this “pure” rubbish ought to disappear from our language. What we call “being” is only physically determined and “impure”, not under “species” but unique and unrepeatable.

            So-called absolute or ideally “pure” values seem to me to be a verbal convention useful for the practical communication of values that are non-absolute and actually “impure”.

            If we did not have recourse to the agreed fiction of the existence of a pure point and had to locate a pencil mark in St. Peter’s Square we should still in any case need to specify the location of the pencil mark. But the location of a real pencil mark in St. Peter’s Square is possible only if we make a fictional pure point correspond to the location. But even a real pencil mark is divisible into many marks, and to know which of these marks is the pre-selected one requires a further specification of one of the many points constituting that mark. Thus the real location necessitates the fiction of the pure point which we know well to be “impure” or real.

            The reality of this non-existent thing consists in the existence of its fiction. The real form is divisible to the infinite but the pure point necessitates indivisibility. Thus the pure point too is, from your viewpoint, that “opposite” to the impure which, in order to be the opposite of what exists, does not exist, except in the name that makes it appear to exist.

            You will ask yourself why the mind needs this fiction in order to communicate the physical objective real, and in my opinion you will be able to answer yourself that although we know of the divisibility to the infinite of the real we elevate its parts to indivisible entities because their utilisation is indivisible. And what counts for us with regard to reality is what we make of reality in a project-related context. The project-related idea, by analogy, is like the white lie that a girl who needs to achieve her purpose tells her mother when she introduces her husband-to-be as a clean-living churchgoer although she knows he’s an inveterate womaniser. The mother too knows the truth but accepts him: her daughter will thus have an impure husband but will at least have a husband. Thus the pure or metaphysical idea is the representation of the project-related utility of that which is impure and physical.

            The idea of object transcends the physical object in order to bend it to project-related utility but is not, as every good idealist maintains, anterior but rather posterior to the object transcended and does not betray it but represents it objectively. What the fiancée does in order to actually get married is something we all do: to be able to accept ourselves we think of and present ourselves with an idea that transcends us. In thinking of myself I “purify” myself – you would say – of my accidents; otherwise I should lose myself in their infinite labyrinth.. My identity is the transcendental representation of myself. But what I am urged to say to you is this: my identity is not more elevated or nobler than my “flesh”, as you would have it. But if I had to employ your language I should say that the idea that transcends me is far baser than my body because it is the servant of the master that is myself in my impurity, divisibility and perishability. But from my viewpoint my body does not raise itself above the idea that I have of my body, and so the project-related memory I have of myself is what you call “spirit”. This memory is the same myself finalised like the fiancée’s lie.

            Yet you still insist on purity. You make pure being and pure nothingness the same thing, but you have also made them opposites. Aren’t you playing with words? You also say that when “we raise ourselves above the temporal by means of reason, it is understood that this occurs without any detriment to the finite” (Hegel Scienza della logica, Laterza, p. 139).

            But is not raising ourselves above the temporal the same as conceiving the temporal finite in a low condition? Why invent opposites only to annul them in reality as if reality were posterior to the opposites or as if the opposites were the cause of reality? And since one thing cannot simultaneously “be” another, this means that the “opposites”, which you consider as such simultaneously, cannot then be reconciled without undergoing extinction. It is only because they participate as differences and not as opposites in the same teleological project that they constitute “being there”, otherwise there would be no “being there”.

            It seems to me that in reconciliation the opposite loses its identity and thus, lost in the “other”, loses the force of constituting the project-related and social unity of “being there”. The unity of the “being there” is given by the finality and therefore the opposites must be only different.

It seems to me that the entire world is a society of “differences” with only one single end 1.

            The opposites to be “reconciled” appear to me to be only puppets. In our days the name philosopher is given to certain tightrope-walkers who, on the basis of your doctrine, deny existence itself. They deny that “being there” which, precisely in the strict sense of your logic, is nothingness if it comes from the reconciliation of pure being and pure nothingness which you postulated as identical nothingnesses. “Pure being and pure nothingness are therefore the same”, you say, and if in “reconciliation” and in the one “passing” into the other “each one disappears into its opposite” (Hegel, Scienza della logica, Laterza, p. 71), in disappearing they do not make “being there” emerge but cause the disappearance into nothingness of that which had already appeared as nothingness. In fact if being passes (excuse me if I don’t understand what “pass” means but I’ll pretend to), if being, then, passes into nothingness, it seems to me that it becomes a nothingness. So in passing one into the other they do nothing other than, at the most, exchange themselves with the other, leaving everything as it was before. But what is, is, and does not pass. You had so much imagination you could have sold it, but I don’t think it’s wise to buy from you.

            You will pardon me this tirade because I am writing to you as a painter of finite and therefore concrete things. I am writing to you because I want you to know what scientific research, in your day, had not yet discovered. Neuroscience today demonstrates that your aesthetic castle is reduced to ruins, as well as your prophecy of the death of art.

(Note N° 1 – Letter to Plato)

            In fact it has been discovered that only ”finite” experience is real and that the metaphysical idea of the infinite is reduced to empirical experience.

            It must be admitted that you were fascinated by Immanuel Kant. You believe it necessary to “discover the  first foundations of the faculty of principles independent of experience” as Kant says (Immanuel Kant, Critica del Giudizio, Laterza 1984 p. 5), which you called “absoluteness of reason in itself, which has constituted the turning point of philosophy in the modern age, this absolute point of departure should be acknowledged and must not be confuted therein (in Kantian philosophy) (Hegel Estetica, Einaudi 1976 p. 68). Even if you admit, unlike Kant, that it is possible to apprehend the beautiful in the concept (Hegel, op. cit., p. 107), you thought of the form of nature as accidental or “only sensible apprehension” (Hegel, op. cit., p. 45) or as “merely illusory external presence”(Hegel, op. cit., p. 57). Finite things for you must not be real but appearances placed “merely as wrapping” (Hegel, op. cit., p. 62).

            But it is with prudence that you, in your treatise, alternate running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. I was present at a dispute between two Hegelians. One said that you ran with the hare to get the hounds moving, the other that you hunted with the hounds to put the hare in its place. You first in fact admit that “the spirit appears appreciably in a satisfactory manner only in its body” (Hegel, op. cit., p. 91), that in the artist’s production “the spiritual and the sensible must be one thing only” (Hegel, op. cit., p. 49). You then state that the body in artistic representation “must be removed from the needs of all that which is only sensible and from the accidental falseness of appearance. In this way the form is purified in order to express in itself the content conforming thereto” (Hegel, op. cit., p. 91).

            All of your beating about the bush has the aim of serving two masters, even if you do favour the less appropriate one. And this is why your descendants still argue today, and perhaps will always argue, in the attempt to clarify whether or not you were honest. In every other line you write that since art has the spirit as its peculiar purpose “it cannot give the intuition of this by means of particular objects of nature such as the sun, the moon, the earth etc. These are certainly sensible existences but they are isolated and, taken in themselves, do not give intuition of the spiritual” (Hegel, op. cit., p. 119).

            In your treatise we find in every other line “the spirit that struggles against the flesh” (Hegel, op. cit., p. 65) and “the will that finds its direct opposition in nature, in sensible impulses” (Hegel, op. cit., p. 64).

            And in the end your message is communicated thus: “One may hope that art raises and perfects itself increasingly, but its form has ceased to be the supreme need of the spirit” (Hegel, op. cit., p. 120).

            Professor Hegel, you have been listened to. The form of art has been perfected in the form of tinned shit, that is to say “merde d’artiste”, written in French because it is always “refined”.

            Your philosophising, dear Professor, has taken in whole generations of small-time historians and aestheticians, thinkers dedicated to plagiarism and copying, and small-time artists with vain socio-political aspirations, all pupils of your schools who, be they right or left, differ only in the rags they use to cover their shameful parts.

            Today however neuroscience is bringing your schools to their knees together with yourself, your teacher and the teacher of modern teachers. I am alluding to Descartes who guarantees Existence because it is thought. Today it is scientifically certain that “in order to think, the brain needs objects, just as the eyes do in order to see” (Changeux, Ragione e Piacere, p. 112 Cortina 1995). Notwithstanding the fact that Descartes himself reflects saying “in the proposition I think therefore I am  there is absolutely nothing that assures me the truth thereof except that I see in the clearest manner that in order to think one must be” (Descartes, Discorso sul metodo, Mondadori 1993 p. 32), the so-called modern world maintains that reality is not anterior to the thinking thereof and indeed maintains that the guarantee of reality is thinking it in accordance with the proposition interpreted by Descartes and the with subsequent Kantian theory of a priori knowledge. Not only, but the so-called “weak thought” fashionable today casts doubt upon the existence of reality because thinking it guarantees it only subjectively. You too Professor were in agreement with Descartes and Kant for the greater security of the modern world in saying that “the real is rational and the rational is real”. Today research on the encephalon may aid philosophers. It has been ascertained that it is only the physical real that can constitute the idea of the real, as we have said. However, the central nervous system is an organisation programmed in accordance with a need anterior to its rational consciousness. The preservation of life is a need which, for all beings, is anterior to encephalic awareness of preservation. In fact this need is also possessed by organisms without an encephalon and therefore without rationality. So the Cartesian “cogito” must be increasingly guaranteed by “being”. Because it has been ascertained that one may be without thinking of being. Whereas the modern world has reduced being to the state of being able to be not-being because it places rationality before being.

            It is true that we can think of men with wings.

            But the existence of men and of wings is real. The constituent and analytical elements of this thought-object are in a relationship of analogy with genetic reality even though the object of their synthesis is not at all genetic.

            The work of art proposes a rational though unreal form. Pupils of yours and plagiarists in the guise of neo-Hegelian philosophers, having taken your maxim to the letter (“The rational is real”), make you cut as bad a figure as you deserve by saying that art is irrational. But art would be irrational only when it had no relationship of analogy with the given reality, as shown by modern non-representational artists who, being good pupils of yours, infatuated with the real as rational and the rational as real, maintain that art, being unreal, is also irrational, thus demonstrating the imprudence of their reasoning.

            It is true that the real is rational, but the rational is not always real. In fact each artistic project is rational but unreal. So I may say that I think because I am and not vice versa, even if this truth was felt by everybody even before they knew what neuroscience has taught. Today “only sensible apprehension” (Hegel, Estetica, Einaudi 1976, p. 45) is a nonsense since thinking the real and apprehending the real sensibly are one thing only. We are also discovering that the senses possess the ability to select with intelligence without recourse to encephalic thinking. Thus the finality of the artistic form, having a sensible relationship of analogy with the finality of the already given genetic form, is guaranteed in its genetic value by the finality of the already given genetic form.

            The living being is therefore the incarnation of its artistic project whose efficiency is given in temporary possession by the Exigency of genetic efficiency.

            It would be an insult to explain to you the difference between the ownership and the possession of goods. You know better than I that possession does not necessarily involve ownership. Thus in possessing the exigency of my artistic project I do not have ownership thereof. So any exigency of mine, though it is mine because I possess it, may be taken away from me. Therefore I do not believe you will be scandalised if I maintain that I am not the owner of myself, whereas you will certainly be strongly against my saying that my flesh and my spirit are the same. But I am writing to you precisely in order to say it, with the support of a host of scientists who, believe me, are to all effects philosophers. Art is the product of the species that organises itself for its exigency. You say that “everything that is spiritual is superior to any natural product” (op. cit. p. 37). But each natural being possesses teleological functionality relative to its personal form, as anyone can easily see. This is why it is necessary that the form of nature be the form of its finality, which is to say its artistic or spiritual form. From this it follows that finality, any finality even if historically immoral, is spiritual, so the form of nature and the spirit of nature are the same entity, and the cause of the efficiency of this entity we may call by the name of God or Primary Exigency of existence. I seem to understand that by “spiritual” you intend that which is “moral”. I seem to understand that your “absolute spirit” is none other than the absolute good of mankind associated historically. But to me it seems that “spirit” is the simple projecting of all matter. And the project of a being must be defined moral or immoral if it is useful or useless to the society of individuals dictating the rules for its own survival. Multiplying bread and fishes to feed the multitude is highly moral and is motivated by a great love for mankind. But to the fishes this multiplication of their death appears as a treacherous aggression on the part of mankind. And in fact mankind considers the plague as a treacherous aggression. Mankind’s imprecations against God for evil caused to mankind by other beings result from confusing, as you do, the “spirit” with the morality of mankind. God can be neither imprecated against nor prayed to because God is the project-related Exigency of all beings, including those which destroy mankind. Therefore both good and evil are spiritual.

            Professor, modern discoveries tell us that “an external side of form” (Hegel, op. cit. p. 84) does not exist.

            Because our spirit is our very body finalised without external sides but all internal and itself contained by itself, so “the incompleteness of form” does not “originate” “from the incompleteness of content” (op. cit. p. 87). But from itself if it lacks self.

            Art does not purify the form of the sensible since the sensible is itself art. An artist’s art is only a part of genetic art and is personalised in implementation by means of a choice finalised towards a personalised end. And in this way alone is art personal though universal. Art is the finite of the infinite. Thus in nature there cannot be other than total purity and substantial form, and never “accidental appearance” (Hegel, op. cit., p. 7).

            Genetic form or the form of nature is its own spirit which has been in process to a purpose for billions of years. I wish to repeat myself by saying that it seems to me that the form of nature is the final artistic masterpiece of genetic nature even if not the last, and the art of an individual artist is a part of  that, finalised by the artist as a genetic individual. And therefore there cannot be a form, either genetic or artistic, unsuited to its content. One of your assumptions recites that there may be “an imperfect art which with regard to the technical viewpoint and other viewpoints may be fully realised in its determined sphere but which appears incomplete in comparison with the very concept of art and with the ideal” (Hegel, op. cit. p., 87). Do you wish to propound that there may be a formally complete art, which is to say perfect in its artistic sphere, that is incomplete with regard to artistic content and hence imperfect? Like saying an art that is perfect but imperfect, which seems pitiful to me. You maintain, always and everywhere, that in the artistic procedure there are two roads taken by the same vehicle: one is formal and accidental as you put it, and the other is spiritual. But when and how the two roads meet with view to the vehicle taking the road of true art you do not say, and nor could you because if you had gone into the problem in depth you would have had to resolve your contradiction which posits nature as impotent to “be”: “the finite disappears” etc. etc., subject as you say to externalism. On your suggestion my contemporaries have chased this externalism out of art and, as may be seen, nothing remains. And this is due to the fact that externalism is not exterior but wholly interior and the road is one only.

            Yours, dear Professor, was a great blinding. You let yourself be blinded by an imaginary spirit. It was not vouchsafed you to think that every form of nature is unique and unrepeatable and this is why it dictates to us per sè the idea of self as Moruzzi’s experiment demonstrates. The non-repeatability of a form elevates it to “substance”, so that it will be thought and rationalised just as it is seen in reality. And what brings forms of nature to the unique and universal value is their convergent finality. Their freedom permits them the choice of a personal itinerary towards a common point of arrival. In this way the artist’s freedom will give the possibility of a formal choice for his work converging with that end in accordance with the genetic one. And the greater the appropriateness of the formal choice with regard to his purpose, the greater the beauty of his work will be. And where an artistic form has a non-univocal or contradictory purpose, a limit will be placed there to its perfection to that purpose, hence a limit to its beauty.

            Thus a painting, a house, a pair of shoes, a bird’s nest, a beehive will be part of the very body of those who produced them. However, beauty being proportioned to formal perfection with regard to a univocal purpose will not be bound to the moral good of a historical epoch. Allow me, professor, to make a distinction between the morality of a historical group and the ethics of the species. The gene eliminates the personal and historical experiences of the group if it deems them useless to the species. What you call “absolute spirit” might also be a historical error to be rejected. You will permit me then to hold an opinion different from your own and say that artistic work is evolutionary. It evolves the individual genetically even if the individual and his historical group should deteriorate morally.

            The work of art has a destination beyond the historical morality of the time in which it is produced. The work of art, even if its theme is negative, encourages environmental adaptive capabilities, evolves the individual and his environment. Thus both the genetic form of an individual and the form produced thereby due to the necessity of being a genetic individual are artistic. It was Plato ‘s wish that the beautiful should also be good, so Plato too admitted that the beautiful need not be good. “In fact there would be no little profit if poetry appeared which was not only sweet and mellow but also useful” (Plato Politeia X, p. 438, Rizzoli 1953). It is clear that moral good cannot be found in a work that exalts historically immoral behaviour. Yet the beauty of a work of art is the simple perfection of its form, certainly ordered to a purpose, but it does not lie in the goodness or moral usefulness of the purpose. I could give you a banal example: two athletes compete in a race. If one of them, halfway round the track, starts meditating on the mystery of the Holy Trinity thus losing coherency of movement, he is doing nothing wrong in connection with religious problems and therefore is doing good and what he is doing is good in connection with religious problems, but the wrongful thing, which therefore does no good, is that what he is doing with regard to the purpose of winning the race is not good. So we may easily say that the other athlete won the race because all the forms of his energy were perfectly coordinated to this end and he created a form perfect for a univocal end, thus realising, in comparison with the first athlete, an artistic form. While running the athlete may also produce an artistic form suited to the problem of the Holy Trinity and simultaneously produce an artistic form unsuited to winning the race. But in any case the value of the two forms always refers to their formal perfection which is highlighted in the finished product and not in its usefulness, otherwise the athlete who loses the race, having produced with his thoughts of the Trinity a greater good than victory in the race, would win the race while losing it. But the art of winning a race is not the art of resolving the mystery of the Holy Trinity. You on the other hand believe that there may be a perfect form with insufficient artistic content. It is as if you believed that the athlete who loses the race for having produced a greater spiritual good by thinking of the Holy Trinity runs substantially better than the winning athlete. You do not believe that the work of art is its own form. But the one who wins runs better because he runs more. He produced an ordered form to an end quantitatively greater than the one who lost the race. The finalised quantity in progress determines the quality of the result. Thus the artistic object is determined by the greater or by the lesser quantity of finalised form, and this will make your hair stand on end. To make myself clear I have to give you another couple of examples: a painting is subjected to aesthetic judgement: let us say it is a depiction of the vice of Wrath. If forms are represented in this work which may lead to suppose that wrath is a pacific mood, then this creates that equivocal incongruity in the work which I described above for the athlete who slows down his pace in order to philosophise and who quantitatively subtracts specific form from his race. The aesthetic judgement will be negative in this case, and will be positive if the work of art is in possession a form perfectly convergent with its purpose, that of representing the vice of wrath by quantity of form suited to its purpose.

            But even the simple representation of a genetic form without theme may be perfect or imperfect in a gradual manner in accordance with the degree of analogy with the finality of the genetic form: a portrait without a theme may be the subject of artistic representation. When the portrait of a face is equivocal with regard to another face it possesses an insufficient quantity of finalised form, like that of the athlete who dabbles in philosophy while running a race. A form quantitatively insufficient to its purpose is not aesthetically beautiful. Thus in a work of art beautiful forms are possible but not the beautiful as “species”. However, a face, quite aside from the representation  of an individual’s specific somatic features, has its own subject in the representation of the genetic characters of a genetic group and therefore the possibility of a representational perfection not bound to the representation of a determined individual. The beauty of an artistic form lies in this coherent analogy and adherence of the representational or artistic form to the genetic form. Moreover there may be perfection in the representation of everyday items: this perfection again is evaluated with regard to the analogy of its model, meaning to the service which the everyday item carries out; and since the use, or finalised function, of an everyday item is its content, this rises to content of the representation. Beauty is thus traceable also in the perfection of the everyday item itself and not only its representation. When the form of an everyday item is perfect in relation to its purpose, it will be beautiful in comparison with another which does not perfectly serve its purpose.

            From your teachings, Mr Hegel, I believe I have learnt a lesson that obliges me to overturn your doctrine in order to calm myself down into logical coherence. There are two banalities you propound which I find especially unbearable. The first: the annulling, through reconciliation, of two so-called opposites: form and content, or overcoming the “struggle of the spirit against the flesh” (Hegel, op. cit. p., 65). You propose a purification of “exterior” form as if this making-up of spirit became interior, and you think that a portrait may be perfectly painted and not catch the spirit of the face painted. But if a portrait does not catch the spirit, it does not catch the face of the spirit, and this is why such a portrait is not perfectly painted.

            It may be that incompetents take for good painting the kind that is well smoothed on the surface, doing as you do yourself, you who, from what you say, understood nothing of painting. Incompetents think that the smooth is difficult to execute and since it is difficult they consider it artistic.

            Plato too concludes the Hippias Dialogue, in which the problem of the beautiful is dealt with, by saying that the beautiful is difficult. Contrarily Leonardo da Vinci, who certainly knew something about art, believed that art was a temperate proceeding and that any difficulties encountered should not be seen in the work of art, and even less so the physical efforts the artist might occasionally have to suffer during the execution. Michelangelo destroyed the preparatory drawings of his works in order that the effort he had made to produce the work of art should never be seen. If he had believed that the beautiful were difficult he would not have been ashamed, even through immodesty, of having worked hard to achieve it. In fact that which is difficult does not give enjoyment, so in this case the Platonic beholder, should he receive no enjoyment from the difficult, would go against the master’s opinion and think that the beautiful is very easy and not difficult. But easy it certainly is not. In fact the easy is not project-related, is not active but retroactive and hence it appears to me that the beautiful is spontaneous but not difficult, even if it is not easy. We should need to ask bees if their hive is difficult to build. Bees build their hive as Phidias built the Parthenon: for exigency. Exigency renders spontaneous that which other people, not having the same exigency, find difficult. Phidias would have had difficulty in building a beehive. Now, to return to ourselves, if the purpose is to smooth a surface, a well smoothed surface is artistic. But the art of representation of the spirit, or of physical forms, is not the art of smoothing a surface. So a merely well smoothed portrait cannot be well painted. Dear Professor, I understand you: the early 19th century, the epoch of your mortal life, saw the flourishing of minor artists who, like yourself, believed in the “smoothed” and believed, like yourself, that artistic perfection was the perfect “licking” of coloured paste. But vaguely intuiting that the thing did not lie precisely in these terms you invoked a content opposed to the smoothed which you called “ technically achieved form in its determined sphere”. I think that with technically achieved form you were referring to this smoothness because, if not, you were light-heartedly milling the flour of gross contradictions which you then processed and prepared in the form of doughnuts with a perfect hole. But in any case it remains clear that your philosophising on art was a floundering in a subject unknown to you. To speak of a trade one must be at least a little of the trade. I say this not to confuse a trade with excellence of the trade, because everyone knows that the trade is a genre and the art of that trade is the level of that trade, which may be as high as it may be low to the point of disappearing into the trade of philosophy of the trade, I beg your pardon, to the point of  disappearing into chatter about aesthetics, as in your case and in that of many of your followers who are still alive today. Dear Professor, do not separate the form of art from the content of the “spirit”. At the most, separate these from smoothed paintwork.

            Your theory of the separation of form from content  produced incalculable damage. The more the themes were held to be the content of art, the more the form was imposed upon, to be in the end absorbed by moral philosophy, you believing with this to lead the form of art to its death. Art lost its atemporality to the extent that it became the dupe of the contingent political pronouncement pure and simple of the choice between left and right, in accordance with the teachings of your schools. Artistic became pure social behaviour and not a perfect object. Thus it happens today that a communist is an artist because he isn’t a fascist, a bigot an artist because he isn’t a rabid anti-clerical. If someone sets fire to the houses on the right hand side of the street he is an artist of the left who creates a work of art by arousing awareness of the “supreme interests of the spirit”, and someone who sets fire to the houses on the left hand side of the street is an artist of the right who creates a work of art by arousing awareness of the supreme interests of the spirit. Athletes who win races, painters who create fine works, are said to be obsolete because they lose themselves in the “accidental”, that is to say in form, as you said, and are not committed to bringing the “supreme interests of the spirit” into consciousness. To these artists one gives, at the most, a slap on the back so that they will continue laudably. May the athlete win again, but if he loses it’s all the same. In fact we hear that what counts is not to win but to take part in the race. But these teachers of “pure” art who do not distinguish the first athlete from the last do not realise that taking part in a race without winners and without losers is like being fattened like pigs. Thus everything is at once good and bad.

            Believe me dear Professor: we are all in the dung because the form of art has been abandoned for the “supreme interests of the spirit” and we find ourselves without interests and the “spirit” is only that of the sceptics. The race is no longer run without  sensible figuration, everything is mingled, even good and evil homogenise and are homogenised, children grow up limp, without backbone, children for whom everything is permissible, including shooting for fun at passers-by and later dying of an overdose. Dear Professor, do not separate form from content. Form is content. To you it seemed that content belonged to the intellect and not to the “flesh” because you did not know that the brain represents all the project-related aspects of the flesh. To you it seemed that project-relatedness was the teleological command of the intellect and that the senses were a lowly mechanism of  implementation when they were not an obstacle. It seemed to you that the “flesh” was not the intellect itself because it wasn’t in the encephalon. Whereas the flesh is not only in the encephalon but the project-relatedness of the encephalon is dictated by the exigency of the flesh, as demonstrated by Moruzzi’s experiment. We discover today that the idea of real form is the only reality that the encephalon possesses, to the extent that brain and intellect, due to their common finality, become synonyms. Were this not the case the intellect would not be the function of the brain, all of which has been demonstrated to be untrue. So the formal image does not contain its spirit but is itself spirit. Were this not so, the project-relatedness of a thinking being would be anterior to the thinking being and so predetermination would touch on everything. But here we refute the existence of even a minimal predetermination, clearly seeing the existence of freedom.

            To keep up your teachings on the accidental quality of the form of nature someone, to the greater glory of “content”, has replaced in the work of art the analogical form of reality with the photographic reproduction of the form of reality.

            You should know that about one hundred years after your death a machine was invented that could fix, on a sheet of paper, the images of nature precisely as the brain does through the instrument of the eyes and of the hand onto paper. This image, called photographic, refers to a fraction of a second of becoming reality. These operators employ photographs to highlight the “supreme interests of the spirit” which here we may safely call political ideologies for the use of the times, given the way things have turned out. And it is true that a photograph may possess the finality of the theme like a work of art, but the work of art is not its theme but the how which, as we have seen, is the formal “quantum” which brings to light the theme. Photography reproduces a form anterior to the artist’s will, whereas art produces a new form beyond the theme. Nature photography is like nature mirrored. Today we know that the eyes of the brain snap millions of photographs every second and the project-relatedness of the brain utilises only those images deemed to be constructive and useful to the project. As you will have understood, one single mechanical photograph is an artistic wretchedness in comparison with a work resulting from the finalised selection of millions of cerebral images. The analogical or artistic form is a new personal form. In brief, the content of the photographic work is the telling-off of the theme, that telling-off which you gave to believe to be the content of art but which today is seen to be what it is.

            The same must be said for the construction by assembly carried out on the computer. This gives the possibility of efficiently carrying out a theme but with a pre-constituted and prefabricated form that is anterior to the artist’s will. Computer thematic processes do not possess a form deriving from the artist’s freedom. And when you want to draw a form with the mouse you still do what has always been done with the pencil. With the difference that a pencil is more obedient to the hand and the hand is intellect itself. As an instrument replacing the pencil and the hand, the mouse is a step down in the ability to transmit the encephalic idea.

            Construction of the analogical form carried out by a spiritually manual artist is such as to transform the form of nature into representation. The artistic form with its analogy is a new nature. And, like nature, unrepeatable and therefore true spiritual substance. Assembly on the other hand is without formal unity but unitary only in the thematic procedure. You ought to see this device, highly useful for certain activities aimed at time saving. The computer is like an immobile warehouse of immobile images in which you can trace recyclable pieces to be adapted to the construction of the thematic idea. The computer operator who takes forms from the computer does not personally possess the idea of the form he takes for his theme. The idea of that form is traceable to the programmer who placed the files in the computer. And to find a form ready made means to find oneself unable to think it autonomously. You will understand at this point the consequences of having annulled the centrality of form in favour of an imaginary spirit or pure content. What has remained of your spirit or pure content is the mere social theme, of brief historical duration, of brief and ephemeral instrumental utilisation. What has remained is the incapability of thinking a form, hence of thinking an artistic content.

            You express your second banality as follows: “the work of art is not a natural product but is produced by human activity” (Hegel, op. cit. p. 33).

            You hold that human activity is not natural and so it is natural that you also consider man as not natural. Is there perhaps a non natural human reality? If you want art to be considered not natural you will not want it perceptible. So why write perceptible words if you do not want the object of your words to be perceptible? You have predicated things that are not predicable. Today neuroscience gives us the proof that no cognition can go beyond the sensible natural object, as I told you. And also deductions from premises, if these are true, that is to say sensible truths, only render formally explicit that which was already in the premises. And since our central nervous system is the product of an evolution begun billions of years ago with the constitution of a first molecule and a unicellular organism, of necessity the individual freedom of our ancestors’ cells is the departure point of the formation of our current central nervous system.  Johann Friedrich Meckel says, “During its development the higher animal passes through the permanent organic stages of those species inferior to it” (Changeux, Ragione e piacere, Cortina, p. 129).

            It is therefore necessary that mental representation should have its form modelled by the sensible and finalised form of nature, as Moruzzi’s experiment demonstrates. It is also necessary that our first ancestral cell should have possessed the aesthetic capacity to distinguish and choose the best for itself, refusing the worst. Without the freedom and capacity of choice of our first ancestral cells, our present freedom of choice would not have been possible.

            So between the genetic spirit that you call “flesh” and the project-related freedom of the current individual that you call “spirit” there is not struggle but identity of construction work which goes from the individual to the species. It starts with the first molecule and arrives at the most highly evolved man: “We preserve in our brain the material imprint of our fish ancestors that lived around three hundred million years ago, and perhaps also of even older primitive worms” (Changeux, op. cit. p. 147).

            The memory of experiences that we consider useful by means of an aesthetic judgement serves as a model and point of departure for new knowledge. “The human brain’s exceptional capacity to produce and evaluate mental representations, to communicate them and memorise them, makes it possible to propagate and perpetuate representations from one generation to another” (Changeux, op. cit. p. 156).

            Many believe that this memory of experiences is incapable of modifying the genetic code. But if forms of life evolve through experiences in a logical way, the memory of experiences is necessarily the source of genetic codification. Experiences would otherwise be useless. One cannot believe that a consequentially logical evolution is due to chance, which is neither progressive nor logical but occasional and reversible. It has been found that in the course of thousands of centuries domesticated animals have undergone evident bone and almost structural modifications which their counterparts in the wild state have not undergone. Now, if there are two animals with the same genetic beginnings and one of these, changing environment, undergoes modifications, it means that it is the adaptation to the new environment and not chance that modifies the structure. And since we cannot today accept that evolution is programmed in advance but is rather the result of a reciprocal current adaptation for the exigency of individuals and of the environment formed by the individuals, the memory of experiences is necessarily the source of the environmental behaviour decisions which evolve the species and hence the gene in accordance with the times and modes chosen by evolution, once again for its exigency: “three evolutions are interwoven in the brain in a singular manner: that of the species, that of individuals and that of cultures” (Changeux, op. cit. p. 6).

            Vittorino Andreoli states that it is possible for the encephalon “to modify itself on the basis of external stimuli and therefore of experience” (La norma e la scelta, Mondadori 1984, p. 19). Now if structural modifications of the encephalon due to current experience are currently possible, it is also possible to hypothesise that the entire structure of the encephalon is formed through past experience. If we consider that the earliest forms of life of our ancestors were lived without encephalon, it follows that the encephalon is the final result, even if not the last, of a cognitive activity starting out from the aggregation in organisms of the first cells, if not the first molecules.. Thus the genetic code too is necessarily the final and not last fruit of a transformation begun with the first aggregation in an organism of the first vital elements at the beginning of their cognitive experience.

            I believe that you will want to take note of the news from the modern scientific world and take such hypotheses into consideration. So that you may no longer think that the spirit is not the body. So that you may think that the spirit evolves because it is body. If the spirit did not evolve, our first ancestral cell would have possessed our present spirit, but it is reasonable that each body should be its own spirit even though it has a soul in common with the rest of the world.

            At this point you will ask me what the soul is, if the spirit is body. With this question you will insinuate that I deny the existence of the spirit, and if the spirit does not exist then neither does the soul.

            I should like to define the soul as Exigency of physical or spiritual efficiency, but not determining cause of the spirit as you would have it. You describe the soul as that which coordinates the finalised movement of the parts of the body. This non “accidental” movement (Hegel, Estetica, Einaudi 1976, p. 143) you deny to animals, saying they have only arbitrary movement not conforming to a law. In your opinion a peculiarity of the soul is the determination of conscious movement. But you neglect the important property of movement which is its continued teleological efficiency even after the death of the conscious body and the constituent parts thereof. And it is natural that it should be so because in your day the movement of atoms and their particles was not known. This movement is finalised towards life in general and reveals a marvellous efficiency coordinated for the creation of other conscious and non-conscious lives. This efficiency cannot be  personal even though the individual, inasmuch as spirit, personally finalises this efficiency. If fact an individual capable of giving itself efficiency by itself would be immortal. So efficiency of movement is due to an entity which transcends the individual and which I should call Soul or Primary Exigency of existence. Finalised coordination of movement I should attribute to the spirit, meaning the teleological body of each individual. If, as you say, the soul determined the movement of the body, it would have a relationship of the same nature with the body. Over and above being peculiar to that body it would have an evolutionary relationship with the body, losing all transcendence over the body, whereas in its being only the exigency of the efficiency of the body, the soul’s transcendence over the body is clearly necessary. This distinction renders comprehensible the simultaneous presence in reality of an immortal entity such as Exigency of the efficiency of that which is mortal, renders necessary the Soul as Exigency of the project-related body, which is to say the spirit.

            You say that the symmetry of crystals is due to their lack of soul, which explains what conception you have of the soul. The soul, in your opinion, “is concentrated in the eye” (Hegel, op. cit., p. 175) “which is the seat of the soul” (Hegel, op. cit., p. 176). For you “the noblest organs are the internal ones: liver, heart, lungs” (Hegel, op. cit., p. 157).

            You have a mortal concept of the soul as would befit only the body, or the spirit in its uniqueness and project-related non-repeatability. Whereas the soul is revealed to us as Exigency of the efficiency of the project. It therefore transcends the project of every living being and hence every spirit. And thus, being the universal cause, it is not personal property but only a personal possession, as I told you. The soul is the Exigency of the spirit, or of the body. The soul of a saint is the same as that of the most abject man. It is the cause of the efficiency of existence. It is the tension that permits us to freely build our genetic life. So the soul is God himself, as the spirit of man is man himself. Thus the soul appears to me to be an entity that cannot leave the body but only transform it. Between the Divine Soul and the spirit of man and of all project-related beings, including crystals and subatomic particles, there can be no intermediary or obstacle, therefore neither conflict nor reconciliation, since the living being possesses the Exigency of its efficiency which transcends it. Thus the divine Soul is possessed by nature inasmuch as nature exists, and the death of God is only a senseless pronouncement that affirms His presence.

            So as long as living beings live as artistic form, or as spirit, by their Exigency, for them there will be no opposition with the body. Genetic form thus appears to me to be the form of the spirit of the species, appears to me as work of art; efficient for its Exigency and, as I said, in temporary possession of the soul. Art will certainly not die for the reasons adduced by you as a pretext. “Inner nature” does not “celebrate its triumph over the external” and does not “make appear in the external and over it a victory with which every value is removed from that which sensibly appears” (Hegel, op. cit., p. 34).

            Modern science has cancelled out the distinction between internal and external, between interior and exterior and has returned to the sensible all the value that you had removed from it. And with this the death of art and the death of God have been defeated. Art could die if the Soul died. But death of the Soul would annul existence over and above the same energy, which seems impossible to me. Illustrious Professor, I am pouring ink into the inkwell, but I need paper in order to draw sensible figures so I won’t be long-winded. Yet I feel urged to say one last thing to you. It concerns a sad fact of which you too are aware but which takes on a different value if interpreted correctly: it appears that the emperor of the east, Leo III, in the seventh century of the Christian era, was not in good faith when he issued his famous decrees against sacred images. This Leo, a thousand years before yourself, thought as you did, but pretended that images were the “flesh” fighting against the spirit. This Leo might have written your very words, “art is not, either with regard to content or form, the supreme and absolute way of bringing to the spirit awareness of its true interests” (Hegel, op. cit., p. 14). But the interests of the spirit of Leo III were imperial. They were contested by the classical culture of Christian monasticism. In order to strike the political opposition he attempted to strike the culture of the opposition, which is what happens as a rule.

            The death of art sought by Leo III is the death that you theorised about. But a philosopher cannot falsify like an emperor and cannot permit anyone to make him observe the contradiction into which he has fallen, as you fell in removing value from the figure with a figurative language. If we talked about it and our words were not figurative we would not understand one another. So at first glance, without knowing the real reasons for the ancient iconoclasm, one does not understand why images were attacked by Leo III and why a thinker like yourself did not note the contradictions in theorising the impotence of the figure to represent the spirit with an interminable sequel of formally figurative sentences, therefore, in accordance with your own theoretics, instant suicide. Strictly speaking this old iconoclasm should also have struck writings and conversations and the figurative imperial decrees themselves, and you, professor, would have had to keep your mouth shut and not hold your figurative anti-figurative lessons. The non-figurative artists of today are more coherent than you were and, taking your doctrine to its logical conclusions, no longer produce any objects whatsoever, because even a blank canvas, raised up previously with figurative words as symbol of the non-figurative theory, speaks through its silence the figurative language of your theoretics. A blank canvas in itself is not artistically nothing, but sustaining with its not being figurative the negation of the figurative it becomes an eloquent and figurative message of its non-figurative philosophy. Thus also the blank canvas in order not to have to be subject to the figurative language that explains it declined due to that coherency which you lacked.

            Historians say that all those who practise the profession of tyrant do not look well on the spreading of culture and think up artificial problems to conceal their abject purpose of ruling over others. The usual argument thought up by the tyrant maintains that God cannot be represented, which everyone knows, including fiercely representational artists. And since God cannot be represented, the tyrant would have it that everything concerning the spirit emanated by God cannot be represented. From the heights of your university chair you pontificate exactly like the iconoclast emperor and write for the future decline of art that “God in this spirit is now known also in a higher way, more correspondent to thought, with which it is at the same time put forward that manifestation of the  truth in sensible form is not really appropriate to the spirit” (Hegel, op. cit., p. 122).

            This is a deduction only talkers can make, but artists reject it. Given that all cognition is implemented through an image or figure and that every mental form is determined by images, the communication thereof is also necessarily figurative, that is, structured in accordance with its image. The Christian doctrine states that God became man, and this I believe symbolically only to communicate with men “in the eternal memory of the life in the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have received the tradition of depicting Him in his human figure thus exalting the self-humbling of the Word of God” (Germanus VIII century). But in reality, with what self-conceit does that philosopher or that artist soil himself by separating himself from the “flesh”? Perhaps  the maddest kind, because in order to do this he must deny his own flesh which, reduced to nothingness, cannot think of the existence of God, that is, the primary Exigency of existence. It also necessitates that the destruction of images be destruction of consciousness, and without consciousness there can be no rational idea of God. This implicitly accuses your chair of obscurantism. We find openness to consciousness and therefore find scientific correctness in the fundamental principle of ancient Scholasticism which postulates that there is nothing in the intellect which was not first in the senses. We believe logically and in accordance with scientific proof that what has first been in the senses possesses, in the intellect, the form of the senses.

            So-called pure concepts cannot be figured, that is, cannot be represented. If concepts such as the concept of pure space, declared independent of empirical experience in accordance with the Kantian doctrine you accepted, cannot in this fundamental principle undergo figurative representation, it is due to the simple fact that they do not exist. And with what sinful contradiction does a Christian soil himself in believing that the death of art is possible when this means the death of God? For whom did Jesus take upon himself martyrdom as a man? Why did Jesus’ body rise from the dead if the body is that vile encumbrance so disparaged by Mr Hegel? Perhaps for Christians who deny the existence of God. Let the Christian church make a careful analysis of the reasoning behind a non-iconic art and state whether it is Christian or heretical.

            For those who are nostalgic for the iconoclastic and regressive world it is a great effort to accept that their entire thinking is a product resulting from neuronal organisation, even if they are told that this is moved by Divine efficiency. Scientific realism scares them because they are poor in spirit and because their certainty in the necessity of God is weak. They also suffer from logical weakness and weakness of character. They meekly submit to anyone who steps up to the chair and do not see even the most striking contractions in doctrines such as yours, eminent teacher. The fatal weakness is the one that prevents them distinguishing efficient things from the Exigency of their efficiency. This weakness is the cause of the difficulty in letting God and the freedom of living things coexist simultaneously. This terror derives from failure to distinguish the concept of precedence from the concept of priority.

            It seems to me that God cannot be creator, that is, precedent to and cause of creatures, otherwise He would be creator of that which before time He had not yet created; this therefore necessitates that the freedom of our efficiency not be posterior to but simultaneous with the Exigency of existence. We may say that the Exigency of our efficiency is the very presence of God within us. So God cannot be precedent to efficient things because with that precedence He would have been efficient cause of that which was not yet efficient because not yet existing. So our project has not been predetermined by God. But in His priority too there is nothing nobler with regard to what is not of a priority nature, since it is inconceivable that a nobility or priority should be efficiency of the absence thereof. Thus God cannot create something, nor can one inferior or merely similar create Him since it is contradictory to the event of an act of God which He has not always carried out and of equal dignity with regard to his power. What I mean is that the exigency of the efficiency of things cannot over time be greater than what it has always been. It may be pointed out that if one maintains that God created the world, one must admit that before the creation God was in power at the moment of creation. But to pass from power to the act means “becoming” and God cannot be subject to becoming, hence God cannot be the creator of the world.

            In order to maintain that God is the creator of the world and at the same time remove him from temporal becoming it is maintained that time too was created by God separate from time, which means conceiving God in eternity and specifying that eternity is not the totality of time, but each existence disappears into eternity. The existence of God also disappears. Professor, you who are a great player at logic, tell me if one may play on the simplicity of a non-existent concept such as the concept of eternity if this is not the totality of time. Tell me if one may communicate this false concept thus: though eternity seems to be infinite time, it has not even the slightest relationship with time, nor affinity nor distant analogy. Eternity has nothing to do with anything known or knowable. Knowledge of each thing is subject to the image which time gives thereof. If I had to make eternity understandable to an intelligent child – not to a young undergraduate corrupted by his philosophy lecturer – I should tell him to first imagine all the time of years, many billions of billions of years that pass by. Then to imagine eternity as a thing that sees all this time passing in a millionth of a second, adding at once that not even this millionth of a second has anything to do with eternity because eternity has nothing at all to do with time. The millionth of a millionth of a second can be measured, but eternity has nothing to do with any kind of measurement.

            What say you professor to this stratagem for making a student understand what eternity is if it is not the totality of time?

            However, you will see if I too have understood well what is meant by eternity. It seems to me like your absolute infinite which having nothing in common with the numerical infinite is like eternity that has nothing in common with time.

            But you must explain to me why the word “eternity” immediately elicits the thought of infinite time and the word infinity that of the infinity of finite things. Is it not perhaps because eternity and the pure infinite seem non-existent to everybody? Is it not because there are only finite realities in the encephalon? It seems to me that those who maintain the existence of an eternity that is not of infinite time are lying to themselves; in fact the definition of an entity without time is borne only on the denial of every real definition. It is in the denial of the temporally known that we arrive at the non-existent called by an empty name. I believe that deduction of the existence of an entity transcending the real is possible only where the transcendent is not opposed to the real but is its guarantee, where the “finite is true being” so that everything may be said of this being, precisely because it is itself infinite. Something may be thought without current perception, but on the condition that it does not exclude past perception and includes its finality.

            So it is not a diminution of God to attribute to Him the exigency of the efficiency of the world, because without the Exigency of its efficiency the world would not exist. But as may be seen, the Exigency of existence does not stand on any negation or opposition but is affirmation par excellence. Nor is infinity taken from God – in fact the efficiency of the infinite as totality of time is infinite.

            It is said that Leonardo da Vinci before painting a picture prepared the appropriate final varnish. So some said that Leonardo was crazy because he started a work from the end and not the beginning. This anecdote may serve to make it understood how a “priority” is not precedence and is not subject to temporal succession. In fact in a time order Leonardo first had to paint the picture and then varnish it. But if the varnish had not been prepared beforehand or devised in a concretely appropriate manner for that given painting to be painted in accordance with a given technique, the picture would have been painted in vain or would not have been painted at all. For Leonardo the varnish had priority with regard to the painting even though it was temporally posterior thereto. The Priority of God is the simple guarantee of the efficiency of things and has no relationship with the chronology of things although it guarantees things in their chronology. This guarantee of efficiency transcends the guaranteed and efficient object. It is unique and, not being subject to efficient things, is proper to God as unique attribute. Thus God may be thought even if not perceived because he is thought of as the guarantee of that which is perceived inasmuch as that which is perceived cannot (without finality) guarantee itself by itself. God being the finality of perceived things guarantees their existence. If the matter perceived constituted the “opposite” of God, God would disappear because the opposite of what is certain is the impossible. God would not be thought. In the denial of the Existence of matter there is the denial of the Exigency of existence. God is therefore real because the finite real that thinks God is real. The real thinks of Him as the guarantee of His existence. And it is not madness to distinguish the Exigency of efficiency from the efficient thing. If we admit the teleology of our every act it will be necessary to distinguish it from finalised things, at least to our eyes. But it seems that our eyes see what is there and not what is not there. But many things, Professor, you did not see with your eyes: you invented “opposites” of what you saw. We see the priority of God as the priority we give to the purpose of what we do. So, God being the Exigency of the efficiency of what we do, God necessarily has a priority without temporal determination for what we do. But also in what we do not do, if it is thought as done or to be done by means of knowledge of the real.

            Even the simple idea of making an object or doing good or evil is formally, structurally, physically concrete in the encephalic image and moved by the same Exigency as an achieved act. In choosing to do something there is already the form of that thing in our physical encephalic structure. Only impediments activated by the will of others might deviate our project, so even if the project is not realised its Primary Exigency is not lessened, it belongs to the priority of the Soul without specific determination, as we have said.

            Now at last you will ask me why I put you on a par with the iconoclast emperor: you had no empire to defend, true, but you defended your barony with much smoke and no fire: you took the form of nature as scapegoat with extreme coolness and did not think of the consequences.

            For the rest, it is known that on seeing the splendid snow-capped Alps you were unmoved. Today a neurobiologist would suspect you of having a cerebral lesion or dysfunction, typical of those who are perfectly rational but without feeling.

            But it’s time I finished this letter by communicating to you, as promised, the results of an experiment carried out with scientific accuracy in which it is demonstrated that the form of sensible nature is the content of nature and of the idea of nature: a French researcher, Professor Changeux, who is in charge of the molecular neurobiology laboratory at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, speaks of an experiment carried out on a macaque by a group of scientists. The experiment took the form of recording the responses of the monkey’s neurones which, as Professor Changeux points out, are homologous to those of man. This monkey was shown the full-frontal drawing of a human face. It was then shown the same drawing but without the eyes. Subsequently the drawing was shown in what we should call in today’s artistic jargon “naïf” lines. Then the image was decomposed and shown in separate parts: “abstract” we should say in artistic jargon today, meaning non-representational: without analogy with the genetic forms of the first drawing. Well, the neuronal responses, beginning with the most intense to the first image, gradually diminished until they almost disappeared with the abstract. The experiment demonstrates that if a sign is not traceable by analogy to the function of an image that is logical, that is to say, structurally finalised by nature, is not traceable to a rational value, then it does not produce emotive responses. The researchers’ experiment has now laid the scientific ground for the theory which I and very few others uphold: that informal art, in excluding all analogy with the genetic form of nature, excludes the possibility of any emotive response. This experiment proves once more that the “sensible” which you believe must be vanquished is clearly the victor. The spirit, as you imagined it in opposition to the “flesh”, does not exist and art is only the formal finalised perfection of the sensible, of that sensible from which derives all cognition and therefore all spiritual movement inasmuch as it is sensible. Dear Hegel, the art you crucified rose up on the third day.

            I send you live, sensible greetings.

            Mario Donizetti.

            P.S. I feel the need to excuse myself for the arrogant tone pervading my letter, but it was written under the impulse of the offence given me by the modern world of which you are one of the founding fathers.

                                                Note 1


(copyright Mario Donizetti 1997)


            Dear Plato, dear Master,

            Perhaps nobody has told you yet what the scientists of my day have magnanimously made known to everyone, breaking down the distinction between the man of common sense and the philosopher of “ecstatic knowledge”.

            I too have come to know certain facts. I have placed them in relation to recent problems concerning art and to your doctrine of “ideas” and have decided to write you this letter.


            Well, the famous neurologist Vittorino Andreoli told me that when an organism is composed of few cells it never possesses a nervous system and even less a central nervous system, or brain, because since there are few cells they are all in direct contact with the exterior of the body to which they belong and therefore can have, autonomously and directly from outside, what they need for survival. And yet without the directives of a brain all the cells act for their own individual good which is simultaneously the good of the whole organism. The cells of an organism are each structured in accordance with its own exigency just like those which without being part of an organism live in coacervation in an autonomous and not communal manner. Cells in coacervation, even if close to one another, have no reciprocal useful relationship and no interchange, unlike those of an organism.

            I am asking you here if it is possible to say that an organism is such and differs from the accumulation when the cells take on, with the others nearby and adjacent, a function ordered towards a common purpose and are no longer autarchic and autonomous. If this may be said then it seems to me one may also say that a non-incompatible relationship is possible between “plurality” and “unity”. One may say that what determines “an” organism as such is the common finality of its parts and it is thus possible to think that the parts of an organism are in turn “one” and are so because they are moved in turn by a finality such as the nucleus, the membranes etc. (in the specific case of cells). These parts in turn are constituted of other increasingly numerable parts characterised by a common finality, such as molecules, atoms and smaller particles. As I said, the “plurality” (the parts of an organism) becomes “unity” only when the parts assume a common finality. You have shown that “one” cannot be formal even if spherical and monobloc, as Parmenides said. I recall your observation: that the centre of a sphere is not the surface, so it remains that “one” is only the end which however, precisely because it is the end, transcends the parts. Through its unity it transcends forms and their mechanism. Contrarily, in fact, if the finality of the mechanism were identified in the mechanism itself, as the moderns would have it, even the very idea of mechanism would be lacking. In fact it is the “one” which makes possible the “many” inasmuch as the “many” are “many one”. If the “one” of the finality did not exist we should not be able to have the idea of “one” and therefore neither should we be able to have the idea of the “many” mechanisms and the many forms, the many cells and the many atoms which are “many” precisely because they are “one” in the finality.

            Individuation of the mechanism, that is, the form function of an object or a body is possible where a “finality” is identified, as we said with regard to the organism in comparison with the coacervation. So it is necessary that the “one” be the existence of the “many” and vice versa: the many would not exist had they not “a” finality, and the finality would not exist if the many were not finalised because without the many nothing would be finalised.

            The transcendence of the finality renders possible the existence of both the “one” and the formal “many”.

            The “many” would be annihilated, that is, non-existent, without the existence of the “one” and yet the “one” in turn would have no “reality” if it lacked the “many” because it would be the finality of that which does not exist, and a finality of that which does not exist does not exist. Thus it is necessary that “one” and “many”, that is, the bodies and their purpose, are simultaneous even though distinct.

            So I was saying to you that when an organism becomes complex thanks to the continual multiplication of its cells, when the cells are so numerous as to exceed the surface of the organism exposed to the exterior, which is to say when some cells are isolated from this exterior within the organism and no longer have the possibility of external contact in order to directly satisfy their needs of awareness of their individual good and bad, and hence can no longer directly choose their good and attend to their preservation, the organism manufactures nerve cells and sets them in a system branching throughout the body that brings into the organism, that is, into the internal cells of the body, the information that the external cells already know due to their position.

            In the so-called higher animals the number of cells is such as to arrive at billions of billions, so the nervous system, as may be seen, needs a centre for data gathering and retransmission of commands to all the cells of the body in accordance with information received, again with view to survival of the entire organism.

            Just as couriers bring information to the central State office from outlying districts, so the information from the outlying areas of our body is brought to the brain by a chain of nerve cells.

            Just as the Government issues orders to frontier regions concerning what to do or not to do with regard to adjoining states in accordance with information received, so the brain issues orders to do or not do this or that, in accordance with information received, to all the cells of the body. And it cannot be excluded that States, since earliest antiquity, have organised themselves without knowing it on the model of genetic organisms with view to the same necessity and therefore in accordance with a natural law. In the functions of receiving and communicating information the whole body feels, takes part in these functions, feels itself in a tension finalised towards its functions precisely as in a true democracy. The State is at the service of the individuals comprising it and the latter identify the State with their own interests. And it cannot be excluded that for both a body and for a State there is a natural collapse when there is no reciprocation of “amorosi sensi”, as you put it. You conceived your Republic precisely as a natural body with specialised subdivision of the parts. Like a body, wich uses various cells specialised according to functions. You thought of men specialised in particular functions at the service of the republic.

            But to return to our main interest: the cells of an organism without a nervous system and without a brain nonetheless possess, as I told you, the capacity for finalised behaviour: they have their optimal way of behaving in order to live and multiply. Neither more nor less than the cells organised by a central nervous system. Their method appears very simple but is equally perfect.

            Thus, as I told you, as the number of cells of an organism gradually increases, the complexity and not the perfection of the nerve network and its central system increases. This complex nerve and brain organisation seems to be formed to solve a problem formerly solved by the same organism when its cells were so few as to be all logistically located in contact with the external world, as I already said. But it is necessary that, over and above appearances, this organisation be finalised for the solution of a problem that is new and posterior to that of nutrition or survival and multiplication of the cells, the solution of an already solved problem being incomprehensible.

              Good. These facts call for a correction or more precise stating of your theory of the anteriority of “ideas” with regard to reality.

            Your doctrine has it that reality is a “copy” of the “idea”. You’ve already understood me, but all the same I shall give you information that the science of your day could not give you: our brain too, like that of other animals – and here I humbly beg you to continue reading my letter with goodwill – was formed after the complex developments of the number of cells of our ancestral body which was itself formed like others starting out from our first common ancestral cell. And as with all organisms, our ancestor too had first to form a nervous system and then to centralise it in the encephalon.

            This presupposes that our first ancestral cell and our present cells must have possessed and must possess a structure with the function of a central nervous system which though not capable of a long term memory is capable of deciding immediately, that is, without cerebral mediation and rapidly, with regard to its own good, and of refusing the bad.

            This decisional ability or teleological freedom of cells and acephalous organisms is interpreted by some as pure mechanism without free finality. But it goes against reason that a mechanism should move without purpose. In fact if an organism had not a finality it would be immobile, it would have no other purpose than to exist without moving for a purpose. The power to be immobile in full self-satisfaction renders any mechanism superfluous because the simple power of self is in itself sufficient for its existence and there is no need of any mechanism for existing in accordance with a mechanism. It is therefore necessary that where there is a mechanism there is also a finalised Exigency which renders the mechanism efficient and finalised by transcending it.

            Individual cells, as we have seen, possess teleological efficiency, they possess logical efficiency. So it is necessary that the behaviour of the organism composed of cells without a central nervous system should differ from that with a central nervous system only in not having a centralised and long term memory. The encephalic idea thus appears to us as the memory of the cellular logical-efficient capacity, a memory also useful for the preservation of those segregated cells logistically located far from the organism’s external contact, as I told you. We may therefore hypothesise that both organisms composed of cells without a nervous system and organisms organised by a brain have an “idea” of their finality. The former have a short term memory idea suitable or useful to current decisions without remembrance or historical memory of decisions taken previously, and in this act-decision they exhaust memory of themselves. The latter have the possibility of preserving this short term memory since it is transmitted by means of the nerve network to an archive teleologically active in favour of those cells without contact with external reality.

            As you have seen, this archive feeds information also to those cells that are logistically in contact with the external world, thanks to the nerve network which first brings the short term memory to the brain but then redistributes it, by means of the same instrument, as long term memory. The brain is no other than the memory of an organism’s teleological necessities, but in both the acephalous and cephalous organism we see a finalised mechanism equally perfect to the extent that we cannot say which of the two is better.

            Now, going back to our first ancestral cell and hence to the precedence of ideas with regard to reality, I have to think that now you too, having learnt of the origins of our brain and the exigency or purpose for which it was formed, will think that Socrates, in the marvellous dialogue with Hippias, should maintain the contrary of what he did maintain.

            Today you would put into the mouth of Socrates that it is no longer thinkable that the idea of bed is anterior to a real bed and is a copy of the “species” bed given by God, since in that case our first ancestral cell, ancestral also to other animals such as fish and worms, would have already had to have the idea of bed.

            The first ancestral cells had no brain for thinking historically so they could have neither the idea of “species” nor the idea of bed, which is historical par excellence.

            Historical ideas, as you have seen, call for a central nervous system in order to be determined, to be structurally built as long term memory with the pieces of short term memory. So it seems to me that if something must be anterior to physically formal reality, as you would have it with the idea of “species”, in the case of the bed this something is only the exigency of repose which is anterior to the idea of bed because one may rest even without a bed. The cells feel this exigency in relation to their form without a historical or encephalic idea of bed and the species bed.

            You see that the constitution of a central nervous system or brain is due to the exigency of preserving the memory of the exigencies gathered by the nerve network.

The constitution of the nervous system is due to the exigency to transmit, to the internal cells of the organism, the experience of the cells in a position of contact exterior to the organism. The cells’ position of contact with the exterior of the organism is due to their exigency for nutrition or awareness of the world external to the ends of an internal interest, and in turn nutrition is due to the exigency to exist. After which it seems to me that all these needs differentiated by their phenomena are moved by a single Primary and undifferentiated need. It seems to me that the Exigency to exist is the same for all phenomena.

            In fact if it is true that the constitution of the central nervous system is the last in time in the formation of an organism, if it is true that once the central nervous system or brain is constituted it is the most important in relation to the finality of preservation of the organism (even if as a result the brain has been able to have other finalities). I believe, and You must tell me if I’m wrong, that the whole organism is posited by the Exigency of its existence. If this is so the temporal succession of what we have listed as needs, which lead to formation of the organism, including its central nervous system, are no other than a list of phenomena due to one Exigency alone. Then the phenomena are in a logical succession because their Exigency is one only. In fact what was numbered as the first exigency in the finality of the preservation of an organism is also the last, which means simultaneous with the first and the intermediaries. Their consecutiveness being only a partiality of the whole, they are reduced in the whole to unity. Since the Exigency is not subject to suffering time and the determined numeration of phenomena, it is necessary that it be “one” and transcend phenomena.

            Implicitly, the Primary Exigency, transcending single phenomena, cannot be a cause of phenomena since between cause and caused there cannot, for requirements of reason, be difference of nature.

            And again for rational exigencies it immediately follows that single phenomena cannot cause, only in themselves, other phenomena. In fact phenomena are logically coordinated, and what is subject to coordination cannot be coordinator: what is subject to power does not have power. If phenomena are logically finalised, the logic of phenomena transcends them. And “one” transcendent finality cannot but finalise “one” single phenomenon. So the many phenomena are parts of a single phenomenon. It thus appears clear that also the constitution of organisms with a brain is a part of the same phenomenon that constitutes single-cell, beings, molecules, atoms and the entire mineral world: what I mean is the whole of existence.

            Today certain scientific researchers deny that phenomena have a necessary cause and think that the phenomenon is due to its “condition”. This concept of “condition” seems no different to me than the concept of cause. It seems to me that “condition” is a multitude of simultaneous causes. Instead of having a previous necessary cause, as the ancients said, the phenomenon would have many and some of them would give the phenomenon at random. This new theory of chance, setting aside the ancient theory, seems to be a distortion of  Heisenberg’s theory. The great scientist realised that in the subatomic world (and only there because in the great cosmos it is admitted that the law is not random) observation of phenomena interfered as concomitant cause in the carrying out thereof, contaminating them. He realised that the only way to approach the truth of phenomena was to numerate the experimental results and see in how many observations under given “conditions” the expected phenomenon occurred. This means attributing causal power to “conditions”.

            The phenomenon would still depend on the necessary nature of the cause and not be given at random. In fact the case would invalidate the value of the calculation of the probabilities. If the absence of the phenomenon were due to chance, so would the phenomenon be, and no science can be founded on what could be and at once not be. Heisenberg must have deeply believed in the necessary link between cause and effect if he elaborated a method of inquiry on the cause-effect relationship which excluded discontinuity and the researcher’s imprecision of observation.

            So I was saying that just as phenomena cannot cause other phenomena, and that these exist for Primary Exigency which transcends them, so this Exigency cannot cause them, otherwise it would not transcend them since between a cause and the caused a relationship of the same nature is necessary.

            Some time ago it seemed to me that the mover of phenomena was an efficient cause, but now I realise that the concept of cause is so formed as to be inadequate for what I want to say.

            In fact by “cause” we understand that which has the power of an act which is the caused. This relationship presupposes a temporal anteriority of the cause with regard to the caused, whereas now I seem to understand that between the phenomenon and its Exigency there is no temporal relationship (of the earlier with regard to the later), no relationship of giving and taking, but of “being” simultaneously. The Exigency of the world which we have called by the name of God not only cannot be the cause of the world because this would mean attributing to the Cause the nature of the caused, but no more can it be efficiency of the world since it is impossible that an efficient thing like the world is posterior to its efficiency, so the “causes” and phenomena are simultaneous and thus also the modern concept of “condition”, presupposing anteriority of the “condition” over phenomena, is inadequate. In fact according to scientific researchers, without “condition” the phenomenon could not occur, so the “condition” is a multitude of causes, which, as we have seen, is impossible.

            It therefore remains that the temporal logical successions of phenomena are due to the fact of being these, consequential parts of one single uncaused phenomenon, and transcended by the Exigency of its unitary existence. It follows that between an anterior phenomenon and another subsequent to it there remains the same logical relationship as between cause and effect, excepting provisional deviations of the course of the envisaged phenomenon due to interference of the freedom of unknown phenomena, phenomena which, once known, restore full logicality to their course as if they were due to necessary causes. Randomness is therefore excluded.

            You will now ask me if a determined phenomenon may occur without objective causes, which is to say without “condition”.

            At first sight it seems impossible, but I have observed this: a group of young plant shoots growing from seed in a homogeneous manner in the shade of a little wall. Some time later I saw that some of their extremities tended towards a crack in the wall which afforded light and air. After a few days I noted that the shoots bent towards the light had grown considerably in comparison with the others and were decisively headed towards the top of the wall. It was clear that these shoots were behaving, from a finalistic viewpoint, in a different manner from the others and in this, with regard to their growth, in an optimal manner. The others remained smaller. I ask you this question: was the crack the anterior cause of the greater growth of these shoots, or was it their personal exigency to grow more?

            It seems to me that the one and the other are simultaneous. It seems to me that if the crack is a cause then the seed, the earth and the heat are cause, and the shoot itself is cause of its own greater growth. If this is so, the shoot is cause of itself, which is impossible as we have seen. So the Primary Exigency of the shoots is the same that moves the environment and the shoots and appears simultaneous with their existence, and the phenomena in logical succession appear to us as rational parts of a single reality. The “parts” are consequentially logical because they constitute reality and not because they are caused as phenomena, which would be to admit their total lack of freedom.

            However it is still  necessary to resolve an apparent contradiction: if the reality is one, are its parts, which is to say the rationalised phenomena, obliged to be just as they are and is there no freedom? Is what I called a personal project-related idea an illusion? The response is that personal intervention in the world of things is free but in accordance with the law formed by the freedom of things previously possessed in the formation of the world. I am not free to not think since in not wanting to think I think about not wanting to think. Thus I am free to add to the evolutionary phenomenon of the world that which the world lacks for its evolution in accordance with my personal opinion and, as my opinion is given by logical Exigency, it is necessary to the logic of the world. Freedom is guaranteed by logicality and not by caprice, which is to say by chance. The latter does not even guarantee itself. Since if chance is given at random it could be not given. What is given is guaranteed by its necessity. Thus the project, though personal and free, is universal and governed by law.

            I repeat myself: the addenda of a sum are set out freely with different values and are therefore free, but the sum is unique and the law determining it is one only. The idea of reality prior to personal encephalic consciousness is bound to the freedom of previous ancestors or individuals and constitutes law. The project-related idea of present individuals is free and will constitute law when it is codified. The brain is free in the active but not retroactive project. In fact modern researchers have observed, as You will see below, the existence in the encephalon of two distinct zones, one genetic which has taken on atavistic experiences as law, and another called the “plastic zone” which represents free personal experiences and therefore renders possible a personal project free from genetic law, and thus the world constitutes itself through its own freedom which becomes law.

            Dear Plato, I’ll come back now to Your problem of the anteriority of “ideas” over reality.

            After having seen that the rational or encephalic idea of reality is posterior to any given reality, in the light of recent discoveries it seems to me necessary to understand better, I should say in a detailed way, how one can have, over and above the encephalic idea of any object whatsoever such as a specific bed, also an idea of its “species”.

            First of all I have seen that the only Exigency is that of existence and that the logical and objective succession of phenomena is finalised towards the constitution of the totality.

Then I see not only that the totality cannot have a finality beyond itself, but not even an immanent finality. It seems to me necessary that the sum or totality of phenomena has no finality at all, because the totality is the finishing line of the finality of its parts.

It seems to me that a finality cannot be immanent: an athlete runs to win the race. Victory goes beyond running and transcends it, but if the finishing line did not exist the athlete would run to run. The finality would be immanent, that is, inexistent. Finality by its nature calls for its extinction by means of the carrying out of its acts towards a destination.

The immanence of the finality of the world seems to me a conjuring trick devised to save the infinity of the world and at the same time, contradictorily, the concept of cause, which is to say its beginning from nothingness.

In fact if the world is infinite it seems not to possess a finishing line, and without a finishing line the finality disappears and thus the cause disappears. In order not to make it disappear it is declared that the finality is immanent to the world.

But I believe that finality is only in the things that form the world and the finality of things, like the things themselves, dies out in the creation of the world.

Some may point out that the totality of the world is given by its parts: if the parts possess finality, this is also possessed by the totality. One may reply to this observation by pointing out the example of the bodies of the earth which have a determined weight on the earth, but the earth constituted by the totality of the weighing bodies has no determined weight. To assume a finality as a sum of the parts, even though within the world, means admitting for this finality a process of return to phenomena and so there would be two finalities, one towards the totality and the other a return to phenomena. If this were so it would also be possible to repeat formally identical bodies, the form of the bodies being the phenomenal form of the finality.

So it is necessary that  the bodies of the world be different and in eternal change, precisely due to their personal finality. Even with a purpose to achieve they constitute the immobility of the world. And how it is possible to have movement of the parts and immobility of all of them in their totality is once more suggested by the nature of the addenda, which are many, different and mobile and their sum necessarily immobile.

The world cannot have finality since this would be re-proposing (on the world’s part) that which its parts proposed in order to constitute it. It seems to me that the finality of things is the creation of their identity, which is to say their specific difference from others. If things did not have this finality, and therefore no reciprocal difference, the world in its nature would not exist. Thus the finality transcends things in constituting the world. If the world were to include the finality of things it would destroy itself. Finality is in the world but not of the world. So there is a clear necessity for logical coordination, meaning finalised towards the constitution of the world, of the individual parts of the world which it transcends without being their cause.

Dear Master, I believe I can see that modes of existing are given by one single Exigency and I believe it is true that modes of existing depend on the freedom of existing things.

In fact without freedom, infinite modes of being are not possible. After all, there is no sense in imposing one form of existence rather than another for the Exigency of existence. Before any form of existence exists it is impossible to prefer one to another, so freedom is innate to existence and any predetermination of the world is senseless. We may therefore think that existence had and has the freedom to give itself form by itself, but not as a choice which would presuppose the existence of several forms to choose from. Giving itself form by itself should be understood as inventing its own form by itself. Only in this way is there freedom, because the freedom to choose between this or that form is an obligatory choice of either this or that. Original and absolute freedom is not choosing but creating the form, and this naturally involves the contemporaneousness of existence and of God, intuited as Exigency of existence as I have already said. Thus the first cell, our ancestor, took its form for itself. There being no constrictions, what it decided was perfect for its purpose. It decided by itself its form of life, just as its constituent parts of molecules, atoms and tinier particles had done.

Evolution of the mode of existing led the first cells to establish themselves as organisms and, subsequently, some of them to form a central nervous system and a related manner of existence.

It is thus necessary that what You call idea of species of a bed is the idea of genetic rest associated with a multitude of ideas referring to all beds experienced, which is to say the instruments of rest descended from one single Exigency.

Further, I seem to understand that the “idea” of bed which You imagined not only does not have a formal relationship with a determined bed but not even with objects which by analogy have the same finality of genetic rest.

Billions of years ago there was no cutlery for eating at table, because it was not necessary and not required by exigency. So today this cutlery cannot have a relationship of resemblance or formal imitation with an idea of its “species” which, descending from God, as You would have it, should always have existed in the cells and atoms of our molecule ancestors.

It thus happens that the part of the (human) brain that deals with the memory of the necessities or exigencies of genetic rest immediately interacts with the part of the brain known as plastic, which deals with the current processing of the whole organism’s finalistic behaviour, and associates the form of a bed with the possibility of satisfying a need for rest, even if that person has never had the idea of bed. It seems to me that in the possible use of an object, by necessity one creates for this object the idea that You call “species”, so any object such as a bed is other than its finalised function which it transcends (certainty that objects remain transcended by their finality is achieved when one sees formally and functionally different objects with an identical finality, like a watch and an hourglass). In reality the bed is formally unique. It is independent of any other form of bed and therefore independent of an idea of “species”. And here once more I believe one can understand how it is possible to have the relationship of the plurality of determined objects with the unity of the so-called idea of species. One understands once more the means by which it is possible to have a relationship between the “one” and the “many”, as I told You.

 So it seems to me impossible that a carpenter builds beds by making a copy of the “idea of species” of bed, because between the “one” of the finality and the “many” beds built by the carpenter, as I have seen, a formal relationship is not possible. In the same way, nor is it possible for a painter to make a copy of one of the carpenter’s beds in a painting. Each idea and each representation of the idea appears to us unique, and dependence on an anterior model inexistent.

I should say then to take it for granted that the idea of “species” of objects is inexistent and must give way to the idea of form of finality, as said earlier, and I should say that the artist paints an object like a bed which does not formally “resemble” the “bed” built by the carpenter but represents it objectively through the analogy of its finalised function, recognisable by the genetic exigencies common to both the artist and the beholder of the work of art. A “copy” is therefore impossible. Impossible both in the idea and in the concrete, physically perceptible form. What unites different forms in so-called resemblance (every form is absolutely unique) is their common finality and the usability thereof on our part. The unifying formal element is the synthesis of the formalised elements finalised by us, meaning by our project. This of course involves exclusion from our interest of forms of the real object not finalised by us, and we have always called these “accidental” although, in the object, they occupy the same role as those we call “substantial”. The forms useful to our project we call “substance”. Those excluded we call “accidents” but it is clear that both the “substance” and “accidents” of an object are really the same. And so it may also happen that what have formerly been considered “accidents” become “substance” in accordance with our new project-related interest.

Dear Master, I confess that I made a great effort to seek the origin of the idea of “species” and its “substantial” form. This is why you must tell me if it has been wasted effort.

  And now I’ll tell you about the results of an experiment carried out by Moruzzi: “Overturning visual perception by placing in front of one eye, from birth, a permanent lens which turns images round by a hundred and eighty degrees, one obtains a structuring of the occipital cortex involved, which is inverted with regard to the contralateral” (Vittorino Andreoli, La norma e la scelta, Mondadori 1984, p. 25).

You understand that something falling on an eye with that lens rises to the other eye, and this means that if the idea of “species” of object were anterior to seeing the object, the lens could not modify the structure of the cerebral cortex dealing with perception of the object, and the overturned view of the objects would be only a passing optical disturbance. As You can see, even ideas, which are the basis and the constituent elements of the form of reality, such as verticality, horizontality and gravitation, are posterior to the perceiving to the vertical and horizontal lines etc. of objects. These ideas, as You have seen, are formed structurally, and therefore objectively, in the encephalon on the sensorial dictates of the “plastic zone”, that zone which deals with  consciousness of new problems and therefore with their solution by means of project-related freedom. It follows that the logical structure of thought is established by the physical structure of the cerebral cortex, and this from the sensorial perceiving of reality. I see that the logic of thought is dictated by the logic of nature external to the encephalon, or at least, reasoning, I may theorise that encephalic rationality is harmoniously simultaneous with the logic of nature. By this I mean that thought is objective and the senses possess logical and finalistic functionalities like the brain.

  But for about two hundred years philosophers have been in love with an apparent idea: they have believed that the “idea” of reality and reality were not objective. Whereas You, more than two thousand years ago, had strongly postulated the contrary. Later I’ll tell You about the crime. But following the latest scientific discoveries we may say that the “subjective” is reduced to only the “individual”. The individual is distinguished from the subjective by its possibility of personally utilising the objective ideas of its plastic encephalon.

The subjectivism of the old modern world, on the other hand, repudiates the objectivity of the idea of reality and poses this dilemma: either the world is posited by the subject (subjectively posited) or the individual is predetermined and without freedom.

But it seems to me that objective ideas do not impede freedom of the individual who, intervening in the evolution of the world, affirms the objectivity of the world and personal freedom. The latest discoveries reaffirm both freedom and the objectivity of ideas. They deny that the conditions of consciousness are immutable or a priori. They deny that these conditions are common to all individuals.

It seems to me that my project is new with regard to what the senses brought to my brain. My finalistic intervention on reality, free because finalistic, is objective because it has the strength to modify the previous objective reality.

I should tell You that I am a painter and, as I told You, this is why in the final analysis I am writing to You.

I should like to tell You that observing the processes that allow me to paint a picture I see that first of all there is the desire to paint. This, I should say, is traceable to that Exigency and logic-efficient capacity I told You about. Then I see that the idea of reality, or the encephalic memory I have of reality, permits me to imagine by means of my freedom the form of the work I am planning, in accordance with an aim of mine that takes form in accordance with my personal form or structure.

The picture I am going to paint will, I believe, make use of ideas or memory of objects of reality as constituent material, such as the bricks of a house, and of an impulse or Exigency to put forward a new reality, like a new house responding to a new function that is not identified in the objects of reality which I use, such as bricks, and of which I have an objective idea, but will transcend them by means of my purpose in creating the painting, like a house. But in the making, the new painting does not respect the project-related idea, even though it does not overturn it. No preceding idea of a painting has ever guaranteed the painting I later produced. In the making, the new painting becomes really new, and when it is complete and placed by me into reality, I see that the idea preceding it in a project-related manner has not been realised. In the new formal reality it is seen that from the idea or memory of reality to the project-related idea, and from this to the idea of the new work, there are three steps. So the idea I have of the new picture when it is done is the third idea, setting out from the memory of reality anterior to my personal project, and I can only have this when the picture is finished, and not before beginning it, because before beginning it, it is project only, afterwards subject to unpredictable modifications during execution due to intrusion of the liberties of the external world formally different from my project. Thus the “objective” apprehended by me permits me its objective evolution through my project, even if it does not permit me my whole project.

Some so-called modern theoreticians think that the work of art, precisely because it proceeds from an exigency without guarantee of the result, is not produced by the artist’s logical rigour but by irrationality understood as freedom from the rigour of finalised coherency. As a-logicality, as one Benedetto Croce said. I should say that it is meanwhile necessary to distinguish what is without logical rigour from what is not rational: as You have seen, even organisms without an encephalon, therefore without rationality, behave with a logical rigour which is perhaps superior to that of organisms possessing an encephalon.

So I should say that the capacity of satisfying the exigencies of an organism, the capacity of a suitable and productive personal response to the conditions external to the organism, derive from a highly and rigorously logical capacity which, aside from encephalic memorisation, replaces it in its essential function. This capacity for logical behaviour is also possessed, as I told You, by acephalous and therefore non-rational organisms, so rationality and logicality are distinct entities, yet this logical rigour anterior to encephalic rationality is what qualifies encephalic rationality as logic inasmuch as the latter is posterior to the former and the former constitutes it fundamentally. And it is clear that there cannot be rationality without logical rigour.

This logical rigour or finalised coherency produces life. In fact where there is no logical rigour there is less possibility of survival.

Thus only the work of an acephalous organism may be irrational yet still logical, as we have seen.

Having distinguished rationality from logicality it is useful to remember, as we have said, that encephalic rationality is the project-related memory of the peripheral logic-efficient capacities of the organism. And so the form of art is the opposite of what is imagined by the so-called moderns: first of all highly logical in order to be a property of nature at all levels including the subatomic; secondly it is rational because it is constituted by the encephalic memory of peripheral cellular logic. So only where cellular logical rigour is absent will there be no encephalic rationality and therefore no emotive cerebral response either in the artist or in the beholder of his work.

A scientific experiment which confirms the dependence of all cerebral emotiveness on cellular logic was carried out on a macaque by a group of scientists.

The reactions of the encephalic system were electrically recorded to quantify the monkey’s neuronal response to a drawing (the monkey’s neurons are “homologous” to those of man). The animal was shown a frontal view of a human face. It was then shown the same drawing but without the eyes. Subsequently the drawing was shown with what we should call in today’s artistic jargon naïf lines. Then the image was decomposed and shown in separate parts: “abstract” we should say in artistic jargon today, meaning non-representational: without analogy with the genetic forms of the first drawing. Well, the neuronal responses, beginning with the most intense to the first image, gradually diminished until they almost disappeared with the abstract.(Jean Pierre Changeux, Ragione e piacere p. 25, Cortina Ed. 1995). As I have already told You, Moruzzi demonstrated that cerebral structure is dictated by the structure of the images of nature supplied by the senses. This other experiment demonstrates that the sensitivity of the encephalon is subject to emotive reaction only when the images received therein are logical. With this it is experimentally ascertained that so-called abstract art produces no emotiveness because it does not possess logic of image. It is ascertained that the brain recognises only the logical figure. The concept of form, then, is such because its structure is efficient logic: I mean that reality is as the senses perceive it and only consequently as the encephalon thinks of it. This is why there is no encephalic activity beyond logical form.

This logic of the senses is visible in the whole of nature, starting, as You have seen, with the unicellular organisms. The logic of cells, and by necessity of molecules and atoms too, led to the constitution of our central nervous system, as I already told you, which turns out to be the final structure delegated to coordination of the logical exigencies of the various parts of the organism. Coordination which in its function we call rationality, and which is less if less logical forms come into sensorial perception. These, preserved in the encephalic memory, make rationality possible even at a time distance from the logical-sensorial perception. This rationality at a time distance may seem, but only seem, an entity independent of the logical sensorial perception transmitted by the nerve cells to the brain.

 And now I shall tell You why I have written this long preamble to the heart of the matter: today there are so-called artists who have abandoned the logical form of nature and who invoke You as a predecessor because they imagine that You condemned art because it is figurative, meaning to say, because it is logical.

In reality these so-called artists are the children of a certain Professor Hegel who, in turn, grew out of the basic principles of Emanuel Kant, the philosopher generally held to be – I’ll tell you why later – the father of all modern philosophy. As I was telling You, this Professor Hegel, who plagiarised You by using your arguments set forth in the  “Laws” and “Ippia”?? dialogues, and was a teacher of aesthetics among many other things, said that art had a duty greater than its powers and would die from the effort of competing with philosophy. All in all, since Professor Hegel believed  himself to be a philosopher, he said that philosophy was more suitable than art for bringing the “supreme interests of the spirit” to consciousness. At the most, art could survive by abandoning its form. As You can see, it is the logical form of nature that is being disputed, and today other eminent professors are convinced that the logic of the form of nature is not the same as encephalic reason; indeed they maintain, as Hegel did, that the “flesh” is so low that is has to be rescued by the “spirit”, intending by “flesh” the logic of nature and by “spirit” any oddity at the limit of madness produced by some dysfunction or encephalic lesion.

The false master copied this great idea of the “spirit” that conquers the “flesh” and served it up to his pupils as his own. They in turn, believing they were doing a good deed, proclaimed that art must either die, as the master had wished, or survive without being a “copy” of reality, which is to say by freeing itself from its so lowly placed “flesh”. This new pure-spirit art was called “abstract” and is created, as You will have understood, without the logical form of reality.

The artist arrives at the opening of his exhibition and says “art is”, but nobody sees anything because if the artist were to show something, the spiritual purity of his art would be polluted. Some time ago “artists” exhibited blank canvases or their own excrement, identifying these things in the artistic subject, but they were simpletons and have now been superseded by the latest spiritually super-pure brainwaves. Now, to console the visitors at the opening of their exhibitions, and to leave a tangible sign that art is there but cannot be seen with the eyes of the “flesh” since it is pure spirit, artists cut up bits of plastic or cloth or paper, or condoms, or sanitary towels stained with menstrual blood, and distribute them to those present who go happily off to the restaurant, convinced that at last art has freed itself from its “accidents”.

As I told you, it was Immanuel Kant who laid the groundwork. This Kant said that ideas of reality are formed within us not because the images of reality model our brain, as Moruzzi demonstrated, but because our brain models reality by a capacity or pre-constitution of its structure given a priori. Kant implicitly admits that the “categories” of “pure intellect” are in the brain. You must keep in mind that in Kant’s opinion our brain is like a mould, like one of those used in baking in order to give pleasing shapes to cakes and biscuits: fine, the a priori conditions are these moulds which we are said to possess in the place of that plastic part of the brain which models itself in accordance with sensorial experiences and which, as I described to You, is structured setting out from a condition that is amorphous or in energetic power with a structure. In Kant’s opinion – but Kant could not think what we, thanks to scientific discoveries, can think today – the form of nature was like baking dough, as I told You, which takes form only if poured into the mould. So in this philosopher’s opinion the idea of reality is conditioned by the mould possessed a priori, and we ourselves fabricate reality which does not exist outside of ourselves or in any case not in the form that we see.

He was in such good faith that he wrote: “Nothing worse could happen to these efforts (of mine) than someone making the unexpected discovery that nowhere is there or can there be a priori knowledge” (Kant, Critica della Ragion Pratica, Laterza 1983, p. 13). But someone made the unexpected discovery: it was the evolution of the species which, refuting all immobile knowledge, consequently refutes any immobile or a priori condition of knowledge.

Evolution is open to every transformation of the individual and of the species and the categories do not appear to us as conditions of knowledge but conditioned by knowledge, as Moruzzi demonstrated.

Well backed up by Kant, Hegel then stated that the “spirit” – that  certain something struggling against the “flesh” – would  win the artistic struggle only by doing without the logical form of nature. “One may hope that art increasingly rises up and perfects itself, but its form has ceased to be the supreme need of the spirit” (Hegel, Estetica, Einaudi 1976, p. 120).

As You can see, these so-called modern artists, repudiated by scientific experience, are desperately seeking points of support for their theory of art without form. It still seems to them that as You said that the form of art is the “copy” of reality and the form of reality is the “copy” of the idea of species, which is to say copy of the  idea given by God, or unique true reality, they must consider figurative art as false. In order to be “true” it should not be a copy of the copy of “truth”, meaning a copy of the copy of the idea “of species”. They feel that they are related to You in some way because you said that art is not truthful. I should like to ask you to clarify to these willing people your true position with regard to the value of the concept of “copy” and of truth. But given that, in the end, these so-called artists and their exegetes have got it in for me because I don’t put my faeces in a box and therefore don’t give “insight into the spiritual”, I should like to permit myself to set down for them Your theory of the “copy” and of the “truth” of art, naturally with your marvellous text to hand. And with your consent I should put it like this: Plato could not give the copy the negative value false, which means the opposite of truth, but only the value of “remote from the truth” (Plato, Politeia X, p. 476, Rizzoli 1953).

This is an interpretation which I believe will not be opposed, because if it had said that art is the contrary of truth, which is to say false, for the sole reason of being a copy of reality, then it would have said that reality too is false since it is a copy of the idea of “species”.

Not only, but Plato also says that ideas of “species” come from God who is the author thereof. So: if from ideas of “species” we have, due to their descent, a false reality, it would mean that ideas of “species” too are false since they too are subject to origin (from God). Since the false cannot be a descendant of the truth nor the truth of the false, if ideas of “species” which come from God are false, then God too is false.

But Plato did not say this, therefore the Platonic “copy” is the partial representation of Divine truth. Everyone can accept that the first idea is remote from the second and the second from the third without claiming as a consequence that the second and third are false. So figurative art is the art of truth, though not identified in Divine truth. Something which, after all, no one has ever claimed.

But reading, hand on heart, Plato’s marvellous dialogues one well understands what Plato was fighting his strategic battle against.

Plato distinguishes “technical or scientific capability” (Plato, Lo Ione, p. 90, Rizzoli 1953) or “the capability to act towards a purpose”, from the purpose, which is to say from the theme of art. “This capability of acting towards a purpose when it produces only damage, does this seem to you a good thing?” (Plato, Ippia maggiore, p. 556, Rizzoli 1953).

“Mimesis of something inferior therefore accompanies and generates inferior products” (Plato, Politeia X, p. 476, Rizzoli 1953). One sees clearly that “mimesis” as such is not in itself inferior. In fact if the theme of art spoke the truth it would be a good thing. “We are aware of being subject to the whole charm of poetry” (Plato, Politeia X, p. 482, Rizzoli 1953) and since poetry is the first of the accused, followed by painting, we understand that acquittal is given to both  with the words “The profit will not be small if poetry becomes not only sweet and soothing but also useful” (Plato, Politeia X, p. 438, Rizzoli 1953). And then you have forgotten or do not know that “poets are of a divine race, the divine breath is in them; with the aid of the Graces and the Muses they draw truth from many things” (Plato, Leggi, p. 341, Rizzoli 1953), so they do not say the opposite of the truth.

And that mimesis as such is not guilty may be read in the second book of the “Laws”. If it is given us to know that the copy, due to artistic merit, has all its own parts and colours and the right figure overall? Does it not follow that he who knows this will also know whether the work is beautiful or in what way it is deficient in beauty?”

“In fact the criterion of justness in mimesis, as we are saying, is precisely this: if the imitated thing is perfectly identical to the original”. Plato wants mimesis to be perfect, otherwise it is condemned as being not true. Since Plato said that the idea is the first model of form from which copies descend, the copies will be formal in accordance with their model, and your theory of ideas without form is overturned, I should say.

Dear Plato, I wanted to end this letter but a half-idea came to me: after having pointed out that there are two rational or encephalic ideas – one which represents the reality communicated by the senses and the other which projects future realities – I realised, but I already told You, that the cells of our ancestors and present day cells had and have a finalistic operative nature like those of the encephalon.

This operative nature of the cells we called logic-efficient capacity, that is, equipped with adaptive capacity useful for survival and equipped with the capacity to transmit information to the encephalon in a project-related manner. I now realise that these capacities too are carried out in two consequentially logical moments: the first renders the cell aware of the reality anterior thereto, and the second renders it efficient in the project-related transmission to the encephalon of the reality apprehended, and at the same time awaits a provision or command from the brain to be4 carried out usefully, which is to say in a project-related manner, in favour of itself and of the entire organism.

So I see that also every single cell has, like the rational encephalon, two “ideas” characterised by two different functions. This is why I would now expect You to say that the logic-efficient action of the cells is due to two “ideas”, even if they are not preserved in an encephalic memory. Not only: since these ideas are constituent of rational encephalic ideas and have in common with the latter the Exigency of their existence, I would expect You to say that logic-efficient capacities, or ideas of every single cell, being anterior to rational encephalic ideas, are less remote from the truth and nearer to God than rational encephalic ideas which, following Your ancient doctrine, ought to be a copy of cellular ones. I also think You would add that rational or encephalic ideas, being formed by information received from the cells, are not cakes shaped by a pre-constituted encephalic mould or given a priori, as Kant says, who is followed by the so-called modern world.

You would also specify that encephalic-rational ideas formed by cellular logic-efficient ideas, these too in accordance with project-related finality, modify reality with their project so that the reality renewed by the project, being re-perceived by the logic-efficient cells and retransmitted to the encephalon, participates in the formation of a successive encephalic project and is thus re-perceived in a circular manner by the cells and retransmitted to the encephalon. Thus the logic-efficient ideas of the cells and encephalic ideas participate together in the evolution of the previous formal reality.

You would clarify that it is impossible to separate the cellular idea from the encephalic and the latter from the form of existence, as Moruzzi demonstrates, and that ideas of reality are not “copies” of reality but reality itself.

Dear Plato, let these truth-lovers know that informel art claims the existence of a knowledge independent of its source. It claims to separate the encephalic idea from its logical form based on the freedom of the cells of our organism, which seems to me, over and above any doctrine and in the light of modern scientific discoveries, just a witticism.

I send my heartfelt respects and thanks for Your “Dialogues” which are and have been for me, together with the cellular information of my organism, the reason of my reason.


                                                                           Mario Donizetti

Copyright  Mario Donizetti - 1997/2000


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