Abstract

There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterwards you can remove all traces of reality. There's no danger then, anyway, because the idea of the object will have left an indelible mark.

In an abstract sense I believe that human beings are part of a grand scheme of things. Not a central part. I don't think the world revolves around us or the universe is designed for us, but I think we have a place.

On What the Bleep: I think there's an awful lot of what we might call flaky pop science, where people look at modern physics, because it's a sort of wonderland of abstract ideas and they look at quantum mechanics and black holes and at a very superficial level think that it opens the way to spiritual enlightenment without fully understanding what these subjects are about.

Mathematics is the tool specifically suited for dealing with abstract concepts of any kind and there is no limit to its power in this field.

All religions are good 'in principle' - but unfortunately this abstract Good has only rarely prevented their practitioners from behaving like bastards.

Markets are superb at setting prices, but incapable of recognizing costs... The answer cuts right through abstract political philosophy: We cannot return to the era of local markets, but we can regain control of the larger markets by enforcing the payment of costs--total costs...The incentive to lower costs is the same as the one that presently operates in all businesses, but in this case the producer's most efficient means to lower them is not externalizing these costs onto society, but implementing better design.

Formerly it frequently happened to me that when questioned regarding a picture I simply did not know what it represented. I had not seen the subject, so to say. Now I have also included the content so that I know most of the time what is represented. But this only supports my experience that what matters in the ultimate end is the abstract meaning of harmonization.

God is a model through which the excellence of man is to be estimated, whilst the abstract perfection of the human character is the type of the actual perfection of the divine.

Nature or, that which I see, inspires me, puts me, as with any painter, in an emotional state so that an urge comes about to make something, but I want to come as close as possible to the truth and abstract everything from that, until I reach the foundation, still just an external foundation, of things.

The laws which in the culture of art have become more and more determinate are the great hidden laws of nature which art establishes in its own fashion. It is necessary to stress the facts that these laws are more or less hidden behind the superficial aspects of nature. Abstract art is therefore opposed to a natural representation of things. But it is not opposed to nature as is generally thought. It is opposed to the raw primitive animal nature of man, but is one with true human nature. It is opposed to the conventional laws created during the culture of the particular form but it is one with the laws of the culture of pure relationships.
First and foremost there is the fundamental law of dynamic equilibrium which is opposed to the static equilibrium necessitated by the particular form.

The important task then of all art is to destroy the static equilibrium by establishing a dynamic one. Non-figurative art demands an attempt of what is a consequence of this task, the destruction of particular form and the construction of a rhythm of mutual relations, of mutual forms or free lines. We must bear in mind, however, a distinction between these two forms of equilibrium in order to avoid confusion; for when we speak of equilibrium pure and simple we may be for, and at the same time against, a balance in the work of art.

In order that art may be really abstract, in other words, that it should not represent relations with the natural aspect of things, the law of the denaturalization of matter is of fundamental importance. In painting, the primary color that is as pure as possible realizes this abstraction of natural color. But color is, in the present state of technique, also the best means for denaturalizing matter in the realm of abstract constructions in three dimensions; technical means are as a rule insufficient.

In general, people have not realized that one can express our very essence through neutral constructive elements; that is to say, we can express the essence of art. The essence of art of course in not often sought. As a rule, individualist human nature is so predominant, that the expression of the essence of art through a rhythm of lines, colors, and relationships appears insufficient. Recently, even a great artist has declared that ‘complete indifference to the subject leads to an incomplete form of art.’ But everybody agrees that art is only a problem of plastics. What good then is a subject? It is to be understand that one would need a subject to expound something named ‘Spiritual riches, human sentiments and thoughts.’ Obviously, all this is individual and needs particular forms. But at the root of these sentiments and thoughts there is one thought and one sentiment: those do not easily define themselves and have no need of analogous forms in which to express themselves. It is here that neutral plastic means are demanded. For pure art then, the subject can never be an additional value, it is the line, the color, and their relations which must ‘bring into play the whole sensual and intellectual register of the inner life…,’ not the subject. Both in abstract art and in naturalistic art color expresses itself ‘in accordance with the form by which it is determined,’ and in all art it is the artists task to make forms and colors living and capable of arousing emotion. If he makes art into an ‘algebraic equation’ that is no argument against the art, it only proves that he is not an artist.

As you can see this is a composition of vertical and horizontal lines which will (in an abstract manner) have to express the idea of rising upwards, of magnitude. This is the same idea which used, for example, to be the guiding principle in the construction of cathedrals. Since only the manner of expression and not the representation has to express this general idea, I have not given any title. An abstract human mind will, of itself, receive the intended impression. I always confine myself to expressing the general.

The cultivated man of today is gradually turning away from natural things, and his life is becoming more and more abstract. Natural (external) things become more and more automatic, and we observe that out vital attention fastens more and more on internal things.. ..Modern man –although a unity of body, mind and soul – exhibits a changed consciousness: every expression of his life has today a different aspect, that is, an aspect more positively abstract. It is the same with art. Art will become the product of another duality in man: the product of cultivated externality and of inwardness deepened and more conscious. As a pure representation of the human mind, art will express itself in an aesthetically purified, that is to say, abstract form.

Neo-Plasticism has its roots in Cubism. It could just as easy be called the Painting of Real Abstraction. Since the abstract can be expressed by a plastic reality.. ..It achieves what all painting has tried to achieve but has been able to express only in a veiled manner. By their position and their dimension as well as by the importance of given to colour, the coloured planes express in a plastic way only relations and not forms. Neo-Plasticism imparts to these relations an aesthetic balance and thereby expresses universal harmony.. ..For the moment what art had discovered must still be limited to art itself. Our environment cannot yet be realized as a creation of pure harmony. Art today is at the very point formerly occupied by religion. In its deepest meaning art was the transposition of the natural (to another plane); in practice it always sought to achieve harmony between man and untransposed nature. Generally speaking, so do Theosophy and Anthroposophy, although these already possessed the original symbol of balance. And this is why they never were able to achieve equivalent relations, that is to say true harmony.

Mathematics, which as a student by nature he will take very easily, will be prescribed to train him to abstract thought and to faith in the unembodied; a moral being by native disposition, he must be led to make his virtue perfect; after the Mathematics he must be put through a course in Dialectic and made an adept in the science.

For Posidonius, ouranos, heaven, offers the paradigm for man. The stars teach ethics. The individual who pursues his duties without emotional involvement in them and without the correlative expectation of results, who recognizes honesty as the good and the hallmark of the wise man, and who seeks to honour the higher daimon in himself discovers a fidelity within the soul which is both its overarching oikeiosis and its link to the World-Soul. He sees that the principles of physics can be translated into the laws of psychology from which are derived ethics and the rules of right conduct. Without wavering in his loyalty to the deepest insights of the Stoic tradition, Posidonius exemplified in his own life and thought the ability of the philosopher to penetrate afresh and more precisely the mystery of the kosmos and the less ordered realm in which human beings dwell. His fearlessness of method and the marriage of observation and abstract thought influenced the generations which came immediately after him, and inspired a number of thinkers in the dawn of the European Enlightenment. [paraphrased]

I hate crowds and making speeches. I hate facing cameras and having to answer to a crossfire of questions. Why popular fancy should seize upon me, a scientist, dealing in abstract things and happy if left alone, is a manifestation of mass psychology that is beyond me.

Relativity is inherently convergent, though convergent toward a plurality of centers of abstract truths. Degrees of accuracy are only degrees of refinement and magnitude in no way affects the fundamental reliability, which refers, as directional or angular sense, toward centralized truths. Truth is a relationship.

The man who no longer expects miraculous changes either from a revolution or from an economic plan is not obliged to resign himself to the unjustifiable. It is because he likes individual human beings, participates in communities, and respects the truth, that he refuses to surrender his soul to an abstract ideal of humanity, a tyrannical party, and an absurd scholasticism. . . If tolerance is born of doubt, let us teach everyone to doubt all the models and utopias, to challenge all the prophets of redemption and the heralds of catastrophe. If they can abolish fanaticism, let us pray for the advent of the skeptics.