First, here is a definition: (to be) Objective - Not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts: historians try to be objective and impartial
Objectivism is something I strive towards and therefore it filters through to everything I do. My beliefs here have nothing to do with the organised movement that calls itself Objectivism as I don’t have sufficient knowledge on what these people believe in and whether or not I fit in with that, so these ideas are just what I have thought about personally. The space here doesn’t really do such a huge subject justice but I’m hoping this post will at least get some conversation going so I can develop my ideas further.
Anyway, Science is the search for truth about the universe; factual reality that will enable us to interact with the universe around us in a safe and efficient way. To achieve this, Science needs to be objective. Letting your emotions and own thoughts about a subject get in the way of fact will not tell you about that subject, only of your own perceptions of it. If you’re unsure of the importance of these ideas or want to know more about them do have a read of science journalist and medical doctor, Ben Goldacre’s blog/newspaper column ‘Bad Science‘. He also wrote a book of the same name which I really recommend.
I think these ideals should spread to life in general. It seems pretty obvious that getting angry or violent over anything that isn’t life-threatening is silly and acting on emotion in this way can be very harmful. Next time you get angry, step outside of your own mind and see how it looks in the grand scheme of things; it’s likely the whole issue will seem more insignificant and thinking in this way will convince you to let it go. If people think less about themselves and more about the world around them then it follows that the world will be a better place to live in.
If objectivity is important in life, to me it follows that art should be a bastion of this concept usually reserved for the sciences because it is a means of communication. The whole point of communicating is to make others understand something so using situations and ideas that only you or a small portion of the world are familiar with is very inefficient and destroys the validity of your message (ie. trying to get an important point across using French when nobody speaks it- why are you bothering?). Of course, it is possible that you may only want to communicate to a small number of people, making the style of communication more specialist but art as self-expression assumes the rest of the world cares about how sad you are about breaking up with your girlfriend/boyfriend. The rest of the world may not care how sad you are but may be interested in how they can feel less sad themselves and looking objectively at reality would help solve this quandary. Also, if art is targeting a small section of people then it needs to address them and not just be an attempt to spew the artist’s emotions out randomly into the world. This is what gives art the reputation of being self-indulgent and elitist. We may even see that the right art marketed to the right crowd would progress the artists far more as effort would be spent communicating to the people that are relevant and not just targeting people randomly (musicians are usually guilty of this!).
Also, art to be something that communicates the objective state of the world to the people in it seems to make more sense to me in a moral sense. In this case, art wouldn’t convey issues that are incorrect as it will be based on fact and also be less of a vehicle for those that just want to manipulate others for whatever gain they may be interested in (think about how Simon Cowell calls his singers ‘artists’ and the actual, true focus of what his shows are about). This is far more abstract in terms of art conveying objectivity, but if objective thinking is used in art, it’s use would filter into other walks of life. This means that misinformation and people manipulating others through making up their own ‘facts’ would become more scarce as people in general would have been given the tools to sort out the correct from the incorrect and manipulative. Also, if an artist thinks about their work in an objective manner it will allow them to figure out to whom their work is actually targeted. If you think this reeks of ‘selling-out’ because it seems a bit like marketing, think about those men and women that wander the streets shouting random phrases at people and then think about how society treats them…