The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a patchwork palace containing art from all eras. As you move through the labyrinth, your S1 reacts to the themes of different civilizations, the philosophies of various movements. Their memeplexes, long dead on the societal scale, still try to slowly alter you, the viewer.
Limestone sphinxes, straight-backed statues of pharaohs, walls of simple hieroglyphs. Perhaps your S1 hears “The world is regular, clean, noble. There is a grandeur behind what you see, and perhaps if you live as these statues you will live to see it.”
Faces, anatomically perfect paintings of hundreds of Europeans, billowing robes dyed deep colors. Perhaps your S1 hears, “We have reached the height of culture. Our ways are refinements toward the platonic state of elite and luxury.”
The vibrancy and grunge of modern art. The splatters, the angles, the barest resemblances of everyday objects. Perhaps your S1 hears “The world is chaotic. The order is only a result of your attempt to see it. Let go and let the world be what it is.” The precision, the radiance, the colors. Perhaps your S1 hears “The world is ours to shape. The patterns are endless. Forge the beauty you wish to see.”
We are a movement. We want to move the minds of humanity. We want to move the future itself. Thus far we’ve spread our ideas with words. But for many, S1 isn’t moved by words. It’s moved by visuals. These past civilizations have spoken from their systems 1 with visual art.
What say you, rationality? What say we, rationalists? What forms espouse our masochistic love for Truth? What figures flush crimson at threat to their something to protect? What melting clocks display our view of the future of humanity and the stars?
Hell if I know. I’m a miserable artist. But I’ll tell you what I think anyway.
I think we should compel the viewer to act. I think we should instill agency in the viewer. I think we should show the world what is good and great and precious, and what is the very reason for existing. I think we should show them what to fight for.
I think we should show them the deep conflicts that rationality brings about: between love of truths and love of giving up beliefs so easily; between the power of abstraction, and the ultimate authority of empiricism; the value of helping a single soul, and the unspeakable potential of the stars in the sky.
I think we should speak from our systems 1. If need be, use your system 2 to explore plausible post-singularity states. But don’t try to represent them in a way your S1 is blind to. Symbols are not precise, and if they’re also not compelling, they’re worthless. (…But if I see another humanoid robot image I will scream.)
I think we should use the tools of our age. Humans have always adapted and rationalists especially love to throw out tradition. So I’m not really asking anyone to buy an easel and start watching Bob Ross videos. Just as photography became an art after the invention of the camera, so too should photoshop be a legitimate medium. (If only the Met would have galleries of such.)
Yes, I know we have some art. Where would we even be, without Methods or the Solstice? Our movement grows every time I hum “Bitter Wind Blown” on the street. I’m just filling in the gaps here; we have no visual art. None. Not a single facade have we risen, no propaganda posters have we printed, no bronze park memorials have we cast. It’s a big piece missing for me; I’m a very visual person. I want to have a visual sense of our movement in the same way I have a visual sense of the roaring ’20s from art deco.
So go, go create tags on deviant art and register r/rationalistart and figure out how to install GIMP on arch linux. Print t-shirts and make interactive java applets. And, if it feels right, get out oil and canvas or touch pencil to paper.