samuel rules

Essentialism: A philosophical problem?

“In art, essentialism is the idea that each medium has its own particular strengths and weaknesses, contingent on its mode of communication. A chase scene, for example, may be appropriate for motion pictures, but poorly realized in poetry, because the essential components of the poetic medium are ill suited to convey the information of a chase scene. This idea may be further refined, and it may be said that the haiku is a poor vehicle for describing a lover’s affection, as opposed to the sonnet. Essentialism is attractive to artists, because it not only delineates the role of art and media, but also prescribes a method for evaluating art (quality correlates to the degree of organic form). However, considerable criticism has been leveled at essentialism, which has been unable to formally define organic form or for that matter, medium. What, after all, is the medium of poetry? If it is language, how is this distinct from the medium of prose fiction? Is the distinction really a distinction in medium or genre? Questions about organic form, its definition, and its role in art remain controversial. Generally, working artists accept some form of the concept of organic form, whereas philosophers have tended to regard it as vague and irrelevant.”

So, paraphrasing to the best of my knowledge: Each medium of communication has strengths and weaknesses, depending on the mode of communication. After this, the other question is, ‘how do we evaluate art?’. What is organic form? What is a medium? How is one form of media like poetry different from haiku, etc.

I’m going to try and discuss this problem.

1. I believe that certain forms of communication work better than others, depending on how/what message you want to convey.

What is organic form?
“A work is said to possess an organic form if the work’s structure has originated from the materials and subjects used by the author, "as a plant”. It stands in contrast to a mechanical form, a work which has been produced in accordance with artificial rules. Samuel Coleridge suggested that the concept of organic form meant that a poem or literary piece was shaped, rather than structured, from within. The use of the form allowed a piece to uniquely develop itself as it unfolded, and ultimately revealed an emphasis on the whole outcome of the piece, including the connections of each development to each other. In contrast to the more mechanical processes and rules which many critics believed were necessary for the formation of poetry and works, S.T. Coleridge determined that a more subconscious approach was possible through the, ‘‘imagination of the artist’’ whereby the outcome is an organic form, where ‘‘content and form have coalesced and fused’’

Is seems to me the organic form must arise by itself. In my opinion, I’m not sure about calling this art. Art like literature, sculpture, painting, etc. MUST be mechanical because of it arising from the artist. Organic art cannot arise from an artist, because art is made to fit constraints. We cannot call a haiku a ballet, yet we call a novel a painting or a sculpture. But we cannot call a ballet a painting, or a novel a ballet. A ballet is not a waltz.

Art and Organic Form are different things!
But then how are Art and Organic Form related to each other?

They are connected by the idea of beauty/ugliness, a response of a certain energy that occurs.
Since we can be unsure of outside of our mind, beauty/ugliness rests within the mind and perception that creates a certain defined reaction of pleasure or disgust.

Art form - A 'crafted’ work by deliberate action. It is not produced on its own/through its own work. It does provoke a response, ! It has intention! Organic form does not have intention.
Example: A tornado rips through a corn field tearing out a path that looks like the letters D O & G.
A tornado had no intent to spell out the word Dog. It just happens, non intentionally.

(The ! means I suddenly had an idea)

This 'intentionality’ allows use to formulate a way to evaluate an Art Form. Quality relates, not to organic form, but to Intentionality. How well does the communication of intent from the artist to the viewer succeed? Art is a way of expressing intent. Which strangely makes sense.

Let’s us hypothesize an art student is assigned a pottery assignment. He is given a lump of clay. He does nothing to it, and turns it in for a grade. The teacher gives him an F. The art student’s intent was to showcase the natural form of the clay, and in this case he failed. But let us say the teacher gives the an A because the teacher felt he was trying to show case the natural form of the clay. The Art form was a success!

However let us switch the intention. Let us say the art student simply didn’t want to do the work. In this case if the teacher gives him an A, the art form was actually a failure, because the intention did not communicate well. The teacher giving a F is now the success, why then did he get an F?

What is a medium? The structure of intentionality. And yes, it does largely depend on defining the structure. You can convey a chase scene in a poem as well as a painting. It largely depends on how well the intent is conveyed.

So, What, after all, is the medium of poetry? If it is language, how is this distinct from the medium of prose fiction? Is the distinction really a distinction in medium or genre? Yes, the distinction is a matter of structure.


we’ve been getting pretty excited about our KING TUFF show!! we’ve been putting up the posters that SUB POP sent us, and we made some flyers too. i made the bat one and the heart one, and amelia did the cat flyer!!

when i was a kid i used to set up shows and really loved making flyers. i would cut up comic books and cut and paste all day, i made friends with the weirdo cute dude who worked overnight at the kinkos and basically didn’t pay for copies. i really miss setting up shows but TWO THINGS HAPPENED that stopped me. mainly that people are sometimes BUTTHOLES at house shows and steal stuff or smoke inside or pee in your neighbors yard or something.


if our first show at this house is with KING TUFF who knows what other shows we could have!? also, all of my friends are tougher than your friends, and i really don’t want them to have to prove it.


There are two great rules of life, the one general and the other particular. The first is that everyone can in the end, get what he wants, if he only tries. That is the general rule. The particular rule is that every individual is, more or less, an exception to the rule.

Samuel Butler, The Notebooks of Samuel Butler I, Lord, What is Man? - Life xiv

Ci sono due grandi regole nella vita, una generale e l'altra particolare.
La prima è che tutti finiscono per ottenere ciò che vogliono, se solo ci provano. Questa è la regola generale. La regola particolare è che ogni individuo è, chi più chi meno, un'eccezione alla regola generale.

A Lesson in Ruling

“Samuel! Please come down here!”

Samuel woke up from his nap with a soft groan and sat up and rubbed his eyes. “C'ming.” he called back and climbed out of bed and went to go get dressed. The 6 year old emerges fron the bathroom wearing black knee length shorts and a blood red blouse with black suspenders and red knee high socks and black low platform shoes. Perched on his head was a small red and black top hat with an elegant rosette in the middle. After a final spin, he comes down the mansion stairs and heads to Azaezl’s study. “You wanted to see me?” he asked with a small bow, gold eyes glinting in the low light. “I do. I would like for you to meet the King of Hell himself, Crowley. Crowley, this is Samuel.”

The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on Earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule.
—  Samuel Adams