I recently watched a short film on Youtube titled “Clapping for the Wrong Reasons”. It had no solid plot and the dialogue did not allude to anything moving in any particular direction. Everything in the film was unexplained; even the cinematography and the absence of sound effects; though they added a sense of peace and calmness to the film, it seemed to strengthen the point that the dots are not meant to be connected. The only pattern the film did seem to bring forward was that “That is just the way it is … whatever it is”.
To me, it looked like the artist’s interpretation of what life tends to feel like when you really take a close look at it. But because I believe in God, the film spoke to me, but it did not leave me feeling empty or unnerved.
One Youtuber mentioned something that is not an uncommon opinion; that the meaning to the film could have been to have no meaning, and if you find meaning you would be “clapping for the wrong reason”.
This is a common oxymoron because it makes you ask what the whole point of making this film would be, which again could bring us back to the existential question of the meaning of ‘It All’. This concept is one that I think mankind has grown used to. But I really do appreciate how art can reach anybody who applies their mind to interpret it.
There was another comment, however, that really stood out. The commenter said that the artist may be saying that there are so many ways to relate and interpret art, which most likely is not be the artist’s point of view, but it becomes the art of the person who interprets it, because that person though of that concept. Again, nothing new, but he then pointed out that people tend to come up with their own deep analyses and then conclude that the artist is a genius, to compensate on the fact that we are convinced that we have the meaning figured out, but we are most likely clapping and praising the artist for the wrong reasons.
Reading this approach was like an epiphany. If art itself was a cognitive being, I imagine it would be dying of laughter or frustration every time one of us feeble humans attempted to make an absolute interpretation of its meaning after observing one film, or a picture of a rock, or a hand glove dropped on the floor of an art gallery.
Sometimes it eats away at me a little bit, the thought of how we can spend so much energy trying to figure something out that might have no real purpose in being figured out. But we just cannot help but chew on it until we are comfortable with our own conclusion.
But sometimes I think we also spend a lot of energy looking at the little rocks of life, trying to turn that little rock into the entire picture. We tend to pick out what we understand, make that the focus, and discount what we just cannot be sure of. But if everyone has the capacity to interpret art in their own way, I think that interpreting the meaning of life should go beyond us just being here to fill up some cosmic space.
Therefore it is the choice to not believe in anything that makes me wonder; for the non-believer, is that all life is? Is it merely something that we breeze through like the wind; whether it passes through lungs, bends trees, or breaks branches; it simply goes whichever way it goes? Furthermore, is this whole experience and everything in it that makes it work all just something to be expressed and analysed as we pass through it? If so, to what purpose and end?
I personally do not think we are just randomly here. To me, God may be indeterminable, but God is also satisfying, especially when you make that effort to find the absolute answers about life and what we are doing here. Life in a vacuum does not hold much except thought, experience, wonder, lovely and hateful things, moving continuously whichever way it goes.