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Deep and Profound?

Andreas_Helixfinger at 12:00AM, Oct. 9, 2022

Hello, ducks!

Been a while since I did one of these off-top of-my-head kind of pieces. Thought I talk about something that has been on my mind for quite some time. What exactly is deep and profound? A lot of artists throughout history have strived to make their art deep and profound. In this day and age it seems like almost every high-ambitional writer and narrative conceptualizer wants their creative works to be this insightful gift to mankind, wether it be on a political, or a spiritual, or intellectual or emotional level.

Everybody would like to be the philosopher. Everybody would like to be the one who KNOWS stuff that other people don’t. Coming down from the mountain to bestow us daily sleepwalkers down on earth the fundamental truths of our existence! When he or she pouts the world shimmers in anticipation!! All this jazz.

By the way, the picture you see above this text is a photo of a piece of Banksy art. Banksy being an England-based street artist who’s true identity remains unconfirmed. I’ve always been fascinated by graffiti art. Felt like a good choice for this article since graffiti is often used by street artists to spread social awareness, quiet effectively in this case I think. Street artists will always be the true foot soldiers of art in my opinion.

Now, where was I? Oh, yeah. Some years ago I had it just hit me that I wanted my stories to be deep and profound. My quest to do so took me into some interesting, creative angles that I’ve taken notes from and implemented in my stories as I tell them now as webcomics. But mostly what I found was me focusing WAY to much on ”the message” of my stories, rather then focusing on the stories themselves. I had some fun with it and I got things from it, so I don’t think it was a waste of time. But I have come to the conclusion that deep and profound isn’t really where I wanna take things, and probably couldn’t anyway without it all turning up all pretentious.

And I think that’s often the case when storytellers try to go for that sort of thing. For example, I like the Matrix, I like that movie’s style, I like its atmosphere and I do find the concept of true reality versus percieved reality to be a good, additional flavour in the mix, all which really helped the movie stand out from all the other sci-fi action flicks that came out in the late 90’s. But it’s particularly in the sequels of that movie that the Wachowski brothers really begins to go off rails with how deep and profound they try to make everything sound and look.

Characters just keeps talking all pseudo-philosophically about stuff that just barely computes with what is going on. Overwritten plot twists and climaxes that you could care less about and that doesn’t even make much sense in the grand scheme of things, that only seems to be there so the Wachowskis can show off have deep and complex they are as creators. Similar thing with Christopher Nolan’s superhero movies. I like The Dark Knight, but yeeeez, thus every, single mayor character in Gotham city have to be an existentialist analytic?

Dialouge upon dialouge like: ”I only have one rule. Tonight you're gonna break your one rule! You can’t just leave things to chance! I’m not, I make my own luck. Some men just wants to watch the world burn.” Alright! Alright! We get it, Chris! You’re a clever man with clever things to tell! Can we please get out of this philosophical poetry jam already and go back to Batman just trying to catch the Joker? Now, that sort of thing can work when used as an effective flavoring agent to the appropriate setting and/or atmosphere, but in these cases that I've just mentioned it is clearly there not to enhance the setting, but to impress the audience.

My idea of something being truly deep and profound is when you’ve made an observation or had an experience, and you’re able to express it to others in a way that gives people this realization about themselves and/or the world around them that they may or may not have had otherwise. Anybody can just take something from any philosophical text and parrot it for the one millionth time in some fashion. Be it from Plato, or Lao Tzu, or Friedrich Nietzsche or from the Bible. That doesn't make anything deep or profound really, it just shows that the creator have spent time reading (or googling).

Now I’m not gonna tell any artist what direction to take, that’s up to each one to figure out on their own. But personally I’m done trying to be deep and profound. I’m 33 years old. I’m getting tired. I don’t have the time or the energy to ponder together something that will raise awareness or lift people to some higher, spiritual trampoline over the swimming pool of our existence. I just want to have fun with what I actually have.

And what I have is a weird, wild imagination. That’s all I need and that’s probably all that will ever come out of me in the end. If anything I create happens to come out as something deep to somebody out there, it’s most likely gonna be by accident. And maybe that’s the best way to make something deep and profound. By simply just doing what you’re good at and have THOSE insights and THAT knowledge come out on its own accord, if it really is there to be found in the first place.

So what are your thoughts, then? What do you, or don’t, consider deep and profound art/storytelling? Do you have any examples of deep and profound done right? Have you ever tried to create anything along those lines?

Comments down below. Just don’t think too hard about it. I love you all.

Helixfinger Out!



Andreas_Helixfinger at 6:24PM, Oct. 11, 2022

But I think this cements it for me. I figure that all my stories are aiming to be very setting-focused, as they all essentially share the same expansive location, and having themes that are totally recognicable, totally been done before, but are somewhat warped to fit the settings strange little mould. It's kind of turning into this one big closed loop where very little from the outside can get in to be honest. And all I'm essentially doing is taking that setting, those stories, the characters and the themes, exploring all of the weird facets of it all, having fun doing so, and inviting people in for the ride. And it will all simply be about the cheer entertainment of watching all of this weird imagination come out to play. If it's going to push anything, it is the imagination, not the intellect. And that's the way I'd like to be I think. Just giving people's mind's more stuff to play with and make weird stories of for future amusements. That's a good enough contribution for me:)

Andreas_Helixfinger at 6:06PM, Oct. 11, 2022

@TheJagged - Sounds like interesting stuff to sink one's brain into:) I would also suggest playing Killer 7 on the PS2 if you don't mind games that are weird and utterly incomprehensible:P Seriously, play that game and you'll have an absurdist, hyper-symbolical conundrum that will drive you to psychosis trying to figure out what in the sweatiest realms of hell the writer and director, Goichi Suda, is trying to say😄

TheJagged at 12:45PM, Oct. 11, 2022

Curse the character limit, so have a triple post. On the subject of pretentious crap i really do enjoy, whenever i feel like severely challenging my limited mental capacity, i read a bunch of scifi. The super hard kind of scifi. John Brunner, Ian Banks, Greg Egan, Peter Watts... there's your philosophical lectures and a half. Along with a lesson in chemistry, cosmology and quantum physics. Nothing will make me ask myself more what even means to be human. Seriously, read Blindsight. Or Axiomatic. Maybe Her Smoke Rose Up Forever if you're not feeling depressed enough already. Enjoy your existential crisis.

TheJagged at 12:37PM, Oct. 11, 2022

I will say I am very guilty of getting "deep yo" in my own storytelling, but it's never to cram a message into the viewer's head, it's about sharing the truths i observed for myself. My philosphy is a personal one, frankly it just doesn't matter whether others agree, i wanna say & ponder certain things because they helped to deal with this whole being alive in an uncaring universe situation. It's stimulating to dabble in philosophy, simple as that.

TheJagged at 12:29PM, Oct. 11, 2022

The moment you specifically set out to do something "profund", you already lost. Thinking you got something super deep to say that nobody else has said before you, automatcially paints you as pretentious in my eyes. Don't think for a second that the ideas that rattle in your brain haven't rattled in other people's brains before. Even centuries before you were even born. There's only so many truths about life the human brain can observe before we start repeating ourselves, at best you can remix it in an interesting way. If you make entertainment (even Big Brain entertainment for oh so mature market) aim to be entertaining first, "the message" should be secondary to giving your audience a good time. Also makes 'em more perceptible to welcome the actual message.

Andreas_Helixfinger at 2:05AM, Oct. 11, 2022

Actually, maybe it doesn't matter wether what I do provides answers or raises questions. Maybe it's just all about the exploration itself. The exploration of the setting and the theme. Wether that provides answers or raises questions doesn't really matter as long as I'm having an adventure with what I got🙂🙂🙂 Okay. Now I'm done^^ Ready to move on^^

Andreas_Helixfinger at 3:05PM, Oct. 10, 2022

@InkyMoondrop - On the contrary actually. I think you're contributing quite a bit with this. You're reminding me that artists aren't just about conveying messages, but also simply giving people food for thought. Challenging questions, rather than impressive answers. Wonder instead of meaning. Wonder is the perfect middle-realm of meaning and meaninglessness. And I think this is probably where I'm truly going with my stories, I realize. Because I'm not a guy who knows things. I just think about a lot of things. And I simply just wanna share the things that I'm thinking about in a way that is entertaining and imaginative, that may or may not make other people think. We'll see. But I thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. It helps. Believe me.

InkyMoondrop at 12:24PM, Oct. 10, 2022

Stimulating discussion. A bit too elevated for naive little me. :D I don't have much to contribute here, but the things I find deep and profound are usually works where the artist's main focus wasn't conveying a message but to explore a topic in depth. Topics, like morality or the human condition, so instead of trying to force-feed me their own beliefs regarding these, I'm invited along on a journey to discover a variety of scenarios, with some of them having the potential to make me question my own beliefs. Some of my favorite examples is when the protagonist is very likable and relatable and we start to think of him as the hero but later some of his actions are morally questionable to say the least and we realize that we tried to force him into the "hero shape", while he's just a complex protagonist. It's a tiny disillusionment, but ultimately, when the story is good, finding great things begin with letting go of some of these attachments.

Andreas_Helixfinger at 8:06AM, Oct. 10, 2022

@PaulEberhardt - Indeed. I feel like my mind is at ease now. Thanks for the encouragement, Paul:)

PaulEberhardt at 6:47AM, Oct. 10, 2022

@Andreas: True! I'd even go as far as saying that today's gospel WILL become the cringe of tomorrow until it's old enough that everybody has forgotten enough about it to think that it's in some way original. ;) And never underestimate wacky escapism! Anything that triggers your readers' thoughts is valuable in itself.

Andreas_Helixfinger at 4:11AM, Oct. 10, 2022

@PaulEberhardt - The subject does kind of tie in to the previous subject of overselling and underselling your story/art, doesn't it. I guess what I'm asking myself with this article is "am I being honest about what I'm trying to sell with my stories". "Is it getting an important message across or is it all just wacky escapism at the end of the day." Also, the profoundness of a meaning does change with the times. Today's gospel could become the cringe of tomorrow.

PaulEberhardt at 2:49AM, Oct. 10, 2022

What's the difference between deep and profound lines and stale calendar mottos? - I think it's, as with art, mostly the way they are sold to the audience. If they look as if they'd been forced into the story just to show off, i.e. sound unnatural in the context, any profundity will be lost by magically turning into the pretentious wankery already mentioned in this discussion. It's sad how many people apparently can't tell the difference - else, popular authors and scriptwriters wouldn't get away with it so often.

PaulEberhardt at 2:36AM, Oct. 10, 2022

One modern art connoisseur told me long ago: "The thing that makes it art is the artist's ability to sell it." - The art that prompted our "Is this art?" conversation was, by the way, just a rock hung on a piece of string between two poles. But consider this: it succeeded in what art is for in that it made you take notice and think - and via this art connoisseur it produced a pretty profound quote on top, if you really think about it and its ramifications.

bravo1102 at 9:49PM, Oct. 9, 2022

And that can be the MEANING OF THE COSMOS that they see, but please I have enough headaches in my life and don't need anyone hitting me over the head with meaning.

bravo1102 at 9:46PM, Oct. 9, 2022

I said a FEW pieces had no intrinsic meaning and were about what you bring to them. You need to work on your reading comprehension. We were actually discussing a specific artist in fact who just makes what he sees in his minds eye and let the viewer bring what they want to it. The rest is so much salesmanship and promotion. The artist puts themselves into their work. They bring everything they've experienced in their life to that moment of creation. An artist can intend nothing, but still their life to that moment has left some mark on them and that can end up in a piece whatever their intentions.

Andreas_Helixfinger at 9:41PM, Oct. 9, 2022

@Ozoneocean - Hmm--you know, you're probably right. Reading this and thinking about it now I feel like it all is coming to me more clearly. And I did make this article in hopes that someone would come by and offer clarity on the subject. I have to thank you, Oz:)

Ozoneocean at 9:04PM, Oct. 9, 2022

@Andreas - That's not actually the case. As I said, no art is intentionally meaningless, if it is then it's not "art", it's just a decoration. If you "find meaning" that hasn't anything to do with the "art", that is all you: you are creating that meaning on your own. In which case you should then turn that meaningless objects into your own art piece and use it to express that meaning to others. The whole idea that art can have no meaning and that it comes from the observer is a misunderstanding... it comes from two main places: back in the beginnings of modern art people were struggling to come to terms with it so hit on that as a way of explaining it to non-artists. Secondly, Post modernism is about all the different ways there are to look at things, with each viewer bringing their own background knowledge and that influencing their views- But even for this the intention of the art is NEVER meaningless, and there is always intention.

Ozoneocean at 8:56PM, Oct. 9, 2022

Banksy's work is interesting in that the values for it and the way people market and sell is SO totally alien to the art that it's a joke. It's "guerilla" art for everyone to see, it's simple, the meaning's are pretty straight forward and basic so it's great for art shown in the public space like that- document it and move on. Protecting it, mythologising the artist, trying to sell it etc, that's all that antitheses of the art and the message.

Andreas_Helixfinger at 8:52PM, Oct. 9, 2022

I believe that it is totally possible for the beholder to find a piece of art that was intended to be meaningless to have a meaning. And also I believe that it is totally possible for a beholder to find art that had a meaning in mind to be completely meaningless. It all comes down to how you put it all together like we've talked about so many times before. And like I said I wouldn't tell any artist what direction to take, but--erm--don't let your search for either meaning or meaninglessness turn you delusional or scornful or--erm--QAnon^^

Ozoneocean at 8:49PM, Oct. 9, 2022

The very most important thing about art is communication with the viewer. A lot of creators think that being deep and profound and clever means they have to make that communication as cryptic and obscure as possible- these people are inveterate imbeciles and don't understand art. Say you message is something like "war is horrible and dehumanising", there are a billion ways to express that but few that get the message across in a meaningful and impactful way. You could just write it out but that's not very impactful. You could show footage but that could be taken the wrong way, you could show a burnt up child's doll that was recovered from a war zone (make sure that's in the caption), and you're getting closer. Comics are a fantastic artists medium because they communicate very clearly with an audience, you just have to choose your message and make sure it isn't trite.

Ozoneocean at 6:18PM, Oct. 9, 2022

That person you talked to Bravo was a not quite as knowledgeable as she was pretending, whenever someone says that an artwork isn't supposed to have a meaning and it's about what the viewer brings that's a red flag- Because if that were true then the art is 100% pointless and we may as well discuss the fire hydrant on the wall, a chair, a floating cloud or a person on the street, rather than a massively overpriced piece of ugly artwork that's paying the rent of a less than talented artist and giving a super fat commission to their agent and gallery. Art is ALWAYS supposed to have intrinsic meaning and when it is also supposed to draw something from the viewer that is not general, it's tailored and specific based on the artistic visual and emotional language used. -This is stuff I studied and practiced for well over a decade so I know the tricks :)

bravo1102 at 4:17PM, Oct. 9, 2022

The same is true for many other things. What I put in there intentionally or unintentionally is one thing but what you read into it is something totally different. Like the scene in Back to School where Rodney Dangerfield gets Vonnegut to write his English paper on Vonnegut and thd professor says that whoever wrote the paper doesn't get Vonnegut at all.

bravo1102 at 4:13PM, Oct. 9, 2022

I went to a contemporary art exhibit in Philadelphia. I got to talking with someone there because I usually hate non representational art. She explained to me how a few pieces are not supposed to have any intrinsic meaning. You supply the meaning. It's all about what it means to you and that isn't the artist bashing you over the head with epic MEANING OF THE COSMOS.

GeekyGami at 10:12AM, Oct. 9, 2022

You just reminded me of Michael Bay's Transformers movies, and how by the end of the movie, they always throw some meaningless philosophical shlock our way to try and pretend that it isn't just a movie about robots and explosions. If what's delivered is in the right context, and really hits home, then there's something to be said for that. If it isn't, it's basically just virtue signaling/product placement, but for philosophy.

Banes at 9:43AM, Oct. 9, 2022

Interesting stuff! Enjoyed it. I guess on the one extreme, there could be a story with no meaning at all, or some kind of "life is meaningless" message, and on the other extreme, there's pretentious wankery. I agree with marcorossi that when there's some kind of point/meaning to a story I've written (profound or not, doesn't matter), the story is usually better than those without. When I've tried to be "deep" or offer something, when I don't really know what I'm talking about, it's...bad. xD

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