We live in a wish-fulfillment society and are all drowning in beauty, yet generally we are all possibly more demoralized than ever. Beauty, and pleasure, at least as we now understand them, are clearly not ultimately satisfying. Art, therefore, should be edifying. If it isn’t then it only just attends to the current sensibilities of the audience and is proportionally only craft. The criteria for success with craft is well understood— paint genre pictures of Greeks in the style of Bouguereau; or paint wan looking people like Sargent; or paint fabric, or sweaty or wet people photo-realistically, for a few examples. But there seems little point in making art which the viewer already fully accepts. The more artistic something is the more inscrutable, the more an education, it becomes. Beauty is being studied scientifically, and will also soon be well understood, and beautiful things are at all times being created almost totally programmatically through technique alone, which is to say, as a craft. We’re extremely susceptible to beautiful collisions of sounds (e.g., fancy words or “gorgeous” music), or beautiful forms of any kind, but it begins to feel vacuous and predictable, as just another pretty face or pretty painting. Then some artists try to ugly things up to relieve the boredom; and surrealism depends on the viewer having a rather normal, sane view of reality to scandalize, and it seems rather unambitious, seeking to merely seek to scandalize normal, sane people. For now I’ve settled on making paintings that are pretty plain, beautiful or crafty enough, and on a painter’s technique that is good enough for our purposes, but preferring to work on establishing instead a technique of thinking and of living life… portraits of ideas of how to Be. This is all only a personal prescription however.