There's a quote in Tracts of the Sun about entertainment. The book quotes Ngak'chang Rinpoche (NCR) as saying (page 135):
Art should not be entertainment. The problem with 'entertainment' is that it is mainly for sensory dilettantes. I have never listened to a piece of music in order to be entertained. I have never been to the theatre to be entertained. I have never gone to an art gallery to be entertained. Entertainment is for those afflicted with existential ennui—people with too much time on their hands. When I seek out Art I have serious intent to witness the universe coming into being.
The claim that "Art should not be entertainment" echoes the quote I looked at yesterday from the same page. That quote says that "real entertainment requires serious attention." I took that to mean that to engage with entertainment only passively is a missed opportunity, rather than properly "problematic." Four of the seven sentences seem to be reiterating that same point more vehemently.
I can read this as being judgmental. It sounds like a rant against "sensory dilettantes... those afflicted with existential ennui." Rationally, I don't think it's meant to be. But the text is also not conspicuously inconsistent with that reading.
I'm going to throw away the four 'redundant' sentences and see what I can make of the rest:
Art should not be entertainment... Entertainment is for those afflicted with existential ennui—people with too much time on their hands. When I seek out Art I have serious intent to witness the universe coming into being.
Focusing on this, it seems like the core idea is what 'Art' is in contrast to 'entertainment.' (This 'entertainment' is the conventional kind, different from the "real entertainment" which requires "serious attention.") This makes me wonder:
- Why should entertainment be for "people with too much time on their hands"? How does this relate to the idea that "real entertainment requires serious attention"?
- What does it mean to "witness the universe coming into being" through 'Art'?
In NCR's idiom, I understand 'Art' to include "experience as Art," and so one could take (2) to be about being with experience. In that language, experience could be "the universe coming into being"—not in a solipsistic way, but in the sense that "every moment is born anew," or something like that.
I'm still confused, because he seems to also hold some kind of appreciation for art in the conventional sense. What would it mean to "witness the universe coming into being" in that context? Does it even make sense to distinguish those two contexts? How is it that lowercase art relates to 'Art'?
About (1) I have no clue. I suspect a proper answer to (2) might also answer (1).