Interview with our Philosophy Advisor Dilectiss Liu
Today we are very happy to share a very interesting and profound interview with our very own Dilectiss Liu! Anastasia Panova, specially for Interwining Arts.
Q: How did you meet the Intertwining Arts team?
I was at the end of my studies in Canberra during the autumn of 2014, when the second Australian International Chopin Competition took place. There I had met Elina, and we exchanged our thoughts on Chopin and his artist compatriots. The continuation of these exchanges marked the beginning of our first Intertwining Arts project “Chopin: A Letter Through the Parisian Years”.
Q: What is your role in Intertwining Arts?
Initially, I provided analyses on the poems of Mickiewicz, the letters of Chopin, and articles thereof. Elina and I had numerous discussions along the way, which initiated my migration from a peaceful cave into the world of social media. Such discussions and thoughts eventually crystallised as a summary of the philosophical and historical background for our Chopin project “A Timeless Letter from Chopin”. This article helped our audiences to better appreciate the project in its effort to connect us with Chopin as a fellow human being. Through apprehending the thoughts and emotions that characterised Chopin’s life via the reading of his letters, we obtain a more profound appreciation for his music.
In general, my role as the philosophy adviser is twofold: first, to provide grounded theses upon which artistic representations are built; second, to explicate the philosophical themes in artworks and connect them to our lives.
Q: What is your favourite combination of art genres?
I like the opera. Successful works of opera would with the physical force of music, evoke in the audience emotional fluxes while simultaneously, using narrative to take the audience through an imaginary journey that relate to their own lives. It does something new that is beyond the capabilities of either music or literature in isolation.
Art is a medium of communication, and doing so primarily to affect and inspire. Hence any art form that serve its purpose well is an art form worth exploring.
Q: How do you see Intertwining Arts in the future?
One of our oldest continuing artefacts is art. However, the continuing development of art forms and artistry also mark the ongoing decline of art’s perceived value. Art is incredibly effective at serving its purposes. Yet because of this effectiveness, we by our human nature, have become ungrateful. In an age where artistic value is overlooked, precisely because art has served us well for millennia, it is important for us to hone our appreciation for art lest we lose sight of life. The most effective to do so is via art itself.
The intertwining of distinct art forms could overcome individual limitations. Intertwining Arts explores the expressive power of art, so that it may better inspire us to reflect on and empathise with life, the world, and even art itself. One mission of Intertwining Art is to provide meta-artistic representations, as is reflected in our various projects.
Q: What do you do besides Intertwining Arts?
At the present, my major project is a dissertation on philosophical methodology. My research interests are fairly broad, but my general rule is this – if a research question has a practical consequence, and if I could investigate the question relatively efficiently, then it would be on my list of interests.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
Outside of academia, I spend most of my time with music, whether it is playing music, siting in a jazz bar, or even imagining and humming out melodies. I also like other art forms, and I sometimes write poems, letters, draw, dance. I enjoy nature, especially the forests, the mountains, and the sea. I love dark chocolate without any flavouring, and I have over the years recruited a few devoted members for my chocolate club. Sometimes I like to participate in charity events, especially ones that relate to education or art, for they are my two biggest passions. I like to explore new things. Life is short, I prefer knowledge over sanctity.
Q: What is your biggest dream?
Dreams are those which propel us to live on, in one way or another, whether it be fantasies, or a desire to achieve something. Fantasies we may all imagine, I too have many, but fantasies cannot be validated nor opposed, so I shall not speak of them. My biggest dream, in the sense of the latter, is to simply play my role well. Let me explain what I mean.
Whether your ambitions overshoot your powers, you might come to the point of realising that life is rather short for all your wishes, and that we as individuals, are rather powerless. In the face of choices, we all are prone to being overwhelmed. However, we must not retreat, but to act. Life is all but decisions — to choose is at the same time, to give up. It is merely that in many situations, we are clear with what we want. However, when the stakes are high, we may become undecided. We bypass this uncertainty with the fantasy that all is possible. Ambition is another facet of greed, it is however also a mask from the responsibility of dealing with reality. In the past, I desired too much and foolishly tried to act upon all my desires, till when I have ran out of breath. Late I have learned two important things. One, to give up; two, to trust others. We must grant others our trust, not out of imprudence, but out of reasonableness. The fool suffers from distrust and thereby arrogance. No person is too grand, every genius stands on the shoulders of many other giants, and ingenuity is but an inevitable result of countless efforts along the river of time. I thus may not say that I dream of changing the world, or even to provide a better education for future generations, though I certainty do wish for them. I can only say — in so far as it is in my power to do so — that my biggest dream is to do my best to act, in accord with my values, and thereby to play the role I have given myself to the best of my abilities, in a grand world of many other characters who play their own roles. This may sound trivial but it is by no means easy. To act true to oneself requires tireless studies and reflection, and a fine balance of prudence versus courage, for we may lose what we think we knew, and life is burdened with all our human defects, if nothing else. It is a lifelong project of reaching for perfection, without ever expecting it.
Q: Your life motto?
Beauty is the meaning of life. We, as human beings, are unlike tables or chairs, we were not created with a blueprint of purposes, but we have spawned into this world, with nothing, but all our human conditions and, our free will. It is a mistake, therefore, to look outward for the purpose of life, for there is none save illusory apparitions, which is anyhow, our very own creation. Rather, the meaning of life is to be created, and given by us, for values do not exist without us. The universe cares not, she laughs not, she weeps not. All human endeavours begin with valuing, it is only when we start caring, that we strive to do something in tune with what we care for. Alas we too often act against ourselves, for we are too easily lost in the midst of this chaotic and prosaic society, forgetting to think and to reflect, the very human characteristics that a child would spend much time honing. As the old wise fool Polonius said, ‘to thine own self be true.’ Yet what is this self? It is a temporal being in the making, for there is no predefined self. It is like a piece of music, for no piece of music can be given in any instant. It is your willpower, your very thoughts and your actions. It is to act, not by falling into the excuses of worldly affairs, and complain that you ‘must’, but by choosing to do so, out of reason and out of love. We all have duties, but we ought not to follow norms merely because they are norms, but only because we realise that these norms are our creations, for the sake of guiding ourselves towards our love of life.