Picture of Dorian Gray

12.16.2002

Institution, standard, convention.  What is so intriguing that they continue to be one of the elemental threads of all which I contemplate?  These three are in some ways analogical to aspects of the Picture of Dorian Gray.  They are most directly an artifact, as is a painting.  Furthermore, they share a common impetus with paintings.  Their point is to in some way capture and preserve that which is deemed worthy of preservation.  Furthermore, they, as is the painted image, are somewhat incomplete and distorted representations of something else.  Furthermore, they exhibit permanence, more or less so, relative to the life span of the average human and their proper subject.  With specific regard to Dorian Gray, the point of the painting was to attempt to in some way create an artifact indicative of the tremendous beauty that existed in a particular human being for the purpose of continuance of such…to immortalize it.  This was accomplished.  The institution created, the standard or convention developed and employed.  The most intriguing aspect of the parallel is that just as the picture has the power to allow that which it was created to immortalize to degrade and yet still offer a pretense of its former self, so, too, do institution, standard and convention.  This pretense, this icon of what was, or might never have been, is so powerful that it can facilitate preservation of an image, an idea, an action well beyond the useful lifetime of said, even though said idea has been corrupted to the point that it bears more relation to its antithesis than to that which was created to immortalize it.

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