the world at once present and absent; Debord, Nietzsche, Bernstein

Very early in my life I took the question
of the relation of art to truth seriously:
even now I stand in holy dread in the face
of this discordance.

Nietzsche, Nachlass

"The discordance between art and truth arouses dread because art and aesthetics (the theoretical discourse that comprehends art in its autonomous, post-Christian guise) appear somehow more truthful than empirical truth (knowledge understood as the subsumption of particulars under concepts or kinds under laws, and truth as correspondence between statements - laws, theories, etc - and facts), more rational than methodological reason, more just than liberal just (beauty, or what beauty signifies, designating the first virtue of social institutions), more valuable than principled morality or utility.

… there is an indirect reconceptualisation of politics and the meaning of the political at work in the aesthetic critique of modernity; the discourse of aesthetics is a proto-political discourse standing in for and marking the absence of a truly political domain in modern, enlightened societies.

... If 'aesthetics' in its narrow sense refers to the understanding of art as an object of taste outside truth and morality, then 'post-aesthetic' theories of art are themselves critiques of truth-only cognition insofar as their going beyond aesthetics implies a denial of the rigid distinctions separating the claims of taste from the claims of knowing or right action.

"Autonomous art is art that is autonomous from (rationalised) truth and morality. This is the historical truth that supports the claims of truth-only cognition and principled morality; it is the truth underlying Nietzsche's holy dread, and it provides us with the first hint as to how the discordance of art and truth comes to stand as a sign of modernity. The experience of art as aesthetical is the experience of art as having lost of been deprived of its power to speak the truth - whatever truth will mean when no longer defined in exclusive ways. 

… [aesthetic alienation] denominates art's alienation from truth which is caused by art's becoming aesthetical, a becoming that has been fully consummated only in modern societies."

Bernstein, The Fate of Art

"In this essential movement of the spectacle, which consists of recapturing  within itself everything that existed in human activity in a fluid state, in order to possess it in a coagulated state, as things which have become the exclusive value, by their formulation in negative of lived value, we recognise our old enemy who knows so well how to appear at first glance something trivial and self-evident, when it is, on the contrary, so complex, and so full of metaphysical subtleties, the commodity. 

This is the principle of commodity fetishism, the domination of society by "intangible things as well as by tangible things", that reaches its absolute fulfilment in the spectacle, where the tangible world finds itself replaced by a selection of images which exists above it, and which at the same time has made itself recognised as the tangible par excellence."

Are we living proletarians, are we living? 
This age, which we recount and where 
everything we account for no longer 
belongs to us, is this life? And can we 
not perceive what we lose unceasingly 
with the years? 

Guy Debord, La Societé du Spectacle (1973)