The Artist Who Thinks Too Much

Rodney Chang, M.A., MS.Ed., Ph.D.


The Future Mind and Art 

Published in Mental Evolution and Art, Exposition Press, 1979


    Interaction among time, environment, and species have led to an ascending order of mental complexity not only between genre, but also within the different species themselves.  Thus the future man will be the product of the ongoing, accumulating new levels of consciousness designed to adapt to his ever-changing environmental demands.  Extrasensory perception may be the first sign of another future common mental ability, or it may be a vestigial reminder of a once common ability of a distant ancestor.  People often say, “Don’t think too much!” because this not only can lead to the truth but also is dangerous because it leads to change – a thinking change that may be recorded genetically and thus permanently influence the essence of the human mind.

     The future man will have a greater mental potential (relative to us) for responding to the challenges of his time.  With the passage of thousands of years between kinfolk, a genetic gap develops and decreases mutual comprehension between people of different eras.  Each era of man thinks differently and thus solves the problems of living in its own characteristic way.

     The childhood of the future man’s life will be relatively much longer than ours, and so probably will be the length of life.  They’ll have longer childhoods and the “kids” will possess larger brains.  The contemporary man is evolving mentally along a direction of analytical thinking.  Our fantasy levels keep us human as we are drawn relentlessly by the forces of cognitive and rational thinking abilities that create power and control over our environment and others.  Maybe a million years from now man no longer will know “love,” “emotion,” or “war.”   He’ll be the perfect living computer.  But, as I said before, we all judge from a certain aesthetic bias that may be inappropriate to the other’s preferred taste, that of the future mind.

     As the landscape and architecture become more simplistically rectilinear, so do the art objects that combine with the interior forms of the architectural form.  Art of the next century may focus on the environmental sensitivity that we are currently attempting to create in ourselves.  And this developed sensitivity will be recorded and appreciated in the temples of our art.  We may finally accept the fact that nature is the greatest artist.  The nature of nature determined compositional rules.  And nature, as artist often depart from the common drab of green trees and blue oceans, dresses up frequently into something more daring, such as the rainbow, the prism, the diamond, the neon tetra fish, the North Pole aurora, and the dazzling sunset.  Maybe our future art will be more in tune and guidance with nature.  It may change its cycles just like the seasons.  Traditional rules for dividing art from the non-art of the world will break down.  Anything can be viewed as art if the perceiver chooses to wear those particular lenses of interpretation.  There will be a struggle between established art and anti-art guerrillas.

     As man becomes more at home in the crowded urban metropolis, his art will change/evolve accordingly.  New forms will emerge and be assimilated by the rest through the ball-carrying insight of that society’s contemporary artistic geniuses.  The new forms will emerge through the factories of crowd-taste guidance research.  From all these new forms will follow the identity of the future changed world and a personal attachment to the specific time.  And new products, packaged in the new taste extensions, make their way into the marketplace and under the Christmas tree.  Artists, technicians, scientists, and philosophers will together determine future artistic growth and direction.  Art will eventually marry technology so that each is indispensable to the other.  The artist will no longer be just a craftsman but also a deliberate historian on his field of human thinking called aesthetics.


About Mental Evolution and Art- an innovative theory of human nature linking mental evolution with art as a catalytic force

 – (A review)


     Dr. Rodney Chang perceives evolution as a continuum not only of different physical species but also of mental levels of consciousness.  Comparing the level of consciousness of a human when in deep sleep with that of the basal metabolism of plants, he asserts that “our minds are not just a polished and finished human product, but an amorphous entity of an infinite variety of thinking, all inherited from the potpourri of intelligent mechanisms adequate to support long past different ancestral forms of life.”  The conscious state, he theorizes, evolved more recently than the unconscious state.  But if we accept the notion that thinking begins in an unconscious state, then perhaps “a sort of overall bio-mental energy system exists, forming a mental energy continuum related through evolution.”

     Man reacts to the chaotic world through his conscious state.  By thinking, he creates an order that makes his world tolerable.  Art is vital to human life for the psychological function it performs.  Art objects are more than mere physical representations; they simulate different levels of consciousness to evoke emotional reactions and to help a person know himself better.  By acting as such a stimulant, art provides a mental link to memories and fantasies, and it also prevents boredom.

     An artist must create objects that strike a chord in the viewing public.  An art object serves its purpose if it excites the viewer, making him more aware of himself.

     Dr. Chang holds degrees in zoology (B.A., University of Hawaii-Manoa), psychology (B.A., Hawaii Pacific University), education (MS.Ed., University of Southern Calfornia), art (M.A., Northern Illinois University), and dentistry (D.D.S., Loyola University, Chicago, IL)