The role of the artist is exactly the same role, I think, as the role of the lover. If you love somebody, you honor at least two necessities at once. One of them is to recognize something very dangerous, or very difficult. Many people cannot recognize it at all, that you may also be loved; love is like a mirror. In any case, if you do love somebody, you honor the necessity endlessly, and being at the mercy of that love, you try to correct the person whom you love. Now, that’s a two-way street. You’ve also got to be corrected. As I said, the people produce the artist, and it’s true. The artist also produces the people. And that’s a very violent and terrifying act of love. The role of the artist and the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see. Insofar as that is true, in that effort, I become conscious of the things that I don’t see. And I will not see without you, and vice versa, you will not see without me. No one wants to see more than one sees. You have to be driven to see what you see. The only way you can get through it is to accept that two-way street which I call love. You can call it a poem, you can call it whatever you like. That’s how people grow up. An artist is here not to give you answers but to ask you questions.
— James Baldwin, “The Black Scholar Interviews James Baldwin"
Myth and power
Exploring the concept of myth, Barthes seeks to grasp the relations between language and power. He assumes that myth helps to naturalize particular worldviews.
According to Barthes, myth is based on humans’ history, and myth cannot naturally occur. There are always some communicative intentions in myth. Created by people, myth can easily be changed or destroyed. Also, myth depends on the context where it exists. By changing the context, one can change the effects of myth. At the same time, myth itself participates in the creation of an ideology. According to Barthes, myth doesn’t seek to show or to hide the truth when creating an ideology, it seeks to deviate from the reality.
The major function of myth is to naturalize a concept, a belief. Myth purifies signs and fills them with a new meaning which is relevant to the communicative intentions of those who are creating the myth. In the new sign, there are no contradictions that could raise any doubts regarding the myth. Myth is not deep enough to have these contradictions; it simplifies the world by making people believe that signs have inherent meaning. Myth “abolishes the complexity of human acts, it gives them the simplicity of essences…