It is a mistake to believe the most common primordial experiences are the only primordial experiences.
The more common something is, the more likely it will be recognized, named and afforded full status of “really real” — even if it lacks material reality. Nobody doubts the existence of joy, anger, arousal, love, power-lust, peacefulness, sadness, resolve, and other named emotions and states-of-mind, despite the fact that these “things” aren’t really things. A material thing that cannot be commonly perceived would be understood to be supernatural or a hallucination. What matters is not the constitution of a thing, but whether its existence is commonly acknowledged.
The canon of common “primordial experiences” is a small subset of something larger and weirder.
Whatever is truly uncommon is likely to languish in formless isolation.
A capacity for an uncommon experience might be intrinsic to particular human natures. Or a capacity may somehow develop, but despite its nurtured origin still awake and emerge from behind the soul, spontaneously and immediately as nature itself, and for all practical purposes is primordial (even if it is not biographically “first in order”). But these experiences lack both names and expressive language, because these experiences flare up and die out in individuals before they can be bestowed with language or form of any kind, which is the precondition for recognition by others, and even recollectability in the individual. The experiences get imprisoned in individuals, or solitary cells of moments.
All this makes these capacities and experiences no less primordial, and no less deserving of artistic expression. I would argue it makes them more deserving. For such uncommonalities, art is the only salvation, and perhaps is their rightful domain.
After all, good weather can make you joyous, an enemy can anger you, a body can arouse you, etc. Art is redundant when it stimulates a common experience that can happen elsewhere. Maybe that’s why art that stimulates these feelings is so easily appreciated. It can be seen as representative art that represents recognizable feelings instead of images.You can look at it and to be able to say “what it is”. There’s not that much difference between “that’s Marilyn Monroe” and “that’s sad”.
For the uncommon, art is a scarce gate into reality.
Uncommonness and objective rarity are two different concepts. A thing that occurs infrequently or even only once, but which occurs always in a way accessible to all people is still common, however infrequent or unique the occurrence. When a comet flashes through the sky once every ten thousand years, every eye pointed at the right place at the right time will perceive it.
Uncommonness is a capacity for experience, which, whether innate or acquired, will cause one person out of one thousand to respond differently to a thing from the other nine hundred and ninety-nine.
Genre art excites common primordial experiences. Blues. Country. Classic Rock. Metal. Punk. Reggae. They’re all designed for common appeal. Sometimes these genres reach into the uncommon, but that is not the basis of their popularity, and it is not for the sake of the uncommon that these genres have developed their formal conventions.
The art I care about is art that draws out feelings that apes cannot have.
The art I care about calls to the remote corners of humanness and momentarily keeps mutely isolated spirits of loneliness. It hushes the noise of the primordial commons so something quiet and wordless can speak and for once be heard.
Such art is essentially groping. It “does not know its way about.” It “feels around in the dark until it gets the idea.” Once it loses this quality and this characteristic it ceases to be uncommon. That is its end, and that is the end of it.