Now let us a take a closer look at the code of a SYMCHA, which, by being perpetually ‘incomplete’ and partially unpainted, is precisely not a “ready-made” (Duchamp). Then, in part, the idea that it is neither fully actualized nor finally grasped always leaves the spectator with a sense of lack and this is not some sort of obstruction to abundance, but rather its precondition. The second approach is that a symbol is in the process of becoming, and so it is its primary objective to self-cultivate [‘shugyō,’ ascetic methods of self-cultivation] a rich character, which further gains tempo from a self-energizing engagement with this process; – and what is this symbol-characteristic art but an “Art of War” (Sun Tzŭ), a martial art in the true sense of the word. Symbol-characteristic art is an art about art that is self-conscious and self-reflexive, and even though it appears utterly photorealistic at first glance, it is, rather, an analytical or artistic attempt to destroy this illusion, simply to display itself as art, not life. Hence a symbol character is the ideal whose materialization is made possible by ideation, and, internally, by ‘pure’ (not technical) values in hard- and software. The SYMCHA’s core, which in reality is a black hole, is distinguished by a superabundance of raw crudity or cruelty (not ‘craft’), and a concentration against ‘primitiveness’; and it is this which constitutes its highly evolved system. In fact, self-control is its most perfect virtue, so it can ‘cosplay’ the role of elder statesman [genrō], as in earlier times it once played the role of warrior.

Symbol-characteristic ingredients, just like easy-to-build, semi-assembled Dada-Surrealist objects, are always intentionally left ‘uncooked’; slightly raw, one might say. At the simplest level, a SYMCHA’s raw format is primarily affected by analogue operations using such implements as knives, blenders, mixers, graters, whisks and spatulas. Likewise, its own end-result is a “sticky mass” (like honey, glue, etc.) that behaves in a linear viscoelastic manner; so its architecture might just as well resemble a beehive. Thus, to understand a joint/junction in the behavior of an ‘assembled’ object, requires a depth of knowledge that reaches beyond an oversimplified comprehension of the sequential layering of segments. Rather, the symbol character is the expressionless blend of intricately layered impressions within impressions, which implies the existence of something more than just sets (collections) of bland narrative elements. However, the ‘expressionless’ [more on that later] mode of SYMCHAs is not a hollow aesthetic shell – neither is it the fanciful conceit of an abstract theory, since from the very beginning it was born out of poverty of expression, that is to say, out of an inability to express precisely, not out of a “needlessness” to use it in any other way than a merely ‘decorative’ one, while debasing its essential enriching quality. So, because there’s no real wealth at the centre (black hole) of a symbol character, it does not actually, neither verbally nor visually, “symbolize” the realm of Ideals, or Ideal Forms; it’s not just their symbol.

As an expression of divine reality, the SYMCHA carries enough magical/theurgic potential to indirectly manifest from without the very immanence of Superiority, however, which further proliferates under its influence. And although realistic in its essence, it rouses in the spectator sensations of the fantastic, making him more sensitive in his capacity to experience awe. The spellbound person is instantly drawn to it: such is a SYMCHA’s position and gravity that, again like a black hole, it pulls everybody in its close proximity into its orbit. There is no hocus-pocus here, no abracadabra. But similar to the magician who conjures a rabbit out of his hat, it is capable of generating surreal doors to hidden “yet-undreamed-of realms” (Jaeger). There is no magic here. Nonetheless, the spectator as omniscient witness is magically transformed – or, at least, he feels that way. He sees the big picture and what he sees are visions of a divine world, visions of idealized creatures. Thus, symbol-characteristic art feeds the insatiable hunger for ‘enchantment’ – for the real presence of a divine “heavenly body” which is locally absent – wherein the duality of art and life is finally resolved in the medium of charm/character. It is that form of “being” (Dasein) witnessed in everyday life – only embroidered or, shall we say, intensified to the point of awe – which, for instance, operates on aura, while the symbol character acts as the artificial overlay (better even: “sieve”) that systematically trains the spectator to symbolically comprehend art as alive or living.

Within this context, art may, at first glance, appear purely decorative; and what higher purpose would it possibly serve, one might ask? Yet, this dilemma can easily be resolved by defining art as a substitute gratification, a satiation feeding, which assumes the existence of a vital (or life) force. If we decide that the fine, or ultimate purpose, of art is of secondary importance to life, we would then (wrongly) accuse it of being only the “ornament succeeding necessities; but all life moves upward to achieve ornament, for ornament is free and necessities are necessary” (Frye, 2013). But conversely, it is also true that our secular ethos would rather prefer decoration to necessity – finesse to justice (brutality) … or is it? And there is also this deeper battle wound: contemporary criticism, in a bulldozer-like manner, always tries to emphasize the history and philosophy of art, while crushing the beauty, pleasure, and ‘culturedness’ (kul’turnost’) on which it is grounded. So: the symbol character is supposed to be the incorporation of the greatest possible artistic energy bound – or embodied – in the most characteristic and subsymbolic form. Here, decoration and necessity could, therefore, be the same thing; only the latter is the product of integrated power. Indeed, the traditional term “needforce” perfectly describes my argument; while, on the other hand, we know that what has disappeared as a ‘need’ may have not disappeared entirely, but will come back again as ‘décor,’ that is, as figure and model, as a second presence in its absence.

Just so, the “symbol character” of a spellbinding charismatic myth is itself already a representative not heavenly body – which does not mean it is ‘unreal’ or ‘untrue’: It is a hyperreal holographic projection, not exactly an optical illusion – but difficult to distinguish from one; or, it might just as well be the only real presence. If it exists, it may in fact be a much more powerful ‘moving existence,’ precisely because of its intrinsic multiplicity, which allows the SYMCHA to be many things at once: a psychological effect, a psychoanalytic symptom, an aesthetic category of the sublime, the tragic, the comic, and so forth; a verbal chimera, or a visual chameleon. Therefore, it is more or less blurred, and the most fundamental of ‘arts’ as it witnesses itself to be (already) the ‘work of art itself.’ In this force field (Kraftfeld) we can observe its near-magical transformation into heightened life where it starts to ‘breathe,’ only because it has an impulse towards and is directed by irrational judgment, which overrides the rule that illusions can never come alive. Of course, it does not include any new force, or any solid spiritual truth; it simply ‘suspends’ judgment on truth and regards all dogmatic systems as bigoted injustice. This doesn’t make it ‘superior.’ It, too, will break, disintegrate, or perish one day. This is something that we all can observe in any art form, no matter how heightened it is, still yet, it is erroneous and exhaustible – alive but not immortal. And mortal as it is, it has no right to step into the magic circle where the wizard works…