Mystification: Sociology and Berger

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In Berger's essay, he uses the term "mystification". Mystification is one way to set out describing the ways in which people perceive what they see. When people look at same painting or advertisement, they perceive and interpret differently. As John Berger says, "we are always looking at the relation between things and ourselves" (156). We see things differently from one another and in the beginning we see things, but without language and understanding, we cannot explain what it is we see. The way we see things is predetermined by different factors such as our own experiences and status. Berger provides an example two paintings by Frans Hals. The two paintings are picture of a group of governors and a group of governesses. The paintings imply that how our society has emphasized an upper class at the period. And, high status people control the people's view. As Berger says, "the art of the past is being mystified because a privileged minority is striving to invent a history which can retrospectively justify the role of the ruling classes, and such a justification can no longer make sense in modern terms" (157). The upper class mystifies us to stay in control; without being able to see things in our own way, we are being deprived from our right to understanding ourselves and placing ourselves in a role of society. The "privileged minority" mystifies works of art in order to control people's view. Berger explains how Hals becomes after he painted the two paintings. According to Berger, "he obtained three loads of peat on public charity, otherwise he would have frozen to death. Those who now sat for him were administrators of such public charity" (158). Hals painted the two paintings to survive. In order to survive, he chose to paint what the society wanted to see. Mystification contributes a negative influence to our society. Mystifying of art distinguish upper class and low class. And it support to keeping the upper class as high ranks and...
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