A thought is never born abstract. It follows a discrete process in becoming abstract.
Thoughts become abstract as they become devoid of context, not by themselves – the thinker does it. The context is removed, often out of choice and sometimes by chance. The achievement of abstraction isn’t that simple however.
There is always an event or an incident which triggers a thought. At that time, it is a full and a discrete thought – abundant in context. Then the thought is slowly stripped off the details of the event. The location is made anyplace, the moment becomes timeless, the names become pronouns. The thought is now generalised. This galvanises the thinkers’ grey cells. The generalisation appeals to the thinker; his mind salivates at the further possibility of softening the edges: he then finely hammers away at the slightly rough edges.
The once discrete, tangible and easily digestible thought becomes abstract as abstract can be. The thinker stands back and imagines the thought as it originally struck him – he recalls the fine details and sees the details in his mind – and smiles proudly at how those fine details reflect in the abstraction he has just created.
He hangs it out for the world to perceive.
In the gallery, the perceivers appreciate the thought – first in its abstraction; for the sake of abstraction – as an absolute. They then do the same that the thinker did when he stood back and proudly looked upon his creation. The perceivers attempt to reflect a few details in the mirrors of abstraction – they do the exact opposite of what the thinker painstakingly did in the first place – they add context – only this time – they add their own context. The thought slowly unfolds itself to them – not as the thinker originally received it – but as they choose to receive it. The abstract thought now appeals to the perceiver. They have context.
The perceiver has now become the thinker. The same process follows again – the thought now propagates through these thinkers.
If the perceiver seeks the context from the thinker, however, all the fine chiselling has come to a nought.