Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

A Well-Rounded Life

Originally posted on June 12, 2015

Here’s a myth I heard: We sing and dance for the gods. This is our task. They don’t have hands and feet, so we need to do it, and they enjoy through us. I think it was about Australian Aborigine nature religions, but I’m not sure. It’s a deep idea, though.

Dancing and singing has been an important part of my life, apart from professional or scholarly endeavors. Poetry, the visual arts, aesthetic endeavors in general—the point is that they aren’t obviously useful. They elaborate life, add dimensions that aren’t very rational. Then there’s philosophy, which should be rational—but my point is that it shouldn’t be entirely rational. There are too obviously certain elements that resist rational exposition and trying to make these and all existence rational is a Procrustean endeavor—alluding to the ogre Procrustes who tied his “guests” to a bed and then either stretched them if they were too short or sliced off bits of their feet or legs if they were too tall—in the ancient Greek myth of Theseus. The point is that existence transcends our puny models of how it should all be. Our culture has created a subtle religion of philosophy, an assumption that it can and should be rational. I disagree.

Foolin’ around and all the other aesthetic enjoyments are great, too. A largely or fully rational theory or scheme can be aesthetically pleasing, but that doesn’t mean that whatever is aesthetically pleasing must be rational!

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