Lately, I have been feeling the 'strain of the arts' as I'd like to call it. We just got through a very rigorous unit of Ballet, Modern Dance, and Architecture which wasn't favorable to my artistic psyche. I was burnt out. I think it must have physically shown on my face in class, because I deservedly got 9/10 on participation points this week. It became very apparent to me in the preceding days that I needed to 'freshen up', as it were.
I asked myself, "why?" What had changed? Why was I not so excited for lines, and movement, and the Arts anymore? I came to the conclusion (a very important conclusion for me) that it was because i had FORGOTTEN. I forgot about the Philosophy of Humanities that had me so excited at the beginning of the term. It was an important epiphany for me, because I think I realized 'my call' to philosophy. I loved the first 2 chapters of my Humanities book, and would like to etch these words in the 'text editor stone tablets' of my blog. If you forget about the Philosophy of any given subject, then you forget about your purpose for breathing that given subject in daily.
"Cultural literacy is a worthy goal for all human beings; it is second in importance to literacy itself." I think it was half-way through architecture when I forgot my purpose for learning about the arts, and it was definitely during Modern Dance where I got angry about it. We are not there to necessarily like Art, or even comprehend it really, we are there to understand what another being is trying to express. Learning to appreciate it and letting it inspire you are worthy goals. Choosing art that we like immediately over art that is, so to speak, an "acquired taste" would be like choosing to eat oreos at every meal, rather than the occasional salad, because oreos delight the tongue every time. We need to let ourselves be nourished.
"Parents should send their young to college not, as at present, mainly to acquire highly salable skills or to earn good livings, but solely for the purpose of becoming cultured human beings." Those past two quotes were from my text book. I mean, I know it is a bit idealized (highly idealized), but when our goal becomes money or grtification then our pathway becomes so darn dull.
To say it in terms of social research, I'll use some words from Neil Postman (thanks to Ty). Postman wrote concerning the root of doing research. He claimed it was not to better the field of a particular researcher found himself in, it wasn't to enrich the textbooks of other similar studies, or even to add credit to a career, he said:
"What is the purpose of such research? - the answer is not, obviously, to contribute to our field, but to contribute to human understanding and decency. For the most part, novelists do not write to enrich the field of novel-writing. The good ones write because they are angry or curious or cynical or enchanted. The Scarlet Letter was not written by a man who wanted to improve the art of the novel, but by a man who wanted to improve the art of living together.”
Whew, I think I am refreshed from yet another close call with intolerance and complacency. I know what has been lacking. It is such a small step in the walk of inspiration, but it is one of the more tiring. It is summed up in this quote from my textbook, "A truly 'general' education invites us to develop the emotions in tandem with the intellect. This can happen only if we are willing to spend some leisure time reading, thinking, and even daydreaming."
Search, Ponder, and Pray. Read, Think, and Daydream. Learn, Contemplate, and be inspired.