18 mar. 2010

When I am feeling extraordinarily receptive, almost everything I turn to ends up saying what is on my own mind. For example, yesterday I wrote a blog entry for Arcade and later turned at random to Ray Davis's blog, where I found the statement that "art-making is certainly more universal than the justifications offered for art-making". This is what I had been trying to say in a more roundabout way in an article I was trying to write. Putting the justification ahead of the thing itself is the wrong end of the object to grab hold of.

We try to justify paying attention to the greatest and most awe-inspiring products of the human intelligence. How can the humanities be justified, gee, I wonder how we can justify something like the study of great art, music, literature, and philosophy? Endless effort to justify something that is simply wonderful on its face. What good are the arts, what good are the humanities?

Sports never have to justify themselves. The appeasement of various deities never has to justify itself. War has to justify itself, but never has much trouble with that. (Even if it can't be justified, it goes on just the same.) But the humanities, what good is all that? Humanists are the worst offenders, of course, because we will worry anything to death, look for its other side.