The Question


Join the Debate

Dan Glover, Writer
Date submitted: 2/16/99

In response to the three questions posed for this discussion:

I. Yes and no. There can be a tension in some instances, where academic teachings become too rigid and entrenched. But isn't the real "goal" of teaching the need we feel to share with others the profound beauty we find all around us? Society constricts the individual into certain roles. The hierarchy of learning assumes the Ph.D. of learning as the epitome of achievement, and automatically conveys upon the holder of such a degree the respect we believe it deserves. But unless that person remains vigilant against arrogance and short-sightedness, and continues to be a student as well as a teacher, the inevitable result is a rigidity. The problem arises when the master ceases to be a pupil, and instead of gently guiding the students towards a path of their own choosing, the master who started as a teacher begins to choose for them, becoming a guard rather than a guardian. The solution is simple once awareness of the nature of the problem arises.

II. It is clear that a moral hierarchy must be in place so that a general move to the right is accomplished, so to speak, in the evolutionary unfolding of life. This would seem to involve a constriction upon the individual to work towards the "betterment" of the culture which that individual inhabits (and is inhabited by). Yet at the same time, truly new and innovative ideas are individualistic by nature and always destructive to existing social morals. If that dynamic freeflow of ideas is stopped in the name of social "morality", a sort of stasis sets in, and that society never evolves, but simply withers and dies of old age. At the same time, "hedonistic" activities only lead to a degeneracy and ultimately death of the biological individual. Clearly, such a moral hierarchy that accomplishes both a move to the right while at the same time guarding against restrictions of individuality must be centered around that certain something we all recognize as "quality".

III. To the extent that the artist follows "quality", economic success will not corrupt that artist. But to the extent the artist follows economic success, that artist will fail to find "quality" once success arrives.

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