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Where Art Goes to Die

personal development Oct 22, 2018

Art transforms culture. Art elevates and enhances generations. Philosophy and jazz are just two examples of art that changed the culture in which they were born.

Yet when these arts were dragged into the halls of academia to be dissected and disseminated, they died. Sure, you can argue that within the halls of academia philosophy and jazz are on life support. But in the popular context, they are all but extinguished.

This isn't a rant against teachers. Teachers matter. In fact, teachers are vital. If you want to learn anything worth doing, you must learn from those who already do it. But you don't have to go get schooled in an academic institution to learn about the art of living or how to swing.

In fact, I'm asserting you shouldn't.

In order to systematize, institutionalize, and monetize a subject, academics take it apart, prioritize the pieces, and codify them into a curriculum. They put the subject under glass. Nothing thrives under glass or this kind of analysis.

A once beautiful expression of culture promoting unity and meaning suddenly becomes the purview of experts and elites. Under these circumstances, how could art not fall out of popular favor? How could it not cease to matter?

Art is a natural human impulse developed by being done with and for others. Art changes those who make it and those it's for. Academia, like all institutions, encourages conformity and standardization and impedes curiosity and innovation.

Do you want the engineer designing the bridge you're crossing or the doctor taking out your appendix to be trained by a reputable institution? Of course! But how many game-changing philosophers or jazz musicians come out of academic institutions?

Keep flying higher!

Scott

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