Either-Ors, Politics, And The Arts

One thing this election cycle reveals: We are (as John Dewey said) an "Either-Or" society. Pick your side, and the other side is wrong, unethical, incompetent. That's why nothing ever gets done. Of the many things the arts teach, perhaps the most important is that meaning in life is found beyond the "Either-Or."

The arts don't fit neatly into a dichotomy. There are countless ways to approach, interpret, behold, and create art.  A composition can't be reduced to "this way or that way." We know the senselessness of saying one type of music is "right" and all others "wrong." It's expedient to pass judgement and label, but artists know that thinking in such absolutes leaves us unfulfilled, incomplete, and avoids true meaning. Perhaps that is why the arts are so misunderstood in these Either-Or times... they're complex, and that's rather well, inconvenient. We've got "things to do." Yet what is "getting done?"

Even though artistic thinking is complex, I find it a lot easier to understand the arts than politics. But maybe that's just me and "my side."