Thursday, October 13, 2005


Now on Sale! Onomatopoeia! - a literary magazine published by Pedal Peddle Petal Publishing. $5.00 per copy - contact me if you are interested or visit Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 12, 2005

Echo #1: Apollinian vs. Dionysian

I want to start a series of posts of things that echo in my head. They may be from books, movies, things people have said, memories of events, or whatever else, so long as I think of them often.

The first is from section 1 of Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy.

In the work, Nietzsche discusses the importance of the gods Apollo and Dionysus in Greek mythology. He argues that they represent directly opposing aspects of humanity. Apollo was the god of light, music, prophecy, and the arts. More than that, he was a symbol of moderation and mental balance. In contrast, Dionysus represented natural forces, the cycle of life, and human instinctual passions.

Specifically, getting to the lines I remember so well from The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche writes of the singing and dancing crowds of the German Middle Ages:

"There are some who, from obtuseness or lack of experience, turn away from such phenomena as from 'folk-diseases,' with contempt or pity born of the consciousness of their own 'healthy-mindedness.' But of course such poor wretches have no idea how corpselike and ghostly their so-called 'heathly-mindedness' looks when the glowing life of the Dionysian revelers roars past them."

Apart from the issue of whether the "healthy-minded" and the revelers correspond precisely with the gods of Apollo and Dionysus, I do find these lines to sum up a conflict that, from my experience, lives within most of us.

Whenever I think of taking a break from studying, or drinking simply to get drunk, or losing control in the ways that people do so in our society, those lines from The Birth of Tragedy are present somewhere in the back of my mind.

Lastly, an important question that arises is: Why? Why is there such conflict in us regarding the issues of mental balance and intoxication? In intoxication, there seems to be a temporary "giving up" or "giving in" that takes place. Why is it that all of humanity must give up?

Sunday, July 24, 2005



I found these bones washed ashore at Park Point in Duluth, MN. The mysterious creature has baffled scientists who have found no proper taxonomic category into which to place it.

The skeletal remains of a mysterious creature I found washed ashore in Duluth, MN Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 18, 2005

Willy Wonka

Does anyone know what the relationship is between the actual Willy Wonka candies owned by the Nestle company and the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie? I've been wondering about that because I've been told that the Nestle company is evil and it makes me like the movie less to think that such a company might be profiting from the movie.

If anyone has any information on the subject, post it please.

PS--I saw the movie in IMAX and I'd give it a 7/10. Also, I don't think it is any better in IMAX than it would be in a normal theatre.

PPS--I love NERDS candy even though that is made by the Nestle company.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Lenawee Peacemakers

Here's a link to a group in Michigan called the Lenawee Peacemakers. Among other things, they are trying to put a full page ad in the newspaper which will detail how the US could have better spent the money that is currently being spent on the Iraq War.

If you want to contribute your name with a minimum donation of $10 to cover the cost of the ad, click the links on the left hand side of their page. You can also view the ad there.

The address is:

Lenawee Peacemakers
P.O. Box 894
Adrian, MI 49221

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Busy and/or Lazy

Lately I've been busy and/or lazy about posting, but I hope to continue writing posts for this blog.

Today I sat at home and was REALLY lazy. I watched the 2002 movie version of "Siddhartha" based on the book by Hermann Hesse. It was good--much like I remember the book. I got three movies on vhs from the large collection of classic movies at the public library, where movies are FREE! I should give credit, however, to Mandi for actually spotting "Siddhartha" on the shelf.

Anyway, I've been working on finishing up a short story and also finding a new job, so those things have kept me busy. Don't ask how many hours I've actually worked on the story--mostly I've been sharpening pencils and setting aside blocks of time to work instead of actually getting anything done.

I did spend a few hours stylizing this-here web page though. What do you think of the changes? Too busy? Or does it work?

Here's a link to a spot where I posted some pictures:

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Why do art?

There are several distinct answers to this question, but one type of answer in particular that I am interested in.

First, to go over some reasons to do art that are more straightforward:

One reason to do art is for profit. We might be in a position to make money to support ourselves through selling the art that we produce. In this case, then, art would have instrumental value for us -- it would have value in so much as it gets us other things which we value.

Additionally, we might do art as recreation, enjoying the process of creating a work of art. In this case, then, art would have subjective value -- we would value it because of the particulars of who we are. It could be argued, however, that this type of justification for doing art falls under the instrumental category, because it is valuable because it leads to happiness -- it is instrumental in bringing us happiness.

A third reason why we might do art is as therapy. Although this may be closely associated with doing art for pleasure, there is a difference in character do to the fact that many times art therapy is being prescribed to individuals by outsiders when these people are suffering from psychological problems. Doing art in this case is again instrumental, because it leads to something else, namely psychological health.

So here are at least three reasons to do art: for profit, for fun/happiness, and as therapy.

What other straightforward reasons to do art are there? (art as distraction?)


Now we are to the point that interests me: why else do art?

We might do art because art is itself valuable. Just as many have proposed that happiness or preference satisfaction is valuable, we might consider art valuable. In this case, then, we really ought to do art, and art is thereby objectively important, independent of whether we believe it to be important or not. If we believe this, we can then say that if we are not doing art, we are often making a mistake.

We might, however, believe that art is not itself valuable. However, in addition to not believing art to be valuable, we may also think that nothing is valuable. This position, then would be that of an ethical nihilist -- one who believes that nothing has first order value. Yet such a person may admit, and I believe it would be rational to admit, that they cannot be certain of such a position. Therefore, by default, the most rational course of action would be to act according to their secondary beliefs concerning value. Such secondary beliefs may include a view that art does indeed have value in itself, and therefore, though the individual may not strictly believe that art is itself valuable, it would be rational in such cases for them to act as if it did.

Lastly, I want to consider the more poetic view that we might do art for no reason. Although in such a case, the individual may hold that there is value yet art does not have it in itself, it is more likely that someone considering such a position would believe again that nothing is valuable. This is because if we believe there to be value, yet we do not grant it to art, we would usually not concern ourselves with art, but rather those things that do indeed have value. What are we left with then? For those who believe there to be no first order value, art would be like a libation poured to the gods, without the gods.