So my message from the future is twofold. Fear not, young Stephen, your life will unfold in richer, more accepted and happier ways than you ever dared hope. But be wary, for the most basic tenets of rationalism, openness and freedom that nourish you now and seem so unassailable are about to be harried and besieged by malevolent, mad and medieval minds.
Certainly his own critical persona owes much to this model; in his introduction to this book he figures himself as a version of Diogenes, the austere ancient Greek philosopher who lived in a tub and despised all people and possessions. “A critic who does his job,” Logan observes, “must be a good hater if he’s to be a good lover, because if he likes everything he reads he likes nothing well enough.”
Yes — but if he ‘hates’ nearly everything he reads or encounters, which seems like the case with Logan (I have not read him) and was certainly the case with Diogenes, does his opinion tell us anything about the work reviewed? Or just about the distance of the reviewer from human experience?
Or, is the belittling expression of disgust more excusable if it is articulate and sometimes witty, rather than merely frothing?
Or, does it simply arouse the same lesser passions as gossip and social intrigue?
Or, is passion passion, regardless of its sub-type nuance?
I have always felt a nostalgic longing for the sort of passionate art audiences that rioted at the premiere of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”…
The project is being funded by a local public art group, with the city’s blessing. Marcus Young is St. Paul’s Artist-in Residence. Young too was walking down the sidewalk, head-down in Minnesota fashion, when he began to notice how construction companies stamp their work. “It’ll say Knutson Construction, or Standard Sidewalk, and one day I just thought ‘Hey, that’s an opportunity for art,’” he says.
The article has a gallery with photos of the process and final results.
I believe that the question of whether or not to combine one’s passion with one’s income is truly personal. Though it often seems like it would be insane to turn down the chance to turn your passion into a successful career, I’ve spoken to a number of people who’ve been there and been disillusioned.
It can be liberating and glorious to find a way to make money doing what you love, but it also brings in a lot of baggage. Baggage like obligations and ROI and finances. It can also mean compromising your pure passion to make it more marketable. In reality, many people who try to combine passion and career end up shooting too broadly — the freelance writer who loves writing, but then realizes it’s actually just writing poetry that he loves. Not writing ad copy, or white papers. But he’s making a living writing, so isn’t he doing what he loves?
“We have all been annoyed by our neighbor’s asking us if that was a clarinet or an oboe, and what made that sound. When we’re guilty ourselves, we have often realized that the curiosity as to labels, the desire to identify and pigeon-hole a pleasure, had separated us from the real job of listening to the whole thing, the rich continuous music, which, itself, never stops for annotation.”
“We’re made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself. The journey for each of us begins here. [He points to his head.] We’re going to explore the cosmos in a ship of the imagination…”
I’ve been watching episodes of Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos: A Personal Journey”, now available on Hulu:
The next time you hear someone claim that humanists and freethinkers don’t believe in anything, point them to Cosmos — a rationalists’ Credo, a celebration of human curiousity and invention, and an inspiring summary of what Sagan called “the searching of 40,000 generations of our ancestors.”