Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Aesthetic as a Route to Meaningfulness

Toby, at A Piece of Coffee, wrote an interesting post on Woody Allen and the meaning of life.  In particular, he discusses Manhattan to talk about Allen's need for art and music to give his life meaning rather than Hannah and Her Sisters or Midnight in Paris which I recently gushed over.  But, as he says, this is a common theme with many of Allen's films:  the purpose of life is to enjoy the richness of it, the beauty of art, music, architecture, and people, "to be part of the experience" (HaHS).

Toby says of art, "We distract ourselves constantly, we refuse to think about the meaning of our existence, we skirt around the inevitable." I think art can be a huge distraction, both in the viewing and in the creating. But it can also be a means towards reflecting on and delving into the depths of the ultimate meaninglessness of our lives, particularly if we include writing as an art form. We can be both pragmatically distracted from death and immersed in it as we ponder the very subject enough to make the words that fit together to communicate our ideas. Eh?