Welcome back to another issue of Cassady is late posting to his blog! Today’s entry is going to be on the idea of quality. Now, if you have kept up with my blog at all (spoilers) then you have already heard me make a reference to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig before. Quality is the underlying theme of the entire story—quality of life, quality of living, quality of work, and so on. Quality is something that is hard to interpret and managed. Unfortunately, due to Aristotelian theory, there are categories of quality, which ruins the whole concept of qualitative interpretation. The quality of something is based solely on the experience that someone has been through—and while many people share similar experiences that would cause for someone to believe that there is a threshold for a work, that can vary from culture to culture on a very broad scale.
The ethereal question “what is art?” falls under a similar guise. Is a five year old’s drawing on a scratch piece of paper really art? What about a famous artist who published that work of art under his or her own name? In that case, is it credibility that makes art good? In which case, go look at the works of Ringo Starr—not his works in music, or even a lot of his recent stuff, but his works in MS paint. Seriously. Take a look, here’s a link:
The reality is that art is a fluid definition, much like anything in life. There is good art, bad art, and things that are not art, if we attempt to categorize this. However, the definitions for each person in this area are fluid. A child development teacher is probably much more accepting of a child’s scribbling than the Director of Biological Science at any given college. Likewise, a visual art or graphic design student is likely to be more critical of their fellow peers on what is “good” art in comparison to what is “bad” art. Which is because we all look at the world, and therefore artistic representations of the world, through separate reference points. Even identical twins do this. This is because Art, as a concept, is something solely based out of human creation by the mind. Humans are human. An apple is an apple. Mammals…well, they vary in description, because it is a category that a human being created.
The same is true with art, and all most aspects in life. Which is why, in general, it is better to not just judge something based solely on your own ideas. For example, McDonald’s being strictly good or bad as a business and fast-food joint. McDonald’s, while in my opinion (and many others), is unhealthy and unethical in most respects, is not just a bad place to eat. It provides low-income groups with affordable food. Is it good that this food shortens their life span significantly and increases obesity rates? No, and they should not be pardoned for that. But in relation to how the amount of money that is spent, yes, they are a good company. They provide an outlet for people who, due to other aspects of the United States economic structure, cannot afford to eat out somewhere better. And it’s easy to say “well they could always eat at home, it’s cheaper,” but it’s a mature thing to recognize that eating out sometimes is the only option. Sometimes mom and dad have to work a second job that evening, and their children cannot cook themselves food, or the family car broke down and they couldn’t get groceries that day. Instead of just not eating, they eat worse food in terms of quality of product, but better food in terms of quality of short-term life requirements.