But Why

One thing I have learned as a teacher in the last year or so is that the question why is sometimes the worst question. I mean worst like it produces the least fruitful results. Usually people don’t know why anything if you ask them.

Or, if you ask why, the reason is low quality. I mean low quality like, there’s a reason, but it’s no-good-reason.

It’s sort of arbitrary what we end up getting into, isn’t it? If I ask my students why they are Mechanical Engineering majors or Game Design majors they usually say it’s because someone close or a parent was also into this thing, or it fell “randomly” into their lap at some point, or it seemed the better of two options: essentially some answer that amounts to “this subject appeared proximate to my consciousness, and seeing nothing else interesting within easy reach, I took it up.”

This is not a criticism. I’m just saying it’s funny.

And I’m saying, yeah me too. I read every poetry book my High School library owned because it was the smallest section of literature and it seemed like an achievable task. A pretty low quality reason I am utterly committed to this genre.

Anyway, what I tell my students is that it almost doesn’t matter what you pick. And now more than ever, as professions continue splitting into finer divisions, tinier specializations, and hobbies run a parallel course.

It took him two years to plan and execute this speed run. This totally pointless thing. I know writers who’ve spent less time than that on their books. THEIR BOOKS. And this kid is talking about using memory hacking software to compile data for absolute ranges of angles on his damn controller to shave microseconds off of his time.

Is his work important? Does it matter? Why did he choose it?

Digression: true art assholes, if we’re talking about All of History, have drawn an arbitrary line between decoration and art, and this is why major fine art museums are stocked mostly with paintings, drawings and photos and not dimensional objects, although art snobs do not like to admit paintings are just decorated canvases or panels. In other words: is it a useful object? Is it a tea kettle or quilt or comb? Then it’s not high art. I don’t care what you do to it, or how it was made. It is merely a decorated object. In other other words: Art need be functionally useless. Perhaps the soul just can’t concentrate on ecstasy if  the object has some other function besides ecstasy-inducing.

By that rubric this kid’s speed run is Art.

Whatever. The point is it almost doesn’t matter what you pick, as long as your throw your whole soul into it. Perhaps because the soul’s work is amelioration? Perhaps the soul is always bored? It doesn’t matter why.


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