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Art in The Little Things

    Some people think that Ayn Rand's objective definition of art, as a selective recreation of reality according to the artist's metaphysical value judgements, is too strict, and dismisses the artistic qualities of anything that isn't a pure form of art. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    This definition protects the value of art from mystics and conmen who wish to pass trash huddled together in a specific building, or praised by specific bureaucrats, as art. Objectivism, however, brilliantly accounts for the artistic aspect in everything we do.

    With the exception of biological reflexes, such as those involved in digestion, every action a person takes - and the particular way in which these actions are executed and integrated in the pursuit of a goal - is a consequence of their values. Values are not disconnected bits of information in one's mind, but are parts of an integrated system. Because of that, every single value, and every single action, somehow reflects a person's highest and most abstract judgements about Existence, Man, and one's place in the world.

    From the way you walk, to the way you cook, to the way you build a skyscraper, what you do and how you do it is a consequence of your values. Unlike art, however, these things are bound to a specific purpose other than representing your values. Walking must get you from point A to point B; the food you cook must nourish your body; the skyscraper you build must provide shelter and comfort, among many other things.

    Objectivism doesn't "kill the art in the little things". It acknowledges that everything you do reflects your soul. It acknowledges that this is such an important aspect of our lives, that we must have a good devoted to doing nothing but giving our souls concrete form, unfettered by other goals. That's what art is, and that's why it's so amazing.

  -  January 18th, 2020

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