Friday, October 30, 2015

A vocation of care

image from here

This is one of my favourite poems by Dr Seuss. It's so hilarious and has since live in my head for as long as I can remember.

We go about doing our things every day and thus I regard the everyday as an accumulation of moments. Everyday seems mundane, repetitive and relatively predictable.

The modern lifestyle, overstimulate and tired our nerves. Indeed, why else would we seek new experiences? After all, if our primary aim is hedonism, would you mind plugging in to philosopher Robert Nozick's Experience Machine as described in his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia in 1974.

What is deemed unique to me would be typical by my neighbour, what is accidental appears as normal if it happens often enough and what is superficial and fleeting could be an essential and basic. We experience change slowly especially when we have established our personal routines in our daily lives (consider the hand that's holding your toothbrush, you don't think about which hand to use every time you brush your teeth). We accept the oddities in our world, without noticing how strange they can be. We watch with amazement at the Khoisan click language, but they communicate just like how we do with ours.

In 'sociological aesthetics' (Simmel, 1968), la vie quotidienne (everyday life) is open to aesthetic attention by connecting it with the social totality. "To involve ourselves deeply and lovingly with even the most common product, which, would be banal and repulsive in its isolated appearance, enables us to conceive of it, too, as a ray and image of the formal unity of all things from which beauty and meaning flows" (Simmel, 1968:69). To study the everyday, the concept of analysing the most common object is necessary to learn about the interactions between fragments and the environment. Examining the microscopy of common events is an interesting way to see what's extraordinary in the ordinary.

Simmel, G. (1968). The conflict in modern culture and other essays, translated by K. Peter Etzkorn, NY: Teachers College Press.

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