Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Sensible Proposal

The role that the performance arts provides for society is becoming increasingly important.
It is vital for our sense of humanity.    
Our sense of ourselves is stimulated through the life we share together.  

We need to gather for collective experience.  
We need to assemble into theaters, performance halls and auditoriums and share experiences together.  
We need to enjoy the comforting touch and the rapturous release in the beauty of expression.  
We need to squirm in our seats to probe the emotional and social reality of our lives as it dramatically unfolds upon the stage.  
We need to feel the elation of laughing together at comedies.  
We need to see the grace and beauty in the fluent movement of dancers as they press the limits of the dynamic and kinetic potential of our bodies and extend the range of touch to quicken our senses.  
We need to rush through the surges of music together, tethered along threads of melodies with lyrics weaving into plush fabrics stretched taut upon the rhythmic drums we bound along together.  

New technologies continue to develop in directions that often lead us away from ourselves.  There is no fault in electronic media as it opens new dimensions of reality that are broadening our lives in ways our predecessors may have never thought possible.  But the performing arts, the living arts, can help us balance our extending realities with a grounding in our palpable, physical being.  This balance will allow us to continue broadening our horizons, while enabling us to retain and to continue enriching a sense of the life we share together.  

Someday we may become our machines, but as for now, we remain organic beings and there are far more variables and necessities to our physical nature than what can be produced and addressed synthetically.  Technology will continue to broaden what we may think.  But the living arts will always provide us with what we may feel and know.  

This is more than a dichotomy between the rational and emotional.  Emotion is the foundation of our cognition; rationality is simply an elaborate construction from this foundation.  Ultimately, our most sophisticated and abstruse explanations are means by which we perceive the world, and this sense, as all sense, is intrinsically linked with how we feel.  

Garrett Buhl Robinson