Over at Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen posted titled “How to walk through a museum“. In addition to a number of specific suggestions to enhance your art viewing trip, he writes:

A key general principle is to stop self-deceiving and admit to yourself that you don’t just love “art for art’s sake.” You also like art for the role it plays in your life, for its signaling value, and for how it complements other things you value, such as relationships and your self-image. It then becomes possible for you to turn this fact to your advantage, rather than having it work against you. Keeping up the full pretense means that you must impose a high implicit tax on your museum-going. This leads you to restrict your number of visits and ultimately to resent the art and find it boring.

I used to go with Katie to the opera occasionally, but several years ago I put my foot down and refused to go with her. Reading the quote above makes me realize that I thought I was supposed to like it ‘for art’s sake’ and I finally admitted that I didn’t like it, and that I didn’t care whether anyone else thought whether I should like it.
But it also makes me realize that maybe others enjoy something else about opera bedies the ‘art for art’s sake’ angle. I’ll have to re-think whether there’s some other reason why I might find opera interesting.

Categories: Intellectual