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Rachel Tashjian's picture

Problems in defining life.

I was thankful that in class, even after we defined "life," we agreed that doing so still creates a set of problems (e.g., questions about where these things come from, etc). Reading the suggested blog topic for this week,  I was reminded of another definition and the set of problems this thinking creates. Over the summer I was talking with my parents and some of their friends (because adults are awesome too) about art/music.  One of my parents friends is an art historian and owns an art gallery, and he said that he has no idea what else can be done in art because it's all been done. I agreed at the time, and felt similarly about music (which I think came to its "it's all been done" moment John Cage "wrote" "4:33'', which is four minutes and 33 seconds of total silence and yet still considered music. Hilarious).

But today, our discussion in class led me to a new thought. We said that the definition of life should always be changing because of all the questions it creates. Likewise, I think the definitions/genres of art and music should always be open to change. I may see something that I don't think is music (a reexamination of "4:33", perhaps?) or art, but asking questions - where does rhythm come from? what is the definition of an instrument? - might change my mind.

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