All this captures, I think, the fundamental truth that we can never adequately understand a human performance as a product independent of the performer. However outwardly focused the performance may be, its essential meaning includes the self’s development through its own exertions. We express ourselves not only to achieve something “out there”, but also because something “in here” drives us to it, and in the expressing we strengthen and deepen our inner powers of expression. As Kass puts it, “our genuine happiness requires that there be little gap, if any, between the dancer and the dance”. And the same principle applies to our assessment of the achievements of others: we rightly value every human expression, from the pianist’s recital to the scholar’s text to the quarterback’s athletic artistry, not merely as an external product, but as part of the unfolding revelation of an expressing self. Therein lies its ultimate significance. Conversely, whatever does not arise from the expressing self is not fundamental. There are, in the end, no worthwhile “things” in the world; there are only worthwhile doings.
Category:People Say Stuff Sometimes