Saturday, February 9, 2013
A Defense of Goofing Off
A defense of goofing off can take the same form as the defense of theatre in ancient Greek philosophy. Aristotle thought that the altered states that comprise the theatre were actually a vital forum for the development of our moral identity.
Essentially, we can become better people by entertaining 'possibilities'... insofar as they allow us to contemplate the dangers of things such as attempting to quit coffee on a Monday morning. When we goof off, we lay our cards out on the table. Our vulnerability to fortune or chance, and the value of integrity (as well as good hair days) play out before our eyes.
Aristotle also prized goofing off and the liberal arts because both involve some sort of escape or departure from history. While history deals with actualities the theatre show us what we might do differently were we to have been born into different life circumstances. In this respect, we can think morally about instructive possible fates or destinies.
Aristotle's theory essentially turns goofing off into an enema thesis, an opportunity for us to let off steam. Here the experience of allowing ourselves to just totally "be" in a moment provides us with a psychological relief from boredom.
Goofing off induces an altered state (narrative) that can be used as a tool which can assist us in enlarging our moral as well as creative imaginings.