Saturday, June 26, 2004

In Praise of the Useless

Morris R. Cohen, A Preface to Logic (Dover, 1977, originally published in 1944), p. 186:

It would certainly be absurd to suppose that the appreciation of art should justify itself by practical applications. If the vision of beauty is its own excuse for being, why should not the vision of truth be so regarded? Indeed is it not true that all useful things acquire their value because they minister to things which are not useful, but are ends in themselves? Utility is not the end of life but a means to good living, of which the exercise of our diverse energies is the substance.