The measure of great art and great lives.

The pursuit of a meaningful and valuable life is a daunting and illusive endeavor. There exists always the internal struggle as to what defines the measure of great value and to what extent one must succeed in achieving it.  By approaching life as an ongoing work of art we can actively and creatively craft our impression. Each and every one of us has the capability by our intentions and actions to make a difference to those we interact with and affect through our accomplishments.

The following quote by Ronald Dworkin touches upon three major themes that in concert, demonstrate “great art” and a life “well lived.”

We value great art most fundamentally not because the art as product enhances our lives but because it embodies a performance, a rising to artistic challenge. We value human lives well lived not for the completed narrative, as if fiction would do as well, but because they too embody a performance: a rising to the challenge of having a life to lead. The final value of our lives is adverbial, not adjectival. It is the value of the performance, not anything that is left when the performance is subtracted. It is the value of a brilliant dance or dive when the memories have faded and the ripples died away.”

Ronald Dworkin, “Justice for Hedgehogs,”  Harvard University Press, 2011, P.P. 197.

A note on the author:

Ronald Dworkin is a professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University. He was awarded the Holberg International Memorial Prize in Humanities for his “ pioneering scholarly work” of “worldwide impact.”  According to the Journal of Legal Studies, Professor Dworkin was the second most cited American legal scholar of the twentieth century.

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