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Art is not the only object to draw interest of this pleasurable kind: hobbies and travel are further examples, and sport yet another, as was mentioned briefly above. In particular, the broadening of the aesthetic tradition in recent years has led theorists to give more attention to sport. David Best, for instance, writing on sport and its likeness to art, highlighted how close sport is to the purely aesthetic. But he wanted to limit sport to this, and insisted it had no relevance to ethics. Best saw art forms as distinguished expressly by their having the capacity to comment on life situations, and hence bring in moral considerations. No sport had this further capacity, he thought, although the enjoyment of many sports may undoubtedly be aesthetic. But many art forms—perhaps more clearly called “craft-forms” as a result— also do not comment on life situations overmuch, for example, décor, abstract painting, and non-narrative ballet. And there are many sports which are pre-eminently seen in moral, “character-building” terms, for example, mountaineering, and the various combat sports (like boxing and wrestling). sports like gymnastics, diving, and synchronized swimming, which are the ones he claims are aesthetic, and on the other hand the “achievement,” or “purposive’ sports, like those combat sports above. Task sports have less “art” in them, since they are not as creative as the purposive ones.
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Recently came across the writings of Shri Aurobindo titled “The National Value of Art”, a series of writings by him for the Karmayogin a century ago (1909-10). During my reading of these essays (which are available online and in print, see “Further Reading”) I realized that his words do ring a bell even today. He wrote these during the nationalist movement in the early part of the freedom struggle. Although he is critical, he does explain why the individual and the nation (in the long run) do not benefit with having the attitude of  looking from the eyes and glasses of the western gaze, which is quite prevalent even today amongst us. I know this is a long read, but couldn’t help but describe the topic in his own words. So, lots of quotes!In the first essay, he talks about “human thought process” as to how it begins with the thought of survival progressing towards a higher intellect thought of imagination, creativity leading to art, poetry, painting, music, etcThe value attached by the ancients to music, art and poetry has become almost unintelligible to an age bent on depriving life of its meaning by turning earth into a sort of glorified an-heap or beehive and confusing the lowest, though most primary in necessity, of the means of human progress with the aim of this great evolutionary process….The whole of humanity now demands not merely the satisfaction of the body, the anna, but the satisfaction also of the prana and the citta, the vital and emotional desires…The mass of humanity has not risen beyond the bodily needs, the vital desires, the emotions and the current of thought-sensations created by these lower strata…Beyond the manas is the buddhi… is independent of the desires, the claims of the body and the interference of the emotions
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