search  current discussion  categories  philosophy 

functionalist theory and motivation

updated sun 30 jun 96


Dan Wilson on tue 25 jun 96

I was asked to explain my motivation for asking questions about
functionalist theory today. At first I was outraged that anyone could even
ask such a question. " What do you mean motivation? I shouldn't have to
justify my motivation for asking questions that I feel are germane to what
we do as artists." Motivation is hard to explain.I guess thats because its
an emotional thing. You know, emotional things are difficult to pin down. I
think its because there is no connection between rationality and an
emotional thing. Anyway, I'm in a field in which every thing and I mean
every thing is bound together. You know what I mean? I know that if I go
out there and move that brick lying in the middle of my yard, I'd be
changing things. I put that brick right there, years ago. I chose that
exact spot. I spent days watching the traffic patterns my family made in
the grass. I would sit in a chair and watch. Not really focused on
specifics. I'm thinking of course, but mostly watching. I thought about how
people often walk the same pathways everyday. We make choices and before we
know it we've begun a pathway. Sometimes we choose the pathway of another
and some times we choose our own. I wonder about the Nasca plains and
pathways and something about choice and need. I decide I can't move it yet.

My family has learned that when I'm watching, they're not with me; and
they don't want to be with me when I'm watching. At first they were afraid.
I mean, not in fear for their lives or anything like that; just afraid that
maybe I'd see something more important than them, and that maybe I'd go
away, chasing it, and never come back. I've seen it in their faces. They're
starting to get used to it though. Starting to trust me. My daughter gave
me a little notebook for Fathers Day last year. She made it herself. It
was only two or so inches square and five pages deep. On the cover she had
drawn a lightbulb and a question mark. Inscribed on the first page in her
handwriting was the message: "I hope you have great pottery ideas dad.
Love, Autumn Day." A pen was even attached to the last page. She doesn't
know it yet, but she watches too. I've seen her. Gazing. Anyway, she kissed
me on the cheek and ran off into the yard. I was touched by this. She is so
beautiful. I sat there looking at this little notebook, so delicately bound
and so carefully constructed. Like a butterfly. I had a momentary vision of
it fluttering away, climbing into the breeze, disappearing from my sight. I
held it tightly. It was then that I realized; my search for meaning was at
an end. It was time to move on. Because once you realize there is no grand
scheme to things, that each thing has its own meaning, thats enough to know
and you should move on. On the second page I carefully wrote: "The object
is the idea. The idea is a word. There is no space between them. There is
no sense in watching for it." I think to myself "I hope I can do three more
pieces. Maybe beauty will be next." When she's older, I'll return it.

I hope this explains my position more clearly than my previous post.