1: Leap, and the net will appear

1: Leap, and the net will appear

I’ve recently retired as a professor of electronic media from a small liberal arts college. It was never my intention to retire at the age of 63, but the offer was good. It’s an unexpected position. Circumstances change. So it goes.

But what is it? The amalgamation of all that went before — musician, producer, manager, consultant, historian, educator — has prepared me for my capstone career: Liberal Artist.

The liberal arts — the humanities, the visual and performing arts, even the theoretical sciences — have been hammered for decades by dominant cultural interests as idealistic and impractical. Commercial logic contends that education has value only in terms of its monetary return on investment: If a person can’t transition from an education directly into a commercial career, then that education is a poor investment.

Within this frame of reference a million dollars, or five million, or ten million, or a billion dollars represents success. Achieve the goal by the age of fifty, or forty, or thirty, escape to some remote outpost (with bulletproof broadband), and bliss out for the rest of your days — that’s success.

Judging from my present surroundings, I can say with certainty that I have not achieved this outcome. But then, I chose long ago to measure success by other outcomes — knowledge, experience, friendship, and happiness. These outcomes are not so rewarding in the material sense, but they enrich daily life in ways that are deeply satisfying to the spirit.

Let the journey begin.

July 24, 2019; Oregon

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