The Benefits Of Being An Idle Aesthete

The concept of the aesthete seems old fashioned now. I’m sure it goes against the grain of the postmodernists. By definition, an aesthete is a person who has or affects to have a special appreciation of art and beauty. That certainly describes me. My capacity to appreciate the arts is boundless. An idle aesthete is someone who appreciates the arts yet does not fancy himself an artist. An idle aesthete does not have a career in the arts and may have no connections to any art institutions.

Although I can be profoundly inspired I do nothing with this inspiration. I am strongly disinclined to give my vague dreams a definite form. My imagination is something haunting  that never manifests itself as art. All my beautiful dreams produce nothing. I have no presence in this world. I am an idle dreamer.

I should be way more frustrated and bitter than I am. But consider the advantages of being an idle aesthete. Perhaps it is wise to be so private.

One of the benefits of not having a career in the arts is the perfect freedom it gives you. I can pursue whatever course of action I like. I never have to calculate the effect on my art career. This can open up possibilities that are otherwise closed to you. For example, it has occurred to me to translate a short play written in Spanish. I intend to find a significant short play, maybe 30 pages in length, which has never been read in the English world, and translate it into English. Now I do not intend to get permission to translate this play. I do not intend to publish my translation. So why bother? Well if I wanted to make a name for myself I would not bother to do this. No matter how much the play may deserve to be translated, I would not do it. It just would not happen. Career considerations mean this would never happen.

More significant projects which I am contemplating would also not be undertaken if I had a definite goal. I intend to explore the theater of Latin America (Buenos Aires to be exact) just for the sake of making my own discoveries. This isn’t going to make me an expert in Latin American theater. I will never be consulted or paid for my expertise in this area. I will undertake this adventure simply because I think it will be worthwhile. It will be a private voyage of discovery. Much will come to my attention, but I will not turn anyone’s attention to much.

Obviously nobody is ever completely removed from the world. In our modern age of social media, everyone is free to create content based on their interests. If I go to Buenos Aires I will take lots of photos of theaters and write blog posts with my observations. This will all be discoverable by anyone with an interest in Latin American theater. It sometimes troubles me that I could be “discovered” or “found out” simply by virtue of the fact that I am following a very curious course of action. My actions may be hard to account for and one day I may do something so eccentric and unexpected or excessive that it will seem remarkable. Actions reveal character and curious actions reveal a curious character. You cannot really move through the world without making any effect or leaving any trace.

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