You don’t have to accept anyone else’s hierarchy of taste

July 5, 2012 by Joshua
in Art, Awareness, Blog

I posted on another board in a discussion on taste

Is classical music better than punk?

Museum art better than street art?

Haute cuisine better than burritos?

Is the op-ed page better than stand-up comedy?

Is classical philosophy better than folk wisdom?

My life improved when I learned I didn’t have to accept anyone else’s hierarchy of taste. Most people may consider one better than another, but I’ve learned to see them as meeting the values of a community better, not being absolutely better. Classical music meets the values of some communities better than punk. But punk meets other communities’ values better than classical.

I prefer evaluating things by the values of the communities that practice it. Then I appreciate more things and judge less. And you learn to see things from other points of view than your own.

Someone asked in return

Yes of course those are better. How do you explain that to someone though?

I replied

It’s tough because just because something is better to you doesn’t mean others will agree.

People who try to say A is better to someone who thinks B is better and they’ve thought about it often come off as judgmental and uninformed. Then everyone gets defensive.

Incidentally, this perspective reflects the worst problem in the world.

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