Thursday, April 17, 2008

What is the value of juggling?

I posted this to rec.juggling yesterday:

What is the value of artistic juggling or of sport juggling?
What are the practical benefits for individuals or society by having us jugglers around?

My goal was to spark a discussion around these questions, however the responses were mostly sarcastic with the notable exception of the reply from "Mats1". Read them yourself by clicking here.

I've often wondered about questions such as these. I find they are difficult to answer. Regardless of their difficulty, I think they are deserving a try however lacking our answers may be.

Each one of us has a limited amount of time on Earth. How we decide to employ our time is completely up to ourselves. Of course this freedom to choose is limited by the social, economic, and political environments we are in. My own such environment is one of privilege and wealth. I have never been in need of something as simple as food, clothing, shelter, and medicine.

With increasing privilege and wealth comes increasing social responsibility. It is out of this reasoning that I find myself examining my own actions and their consequences.

So what is the value of juggling? One rec.jer replied with the question... to whom? A good question because the value stated will be different according to whom it applies.

I'd like to divide the question into parts:

(1) the value to one's self

(a) physical/mental health
(b) social health

(2) the value to society

I'd like to examine the possible negatives as well as the positives in order to get a complete perspective. I will begin with the positive... in my next post.

For now, if you want to read about another juggler's answers to the question "How can my juggling positively affect the world?", go to The Karasel of Progress and read the first three posts.



At 9:42 PM, Blogger David said...

It is a very good question.

I am 54 and began juggling only eight months ago, so my response is not that of an expert.

I started juggling simply as an intellectual thing, to watch the learning process.

But when I first juggled to music, I felt like I had found a means of self-expression that I would call mystical!

This feeling of spirituality related to juggling may relate as much to my age as to the essence of juggling.

Yet, I think juggling is very similar to writing poetry or dancing or creating art. It is something I do because I feel called to express myself.

Those with very linear thinking may think that a world without poetry would be no loss to mankind.

I would argue that a world without poetry would be a world that destroys itself. We have a world very close to self-destruction, now.

Would we be open to considering that our collision course toward self-destruction is because we have belittled the heart at the expense of achievement? I feel that we see this manifest in the sarcasm in the responses to your post.

Juggling calls on us to blend two parts of ourselves. One part needs to practice until it perfects a motion. The other part needs to express that learned motion in creative ways. These two parts are the essence of being human.

If we strive only to perfect, perfect, perfect...we become ego bound and lack humanity. Part of being human is expressing and appreciating beauty.

I feel that we contribute to the enlightenment of the planet when we do creative things for the sheer joy of self-expression.

I'm sure that comment will get many sneers from the under-50 crowd who have not realized that they are mortal and there is more to life than out-achieving their neighbors.


At 4:56 PM, Blogger Ed Provencher said...

Thanks for adding your thoughts, David. Here are some more of my thoughts sparked by yours.

Creating things and expressing one's self do seem to be natural to humankind, at least in general. Some people are overflowing with these traits and others you can't find any evidence of these traits in them.

I imagine for those who don't have them or have them in small amounts would be the ones saying we could do away with them and get along just fine.

Nobody is a complete person. So naturally, none of us will have all of the same set of values, skills, or talents. I think this variety is something that is very healthy for the world. We need our movers and shakers, as well as our tried and true blues.

I'm not sure anything in this is directly related to the value of juggling... :-) Maybe I'm just trying to allow myself to accept that others are going to be different than me.

Thanks again for posting your thoughts.


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