That’s Valid

I don’t know whether it’s Americans, Math people, or my suite mates, but people around me say “That’s Valid” all the time.

—Me disassembling my laptop after working on the same Pset question for 3 hours.

“That’s Valid.”

—Me feeling depressed and wanting to jump off my dorm naked.

“That’s pretty Valid.”

—My talking about how I should poo on John Harvard because peeing is boring.

“That’s totally Valid.”

Now, I’m writing this not just to be funny—though it certainly is, at least to my perverted sense of humor—I’ve also got some philosophical pandas to grind. Here they are.

A string of reasoning is logically valid if the conclusions cannot be false when the premises are true. It has nothing to do with the truthfulness of the conclusions, only with the autonomous existence that the reasoning has as a logical nugget in the philosophical ether.

By analogy, when my friends call whatever I’m thinking or doing “valid,” my friends are less affirming their truth, goodness, or beauty, but showing that they understand where I’m coming from. My friends are saying, “Although he is completely nuts, what Warren is expressing does somehow seem real, suitable, plausible, and even, in a perverse way, utterly desirable.”

Validity here serves as an autonomous criteria, outside of the traditional standards of good/evil, beautiful/ugly, true/false for the correctness of a thing. And validity is a criterion that fits weirdly well with Art, since it’s radically empathetic, seeking to understand the value of a thing from whether its being is striking enough to confer it dignity and independence. It is better to think of Art as not good or bad, but just valid or invalid, for Art, as something transcendent, is beyond the socio-political everyday towards the kernels of our identity, into our soul.

Art is not good or bad, just valid or invalid. And life is better this way.


Here’s the Inspiration for this post.

This is talking about Danill Kharms, one of my new favorites—“For him, art is neither “beautiful” nor “ugly” but, rather, “correct” or “incorrect,” “right” or “wrong.” A work of art has to exist in the world as an object, as real as the sun, grass, a rock, water, and so on”( Introduction to Today I Wrote Nothing, p.13).

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