No one knows what the body can do. -Spinoza

Friday, January 22, 2010

Chuck Norris Hangs Out for a While and Suddenly Realizes He's a Completely Changed Man

In The Aesthetic Education of Man Friedrich Schiller characterizes the full development of a person as an artistic process of balance. That is, a good person for Schiller turns out to be one that has brought all of their various characteristics, skills, and abilities into symmetry with each other so that the choices one makes comes from this kind of overall harmony of the self. In considering how to handle ones life, then, the idea is to ask if any particular skill, or tendency, or personality trait we have is less developed than another in a way that threatens the overall harmony of the self. The classic example, of course, is a person that lives their life as a workaholic, or, conversely, perhaps in too thorough denial of the benefits of work instead focusing on simply enjoying themselves without long term plans. Schiller claims that to live a healthy life, a person should look at themselves as an artist considers a painting --bringing all of the elements "up together" so to speak, so that in finding the harmony of these various aspects of the art piece (or the self) they come to a complete, well-balanced form.

Schiller's analysis turns out to be a crucial framework to bring to the reality of blogging awards. When facing the possibility of living the rest of your life in cowboy boots, and a denim button-up shirt, remembering Schiller's recommendation of harmony will likely save you. Really, even if they're quite comfortable, we don't want to actually wear denim shirts for the rest of our lives, do we?

Imagine: we all know Chuck Norris is an all powerful, rule defying, roundhouse kicking force of nature. His is a power we all could use a little more thoroughly --the power to demand that what is genuinely good occur in our lives, the power to face our challenges and demand that they go our way. But, remember that thing I said about how good ol' Chuck-chuck listens to me? Well, in getting here to this blog, it turns out he spent all night last night, mumbling around, reading and reading, taking in too Schiller's Aesthetic Education very very seriously. In doing so, he was transformed.

When it comes down to it, then, what would someone like the powerful Chuck Norris need add to live with such symmetry? What would it mean for any of us to have the sheer righteousness of Chuck-chuck but with that power brought up together with everything else it means to be a good and powerful person?

It seems to me that such artistic accomplishment would be a Chuck Norris force of character living as a well-balanced, ass kicking super power, with the righteous ability to transform our lives, face the world honestly, see the difficulties in front of us clearly, and demand that they go our way, except not only the way we want for our own sake, but instead the way we want because it is genuinely good --good in a way that is about more than our own simple wants and desires --good in a way that is about profound good that includes our wants and desires in balance with the broader ethical demands of human life.

Behold! The Chuck Norris Stamp of Approval has been transformed and is now ready to move forward and visit other blogs representative of such Schiller-Norris power.

Chuck Norris has become a feminist. Imagine. The all mighty power of Chuck Norris balanced with the perceptive ability to see the world for all it is, to care about genuine social justice, and to care enough about the reality of human life to want to bring the whole world up together, so to speak.

There is only one blog I know that deserves such honor.

The blog award goes to:

1. readmorewritemorethinkmorebemore: where philosophy, music, politics and pop culture get equal deconstruction

Hers is one of the most consistently high quality blogs I've had the good fortune to study. A philosophy professor in Memphis, Dr. J's writing brings together profound consideration of pertinent social issues occurring inside American politics, odd cultural occurrences (like Beyonce's "All the Single Ladies"), literary discoveries in the world of fiction writing or movies, possibilities for creative innovation inside the classroom, and really incredible true Memphis blues. When we're lucky we even get to hear her sing. She can write a damn fine song. The truth is, Dr. J's blog writing is enjoyable, diverse, creative, and super insightful stuff. We're lucky to have her out their writing for us. Because hers is the self-aware, reflective, smart version of a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the head --you can read her blog, and when you do, it's gonna bust you open and make you a better person. That, my friends, is nothing to be taken lightly. Just like the moment when Chuck Norris realizes he really is a feminist devoted to balanced living and social justice.

Thanks so much to Sasha for her help in editing the Chuck Norris Stamp of Approval.


  1. You are killing me with this, ha ha ha ha!

  2. i've just gone to look up schiller, and plan to read him this week at work - the stuff about brining up the elements of personality in harmony together strike me as something very close to what you and i have talked about in the past.