The Audacious Grade

If a tree falls in the forrest and there is no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?

What is so unnatural about a tree falling in the woods and why do people care whether or not it makes a sound? My personal opinion is that if the ill-fated tree fell it would make sound, but that fact it is irrelevant unless appreciated by an intelligent creature, (so not a tree). Humans are intelligent beings who tend to create intelligent thought, but so what? Is the sound of the falling tree audacious for being audible? No, it is natural. Are the thoughts of intelligent beings audacious for existing? No, they are natural. To be audacious they must be weighed against some scale-or grade-from “ordinary” to “extraordinary”.

Vincent Van Gogh was a tree in the forest until the echoes of his crashing were heard by an intelligent being who not only weighed his work against a grade of ordinary to extraordinary, but determined that it was in fact audacious. True, the first intelligent being to consider them audacious was Van Gogh himself, but if the tree could comprehend it’s impact and reverberation, would it not find that fall audacious in comparison to it’s existence up to that moment? Further, would not that tree still remain unremarkable to all that did not witness it’s plunge? Further still, how do we know that this is in fact not the actual case of the matter? We don’t. We do not know that a tree falling alone doesn’t marvel at his plight. Nor do we care, because we don’t know.

For every Van Gough, there are hundreds of uncelebrated artists. For every witnessed “timber”, there are thousands of toppled trees. While I don’t believe that the trees give a fig about falling, I do believe that artists crave celebration. Their initial confidence in the audacity of their work may be enough for them, but more likely they wish others to find it audacious. Receiving a C- on a painting would sting more than giving oneself a C- on the same work. But if the C- was not given by the art teacher, no one would have heard one’s tree fall, and no one would have cared. Having witnesses to a falling tree make that irrelevant occurrence interesting, even if the sound is audaciously unpleasant. It is alright to write to please oneself, it is better to write to please both yourself and others; that is why teachers give grades, C for common, B for Better, and A for Audacious.

Strive for the audacious grade, don’t only write for yourself.

 

 

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The Audacious Grade

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