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One Imagination empowers the current and next generation of leaders through written and oral expression. As a collective based in the Long Beach/South Bay area, we believe that through conscious artistic programming, community education and outreach, and leadership development, we can cultivate a world free of hatred, ignorance, injustice, inequality, and oppression.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Importance of Performance

It was the wise man Aristotle who once declared that emotions are judgments and evaluations of the world. To put it simply, our emotions are deeply rooted critiques, a "search for truth."

In Rhetoric, Aristotle asks, How do we persuade others? He lays down concrete principles (taken verbatim from "Understanding Emotions"):

1. A hearer is more likely to believe a good person than a bad one.
2. People are persuaded when what is said stirs their emotions.
3. People are persuaded by arguments that seem truthful.

Breath those guidelines in for a second. Now, let us evaluate. Emotions, compounded with our own subjective interpretations, are catalysts for action. Simply put, emotions guide what we do, how we think, and how we interpret the world.

Now, where am I going with this?

To stick with One Imagination's purpose, I want to understand the importance of theater and performance. Aristotle, in his lovely book, Poetics, analyzes humans as empty jars for which to dump information into.

With that, I will take this verbatim from my textbook. Aristotle sets out two principles to the "important effects of tragic drama."

1. People are moved emotionally
2. Observing these performances, we experience katharsis.

To clarify, katharsis is "clarification--the clearing away of obstacles to understanding our emotions."

Martha Nussbaum, supporter of cosmopolitanism, states that "by seeing universal predicaments of human action at the theater we may come to experience emotions of pity and fear, and understand consciously for ourselves their relation to the consequences of human action in a world that can be known only imperfectly."

What a mouthful. She really means to say, performance communicates to the audience. It is important to continue this tradition of spoken word because it affects other people's judgments, which in effect, influences emotions. When people act, they act emotionally, and with this creates desire and passion.

We, as One Imagination, can be that catalyst to an individual's self-realization.

So, let us meet up soon so we can discuss :]