Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Goethe's Three Questions

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe directed that Three Questions be asked about any work of art. They must be answered in order.

1. What was the artist trying to do?

2. How well did he do it?

3. Was it worth the doing?


The point is, until one answers the first two questions, one should not be attempting to answer the third. It is a check on over-hasty judgement, and provides a structure to see things with new eyes.

Critics, tonight's exercise is to apply Goethe's Three Questions to George Bush's foreign policy.

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