What is the “art of arts”? The summit of all human creation.
Shall we say the greatest arts are the decorative, or dance, or music; transforming a naked stage into an imagined world, really well executed macrame?
If you had asked the little known late 18th Century author Baron Corvo, he would tell you the greatest art is this:
A superficial show of learning. That is, the art of using a bit of knowledge to convince other people you know what you’re talking about.
The footnoted quotation on the home page is actually authentic. Think about it. Cooks for the mad Roman Emperor Elagabalus, lost in his rage for new gratification, would be condemned to live on nothing but one of their own freshly invented toppings and dressings, until they pleased his fickle impulses.
To survive the imperial kitchen, you had to know how to cover the Emperor’s food. To make something, in other words, superficial.
But what of today? Is the consuming public today’s imperial palate? Are we so glutted on a single savor that we no longer can distinguish a subtlety? Have we condemned ourselves with our own overdeveloped taste for the superficial, for the cloying sauce, so that we lose the essential nourishment underneath?
This site is about exploring such questions together.
But, most critically, aren’t you at least a little taken that we’ve really offered you nothing practical here while at the same time tossing about an inflated Latinate term and quoting both an obscure footnote from the 1700’s and an equally unknown author?
And in the end, is that not the summit of a superficial show of learning?
Food for thought, is it not? Now please form yourselves into small discussion groups and write up a ten-minute presentation on the question. I’m going out for a cup of coffee and a cruller.