So Much for Science

The art of living well, some pundits quip,
is equal parts audacity and luck;
while others posit a stiff upper lip
and careful breeding lift us from the muck.

The hedonist claims pleasure is the thing;
his polar opposite, the aesthete: prayer.
Each year a new philosophy that brings
the focus to some erstwhile, dormant layer.

I think there is no “art” to life at all.
A chimp can paint a Pollock, nonetheless;
and like a tortured artist, see his walls
as solid bars that shut out happiness.

There is some irony that humans spend
so much of their free time imagining
that their exalted rank must have some end
beyond the simple fact that is living.

The question I would pose to scientists
is whether when they put chimps in a room
to type out “War and Peace”, they get them blitzed
before they start, and tell them, from the womb

that real chimps study law, or man machines,
and must resign themselves to apish rules;
how many, then, would live their lives in dreams
and fail the tests so valued by their schools?

20 JUN 2005

Prompted by the article Pollock’s? No, but the artist aped his work.

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