“Valuing what you want in aesthetic life is a good thing. Consensus might not matter much in aesthetic life, but it is also good that it doesn’t. What would it mean, anyway, to be aligned on aesthetic matters the way people are aligned on love, murder, and safety? No one can watch all the good films, hear all the good albums, see all the good paintings, wear all the dope sneakers. Trying to value a lot of all the good things would result in a superficial sensibility, a person who never learns to spend time with the work of an author, painter, designer, or architect, or with their own creations, and really connect with and understand what they are doing. And when you choose to spend your time with this, not that, and I choose to spend my time with that, not this, the result is a bunch of individuals. Imagine the world without such choice, full of blandness and uniformity, with little to imitate and share because everyone engages with roughly the same things in basically the same ways.
“David Bowie, Prince, Beyonce, Frank O’Hara, David Chang, Alice Waters, Oscar de la Renta, Maya Angelou, Kate McKinnon, Werner Herzog: these people stand out to us in part because of the time they have spent living their aesthetic lives. A person’s individuality reflects their history of valuing, their time spent loving this rather than that, a reflection of their repeated choosing.”