A lot and we are grateful both came into our lives and touched our hearts. We knew Debbie a lot longer. Carry jumped onto the screen in Star Wars as Princess Leia. Both were good for us.

Why? Because we need art. It’s a confirmation of our values, a sort of salute that everything’s OK. Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgments. That’s pretty heavy stuff. Metaphysical, …values, …judgments. How do we go from Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher to metaphysics?

Metaphysics is at the base of thought, of rationality, the use of the mind. If we like something it’s because on a deep level it means we approve it and the basis of the approval is the value we give to such things. We liked Debbie because we valued what she represented. Same for Carrie as we first saw her as a princess in a galaxy far, far away. It was a galaxy we recognized and wanted to be in.

It is not journalistic information or scientific education or moral guidance we seek from art (though these may be involved as secondary consequences), but the fulfillment of a more profound need: a confirmation of our view of existence—a confirmation, not in the sense of resolving cognitive doubts, but in the sense of permitting the contemplation of abstractions outside our own mind. A performing artist in that way becomes larger than life.

Sadness at the passing of these two people who were strangers to us but who seemed close because we saw them larger than life on the stages and the movie screens. Art does that. Art magnifies values and eliminates the unnecessary so we can see the essentials.

In some ways both stars were just people like us only we saw their greatness and related it to ourselves. They allowed themselves to be magnified and everything not essential to the story or performance was eliminated so we saw them as near perfect people. That’s the awesome power of art. It seems to reveal their souls to us and in the case of both Debbie and Carrie we loved it. Good for us. We’ll miss them.

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