Welcome to Exploring Life: On the Frontiers of Experience. My name is Brian Alger. My work embraces the spirit of the poet, philosopher, and artist.
There is a poet, philosopher, and artist in everyone. You don’t need to write poetry, a philosophical treatise, or paint a work of art to embrace the spirit of these archetypes. They are your inheritance. These are primal sources of energy that broaden and expand the experience of being alive.
A poet explores personal experience to discover something of value and then express it in just a few words. Many poets are philosophers because they pursue meaning and the wisdom of life. Poets and philosophers are artists when they are passionate about finding unique and stimulating ways to express their ideas.
The frontiers of experience begin with the fundamental changes, critical thresholds, and transformative events that coalesce into a life course. Sometimes, we find ourselves at the mercy of the unexpected. At other times, surrounded by ambiguity. Regardless of our circumstances, we share the experience of forging a life worth living in the fires of hardship, adversity, and loss.
There are three reasons for this work.
During my graduate work in ethnomusicology, I discovered a passion for musical creativity, improvisation, and artistry. This provided a stark contrast to my training as a classical pianist. Improvisation is the poetics of sound in real-time. Today, I enjoy exploring the roots, blues, R&B, and funk piano styles of New Orleans.
The second reason originates in my passion for learning. As a teacher, I was interested in creative approaches to learning. My work opposed the sterile, bureaucratic, and industrialized methods of the education system. I left education when I realized that while the system would tolerate the isolated bits of innovation it steadfastly refused fundamental change.
Finally, I was an entrepreneur for most of my career. Business offered more creative potential, but it was also a cold, transactional machine powered by an obsession with profitability. These experiences taught me more than I wanted to know about stress, depression, greed, economic servitude, an unlived life, a dark night of the soul, and the forces behind the systematic destruction of nature.
Now, in the final third of my life, I am reclaiming the unlived parts of myself. In my youth, I reveled in play, imagination, and exploration. As adults, we are required to undertake the demanding work of survival in modern society.
As I approach my sixtieth year, I feel a need to return to those innate passions of my youth, after gaining some insight into life from the wounds of experience.