(IMHO) At their basest levels, all disciplines/endeavors must serve some practical function. One level above that, they are expressions of healthy competition, or new conduits for novelty. But at the highest level, they serve as mirrors into our beings, reflecting our weaknesses and deepest tendencies back to us, allowing us to recognize and hack our operating systems as necessary. I think that’s where the REALLY interesting stuff happens.
I think that’s where—to quote Musashi—”If you know the way broadly, you will see it in all things.”