Is art important?

Use this forum to have philosophical discussions about aesthetics and art. What is art? What is beauty? What makes art good? You can also use this forum to discuss philosophy in the arts, namely to discuss the philosophical points in any particular movie, TV show, book or story.
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Re: Is art important?

Post by Gertie » November 11th, 2016, 1:37 pm

I simply wanted to make a distinction of "tribal art" as in cave paintings and in dance-and-songs that preserved the history by and for a tribe. They are called "folklore art" in my language. There are two very strong elements to them: 1. they must be appealing to the artistic senses (whatever those are), and 2. they must uphold the tradition by not changing the piece. This second part is the one thing that I wanted to so desperately point out separates cultural / commissioned / industrial art from creative arts.

In the folklore tradition, in the deep past, the stories were told unchanged. The songs were sung the same way, and there were no variations in the dance steps from an original.

That said, this preservation was more an effort than an all-out success. Some generations did change the content, even if ever so slightly.

So even though the songs, lyrics and dances lifted the spirit of the tribal members, they were emotive and mood-generating, they were not the brain children of the creative efforts of the performers.

Whereas today more and more never-before-heard, catchy, beautiful, spirit-lifting poetry and songs are made by artists, and the public values these individual creative efforts. In the song-and-dance you talked about before, there were no ongoing creative efforts.
Ah gotcha! Sorry my head had wandered off trying out some new dance steps ;).

Yeah, that's true.
So I am trying to say that many people in this thread put down that to them art comes from within, it is a giving out of the self, writing a poem, story, song, takes them down to depths they can't fathom, etc. etc. etc., but the other kind, which you surprised our readership here with, the traditional carrying on of old tales, can't be reconciled with the process when this incredible need to put out what's inside a person makes peole poe, sing, or dance.
Right, hence your talk of -
There should be a branch of philosophy that treats human endeavours from two points of view, each, and without exception: from the individual's point of view, and from society's point of view. One shall be forced to realize that there are two religions, two moralities, two emotions, two laws, two educational systems, two institutions of each kind, two of everything, as the needs and understandings of individuals are incredibly (but not wholly) different from those of society.
It's an interesting idea. We have psychology and sociology, but 'a culture of individualism' is a bit of a conundrum, maybe needs a new meta philosophical approach. An anthropologist mate of mine reckons 'the individual' was invented, I forget, a couple of hundred years ago, something like that. Not exactly sure what she meant, but it feels sort of right. And what you're saying about art reflects that.

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Re: Is art important?

Post by TSBU » November 12th, 2016, 5:45 pm

I usually don't use the word "society", but when you say "is needed?" You should say for what, also, what is "art" is a typical question in this forums, if we go to the ancient greek definition of art, we would see how different it is from what we usually call art today.

If by art we mean only things for esthetical pleasure, like paintings , dance, novels and songs, and by "society" we mean a person, I think that person can survive and be happy without them. Difficult to proove though.

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Re: Is art important?

Post by Gamnot » November 14th, 2016, 2:23 pm

Hereandnow wrote:"To obsess toward one at the expense of the other is to become unbalanced"

Unbalanced? Who says art has to be balanced? Review the history of modern art and ask how much balance you see in it. Sure, you will find balance, even of the kind you find in David and neoclassical and others produced in art cultures set on producing it; but what of all the rest? Balance is pertinent to art only when the art uses balance to make its point. I mean, is expressionism always balanced? How about Dada? How many others? what if the artist wants to do something that defies balance altogether?

I did not make myself clear in my post. I was not talking about art itself being balanced, but the attitude toward art. I believe that there is some meaning in all art. I believe that there is a social unconsciousness and it is art that brings those hidden meanings out into the open. Back in the 1960's there was a common expression going around: "I'll see you in the funny papers." Movies, songs, pictures, nursery stories etc. all contain meaning of one kind or another. Reason is to articulation as art is to expression and they are both equally important.

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Re: Is art important?

Post by Whisper Wizard » November 30th, 2016, 4:47 am

Ever made something straight out of your head onto something? It's the embodiment of your mindset and now everyone can see it. Some view art as extreme importance in a historical sense and for good reason. We have an idea of what the past saw in beauty and importance. It gives us an idea of what our ancestors were like in the mind and how it evolved into modern day. Early Europe focused on the body and found people to be important. Only in large portions of extreme beauty, physique, mind, whatever else. It's a record of our old times. That's just one example for how it is beneficial to a society and I am sure there are more.

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Re: Is art important?

Post by Ozymandias » December 10th, 2016, 6:59 pm

Is art important?
Yes, but on a spectrum, and in a subjective manner depending on its purpose.

Everything we have and do in society lies on a spectrum --0 to 10--; 0 being whatever is absolutely necessary for survival but unnecessary for philosophy, and 10 being whatever is absolutely necessary for philosophy, but not for survival. Here, I'm defining "philosophy" vaguely, more as the embodiment of meaning in our lives. Or as "life", in the romantic sense of the term. That can include religion, science, appreciation for family, and art, and many other things from which we derive meaning or enjoyment.

Farming and hunting, for example, are 0 on the spectrum. We must have food to live. Politics would be a 1 or 2. We can physically live without politics, but in order to maximize human life and longevity, some governance is necessary. Video gaming is somewhere around an 8. We have a psychological need for stimulation, but we can find that stimulation somewhere else. I think religion would be somewhere around 7. This philosophical forum is a 9 or 10. I do not need it in any way to survive; in fact, sitting here typing is physically inactive and thus may contribute to my early death, but on the other hand it is very necessary for me to continue my understanding and enjoyment of the human condition.

So we have this spectrum of what is important to society and how. Art can actually grow in importance in both directions on the spectrum. Graffiti in a dictatorial, dystopian nation, calling people to action and starting a revolution is closer to 0, because it will lead to saving lives. If it is higher quality art, it will be more effective, thus rendering it lower on the spectrum. A beautiful painting of a tree will be higher on the spectrum. It does not contribute to any survival needs, but it makes us enjoy life more. If it is higher quality art, we will enjoy it, and life, more, so it will move higher on the spectrum.

So some art is actually more vital to survival as it gets better, and some art is less vital to survival as it gets better, and the same principle applies to how vital art is to life (in the romantic sense of the word).
This is my input, but I should mention that it is only a small fraction of the answer to this question. Art is such a huge, beautiful, fascinating, and vague thing.

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