Art in life
Even in our globalized and technology-centric world, art continues to be something people love. It’s why people go to art museums by the thousands. Art has a well-deserved place in our history – as the first form of written communication in cave paintings and some native American historical records. Researcher Ellen Dissanayake combines the fields of art, biology, and anthropology to try and get to the root of what, exactly, the purpose of art is. Dissanayake is a self-taught scholar in a field that didn’t exist before she came along, and her research is thorough and spans centuries and continents. She notes that art has existed in every culture and appears to have some sort of evolutionary benefit.
Aside from evolutionary benefits, art has benefits for modern people as well. Art is a revelation of someone’s private human experience. When that experience is transformed from abstract thought into something tangible, other people can see a representation of another’s psyche/experience. That experience is relatable to some. In that sense, art can be connective. There’s no simple reason why people love art, and an interesting article in Slate on how pleasure works touches on some of the reasons people continue to love and appreciate art today.
Even if one doesn’t relate on a personal level to a given piece of art, many people love art simply because it allows them to appreciate the talents of fellow humans. It’s the same reason that people watch the Olympics or read great literature – maybe not the only reason, but a very important one.
Humanity is a species that craves connection, and the evolved connection of art is one that likely won’t cease anytime soon. Through appreciation, communication, and shared experience, art has earned itself a lasting place in human consciousness.