Art can enhance humanity’s survival

Ollivier Dyens, University Affairs, Dec 10, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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What we need to understand about art, I think, is what is reflected in this article: "we are enticed by forms, shapes, rhythms and movements that are useful to our existence.... (art) acts as a device for creating effective metaphors, analogies, play on words, and allegories – mechanisms that draw unusual elements together to produce innovative shapes, dynamics and phenomena." We have artificially separated language and numbers from other forms of expression, and relegated the latter to the realm of beauty and pleasure, without understanding the need to express ourselves in different ways at different times. I've never understood the primacy of the literal (if I may so style words and numbers) and have always tried to express the same concepts in multiple media, because the abstractions of words and numbers so often misrepresent the meaning. As Dyens says, "If art enriches our lives it is mainly because it is a fantastic survival system, one that allows us to explore new survival structures and then disseminate them to the entire species through emotional means."

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