How to Save a Sad, Lonely, Angry and Mean Society

Recently, while browsing in the Museum of Modern Art store in New York, I came across a tote bag with the inscription, “You are no longer the same after experiencing art.” It’s a nice sentiment, I thought, but is it true? Or to be more specific: Does consuming art, music, literature and the rest of what we call culture make you a better person?

Ages ago, Aristotle thought it did, but these days a lot of people seem to doubt it. Surveys show that Americans are abandoning cultural institutions. Since the early 2000s, fewer and fewer people say that they visit art museums and galleries, go to see plays or attend classical music concerts, opera or ballet. College students are fleeing the humanities for the computer sciences, having apparently decided that a professional leg up is more important than the state of their souls. Many professors seem to have lost faith too. They’ve become race, class and gender political activists. The ensuing curriculum is less “How does George Eliot portray marriage?” and more “Workers of the world, unite!”

And yet I don’t buy it. I confess I still cling to the old faith that culture is vastly more important than politics or some pre-professional training in algorithms and software systems. I’m convinced that consuming culture furnishes your mind with emotional knowledge and wisdom; it helps you take a richer and more meaningful view of your own experiences; it helps you understand, at least a bit, the depths of what’s going on in the people right around you….Read the full article

Thanks to Anne Adams for this find
David Brooks

Posted by | Paul Reynolds

“Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen. Not any religion or cultural system…..” - Rumi

For over 30 years Paul Reynolds has collected and shared inspiration from a wide variety of sources. Embracing the philosophy that at the core of all these expressions is the reminder that we are loved and supported every moment. This unending stream of inspiration, imagination and wisdom is posted via his weekly ‘Living the Question Blog’, which has become ‘home’ for those discoveries. If you would like to receive the readings and share them with those you feel will benefit, please fill out the ‘Subscribe’ form to the right and Paul’s selections will come to your email every Friday.

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