ART AS RELIGION
Hello readers! After a long silence, here I am again.
The following is what I thought art and literature were during most of my adult life, even though I was not always clear about their power in my life. Unfortunately, artists and creative persons who are ahead of their culture find that they are not drawn into the circle of society nor are others drawn into the creator’s circle. So what does Ms. Dissanayake make of the avant garde? I think she has confused popular dance, which is more universal in its appeal, with art and literature that challenges conventions.
“Art, she [Ms. Dissanayake] and others have proposed, did not arise to spotlight the few, but rather to summon the many to come join the parade—a proposal not surprisingly shared by our hora teacher, Steven Brown of Simon Fraser University. Through singing, dancing, painting, telling fables of neurotic mobsters who visit psychiatrists, and otherwise engaging in what calls ‘artifying,’ people can be quickly and ebulliently drawn together, and even strangers persuaded to treat one another as kin. Through the harmonic magic of art, the relative weakness of the individual can be traded up for the strength of the hive, cohered into a social unit ready to take on the world.
“As David Sloan Wilson, an evolutionary theorist at Binghamton University, said, the only social elixir of comparable strength is religion, another impulse that spans cultures and time.”