On art and its importance

If writers work to bring words to what is, and if we cannot know something until we have the words for it, what about all of art? There is communication outside of words that stirs us and moves us. If the dancer could use words, she may, but words are not able to express what she feels.

So she dances.

Other forms of art, the purely visual, musical, dance, sculpture: these do not help us build mental houses the way words can; rather, they help us first to feel. They may not stop here, but they certainly offer a feeling, an experience. Stories are the same, as they don’t give simple answers or solutions to problems, but they help us experience the problem. They are a shared experience.

The same is true with visual art, with performance art. These are shared experiences that help us feel what the composer or artist or performer has felt. They are moments of connection. We crowd around paintings or sit through performances to experience sadness, hope, beauty: the things that make us human.

Those cultures that lose art lose their humanity.

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