One-Upmanship

I know we all try to do it one way or another. The subtlest way I know is used by artists of all kinds, who try to promote their own art form over-and-above all others. Perhaps not so subtle now I come to think about it. Musicians who cite the voice and song as the first of all arts, book binders who point out paintings started as illustrations inside books, story tellers who tell you you have to be literate to be a writer and for most of human history the oral tradition superseded all others, and famously Shelley who was not avowing the supremacy of poetry at all but merely pointed out that ‘poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world’.

I am sure it does everyone good to think they are practising something so profound, so superb and so intrinsic to the continuation of the human race, that they need to elevate it to the heights of human achievement and I am not going to argue that the Arts are not a fine achievement. But their importance is not what they are, it is what they do.

The world around us lacks something. We all know it. We all feel it.  Maybe it is compassion, perhaps it is the next step in the evolution of our brains, maybe it is to have the kick in the backside that would come from knowing other intelligent life exists.

If Art does not make the change it is worthless.

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