Many people question the need for art. It isn’t necessary, they say. We can lead full and thoughtful lives without it.
We, as humans, categorize and order our world according to rules we develop from within ourselves or inherit from others. We learn to put everything in its place. If I say the word, “elephant,” I’m sure that we all think of the large grey mammal with a trunk, large ears, flat padded feet, and leathery skin. Since childhood we are trained to put everything “elephant-like” into the same “elephant box”.
Such a process is good for us as individuals. We don’t have to reinvent the world every time we open our eyes. We can make sense of the reality around us.
But there is a downside to this type of thinking though. We come to believe that our way of thinking is the way the world actually exists. We righteously assure ourselves that orange and pink elephants don’t exist. We soon fail to see the world from other perspectives, and forget that we make decisions based upon self-imposed boxes.
And so many of our problems stem from that.
We need artists — independent-thinking and even one-eared artists. Because they paint stars swirling wildly in the night-time sky and yellow-green faces. Because they create the art of our dreams and nightmares. We need those types of art, and all Art … to wake us from our self-assured slumber.
And then maybe, just maybe … we might notice an entire herd of orange and pink pachyderms … grazing in the glow of the setting savannah sun.
Art reminds us that reality lives and breathes outside the box.