The Arts: A Vital Part of Being Human

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When I was 15 years old I was quite the rocker. If you asked me my feelings on opera I would have laughed and criticized it. Somehow a friend of mine convinced me to join a school trip to see The Phantom of the Opera and it changed me forever. Not only did I really enjoy it but it opened my mind to other genres of music and performing arts. I spent the next few years volunteering at a university radio station exploring different genres of music and it made me very happy.

Stories like mine are very common, the arts move people in various ways and is difficult to explain but there is some understanding now:

Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts

The Psychology of Artists and the Arts

Art, Aesthetics, and the Brain

How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond

A small list but a good example of the intense study that has gone into how and why the arts effect us the way they do.

However, how can one put into word the importance of the arts to our humanity? Artistic expression is a powerful medium and the arts effect us all in one way or another.

Imagine society without the civilising influence of the arts and you’ll have to strip out what is most pleasurable in life – and much that is educationally vital. Take the collective memory from our museums; remove the bands from our schools and choirs from our communities; lose the empathetic plays and dance from our theaters or the books from our libraries; expunge our festivals, literature and painting, and you’re left with a society bereft of a national conversation … about its identity or anything else. Sir Peter Bazalgette

Entertainment, education, the economy, our community and even our national identities are all shaped by the arts. Without the arts you have a culture nearly void of pride, pleasure and historical relevance. The effects of artistic expression to psychological well being is so well documented that it is used as a therapeutic approach by psychologists. There is no contesting that the arts are important and as culture moves away from religion the arts will be a vital part of providing an alternative to what religion provides.

 

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