“Our curious love affair with art sets our species apart as much as our sapience or our language or our use of tools. And yet we understand so little about art. We don’t know why art exists in the first place. We don’t know why we crave beauty. We don’t know how art produces its effects in our brains – why one arrangement of sound or colour pleases while another cloys. We don’t know very much about the precursors of art in other species, and we don’t know when humans became creatures of art. (According to one influential theory, art arrived 50,000 years ago with a kind of creative big bang. If that’s true, how did that happen?) We don’t even have a good definition, in truth, of what art is. In short, there is nothing so central to human life that is so incompletely understood.”

Jonathan Gottschall in The Guardian on scientific ideas it’s time to retire (“There’s a widespread, if usually unspoken, belief that art is just a frill in human life – relatively unimportant compared with the weighty stuff of science.”)


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