The Arts Are Amazing — And Here’s Why

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I thought I’d share a little something I posted on the Google+ page for The Skiffy and Fanty Show.  Why?  Because I love the arts and the impassioned mini-rant I posted sums up how I feel about literature and film and music and other art forms.  Before you read it, though, ask yourself why you think the arts are so important.  What about reading books or listening to music or watching movies (etc.) makes the experience more than simple consumption?

Now here’s my mini-rant:

Bear McCreary is one hell of a composer. I think his work on Battlestar Galactica is a masterpiece on par with Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings symphony (yes, I’m calling it a symphony).  

The song below, for example, guts me every freaking time. And I love it. I love how music (or literature) can make me feel things. That, to me, is what makes art amazing. If you open yourself up to it, the experience is rewarding. It reminds you why you’re human. It reminds you why existence is so grand and wonderful and that we should wake up every day and say “I’m alive” as our first optimistic thought.  

So when people suggest cutting liberal arts programs, it always feels to me like they’re trying to cut the soul out of humanity. Forget that English teachers are the glue of civilized society because they are the arbiters of language. Forget that liberal arts programs are incredibly dedicated to research, to cross-disciplinary practices, and so on. Forget that humanities professors take their teaching more seriously than most any other academic department.
What matters about the arts is what it does for and to us as human beings. Open yourself up to an experience. Feel it. Breathe it. And remember that every day someone tries to remove a book from a library or cut funding from liberal arts programs, etc. etc. etc…every day those things happen is a day finding your humanity or soul or whatever you want to call it is that much harder.  

The sciences are our gateway to the future, but the arts are our gateway to what makes us human. You can’t live without both and still call yourself Homo Sapiens sapiens.

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Florida studying science fiction, postcolonialism, posthumanism, and fantasy.

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