The Importance of Art

Last September, Emory University in Atlanta announced that it was eliminating four departments, among them the Department of Visual Arts. Here was an interesting response someone wrote that resonated with me: "About a decade ago I was lucky enough to experience one of finest lectures that Emory University ever sponsored, which was through their anthropology department. It was by one of the great thinkers of our time, E.O. Wilson, the world renowned biologist and philosopher of science who was at the height of his career. In his fabulous book Consilience, that he was discussing, and in this lecture, he described the evolution and survival of our species from the perspective of creativity. He talked about how art has survived the test of time for a fundamental reason: it brings people together in co-operation in a way that nothing else, even religion, can do as well. He said that if this wasn’t so it would have been abandoned by humans in the beginning. At the end of the lecture, which was standing room only, he received a standing ovation."