MD What Good Are the Arts?

From: Platt Holden (
Date: Mon May 30 2005 - 14:25:58 BST

  • Next message: ian glendinning: "Re: MD What Good Are the Arts?"

    Hi All:

    Those interested in the arts and their relationship to the MOQ might be
    interested in a new book by John Carey entitled "What Good Are the Arts."
    I haven't read the book (it's published in Britain) but was interested in
    the review of it written by David Lodge in the May 30 Sunday Times.

    Carey, writes Lodge, ". . . tackles the question raised in his title by
    posing a serious of sub-questions: What is a work of art? Is high art
    superior? Can science help? Do the arts make us better? Can art be a
    religion? His answers are brief: anything; no; not much; not as a rule;

    To get some flavor of Carey's criticisms, he points to Nazis who were
    connoisseurs of music, visual art and architecture to demonstrate that art
    doesn't necessarily have "an ennobling affect on those who appreciate it."

    A couple of comments by the book's reviewer, however, brought art directly
    into the realm of the MOQ. Lodge writes:

    "Value is certainly an unreliable basis for formally defining art, but it
    is at the very heart of the experience." I take this to mean that there
    can be no experience without value -- good, bad or indifferent.


    "You only have to imagine the dreariness of a world without art to know
    that it is a good thing." I was reminded by this thought of Pirsig's
    assertion that a world without value would be unrecognizable.

    Although I disagree with some of the conclusions of the author, I look
    forward to getting a copy of the book when it becomes available in the
    U.S. Whenever the subject of art arises, the MOQ sheds light. The two
    illuminate each other.


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