Monday, May 7, 2012

Out of the wilderness

The New Criterion has an interesting article by Charles Murray on the conditions necessary for a renewal of the arts. Among the things he finds necessary is economic wealth. Indeed, this is something Frederick Turner finds necessary for there to be a gift economy. Without large amounts of transferable wealth, one cannot have a vibrant gift economy. And the arts and sciences are part of that gift economy.

A major stream of human accomplishment is facilitated by growing national wealth, both through the additional money that can support the arts and sciences and through the indirect spillover effects of economic growth on cultural vitality.
He also identifies cities as an important element of high cultural creativity, which should not be surprising to those who understand urban economics:

A major stream of human accomplishment is fostered by the existence of cities that serve as centers of human capital and supply audiences and patrons for the arts.
He also argues that there needs to be new organizational structures. In literature, we had the novel really driving things for a while. Now, he argues, it is film. It might be interesting to think of what other possibilities there are or could be. Of course, the one who invents the next new organizational structure for any given kind of art will be considered one of the greatest artists of all time. And recognizing such things is difficult, usually taking place long after it has been established. Nevertheless, he argues, we are limited by our own evolution: "Human traditions of storytelling suggest that humans are hard-wired to prefer certain narrative conventions."

There is a lot more of interest in the piece. Interestingly, he lists a few artistic movements, mentioned by Steven Pinker, that Frederick Turner is a part of.

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