Why We Need Art

It’s no secret that English majors receive flack for being, well, English majors. We’re easy targets to make fun of because we’re not out saving lives, finding cures, or using “real” brain power. We choose to spend our time in fiction rather than reality. We are pointless, useless, and stupid for majoring in something we love.

I only have one retort: English is not pointless. I’ve always seen literature as a form of art and can you imagine this world if there was no art? We’d be living in the most boring, mechanical, colorless world imaginable. Since the dawn of time generation after generation has been intrigued by story telling and that story telling has become our history. Myths and legends passed down for centuries to inspire us, warn us, and educate us. If we lived in a world without art and stories, then we’d lose all of that depth. We’d lose inspiration and imagination. We’d lose so much that makes this world beautiful and beauty is a word I rarely use when discussing reality. Literature, film, and art in general opens up a world that mirrors our own life, but adds creativity that causes us to philosophize and look at the internal; it causes us to look at the emotional and the subconscious allowing us to discover just who we are, not what we’re made of.

Match and science are important, don’t get me wrong. Both help in creating wonderful inventions and discoveries, but what makes the world so interesting is that we have two different minds that create in two amazing yet unique ways. We have the logical and the creative. The world needs both which is why the creative side shouldn’t be shunned because people in that mindset dare to use their imagination and look into the internal rather than the external. What’s wrong with creating something astonishing out of a blank piece of paper? What’s wrong with creating a story that opens up the minds of others and causes them to think deeper and discover meaning in their life? People need that door opened; we need ways to escape the mechanical and go into the philosophical in order to find hidden truths that the logic mind could miss.

Story telling also does have the ability to save lives. One novel, one sentence, can change a person’s entire perspective. Maybe that one perfectly worded paragraph is what someone needed to hear and because of that they kept moving on. Those who know me well or have read my other posts are probably aware that I can be a pessimist. I have difficulty seeing the wonder that the world supposedly posses (although I have improved), but whenever I read or watch a film I see that beauty. Even if the story is depressing with no happy ending, I still see the mystical side of the world. I see how beautiful and tragic and amazing life can be. I feel hope when I read a good story and I see that hope because I see how someone was able to create a beautiful reflection of the world around me out of a blank piece of paper. I see how orchestrated each word is and how each one harmonizes with the next. I see a piece of art and realize that if something that amazing and intriguing can be present in the world, then there’s definitely a hidden beauty within reality.

As weird as it sounds, I’m thankful for people like Socrates or Oscar Wilde. I’m thankful Ray Bradbury decided to write books for a living and I’m thankful that there are people who want to create philosophies and stories and reveal the hidden beauty in this world. They supply life with color and inspiration and that’s something I don’t ever want to see die out. I love art and film and writing. I love stories that open your mind up to a million possibilities and cause you to reflect on your own day to day situations. Art is something that needs to be preserved because if it were to fade away so would any beauty that may be left.

Think of the painter who is able to capture the glistening of the ocean at sunset or the soft glow of snow on a December night. Art has a way of bringing that beauty to our eyes because we tend to look past that charm when we get busy in our daily routines. Art reminds us that life isn’t as awful as we say it is. Sure, bad things happen and the world can appear ugly and ruthless, but there will always be a strand of light. That light is something only art can truly capture and if we were to lose art, we would lose any recognition of that beauty. The world would be colorless and robotic. Logic is a true gift; math and science are fantastic and world  changing, but art is just as vital and deserves to be present and create a healthy balance of logic and creativity.

I find a sense of peace within literature and I hope that other people can find the same comforting feeling within tattered pages as well. I hope people can begin to appreciate art and open up their eyes to the meaning and inspiring ideas that art can supply. I hope people never stop painting, writing, photographing, or designing. I hope art doesn’t die out because our world would lose much more than we could afford. Art needs to be recognized and those who follow the path of creativity within the arts shouldn’t be shunned or seen as less important or less intelligent. I personally believe it takes a true genius to be able to discover and capture life’s hidden beauties whether they be tragic or simply amazing. I only hope that genius begins to be appreciated and continues to be inspired.

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