Is it OK to make art?


#34 (In Topic #30)
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Is it OK to make art?

If you express your creativity while other people go hungry, you’re probably not making the world a better place
The iron logic of replaceability leaves many dreams dead on the ground, to be sure. But is this a problem with EA as an ideology, or a problem with reality? It would be great if the arts and humanities were hugely beneficial to the world, because they tend to be personally satisfying. Still, if they’re not in fact helping much, artists might be operating on some questionable values. Is your self-expression more important than human lives and suffering? Would you rather contribute to the culture of rich societies than work to reduce the suffering of the poor, or of future generations? Is it not arbitrary to fill the world with your own personal spin on things, simply because it’s yours?
Here’s a simple test to determine if you’re creating art for yourself or for the world. If you discovered that someone else had independently come up with a project idea that you’d also had, but they produced and distributed their work first, would you be upset? Or would you be thrilled that this vitally important stuff was out there, altering perspectives and making everything better in a real, quantifiable way – even though it wouldn’t increase your social status?
‘I think that there’s sort of a mass delusion among artists and writers that just because there’s almost nothing that confers more privilege and prestige and symbolic capital than art, just because it’s high-status, people think it’s of a high importance,’ said the Australian writer Chris Rodley. ‘And I think that’s wrong. Which is probably a weird, contradictory position for someone who wants to do art to take.’

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