Recently, on The Hubster blog, there was a brief discussion of the importance of art. With the 50th anniversary of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged I thought I would share a quote from Rand on art and ask everyone's opinion. Personally, I believe art is as important now as ever and, like language, is inherently human. Art began with the hunter gatherers 30-40,000 years ago.
Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value judgments. Man's profound need of art lies in the fact that his cognitive faculty is conceptual, i.e., that he acquires knowledge by means of abstractions, and needs the power to bring his widest metaphysical abstractions into his immediate, perceptual awareness. Art fulfills this need: by means of a selective re-creation, it concretizes man's fundamental view of himself and of existence. It tells man, in effect, which aspects of his experience are to be regarded as essential, significant, important. — Ayn Rand, "Art and Cognition" The Romantic Manifesto, p. 45.