Aesthetics: Preserving Humanity

Posted: February 17, 2016 in Prose
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All throughout human history, developments on man’s various aspects have been on perennial progression. Intellect, skills, and livelihood are observed to continuously advance. With the dawn of the 21st century, however, these developments picked up a pace so much faster than was ever recorded in history. While it took several centuries for man to discover fire and how to utilize it, only a few years is needed for various inventions and scientific advancements on how to improve the global community to occur. The rate of human and societal development has escalated quickly indeed—so much that everything is now deemed as fast-paced. Food, coffee, clothes, and services can now be acquired instantly. Even properties like houses and land can be acquired quickly and easily through various programs. In such a scientific and formal world, humans tend to become mechanical and routine-driven individuals. Through these changing times, however, arts and language have the role of preserving humanity’s essence by reminding it of life’s beauty, intricacy, and uniqueness.

In a time when everything is too scientific and technical, art and language remind humanity of life’s beauty. In today’s context, scientific method comes into play in almost every life scenario. Logic is put at the pedestal of, and is made to rule in all instances—be it in home, school, or work. Life, however, is not just a series of point A’s and B’s, not something that simply comes out of empirical observation. Life is something beautiful, thought-provoking, and emotion-inspiring. Intellect, truly, is a crucial feature, but not its sole characteristic. Life is not all logic. There are still instances when the heart must be provoked to feel something, and art and language give humanity that aspect. When one sees a painting portraying so vividly human love, the heart is moved to utmost appreciation. When one reads a poem distinctly voicing out the pain of human suffering, one is moved to tears. This is humanity’s essence preserved by art. Art and language are what keep humans from being one of those unfeeling cyborgs they have invented.

Art and language do not only preserve human emotions, but also, in an age when acquiring everything seems so simple, they remind people of life’s complexity. People nowadays are so used to the notion of simplicity. If one wants to eat, the process is simple—go out and buy. If one wishes to travel to far places, he could simply go and ride a vehicle. The world is portrayed as smaller and simpler with the rise of countless scientific and technological advancements. Conversely, life is not as simple, and language and arts always remind that. All those sculptures carved with such great details; those building designs of intricate substance; those canvases painted with the most vibrant, colorful images; even those literary works written with such great and complex wordings; and those dramas acted out with the most complex of emotions—these things are the reminder of life’s intricate complexities. They help humanity to remember that life is not a simple set of formulae and computations, that it is far more complicated than a problem set having one specific answer.

Alongside all these rich aspects, in a context where everything is manufactured too similarly, art and language are also reminders of life’s uniqueness. These days, houses are designed into uniformity, buildings are all alike, and everything for daily use is mass-produced, having a form for everything. Art, however, deviates, refusing to be boxed into similarity. Every handmade art is as unique as the fingerprints of its maker, just like every poem written is as unique as the poet who wrote it. Every painting, sculpture, story, and drama is one of a kind and peerless. These things declare to the human mind that people’s lives are multi-faceted—something that cannot be measured completely by a single measuring stick, something that cannot be defined by describing its one aspect.

The world indeed is changing, and changing fast. Humanity has taken great leaps in terms of the improvement of intellect, skills, and competencies. The development will never be balanced, however, if the progress is one-sided alone. The other side of the spectrum is the affective capabilities of humanity—the one thing that keeps humans human, and not any sort of artificial intelligence. Through art and language, this important aspect is kept in check. Through them, the human mind is reminded of its essence, of the reason why they are more valuable than the best computers invented. Truly, with art and language at play, life becomes more priceless and appreciated through the changing times.


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