The State of the Arts: An Appeal for Remembrance

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In the middle of a week beginning with what would have been the 50th birthday of late grunge icon, Kurt Cobain, and ending with the Kansas Silent Film Festival, the remembrance of art and history is of particular relevance.

In day to day life, there is little time to worry about the past. There’s always another assignment for a class or another shift to cover at work to keep people looking straight ahead.

However, it is important to take a moment every now and then to consider what has come before. The benefits of this range from enjoying simple pleasures to acquiring a better understanding of the world we live in.

Taking the time to experience an older work of art, whether from 10 years ago or 100 years ago, can provide a number of insights. Listening to an influential song from the past can inspire a greater appreciation for a modern artist influenced by it. Watching a movie from another decade can lead to a better understanding of the sensibilities and concerns of that era.

One may even come to enjoy the work on its own merits, in spite of, or perhaps because of, it being before one’s time.

On a more serious note, history reveals where society has been and how it got to where it is now, for better and for worse. Not only does this provide a better understanding of the root causes of modern day social and political problems, but history also identifies how the mistakes of previous generations were made or allowed to happen.

A society that appreciates history is better equipped to responsibly search for resolutions to current issues, while also avoiding the mistakes of the past.

Although it can be challenging, finding time to become acquainted with art and history becomes increasingly important when civilization is plagued by politicians weaving fabricated narratives for personal gain and militant groups deliberately destroying ancient art and literature in an attempt to erase the past and dismember the collective soul of the human species.

So whether listening to a revolutionary artist or enjoying a silent film accompanied by live music, take a moment to consider the work’s impact on the modern world.