The Arts (Art)

by David Turell @, Wednesday, August 20, 2008, 20:28 (5723 days ago) @ dhw

If the decisive factor in natural selection is survival, how do we account for phenomena that have absolutely no practical function and yet appear to play a crucial role in the fabric of human life?
>The great composers, writers and artists are looked up to as giants of the human species, although generally their work has no practical value, does nothing to advance or even assist evolution, and has no bearing on our survival.
My comment is not a complete answer to dhw. There is none. But evolution has given us a brain that has the unexplained and unexplainable emergent property of consciousness. That attribute provides a sense of aesthetics. Futher, consciousness never turns off. Our minds are a seething cauldron of thoughts, ideas, impressions and memories. In survival the plotting and planning aspect of consciousness allowed relatively helpless humans to take on mastodons, and other giant beasts, for food. But the aesthetic side is absolutely of no help in survival, yet it is there. Why was it selected for when it is an enriching but useless appendage of consciousness for survival? Mozart, if a hunter-gatherer, would have been an impediment to his group, sitting there in his cave composing while everyone else was out finding food. It took a modern inter-dependent society to allow for the luxury of a Mozart. We must imagine then, that this ability was developed and preserved, put on hold until circumstances allowed it to be used. Like exaptations in organ development, appearing thousands and thousands of years in advance of any useful purpose. What I have have described does not fit Darwin's theory.

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