Robert Fulford, at the National Post (link from Arts and Letters Daily) skips the whole religion is bad/good dichotomy in defense of art. Loving great art does not make you good, neither does creating it, he notes. So, he asks,
What, then, does it guarantee? Those who give it their time and love are offered the chance to live more expansive, more enjoyable and deeper lives. They can learn to care intimately about music, painting and books that have lasted for centuries or millennia. They can reach around the globe for the music, the images and the stories they want to make their own.
Fulford’s is a short piece, and he’s probably singing to the choir. Yet it’s a good reminder to give a piece of art more than a few seconds of your time. Really look at it, don’t just take a picture or videotape it to consider it later. Read a book, then read another book related to it; come at things from a different angle. Do the same with a film. Listen to music and don’t do anything else. Put aside multi-tasking for the moment. As the author of Mental Multivitamin continually exhorts us, “Read, Think, Learn.”