TITLE: “ART, TOLERANCE AND DEMOCRACY"
In the long process of development of life on Earth, the human species acquired the special ability to ponder and reflect. From simple instinctive actions and reactions, they developed the ability to also deliberate. After a day’s hard work of hunting, gathering or growing food, groups sat together, perhaps around a cooking fire, enjoyed the collective company, shared the narratives of the day’s events, applauded, clapped and sang as expressions of joy at particular exploits, brooded over the challenges the next day might bring, and perhaps even quarreled over sharing what was available or disagreed on the next plans and actions, before going to sleep. The process of sleep, rejuvenation, along with the dreams they saw, prepared them for the next day with a goal and objective beyond mere physical survival.
The Human Mind is that element, part, substance or process that reasons, thinks, feels, wills, perceives or judges. Thereby humans developed the ability to move from concrete percept-based-thought to abstract concept based-thought. “Human appreciation of art is innate and not socially constructed… [and]… the origin of language, (spoken or unspoken) and the human mind are shown to have emerged simultaneously;” it is part of the genetic endowment of humans. Researches in cognition, its psychology and philosophy, show that the mind has the ability to pull together different strands of knowledge in an integrative process so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, a symphony, a bouquet of a variety of flowers. The Neural Networks are activated which permit us to process, assimilate and respond to complex sets of inputs and interactions. Creativity and art grow out of this complex gathering of wide experiences.
A family, clan or tribe gathers together in the face of peril, calling upon biological and psychological commonalities to stick together and thus tribalism is born; self has to be glorified and the rival, the other, has to be vilified. It is fear and insecurity that drives our sense of superiority; drives us to think that we are ‘uber alles’, or are the chosen people or are destined to rule and suppress others. Greater collaboration between the arts and education at all levels would emphasize imagination, critical thinking, social inclusion and tolerance of the different. Education and awareness are critical for the long-term sustainability of democracy and the arts play a pivotal role in helping people to accept different perspectives in a holistic manner. Art, tolerance and democracy in a dialectical manner both flourish and generate a culture of freedom of thought, expression and assembly