What good are the arts?

Standing Ovation, Seated

001It is easier to answer this question for animals than for humans.

Farmers have known it for some time now that music can make cows give more milk. Say no to Alice Cooper though, unless prescribed by the vet against constipiation.

Animals instinctively recognise great art. The effects of Mozart, Contemporary Rock, and the buzz of a ventilator were compared across three samples of mice to find out which music they’d prefer. Mozart rulezzzz: regardless of which sample a “lab rat” used to belong, when given a free choice, it would go for the classic.

Few would doubt it greatly benefited the mice’s subsequent career as guinea pigs.

We don’t know if the arts are good for people.

The Platonic thesis that art makes people better (less willing to spit on the pavement, and more inclined to use “please” each time they tell someone to bugger off) has never been scientifically confirmed.

There’s one…

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