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“Proust is important for everyone”

Mario Vargas-Llosa is no man of the right, but even he worries about cultural amnesia:

If culture is purely entertainment, nothing is of importance. If it’s a matter of amusement, an impostor can undoubtedly amuse me more than a profoundly authentic person. But if culture signifies more than this, then it’s worrying. And I believe that culture does signify much more, not only because of the pleasure we can get from reading a great work of literature, or seeing a great opera, or listening to a beautiful symphony, or seeing an exquisite ballet, but because the type of sensibility, the type of imagination, the types of appetite and desire that high culture, great art, produce in individual human beings gives them strength and equips them to live better. It enables them to be much more aware of the problems in which they are immersed, to be more lucid with regard to what is right and what is wrong with the world they live in. The sensibility formed by art formed enables them to defend themselves better and to enjoy life more – or at least to suffer less.

I think that’s pretty much the justification for art, and the reason why culture needs to be allowed to develop before we put it under the microscope of the Academy.

Posted in Culture.