“What is Art for?” has roughly 180k hits on YouTube. It opens with a narration from the popular philosopher Alain de Botton, accompanied by animation cleverly portraying the wisdom he gently teaches. The video is located on The School of Life’s YouTube channel which now has roughly 500k subscribers, including yours truly. An impressive feat for a channel created only a little over a year ago.
Founded in 2008, The School of Life is based in London but it reaches far bar beyond the city. Collaborating with artists, writers and educators they create content, classes and educational materials aimed at supporting creatives. The School of Life seeks to answer questions and solve problems usually overlooked in school and university, touching on issues from work to self-knowledge. All without subscribing to any dogma or ideology. Simply put, helping people develop emotional intelligence through culture.
“Prettiness (displayed by art) is hope bottled and preserved waiting for us when we need it”, says Alain de Botton at the beginning of “What is Art for?”. He goes on explaining four more reasons for art:
- It makes us less lonely, reassuring us that pain is part of the human condition.
- It rebalances us, containing qualities we need more of in our lives.
- In our superficial society, art helps us to appreciate things that truly matter.
- Art is propaganda for those things that really matter, giving them a platform in a noisy and distracted world.
Do you agree?
The whole project is a fascinating one, putting a modern and creative spin on the ancient art of dispensing wisdom and meaning using videos, online content and regular events. So far it seems to be working, let’s hope that continues.
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Words by Samuel