December 6, 2011

Nerd fun at the NYPL

Posted in City life tagged , , , , at 11:25 pm by chavisory

I just got home from the New York Public Library, where I went to hear to Josh Ritter, Wesley Stace, and Steve Earle discuss the relationship between music and writing.  All three were lovely and marvelously intelligent, and though I went to hear Josh (of course), I think it was Steve Earle who said the most intriguing thing of the evening:

“What separates us from animals is not opposable thumbs; it’s that only humans make and consume art.  That’s what separates us from the beasts.”

And while I don’t want to denigrate the quality or value of animals’ emotional lives…I suspect he may be right.  I don’t tend to believe that humans are vastly superior to the rest of the animal kingdom in morals or capacity for empathy or emotional complexity…but I cannot think of another species that produces and consumes art for art’s sake.

Discuss?

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