Our European literature begins with the outcry of the blind poet called Homer: “Sing, Goddess, of the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles.”
This rage of Achilles should be therage of all of us. We should rage about being thrown into a world that becomes uglier and more inhumanewith each passing day. A world, which gradually forgets about culture and knowledge regarding history.
“Sing, Goddess, of the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles.” 1
We should face this rage. And we should face this rage towards the world. We should allow feelings like grief, rage, and despair about all the things we get to see day by day. We live in a cold world where you’re only something when you’re among the winners. A world in which you snatch everything your two hands to fill your own pockets. Food, television, cars, entertainment, education, music, people, art, and culture.
We should allow the griefabout the fact of living in a world that deprives us of our humanity, compassion, joy and passion. And we should embrace the possibility to be able to suffer, love and grow with this world.
But above all, we should finally feel angry about ourselves again. We should be angry about our laziness, our self-indulgence, and our stupidity. We should be angry about being too scared to see the world the way it is and that we are too cowardly to imagine a better world and to stand up for it. Even if that means that we wouldtruly grow up.
We should no longer allow ourselves to lose our humanity, to lose our culture, and to even lose the possibility of everbeing a part of it again.
Day by day, we throw away all this for a few colorful glass beads.
We should seriously set out together, with Homer’s words in our hearts, to retrieve what we’ve lost.
First off all, we should get the following question asked by so many out of the way: “Why should we delve into art and culture? It’s exhausting, no fun and no longer relevant in our lives.”
“Why should concern ourselves with art?”
Mostly said in a way that no one else is not interested in such a thing either, after all. So, why would I be so stupid and waste my precious lifetime on something like this when there are so many better ways to spend your time?Instead, you could make money, or relax by watching TV. Or buy the newest toys from the nearest mall.
Why would you want to fill your head with unnecessary knowledge?
But the question itself is wrong already. It is as if a blind man would ask why he should learn how to see. Colors are of no avail, and no one else is interested in such a thing, so why should he take all the effort to ‘just’ see.
In fact, the question is not why we should concern ourselves with literature, music, or other arts, but rather why we believe that we can live without it.
Why do we waste our lives doing so many unimportant things? Why do we go through life being so blind, refusing to learn? Why do we reject the chance of really getting to know the world, to enrich our lives with the most beautiful thing that history gave us?
How far away are we from the fact that everything a value in itself nowadays? That beauty can be just beautiful without having to own it. Without the urge of wanting to touch it, destroying it by doing so.
“Beauty has a value in itself!”
And just like beauty, art has a value in itself, too. Because it affects the divine within us, it makes us remember our humanity, and reveals our innermost being.
Also, it makes our life more beautiful.
Without a special purpose.
Simply by its being.
But how does this work? What happens to us? And, ajar with the world, shouldn’t we rather embark it again?
Especially literature and classical music have a strong influence on us.
By their way of expressing thoughts and feelings, they change our minds, strengthen our emotional world and help us to better understand the world.
This is why they have the power to change us. They can alter our general idea of how the world should look like, what it means to be a human being, and how to live our culture.
Because if we are educated in music and literature then we can decide independentlyin which world we want to live in. And what kind of world we leave behind for our children.
“Shakespeare, Goethe, Dickens, Voltaire, or Th. Mann. They existed to enrich our lives. Even today.”
But when we look around today, we notice the coldness. Most people are no longer able to have any deep feeling for to think clearly. Everyone is just online, playing on smartphones, run through the streets like zombies and seem to have forgotten everything that makes them human.
But how could an entire continent with uprising legends like Shakespeare, Goethe, Calderon, and Balzac, allow such a flattening of lives?
And how can it be that we don’t get up and pick up the pieces when we clearly notice that everything is falling apart?
How this is supposed to work?
First, by learning how to think and feel clearly and differentiated again.
But this won’t happen by watching television or sitting on the computer. We won’t learn this in schools since they are no more than educational establishments nowadays, and certainly not from our parents since theyalmost completely subjected to the dictates of our insensitive media and meritocracy.
We will only learn from masterpieces, and by concerning ourselves with the thoughts and works of all the great people who have lived before us.
And that is why we should – no, have to – concern ourselves with art again.
For us and for the people who come after us.
1 Homer, Ilias