David Brooks on the Role of the Artist in Society

Excerpt from Brooks’ column, “How Artists Change the World,” published August 2, 2016, in The New York Times:

“ ‘Poets, prophets and reformers are all picture makers — and this ability is the secret of their power and of their achievements,’ Douglass wrote. This is where artists make their mark, by implanting pictures in the underwater processing that is upstream from conscious cognition. Those pictures assign weights and values to what the eyes take in.

I never understand why artists want to get involved in partisanship and legislation. The real power lies in the ability to recode the mental maps people project into the world. . . .

These images don’t change your mind; they smash through some of the warped lenses through which we’ve been taught to see.”

 

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