Allow me to start by saying that I have intentionally mistitled this piece; in a way, it will help me illustrate my point. If I had titled it "The true spirit and purpose of art in general," I'm quite certain that you would not have even bothered to look at it. Also, I am doing this on the spot. Please be forgiving if you should find any errors.
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Whith that behind us, let me get to my point. The true spirit and purpose of art is effect. Not affect, mind you, but effect. There is a difference, and that difference is this: when I am affected, any symptoms of that affect are confined within me and my mind, while if I am effected, syptoms of that effect can be seen in and are my actions. Good works affect us, while art will effect us profoundly.
Here things get a little funny; some people can find art in things that other people may not even consider average works. I may listen to a Tourniquet Cd and find it amazingly artful, but others can (and do) tell me to "turn that noise off." We then arrive at a difficult question: is it art, and how do we know? Here's my horribly complicated answer: does it effect you, or does it affect you? Quite frankly, one man's art is almost another man's scribble. There are boundaries, I'm sure; I just haven't seen them.
So, with that uncharacteristically liberal base (I am quite conservative), we arrive at the conclusion that what is art to me may not be art to you. That could be a real mess for the MOMA in the big apple, if it weren't for this: most people are average, and average people are pretty much alike. Therefore, it it's art to you, there's pretty good chance that it's art to somebody else. Seriously now, if you think of some of the things that have been true art, meaning that they have effected you or others, you probably learned of them from somebody else. That makes at least two. We won't delve into where they learned of it, but I think you can see how it is a safe assumption that many others see it as art.
This leaves us with one final question: what is art? In my opinion, any thing successfully designed to effect us in some way, be it large or small. This is why the works of Hindemith are considered art along with those of Bethoven, and Ray Bradbury along with Leo Tolstoy. While the effect may be as small as me swaying along with the music or as great as me forming opinions on deep and important social issues, the effect is still there. The effect may not even be easily visble, and it may have even been an effect carried out by people in the past. But it is there.
Here's the heart of this little rant: don't judge something as unartistic because it doesn't tickle you pink to read it, or you missed the point or whatever other excuse you may have. Listen, read, or look from "outside of your box" and see if you can find the stirring of real art. It's in there, I promise. And don't forget to look at the night sky, or a sunset or mountain or field of flowers; they're done by the greatest of all artists, and can be greatly moving.
"You have lied to me, my dear Morpheous, and I have ended our little game; I wonder if I fear the truth more than your lies?"