A RETURN TO TOLSTOY

“Tolstoy defined art as the following: ‘Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by these feelings and also experience them.’ However, this definition is merely a starting point for his theory of art’s value. To some extent, the value of art, for Tolstoy, is one with the value of empathy. However, sometimes empathy is not of value. In chapter fifteen of What Is Art?, Tolstoy says that some feelings are good, but others are bad, and so art is only valuable when it generates empathy or shared feeling for good feelings. For example, Tolstoy asserts that empathy for decadent members of the ruling class makes society worse, rather than better. In chapter sixteen, he asserts that the best art is ‘universal art’ that expresses simple and accessible positive feeling.[81]”

“Other possible views are these: Art can act as a means to some special kind of knowledge. Art may give insight into the human condition. Art relates to science and religion. Art serves as a tool of education, or indoctrination, or enculturation. Art makes us more moral. It uplifts us spiritually. Art is politics by other means. Art has the value of allowing catharsis. In any case, the value of art may determine the suitability of an art form. Do they differ significantly in their values, or (if not) in their ability to achieve the unitary value of art?”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aesthetics

3 thoughts on “A RETURN TO TOLSTOY

  1. Personally, I think art that generates bad feelings can also be of some value, anything that causes one to think on a deeper level good or bad is worthwhile, especially if a new thought is thought 😉 but, I’m not willing to test out this idea by viewing art that makes me sad, mad, or scared 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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