On our local on line forum = Herne Bay Chatter, someone posted a comment about the number of people around who are angry, violent, putting themselves first etc. I’m not a person who puts my head in the sand and of course I know it is happening. The suggestion was that it taking over society. Now here’s a thing, I haven’t encountered it…in fact the reverse. Somebody put up a post that has given me pause for thought. In this post she said there is a lack of empathy.
Now I totally agree with her that empathy is all important but it led me to think where does empathy come from and how can we develop it. In my view empathy comes from imagination, you need to be able to imagine yourself in someones elses shoes other than your own. Ergo… there has to be an emphasis on building the imagination in schools…and what do we see? Subjects that encourage and develop the imagination have been savagely cut.
I would argue that the arts cultivate the imagination but more than that they improve the economy. Art schools encourage an enquiring free mind and it is not surprising that creatives are providing ideas and attitudes that break the mould and form enterprises that are successful. Our fashion industry, the modern music scene, top class drama and films. I think most people would be surprised to find how many movers and shakers went to art schools. You are in peril if you cut the arts… the imagination suffers and empathy diminishes. Well I’ve got that off my chest but it is something that concerned me as I remember how flourishing the arts were in the fifties and sixties.