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  • Dave Glasser

What is the Value of Art in Society?

Art has the power to change the world for the better. It should be as important as reading or writing in society. It has always served to balance the stresses and anxieties of humanity and to help give perspective to all of us. It has also historically served as a way for people to congregate and interact and to connect in a non verbal or in the case of music non visual way.


But in today’s age of technological worship and continued separation of people into autonomous, video screen dependent followers it is becoming increasingly difficult to connect with each other in a personal way. People are very rushed and stressed out. History has become too time consuming to bother with and proper perspective is all but lost. Instant gratification and short sighted solutions are the norm and quick rampant selfish profiteering is considered the highest achievement.


Many would say that is progress but I’m not so sure. It is certainly profitable we can be sure of that (at least to some). But is it wise to allow simple profit to unequivocally guide us? As both weather related and financial disasters continue to happen with increasing regularity as a result of short sighted, instant gratification policies and value systems is it not time to start looking further down the road? Is it not time to think about how to assure our long term existence as a species on this planet even if it means giving up the obsessive compulsive, addictive, win now at all costs, gambling culture which drives the stock market, profit margins, sports mania, and technological obsession? Have you ever stopped to think whether that is actually good for us past the immediate adrenaline rush? Maybe it is but maybe it isn’t.


What does this have to do with jazz you ask? Well I’m sure its all connected in some way. Jazz is Americas’ classical music and grew sponateously out of a convergence of cultures and their people. Its a communal, social, highly sophisticated music. It has since been swallowed up in many ways by commercialism and the almighty profit margin. Certainly that has made my life more difficult and I am saddened by it as I have spent a lifetime studying it and do feel it has an intrinsic value to society.


I’m not trying to start an argument. Just offer a different perspective. I am hoping that people will start to think about these things and draw their own conclusions. Just make sure you conclusions come from a place of knowledge and not ignorance.


Any significant change that has ever happened in America (and probably the world) has come from the people. When the people decide they want to have their own educated opinions and no longer want to have decisions made for them things can change. Value is not something that has to be determined by wall street or corporate manufacturers. When people start educating themselves and making decisions for themselves the country and world will start to grow, create, and innovate again. That will also lead to less rampant, profiteering off of the masses. Individual opinions makes the marketplace much more difficult to predict and manipulate. When (or if) that ever happens don’t be surprised if high music and art become valuable again.

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