Month: February 2016

how art has evolutionary value…?

“Without the art of storytelling, without the human impulse to catch and hold the attention of others through narratives with expectation-violating, larger-than-life powers, religion could not have arisen [..] Art has played a central function in human lives, not only in itself, but also in giving rise to religion and then reinforcing, through augmenting the impact of ritual, religion’s power to cement group cohesion.”1 In this paper, I use anthropological viewpoints to unpack the task of substantiating how art has evolutionary value. At the centre of this ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question, (“Does art have evolutionary value?”) lies the unacknowledged role belief plays in answering it. Drawing on the work of Ellen Dissanayake and others, this essay will illuminate the evolutionary value of art in relation to the core ideas of human adaptation around culture and evolutionary theory.    In the book, “The Artful Species: Aesthetics, Art and Evolution,” author Stephen Davies describes the role of art as “a cultural product resting on evolved capacities, that lead us to be creators, transmitters, preservers, and incremental improvers …