Tag Archives: Tolstoy

What is Culture?

One of the side benefits of my book is the collection of great masterpieces in art, poetry, music, and dance/ballet.  The art and poetry are found in the book and the music and ballet performances are found in this website.

The reason that these pieces of art were selected is that they translate the ideas displayed in each of the six galleries of my book into human expressions of life.  Each work of art is critical to understanding the road to happiness.

If you believe, as I do, that Aristotle was correct in stating that the meaning or aim of life is to find happiness, then these great works of art are necessary to give each of us the inspiration  and guidance to move forward towards happiness.

As Tolstoy said about the reason for art, “To evoke in oneself a feeling one has once experienced and having evoked it in oneself then by means of movements, lines, colours, sounds, or forms expressed in words, so to transmit that feeling that others experience the same feeling – this is the activity of art.”

“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 others are infected by these feelings and also experience them.”

“Art … is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward well-being of individuals and of humanity.”

I believe that if you put the ideas of Aristotle together with those of Tolstoy, what you get is the following: the purpose of art is to pass onto others the human feelings and experiences necessary to achieve happiness as witnessed by those who have found happiness, and that these expressions of those human feelings are indispensable not only for each of us in finding the meaning of life but also for the flourishing of society, which would not be possible without those among finding the meaning of life.

I believe that culture is the avenue through which the arts attempt to answer the meaning of life.  It is this avenue that makes the road to happiness easier to find and to travel, once it is found.

More to come!