Article: Ceramic Fragments Point to Artistry in the Ice Age
I wish to comment on this article which appeared on 10 Sept. 2012 in the Science Section of The New York Times.
The article provided an oft-read refrain; Man may have socially, technologically, and culturally developed earlier than popularly accepted. Each new fossil, hearth, spear point, and in this case, ceramic artwork, discovered pushed the timeline further into the past.
My focus is on a quote attributed to Prof. Soffer. It suggests that “Art” is not utilitarian. While the ceramic pieces give no indication of a ‘practical’ use, Art is a human invention and as such has a use. It is my view that Art serves a practical need in humans that, should it be lacking, would produce a life that humans would enjoy and value less. Artistic expressiveness precedes many human developmental milestones. Just do as I did with my children. Put a crayon in their tiny (toddler) hands and observe their development as they become teenagers. Their nature provided the need to express artistically, while the mind develops the creativity to satisfy the need. Tell my children that they cannot sketch, paint, or draw and you’ll be on the receiving end of a major backlash. As an academic discipline, I wholeheartedly support the Arts classification within the ‘Humanities’. It’s what makes us human and therefore is a ‘practical’ endeavor.