5 Answers

  1. I will say about the same thing as Lev Khomak, but in other words.

    First, not all properties of living organisms have an evolutionary and biological meaning. Neutral (and even mildly harmful!) attributes and properties are not affected by selection and can spread for random reasons. Or be linked to highly useful ones.

    Secondly, some forms and works of art are not indifferent to animals that do not have art. In this regard, I would mention music that can “please” animals (up to influencing the heart rate and increasing milk yield, for example), or “dislike” them (for example, scare them). And then there are dogs that howl to the beat of the music, and birds that spontaneously “dance” to it (for example, Darrell had such a pet pigeon). God knows if they like the music, or vice versa, but it does not leave them indifferent.

    That is, the emotional response to some art forms appeared in addition to the person and before him. And outside of art itself. THIS REACTION HAS NO EVOLUTIONARY MEANING: the animals did not have to adapt to art. This is just a side effect of some features of the functioning of the nervous system of higher animals. And these features themselves probably have some kind of adaptive character.

    So, some works of art may appeal to animals. And if you like something, the animal will try to repeat the effect, if it understands how to achieve it. For example, cases are described where a bear found a way to extract sounds from randomly generated natural objects and repeatedly extracted these sounds from them. And great apes are quite willing to “draw” something bright and abstract, if they are given paints, brushes and canvas. And, especially, if you once or twice show how you can dispose of these items.

    How do these examples differ from human art? First of all, it is about the same as the use of any other artifacts by animals. Animals do not create these artifacts themselves and, therefore, cannot regularly engage in “art”, even if they like it. Monkeys don't create colors or even mix existing ones. Bears do not create not only human musical instruments, but even a stump with a splinter that can hum if it is pulled back with a paw and released.

    Thus, a critical difference between a person in the field of “art” is the systematic practice of the latter and the production of special artifacts for such an occupation. Well, in comparison with related animals, man is generally “imprisoned” for the systematic nature of unborn occupations (for example, labor as a systematic phenomenon) and the manufacture of artifacts (making tools, for example). AndOUTSIDE of “art,” these skills and aptitudes played quite a positive role in natural selection. And within the framework of “art” they were only applied by analogy.


    And then there's the “creative” aspect. The ability to invent something new.

    If you look at the results of the excavations, then both ” art “(the systematic production of musical instruments, ornaments, paints and drawings) and some kind of” religion ” (at least in the form of burial rites) arose (exclusively, or almost exclusively) with the transition from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic, or on the eve of this transition. Around the same time (or later), the first animals were tamed, and farming began. In general, something happened to the person. There was a rather stupid subject, reproducing the same cultural practices for thousands of years ( we are talking about material culture) – almost without changes and innovations. And, suddenly, an explosion of invention in all areas of activity! Including completely new ones like animal domestication, art, and agriculture. It is clear that the ability to invent a new (“advanced” and more advanced) technique for making stone tools (the beginning of this very Neolithic period) and the ability to gradually come up with agriculture (there seem to have been many intermediate stages) played an important role in the further selection. Those who were able to do all this received new resources, multiplied more successfully, and gradually replaced those who could not. Probably, these people came up with many other useful new things, like new ways of hunting, for example. And, at the same time, they came up with new ways to give themselves pleasure, express emotions and complicate public life. Today it is called “art”, “rites and rituals” , etc. But these cultural phenomena themselves, most likely, did not have an evolutionary meaning (they were evolutionarily neutral). They could even be harmless. For example, burying material possessions with the body of the deceased, or any self-mutilation in the framework of initiation rites is clearly not an evolutionarily useful behavior. Just “art” and all the other neutral and slightly harmful side effects of the inventive ability paled in comparison to the obviously useful ones that determined the direction of selection.

  2. Art is a way to taste the world and share it with your loved ones.�

    Art is a language. The first work of art is the word. The first viewer is the one who heard the word and felt happiness from how much the word corresponds to the designated object, feeling.

    And, yes, music still allows you to experience this most vividly – you can feel how the music creates feelings that correspond to your own experiences, how it expresses your feelings.

    What is the meaning of art?

    Music is the most complex story and its understanding will allow us to approach the most complete understanding of consciousness:

    Why aren't all people receptive to classical music?

    Why is it said that music is closely related to mathematics?

    Why does music give pleasure to the human ear?

    How does the brain choose which music we like and which we don't?

  3. This is quite an interesting question, but as far as I know, there is no complete answer to it yet. And I will try to answer exactly from a scientific/biological point of view, without any attempt at philosophizing or making sense (I warned you!).

    But there are speculations. Let's start with a small example:

    What do you see in this picture? Most likely, you see here a rather skeptical (or just dissatisfied) face and a crookedly drawn cube. Right? In fact, of course, there is no face here. It's just two dots and a slash. But you see the face. You can't help but see the face. Moreover, you can even “see” the “emotion” on this “face” (more quotes!).

    The cube isn't here either. The cube is a three-dimensional shape, but the drawing is two-dimensional. But you “see” the volume. But in reality, it's just a few crooked lines. And here you should, in a good way, stop and think: what the hell is going on here at all. why do you see a face instead of two dots and a dash? How can it even be a face? Where does the cube come from? Why you can't stop.

    Now look here. Same elements:

    Yes, now it's a collection of points and curved lines, just as it was all along. The magic was gone.

    What I mean by all this. I mean, we don't see the world as it is (whatever that means). We see a model based on the interpretation of signals from the senses. And this model goes through a huge processing process, with the isolation of different objects, completing the missing ones, etc. And it's all completely out of control. But sometimes this system crashes, and you get these pictures::

    Many people can stare at a picture for a few minutes and see nothing but a brick wall. But after they see this “something else” – it will already be there forever. This again shows that what we see is not what it is. The picture of the world comes to us only after heavy post-processing by our neural networks of the brain. Important information is extracted from the signals and unnecessary information is eliminated. Moreover, what is important and what is superfluous is not always obvious. Like in the picture above, for example.

    And so, what does art have to do with it? Well, according to one hypothesis, this is art, including the use of undocumented features of these very neural networks. This allows us to see things that aren't really there on painted rags, hear inspired melodies in strange rhythmic and squeaky sounds, and so on.�

    That is, roughly speaking, art can be just a byproduct of critical information processing channels, and not carry any practical value (from a biological point of view, of course).�

    But, most likely, everything is much more complicated and this hypothesis does not claim to be an exhaustive explanation of the whole phenomenon, as usual. Well, for example, because the very concept of beauty has a biological meaning. Here I talked about this in more detail. But this is generally a question that is very difficult to study, because there is too much subjective and alluvial-cultural.

  4. And why do howler monkeys try to shout over each other during the mating season? Why is nightingale singing so difficult, and who needs it (spoiler alert: females)? In general, if you watch how males of various species fight for the attention of females, the answer to your question suggests itself.

    Humans are a social hominid in the primate order, and primates usually win the attention of females by occupying the alpha position in the group, i.e. the strongest and most aggressive male usually gets the maximum number of females. But for some reason, humans, unlike other primates, developed an organ responsible for self-awareness and imaginative thinking, so physical strength alone could not do anything against a savvy mind. A smart and confident person in a group of people will always overcome a strong and aggressive one – from the point of view of survival, this is a priority that becomes obvious when attacking a pack of predatory animals: those who managed to sharpen sticks, build a fire and scare the animals will survive, and those who got into a frontal attack will be devoured with special cruelty.

    But the story went further. Since mankind no longer needed to fight for survival in the wild, natural selection began to weed out males by manipulating their self-esteem. If the male was not able to do something better than others, the females put a dislike. The development of consciousness led to the development of fantasy, the need to fight against representatives of their own species led to the development of morality and the concept of “do not beat your own”. Social functions have branched out and become more complex. There was such a position as the “priest”, who pacified fantasy and disunity in their heads and put the “right” attitudes there, deftly switching the selfish mode to the group mode and placing the right accents at the right moment. That is, while everything is peaceful, the males in the group compete with each other as best they can, but when there is a threat from the outside (for example, a neighboring tribe attacks), the priest had to remind people in a short time that we are all brothers with a common god (a powerful symbol of community), and those who are not brothers and The art of connecting people psychologically through symbolism and archetypes has evolved into a special kind of creativity that can influence emotions and “ignite” the necessary instincts in people with certain triggers. Here it is worth noting that the position of the priest and his assistants was considered honorable and respected, and therefore in demand = > generated competition. Those who beat the drums better, drew war demons, and told stories earned respect. Speaking very roughly and generally, this is how art developed.

  5. In short, on the one hand, art is a way to get to know yourself and the world around you, on the other hand, many specific works of art were created by men in order to conquer women. This is nothing more than complicated sexual behavior. Such a courtship ritual or calling the female. Many singers openly admitted that they went into music to be popular with girls. This is not necessarily the only reason, but it is very significant. Remember that in companies, girls liked creative guys – you can play something on the guitar, it's already cool. And the artists? There are centuries-old traditions of keeping mistresses, muses,favorites… Petrarch generally devoted the bulk of his literary activity to unrequited love for a certain Laura.

    As for knowing yourself and the world, I think the following:

    • Visual arts are a great way to convey information. The simplest and most understandable example is rock art. It can also be perceived as a textbook on hunting and tribal traditions. Also, through art, you can visually convey your inner state, something that cannot be fully described in words. It helps, among other things, to find like-minded people and understanding from the people around you.

    • Art is, to some extent, an evolutionarily developed antidepressant. Turning our mental fears and torments into something tangible and visible makes it easier for us to cope with them.�

    • It happens that it is quite a profitable business to create. And money is a means to acquire the necessary resources for survival, a comfortable life, etc. etc. In short, there is money – there is food, and protection from predators, and women will be, and resources to ensure a happy life for their offspring. From the point of view of evolution, it's awesome to be able to create and sell it, why not “try” to preserve the corresponding genes at the genetic level.

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