Leonard Schlain suggested that great advances in science were historically preceded by advances in the perception of artists. As such, artists of all types and who come from any field, scientific or humanistic, can be seen as harbingers of new ways of perceiving/thinking and then as the tellers of their story. They find eloquent and simple ways of sharing their perceptions with all of us.
From a Oneness perspective art will attempt to acknowledge all the different parts/whole relationships that contribute to the creation, the appreciation, the influence, and ultimately the meaning of art considering:
• the perspective of the artist who creates the art
Attributes which influence the meaning of art include the artistic training and technical skill, aesthetic sense, creative style, personal interests, as well as the artist’s psychological make-up, present emotional state, values, beliefs, level of cognitive development, level of self development, and level of spiritual development.
• the perspective of the viewer
It is very possible that what the artist intended and what the viewer derives are not the same. Here we are mindful of the idea that the viewer’s interpretations are just as much a part of the ultimate meaning of the work of art as the artist’s intentions. Just as with the artist, the viewer’s aesthetic sense, personal interests, as well as his or her psychological make-up, present emotional state, values, beliefs, level of cognitive development, level of self development, and level of spiritual development, will all contribute to provide a context in which to determine the meaning of the art.
• the perspective of the outside cultural context in which the work of art is a part
Some of the cultural factors that would be influential to the meaning of a work of art are things like present political currents, historical events that affect the present culture, the overall cultural values and definitions of what is beautiful and what is artistically skilful, and the overall average level of emotional, cognitive, moral, self identity and spiritual development within the culture.
The arts permeate every aspect of the wheel and reflect the artists’ gifts and desires to enquire about and to observe all aspects of life. The arts therefore are meme-makers and meme reflectors; mirrors through which we can see ourselves in new ways. From this perspective, every human being is creative and art is integral to all human endeavours.
The potential of art:
Art has the potential to help us realize our deeper nature if we allow ourselves to see how in its creative seeds there lies the source, the birth, and the death of the entire universe. It can help us realize that the simple painting of a tree is similar to the vast unfolding of Spirit in and as the cosmos. It can help us realize that ultimately a speck of dust holds the same depth and breadth of magic, grace and beauty as a master’s painting, a poetic verse or a symphony.
~ Because art of any form is an expression of our realities, it reflects and promotes social change, pushes the boundaries and challenges the status quo. In this way, the arts unite and help us to grow and to create stronger, closer, healthier and more vibrant communities.
~ Where it has always been a powerful revolutionary tool, it now becomes an evolutionary tool. The Arts is healing as it helps to restore traumatized individuals and communities. Symbols of destruction are transformed into beacons of reconciliation, forgiveness, and hope.
~ It beautifies and energizes the spaces where we get together. The arts shape, improve, and transform communities and neighbourhoods and other spaces where we meet and hold our ceremonies; including the way in which we honour the dead and our icons.
~ The arts as a whole are also a great source of prosperity and it is a tremendous tool to generate income.
~ The arts continue to pay a most powerful unifying and healing role in society.
As such, the creation and the appreciation of art cannot help but transform us if we are open and willing to engage in the ongoing process of broadening our horizons and the striving to expand and integrate all aspects of life. This very journey towards Wholeness certainly holds its own very important quality regardless of whether or not our ultimate, idealized destination is ever reached.
As we are aware of the inextricable inter-relatedness, inter-connectedness, and inter-dependence of all of Life, the highest purpose of art is to express and reflect the Absolute Truth as an Awareness and a Self-Awareness and to encourage the further development of Oneness Consciousness.