English Includes bibliographical references p. All human societies throughout history have given a special place to the arts. Even nomadic peoples who own scarcely any material possessions embellish what they do own, decorate their bodies, and celebrate special occasions with music, song, and dance. A fundamentally human appetite or need is being expressed--and met--by artistic activity. As Ellen Dissanayake argues in this stimulating and intellectually far-ranging book, only by discovering the natural origins of this human need of art will we truly know what art is, what it means, and what its future might be. Describing visual display, poetic language, song and dance, music, and dramatic performance as ways by which humans have universally, necessarily, and immemorially shaped and enhanced the things they care about, Dissanayake shows that aesthetic perception is not something that we learn or acquire for its own sake but is inherent in the reconciliation of culture and nature that has marked our evolution as humans.

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Start your review of Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes From and Why Write a review Shelves: art This is an extremely interesting book that attempts to explain the universal human behavior to create art. She defines creating art as "making something special" and explains how this behavior has helped humans cope with uncertainty and the unknown and, thus, ultimately given us a survival edge over other species.

She claims this behavior is just as important as our tool making and analytical capabilities. It is quite fascinating!

I liked the concept but I hated the execution. It bore me at times and was quite presumptuous. Mar 21, Bastard Travel rated it liked it Good concept, rough execution. The main idea, expressed in the most deliberately convoluted read: exclusionarily academic way possible, is that art is a natural evolutionary human drive that developed from ritual and play.

Art grows out of "making special", an innate human characteristic that probably developed for the purpose of wooing mates and increasing likelihood of genetic propagation through sexual selection, and probably led to a feedback loop with the growing human potential for empathy that eventually More tribal drum circles, dancing around maypoles, riding with the loa, fertility rites, that kind of thing.

Sure, five by five, but when you get to the part about how art is as necessary a human function as eating and sex, you lose me. Too lofty and idealistic. Art may have developed as a means of attaining food and sex, I could be on board with that. The critics got more discerning so the art became more complex, and we did it for so many generations that it became ingrained as a sort of pseudo-instinct Looks at art as a universal innate human tendency, one expression of a behavior she calls making special, also expressed through ritual religion, rites of passage and play.

Also discusses emotion as inseparable from perception and cognition and explores the aesthetic predispositions - Pretty much awesome. Also discusses emotion as inseparable from perception and cognition and explores the aesthetic predispositions - spatial thinking, prototypes and binarism, analogy and metaphor - that lead to an emotional experience of art.

Okay, it might sound boring, but I love this stuff. I found of particular interest a section that called into question the arbitrariness of language, a concept intrinsic to semiotics and both structuralism and post-structuralism. Sep 10, Sasha rated it it was ok I loved the central idea of this book, but if I recall correctly, it was impossible to read.


Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes From and Why



Homo aestheticus: where art comes from and why


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