During a tour of a gothic church in Brooklyn I recall a statement our guide made regarding why the ceilings were so tall and grand:
...To inspire people to look up to the heavens. To be awed. To imagine something more, something bigger...
This statement encapsulates the role of art. To stir emotions. To make you wonder. To get you to look in awe and imagine something more. The artist's work may trigger your emotions in a way that nothing else can.
The societal impact of any piece of art is difficult to quantify. And yet how much indirect impact has art had in shaping our world? How many people have been inspired by a song, painting, poem, or a book? How much of that inspiration contributed to them creating something that otherwise wouldn't exist?
How much has art helped people pull through the self-doubt and struggle commonly felt when building something? How many more projects have been created as a result of Steven Pressfield's "The War Of Art"? I would have stopped this blog (and had never written this post) had I not read that book.
On a macro level our world is a global community. Every person has a role or "job". The role could be child, student, parent, lawyer, manager, politician, artist, entrepreneur, engineer and many more.
The creator role, such as an entrepreneur, scientist, or engineer can be a lonely one. It's a role plagued by failure, procrastination, self-doubt, and struggle. How often does a startup go out of business, or a research lab shut down due to failed studies and lack of funding? And yet when people in such roles succeed, they propel our global community forward.
In order to succeed these people need inspiration. They need motivation so that they can persevere. They need to be pulled out of the darkness so that they can create. They need to be awed, to dream, and imagine something more.
They need art.