Life in the Ivory tower – II.
Written by Csaba Tőri
27 March 2019
(First part of this article: Life in the ivory tower? – I.)
However in the 21st century there’s a distance between people, because of the technology and urbanization developments, we still walk by hundreds of people per day. Who knows how many Kossuth-award winning academic we’re passing by a day without knowing their incredible work. And if is true, we can’t even decide how much value they create for the world if somewhen the antidote to cancer will be discovered.
People working in the cultural industry has been constantly drawn up for ages: it’s necessary to be open with people and involve general public. However sometimes when curious people come in they are judged immediately for not knowing anything about high art. If not verbally, the works themselves address such a narrow audience that they implicitly convey this value-judgment. And the ivory tower gets its revenge: though there were some amazing results in very high quality, but still not many people know about these, so they can’t really appreciate it.
That’s why teaching is an amazing opportunity: if the school provides a wide perspective, the process starts and becomes self-stimulating. Those who’ve learnt arts, probably will never turn away from it. But those who didn’t get this experience at school, are still able to get this knowledge, with the help of the professionals.
That is why many artists get huge amount of money even though, people think (often rightly) they don’t add much value to the world.
There’s a value that is conveyed better way than anything else: music and literature belongs to everyone. Though they don’t reach their audience the same way as the greatest artist, they find a way to spread their work. By commercials and marketing.
However, I think it’s important to express my belief: I think there’s a balance between the two types. As symphonic bands are giving numerous movie-music-concerts these days, they often show their audiences that the movie world is not that far from Wagner or Beethoven. Those who grow up on movies can also start getting to know this world and can make just as good discoveries. After a while those who go to concerts will eventually start to enjoy listening to Bach or Bartok more than before.
What it is, if not an adult education concept with a very positive purpose: for everyone to develop in the area that we consider important. It’s wonderful to see how many people come to their first Carmina-Burana concert so that later on, they could even feel the value of Psalmus Hungaricus through the Beethoven Symphonies.
What I’m really sad about is that the viewpoint of the ivory tower, guided by a sense of goodwill and a desire to preserve values, when lighter genres appear (for example, fictions can make people bookworms), we plant a sense of guilt into the students, which then leads to a deepening of distance. As a consequence, they won’t be able to provide values which will be loved by many, and they won’t have enough connection with everyday people, so there will be no one to ask for the true value of their knowledge. Moreover, it becomes a tradition and will be passed on through generations.
If it could be possible to launch big changes in this world, it would be worth to have two pillars: maximalism at art and at the value creation. Creating joy in a language that the person understands is also a value, and always in a way that leads him/her a little bit forward. I don’t like the kind of joy creation that leads the listener towards lameness but playing and singing movie-music – processing a cartoon hit does not belong here: it can create huge value at a high level.
And then the previously analysed financial aim will be born easier: ask for the price of the value we give. It’s good for everybody: the artist/doctor/teacher will continue to do what they love and dedicated to in the coming decades, won’t stop and go to the supermarket store – just to support his/her family.
All in all, the one who pays the value of what he/she uses, gives him/her the authority to dare to research, teach and try next time: there will be someone to do all these for, next time as well.