In this exciting book, noted cultural scholar and arts advocate D. Paul Schafer examines the powerful role the arts can play, both in helping individuals live more fulfilling lives and in allowing humanity as a whole to enter a new and dynamic period in its history—what Schafer calls a “cultural age.” Indeed, it is only by moving through that gateway that humanity will be able to overcome the enormous challenges confronting it today.
Schafer surveys new research showing how participation in the arts can help people cope with various illnesses and diseases, come to grips with old age and the final years of life, deal with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and racial conflicts, and overcome anxiety, apprehension, and depression brought on by lack of human contact, job losses, and uncertainties about the future.
In the author’s view, a new era is opening up-an era in which the arts will soar to new heights, broadening and deepening our collective knowledge and understanding of culture and all the diverse cultures and civilizations in the world, allowing us to realize higher goals, objectives, and ideals for humanity, and yielding more caring, sharing, compassion, and cooperation in the world. Schafer sheds light on this crucial transformation by weaving together a number of articles he has written on the arts over the past several years, updating them in terms of present developments and future needs. The book begins with an examination of the arts as the foundation for life, and ends by considering why the transition to a cultural age is so essential, what it is designed to accomplish, and how it can be achieved.