'The Art Instinct' | Did Darwin Discover Our Inner Artist?

“Men did not become giant elephant seals to lord over female cows. The equality of the sexes, their nimbleness in dealing with each other, their notions of charm, skill, are rather matched. The tastes of neither sex dominate artistic creativity.”

Buy book at AmazonThis is just one of several positively disruptive comments and insights expressed in Arts & Letters Daily editor and founder Denis Dutton’s Seed Magazine interview on his new book, The Art Instinct.

I’ve not read this book, but the crux of Dutton’s argument is that the arts are not mere by-products of evolution but central to the essence of human nature.

Refreshed by the above quotation on gender and the arts, Dutton’s observations about “Darwin’s Day” prompt me to share the short and fascinating interview with you.

I don’t pretend to fully understand the principles of evolutionary theory. My greatest exposure to Darwinian thinking, comes in discussions about gender differences in sexuality. The words “emotion”, “creativity” and “aesthetic feelings” are not front and center in my mind, when I think of Charles Darwin.

Dutton says differently: “I hope that the next hundred years will see the application of Darwinian explanation to more than just the evolution of the pancreas, the opposable thumb, and the eye. Darwin explains the deepest human passions and emotions. Darwin explains kindness, Darwin explains love, and Darwin explains our deep aesthetic feelings. We need him more than ever.”