Once in a while we run across the words “colective aesthetics”, but few can explain to us what they mean in terms anyone can understand. This brief article achieves this seemingly unsurmountable task, through exposing us to a fun and short test no-one “flunks”, no-one fails to answer. Not only does it make us laugh, it also makes us think why in the world we all know these things. If our brains strive innately to learn and retain them, then –somehow, they are necessary for our survival both as individuals and as societies. It naturally follows that those literatures that feed on these elements and keep them alive, constitute a premier social institution, even if our society frequently fails to appreciate it.
A brief examination of what highly educated people really read when nobody is watching them, allows us to conclude that it is humanly impossible to refrain from reading popular works –to maintain a “purely highbrow diet” comprised of only elite works.
We put forth the following explanation: Works applauded and esteemed by the elite arts in the last 100 years or so, envision a sordid, bitter, and hopeless world –thus frequently becoming toxic or harmful for their readers’ emotional and general health, as we shall analyse in other articles. A “purely-depressive works” diet would certainly kill its reader.
No wonder most people, and even highly educated ones, tend to prefer popular works, even if they lack the prestige of the “high arts”. What a pity it is, though, that even popular works have been contaminated by the biases that have progressively killed the “high” arts, thus diminishing the spontaneous and joyful pleasure we hope and expect to obtain from them.
When we study colective aesthetics –like those modelling most popular and folk literatures, there is no way we can divorce the creator from his/her audience. Mass media, just like folk tales, feed precisely from this rich catalogue of cultural elements…