The arts – are on one level simply amusements or entertainment. We enjoy them (or dislike them) because of their particular combinations of sounds, shapes, or colours. At another level they may appeal to us (or not) because of their meaning, personal or social. And at yet another level, they may incite us to overt action in our personal lives or in our communities. In other words, the arts have intimate uses but also sometimes broader consequences.
Artists themselves recognize this dual role of the arts and either approve of it or challenge it; some implicitly or deliberately charging their audience with a social obligation, some insisting that their function is and should be strictly intimate and personal. In our future planet we will no doubt continue to enjoy, or use, the arts in both ways, although it is likely that citizens of Our Future Planet will be more conscious than most people of the putative “responsibility” of the arts to the community, and to the world. By Philip Appleman