"Indeed, the moderation of genius does not consist of the use of a cultivated language without accent or dialect; it lies rather in speaking the accent of the matter and the dialect of its essence. It lies in forgetting about moderation and immoderation and getting to the core of things."
-- Marx, "Remarks on the New Instructions to the Prussian Censors" (1842)
I have no faith in humanity's arrival at a utopic result. But the impulse is a necessary one; we know that something is very wrong. This is at the core of cinema as Pedro Costa sees it, I think; who has closed the door in life, who may close it in the film? I cringe when I hear relatively privileged people talking in platitudes about how art should "challege preconceived notions," make people uncomfortable, etc. (For this is more often than not a marketing ploy, and is often trotted out by people who wish to sell their brand of trademarked subversion.) Art hasn't this social responsibility; aesthetics have the unavoidable function of providing us with experiences that suggest something about the life we cannot bring ourselves to admit we are fully owed: immediate, detached, cerebral, visceral, erotic, glimpsed, immersed, shocked, consoled, dizzied, expanded, stretched, adulterated, cleansed, and so forth. Some beauty is embedded in peril and disease, but I claim every beauty for myself & mine. It is our birthright. It is the salve to our shocks; it is the bridge erected so that we can cross over. C.S. Peirce saw language, signification, cognition, not only as a means of forming mental habits--but of changing them. This is called learning. The aesthetic experience rapels down and climbs through a dark crevice, and though "art" as we learn in textbooks is unnecessary for human experience, the aesthetic is, I think, inextricable from it.
The cave paintings on Lascaux are the expressions of the deepening gap between, on one hand, a life in perfect harmony with the necessity of history and nature (and thus with no history as such), and on the other hand, a life in which our ancestors are marked by historical record.
"One citizen avoided another, hardly any neighbour troubled about others, relatives never or hardly ever visited each other. Moreover, such terror was struck into the hearts of men and women by this calamity, that brother abandoned brother, and the uncle his nephew, and the sister her brother, and very often the wife her husband. What is even worse and nearly incredible is that fathers and mothers refused to see and tend their children, as if they had not been theirs."
-- Boccaccio on the Plague.