BRAD HACHTEN: The arts can reunite us

May 2, 2013 

In response to the columns "Modern morality confused" (April 19), I believe Victor Davis Hanson draws attention to the problem of morality being based on an ideal rather than through a deep and sympathetic appreciation for human nature.

The moral culture generally split in two in the 1960s and both liberal and conservative ideologies can contribute to a top-down didactic that, perhaps unwittingly, cause disaffection, or the suppression of the spirit, and perpetuate this division.

Through bottom-up measures, from the primal soul up, I believe we can potentially revitalize the moral culture and restore the split. The poet Walt Whitman, a true visionary, attempted to lead our country in this direction at another time of division, in the prelude to the Civil War.

Now perhaps Merced is positioned to take the lead, or at least make the attempt, that can provide a boon for the arts. What are our shared, underlying passions, compassions, fears, feelings, emotions, etc., that translate into actions -- tragic, comic, triumphant, good, evil, etc. -- that can be represented in art?

The message to love others as yourself, we're still learning. But the arts can enable us to feel it by way of the human spirit.

BRAD HACHTEN

Merced

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