A World Without Art

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A World Without Art Periodically, the question will come up, “ If you had to give up one of your senses, which one would you select?” Which one, the question implies, could you best do without? I ruminate on this question occasionally, wondering what it would be like to be without something that that is so taken for granted that I don’t even really think about it at all. What, I ask myself, would I miss the most? These questions come to mind when I watch a little girl in one of my kindergarten classes who is profoundly deaf. She wears massive hearing aids, and is able to understand much of what goes on around her, but I wonder, when the children are singing the little songs they learn to help them remember their counting or alphabet skills, or any of the myriad of other songs they learn, what does she hear then? She maintains of look of puzzlement on her face, as if she can’t quite figure out what the rest of the children are doing. Does she hear the music? Does it make any sense to her? Or is it just a bit of confusing noise that she can’t decipher? I wonder again when I watch a blind man navigate through the campus library, cane held out in front of him, following the textured path laid out to make his journey easier, unaware of the student art which adorns the walls next to him. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s wretched, mostly it’s indifferent, but he will never know as he maneuvers his way past this month’s offerings. The vivid slashes of color, the layers of texture, the intricate detail of the artistic renderings will never pierce the darkness of his world. What does he think when he hears conversations about art, about color. Does he paint visual pictures in his mind? Or do the words we use to describe things visually take on a completely different meaning for him? These thoughts take on a personal significance as I think about living a life without art. As a cook, the thought of being unable to taste the chocolate mousse, or the hollandaise sauce is a distressing notion, to put it mildly. Good food brings great joy to my life, and I would hate having to give up that part of my life. I am after all, the woman who trekked all the way from San Francisco to Vienna in search of the perfect Doboschtorte.The holidays see me virtually chained to my butcher-block worktable, turning out dozens of tins of cookies,

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