Art And Effective Altruism

Effective altruists believe that there is no point to art. The true altruist believes the time used to create art should be used to alleviate the pain in the world, a much greater good. In the blog,, “the writer states that to contrast art with science and technology shows a lack of insight in how ideas come about. Art is the playground of imagination and the facilitator of invention. So many advances in sciences have come directly for artistic experimentation.” One might say that art has created the back drop to the advances in science that have ultimately impacted the health and well-being of the human race. Art is a beautiful tool that allows us to describe oneself to others graphically through photographs, music, painting, movies, and many other modalities within the realm of art. A world without art would be bland and boring. It would be like a world without color, just the black and white. Rhys Southan wrote a passage in the book “Is Art a Waste of Time?” that describes effective altruism and the perspective on why people should give up art to help others that are suffering. In the book, effective altruists describe art as something that distracts us from problems such as poverty and world hunger.

However, in my opinion, these problems would only get worse because art gives individuals an opportunity to show their emotions, allows people to express themselves, and unites people with a common call to action to solve problems like world hunger and poverty. When art is created whether it is a sculpture, painting, photography or building architecture, it creates a story through personal experience. When I traveled to Germany, I learned that during World War II, Nazi’s stole and burned the paintings that the Jewish people owned to try and take away the connections in their lives, both past and future. Artist through different media describe emotions and feelings about events that have happened in the past, as well as in the present that describe both suffrage and alleviation of pain. Art has brought peace and connection with the world. Art improves the well-being of people and allows them to cope with their challenges both good and bad.

On page 436, Rhys Southan says “The central premise of effective altruism is alluringly intuitive. Simply put, EAs want to reduce suffering and increase lifespan and happiness. That’s it; nothing else matters.” Although it is great to want to increase lifespan and happiness but if art is not created and celebrated there could be no opportunity to rejoice and be well. As I began writing my argument to why I believe art matters in the health and well-being of people, and that an effective altruistic perspective is wrong, the author Rhys Southan changed his perspective. In my argument, I believe that effective altruist people must realize the world is not just black or white… there are a lot of colors in between. The author finished his script at the end of his trip, but the thoughts of ethical altruism activists Hilton and Morgan stayed with him.

They believe that art has little power to alter the world for the better. Their opinion is that every artist thinks their work is unique and provides something to the world. It is their opinion that the artist doesn’t matter, they would take the same subject and alter the project slightly, but still creating the same result. I believe that logic of replicability does not take ones creativity into account in the perspective of creating something bigger than the artist, something that effects change. In the field of arts and humanities, paintings and pictures are very “personally satisfying” as Southern says, but they might or might not make a better place. Replicability being a core concept to effective altruism says, when a piece of art is replicated or copied it could cause a greater impact in the world, create social change. However, if the original art was never created a new artist would never have the opportunity to bring forth the work in a different light, effectively creating another view point and impacting social change.

Today the channel for art is in computer technology, Ozzie Gooen believes that if one can expand on an idea in the coding world, it produces a “net good” and can bring about social change and call to action more people to get involved with helping other throughout the world through technology. Technology is a form of art too. EAs look to find people with exceptional skills in math and insight into philosophy, but why not artists? Artist, like philosophers look at the work differently, intuitively, both can bring social change through their work. In conclusion I believe that effective altruism benefits our society by showing us what can and cant help society. When I began this essay I was focused on how art provides support no matter what the motivation for creating it is. Although the very rare artists with the effective altruism mindset create art with the mindset that artists had in the medieval times. They believed that art should focus on social value and change without the thought of entertainment. This mindset allows artists them to consider humanity and what is going to benefit social change to help solve world problems in the future.

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