[...] a familiar art historical narrative [...] celebrates the triumph of the expressive individual over the collective, of innovation over tradition, and autonomy over interdependence. [...] In fact, a common trope within the modernist tradition of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries involved the attempt to reconstruct or recover the lost ideal of an art that is integrated with, rather than alienated from, the social. By and large, however, the dominant model of avant-garde art during the modern period assumes that shared or collective values and systems of meaning are necessarily repressive and incapable of generating new insight or grounding creative praxis.
If others tell us something we make assumptions, and if they don't tell us something we make assumptions to fulfill our need to know and to replace the need to communicate. Even if we hear something and we don't understand we make assumptions about what it means and then believe the assumptions. We make all sorts of assumptions because we don't have the courage to ask questions.
We do not realize how deeply our starting assumptions affect the way we go about looking for and interpreting the data we collect. We should recognize that nonhuman organisms need not meet every new definition of human language, tool use, mind, or consciousness in order to have versions of their own that are worthy of serious study. We have set ourselves too much apart, grasping for definitions that will distinguish man from all other life on the planet. We must rejoin the great stream of life from whence we arose and strive to see within it the seeds of all we are and all we may become.
Perhaps, if you weren't so busy regarding my shortcomings, you'd find that I do possess redeeming qualities, discreet as they may be. ? I notice when the sky is blue. ? I smile down at children. ? I laugh at any innocent attempt at humor. ? I quietly carry the burdens of others as though they were my own. ? And I say 'I'm sorry' when you don't. ? I am not without fault, but I am not without goodness either.