In a competitive existence we hide our weak spots. When something comes too close, threatens to touch us, we had better shield our vulnerability. However, this means there is less and less room for exchange. Evaluation madness and the constant urge to innovate push people back further and further into a virtual shell. Anyway, we are all just messing about, says Marlies De Munck. She therefore pleads for openness and compassion. Because all this sheltering keeps you from touching. And from being touched. Pascal Gielen warmly advocates an aesthetic skill: the ability to experience, through all our senses, a ramshackle and fragile reality and still see it as a coherent whole. Art, theatre, dance, or music can touch us deeply and unexpectedly, show us new connections, and change rigid opinions. That is the power of art and culture: to reconcile us with life, which can be turbulent, disjointed, and fragile.
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