In Saturday Morning Musings - civilisation, progress & the importance of empathy, I mentioned Whitehead's Adventure of Idea. Over at Freedom and Flourishing, Winton Bates was inspired to read the book and has responded in Could civilization be maintained without progress?.
It's always interesting to see how others interpret the same material. In Winton's case, his reading continued the musings expressed in a previous post: Are the arts a force for progress or do they just reflect contemporary society?
I don't have time this morning to follow up properly. To my mind, artistic express both reflects a society and affects that society. It is also influenced by the availability of raw materials whether as platform (a cave wall for example) or in form of expression. Whatever the form, the desire for artistic expression seems deeply imbedded in humanity.
The relationship between artistic expression and society, between artistic expression and culture broadly defined, means that our own interpretations are culturally determined. Yet there does seem to be some form of universal response that can cross cultures and indeed time.