Twenty years or so ago, one of my students, an electrician by profession, asked me why we had to work so hard at approaching art. My immediate response was that we had to work hard in order to be rewarded with the tremendous pleasure which art is able to offer us. Though I still believe those words are true today, I do not consider my reply to him complete.

The pleasure which offers to those that produce it and those that engage with it is without doubt significant. However, as a cultural pleasure it has its own demands and particularities. Intense and in no way negligible pleasures are offered by all our senses and the so important material world. And there is no reason why one should turn to art if one can brighten up the daily drudge of one’s life with a thousand other less serious activities which are more easily accessible and highly gratifying and do not draw on the physical availability, cultural dedication and spiritual fatigue required for art. If we turn to art, initially as receptorsand later on as creators, we will do so because we will haveunderstood that art can make us "become better" as well as making us "feel better". These two simplistic terms, "becoming better" and : feeling better", in my opinion, condense all the essence of art. When we get to the end of a book, after we come out of the cinema or a concert hall, it is not sufficient just for us to have had "a good time". This sensation does not last for long. Our life should, for at least a while, a very short while, have changed. Our way of thinking should have been stirred and our soul have taken its full. In this way, even just for a short, very short while, will feel "better persons" and "better as persons".

What really tires me most often today is not the low or bad quality of artistic production. This has always existed and our judgments may well be influenced and changing. However, what I really cannot accept is this artistic populism, the helter-skelter collective levelling off of everything, art included naturally, under the same lifestyle bracket, the assertion that all music, cinema and photography is one. It is not possible for everything and anything, even for a short while, to make "become better" and "feel better".