I have been following this thread with interest -- good points are being raised.
I sense something almost touched upon, but not quite raising it's head. I hope it is not an intrusion to comment on the following post. (Since I have taken his words out of context, I have included the whole post at the bottom.) Two sentences caught my eye.
Robin: ( snip - see whole post below)
>>For education, one can get a long way with a one-dimensional model: we all vary in our one-dimensional "ability," and education helps us signal that ability, and sometimes helps us to raise it.
[snip again see below for context]
>> In art, multiple dimensions seem more salient. There seem to be many things people are trying to signal, and these signals interact in more complex ways.
This is exactly the point of art's role and art's teachings, and what we are trying to say when we allude to why those of you science, programming and math communities could be more open and educated in some varying art fields. And why art could be a core subject in school, equal with math, literature and science. It is not fluff or dessert, but a serious training of neural networks to behave in a flexible, more complex and nonlinear pattern (the most famous well-known example is "Mozart for Math").
I was pleasantly introduced to the following study on "Cognitive Flexibility"
while working with an art historian who uses his techniques for training Art
The study was actually done for med school, beacuse several medical students who had followed a "one-dimensional model" of compartmentalized studies of the brain, the heart, the circulatory system, etc., who received high marks on tests and classroom participation, were unable to put it together in *context*, and did not perform well in an actual situation (surgery, diagnostics, or whatever).
This is a hypertext model for learning how to learn "non-linearly.' It is how artists and musicians think anyway, and it may interest some.
I agree there is an analogy, but there are also some differences worth pursuing. For education, one can get a long way with a one-dimensional model: we all vary in our one-dimensional "ability", and education helps us signal that ability, and sometimes helps us to raise it. The fact that you went to a good school and took hard subjects counts more that what school and what subject.
In art, multiple dimensions seem more salient. There seem to be many things people are trying to signal, and these signals interact in more complex ways. In some ways people seem to signal raw artistic ability, the sort of ability that doesn't change much with time or context. And in other ways people seem to be signaling their wealth and free time. Rapid changes in art also suggest to me that people are signaling the quality of their social information, showing that they find out before others what's going to be "hot." And different communities have different ideas of "hot," suggesting that people are also trying to signal allegiance to various groups. But what exactly determines the group that one feels allied to, I have little idea. It all seems very complex, and so very interesting.