We should start trying to bring epic narratives back. They seem to have gone to the way-side because of all of the issues inherent in them. Yes, there are a lot of problems that came with our old epic historical narratives but just tearing them apart does very little. Instead, I think we need to try to re-write them for U.S. society.
By epic narratives, I mean the huge historical narratives, there is a small book trying to do that now called “The Jungle Grows Back” in which it builds a historical narrative for U.S. international relations; how it is important, how it is changed and how that affects the world. One Russian geopolitical writer is doing the same thing. I would argue that we need one for society as a whole, some sort of narrative everyone can believe in can lead to poverty being considered “the moral equivalent of war” as so many people would like it to be.
That sort of narrative would be able to re-bind the U.S., I suspect that sort of narrative is what some Trump supporters were looking for and there is not an equivalent elsewhere besides a narrative of “we are not Trump!” or some other equivalent. The problem is one cannot build a narrative through absence, narratives have to be positive creations.
What if “beauty” was based in utility?
This is of course disregarding “art” proper which is made for it’s own beauty but, let us say architecture (which I am far from an expert in. Thanks internet for letting me put in my ideas without background info!).
From what I have seen of contemporary architecture (pinterest pictures mostly), there is a tendency towards a sort of minimalism and trying to be disconnected yet, boxy. Which seems to be focused on minimalism for minimalist’s sake. There is certainly an elegance to the work but, it does not seem to have the same quality of beauty as classical or Gothic architecture has. I think that that difference arises from a lack of utility in contemporary minimalism. This contemporary minimalism is looking for a lack of things for the sheer lack of those things, no other end goal (in a sense) involved.
Instead, classical architecture, although having lots of “stuff” going on, generally had an end goal with all of that stuff, there were messages, meanings and intentions behind the various statues, pillars, etc. Also, the buildings were meant to do a few fairly specific things: show the craft of the builders, architect, commissioner and (if applicable) the religion of the area. It was minimalist insofar as, there were distinct end-goals and everything was directed towards those goals. Contemporary architecture does not seem to have that same sort of focus.
More research is being done, slowly, I will probably return to this topic later.