One of the most important aspects of aesthetics, of the study of art at all, is that it teaches the viewer or reader how to see and experience more deeply, with more sensitivity, and this in turn (among other things) leads to the ability to recognize the fraudulent. In other words you come to recognize propaganda. It is almost the cultivating of a sub clinical intuitive skill, a sense when a narrative or an image seem counterfeit.
Along with this comes the ability to, at least partly, resist marketing campaigns and advertisers’ manipulations. I have always felt the reading of the classics serve as a teflon shield for advertising.
Art and culture have more profound gifts than just a finely tuned ‘bullshit meter’. But given the events of this last week, and of the entire year, as well, the loss of cultural education keeps coming back to me. The least-enrolled post grad program at U.S. universities is the study of the classics. History is very low, too, for any era. Business management is the most popular.