Sunday, May 17, 2015

An Application of Darwin’s Ideas to Language, Culture, and the Beach Boys

           The theory of evolution radically changed the world as Darwin discussed that particular concept.   Darwin’s theory of evolution also metaphorically applies to art and culture because society changes alongside history.  For example, a major issue within society for centuries was the place that women held.  In the nineteenth century, society expected women to marry and perform domestic duties.  Some women might still live like that during the twenty-first century, but society progressed in terms of civil rights as it transitioned from a rigid social construct to one that is more accepting towards people who are outside of the social norm.  It is true that white supremacy has been a main idea for a long time, but more people are transitioning from prejudice towards others, and are beginning to exhibit pride for being one’s truest self.  Because of the social shifts that have happened dramatically throughout both the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, people are now embracing a culture that sharply contrasts restrictive social hierarchies.  Finally, society creates culture, and it is the changing beliefs that people within society have that form what the world is like today.  Ultimately, mankind creates its own culture.  In terms of culture, the music of the Beach Boys has a seminal quality because it touches upon basic human joy in spite of the changes that happened before and after the Beach Boys created their music.

            Even as society changes, there are still some fundamental truths about people that will never change.  For example, no matter how powerful one particular individual might be, all people are still fundamentally human.  There are also some pleasures involved with being alive that many people want to enjoy.  In fact, there are people who would desperately want to enjoy a vacation unless some of them would prefer to work constantly.  Nevertheless, the thought of a warm and sunny day is a desire that many people would crave, and that is perhaps why some music related to that wish resonates with listeners for generations.

            In spite of the continuous process of evolution, the Beach Boys are still popular because their music evokes simplicity that contrasts the social reforms that happened during the 1960s.  Songs with titles like “Fun Fun Fun” and “Surfin’ USA” project the idea of a carefree day at a California beach, which is a possible reason as to why the music of the Beach Boys continues to endure.  Additionally, people might change over time, but the concept of summer fun has a timeless quality to it.  Such an enduring concept suggests that even as the world evolves, there are some aspects of existence that will never change.  That fundamental truth reveals that everyone is still basically the same despite the differences that would separate them.  Music, including the music of the Beach Boys, also reveals how music is often times social.  In the scholarly article entitled, “Unraveling the Mystery of Music: Music as an Evolved Group Process,” by Chris Loersch and Nathan L. Arbuckle, the two writers reveal, “In sum, this work establishes human musicality as a special form of social cognition and provides the first direct support for the hypothesis that music evolved as a tool of social living” (777).  The idea of “social cognition” (777) suggests that being social is a key characteristic to being human.  Ultimately, the music of the Beach Boys helps bring people together because its music has universal qualities to it that make the music of this group seminal.

            In the end, Darwin’s ideas of evolution relates to the basic fact that everything changes over time.  Once people are born, they experience life in any way that they can until their time on Earth eventually, and unfortunately, runs out.  As people develop, society changes as well because they are the ones who compose society in the first place.  Additionally, human beings might be an advanced species, but they are still as much an animal as any creature that could be found in the wild.  In fact, music itself has the ability to bring people together because not all animals are capable of doing what people can do.  The expanse of the human mind, and its ability to create, led to the development of the society that exists in the modern world.  Additionally, music helps people become social, and learning together allows people to function in the world as they create art to both express themselves personally and unify society as a whole.  Therefore, the art, music, literature, and culture that people can create can reflect who they are today, and only some of it will remain seminal if it relates to basic humanity.
Works Cited
Loersch, Chris, and Nathan L. Arbuckle. "Unraveling The Mystery Of Music: Music As
       An Evolved Group Process." Journal Of Personality & Social Psychology 105.5      
       (2013): 777-798. Academic Search Complete. Web. 21 May 2015.

Turney, Jon. Darwin Now. Manchester: British Council, 2008. Print.

No comments:

Post a Comment