Program Description
Sunday, April 3

Myth, symbol, and art have a tremendous impact on society. Though this is often because their appeal is frequently to very human visceral and subconscious feelings, this should not be cause to relegate them to the misty isles of the irrational. Works of symbolic art, narratives both folkloric and literary, are almost always deliberate and even rational products of the mind. Behind them stand difficult creative and intellectual processes, not to mention a long and distinguished history of artistic and literary criticism. Narrative art in particular must stay within certain rational bounds in order to maximize its aesthetic and social appeal.

Humanists who pride themselves in their rationality and common sense need to consider that the story narrative is perhaps the most efficient means of communication known to humanity, one not lacking in intellectual and ethical merits. Whether present in a film, novel, play, poem, or song, a well-told story can affect the mind in a way no didactic lecture or philosophical argument usually can--and the idea so imparted will more easily be remembered.

Fred Edwords is National Director of the United Coalition of Reason and former executive director of the American Humanist Association.