What does art have to offer?
It offers us a challenge we didn't ask for, stimulation we thought we were too numb to feel, provocation for our complacency. Art, at its best, shakes things up internally, creating the necessary conditions for movement, progression, maybe growth. Art is the best friend entertainment ever had, which by itself would never have the power to wake us from our unexamined but deeply held assumptions and feelings.
Franz Kafka believed we “ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? ...we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.”