In ancient cultures, everything was multiplied. Music and art were aesthetically pleasing, codified belief and spiritual discovery, venerated ancestors' lineage, and denoted one's affiliation with family, tribe, and role in society. A piece of clothing, a weapon, or a tattoo would have these multiple functions converging on it. Ritual and pattern was a great part of life, and every act led up to awareness and survival, while also peering into the unseen world of spirits. Something like a work of calligraphy in China could be seen as an work of art, but also adorn a doorway to ward of evil and bring luck. Or Sufi's would whirl in an amazing dance, and their music, while being the height of sonic beauty, would also have a deep, vital purpose, and aid in the search for deeper reality.
In our world today, everything is shattered, carrying usually only one meaning. Thus, when watching TV, the act serves only one purpose: stupor and entertainment. I am fascinated by people, and what they do. In the past, humans must have spent a lot of time making art and music to venerate gods and placate/and or control the forces of nature. Now, when someone tells you they believe in nothing, and that the spiritual world is not real, ask them what the main activity is they do beyond work, sleep, and eating. It will be the consumption of entertainment. That, in effect, is the new religion of the masses. A great amount of time is spent, the time previously spent on spiritual pursuit (something which is now generally considered unproven or unreal) on fantasies, things that in their essence are unreal. What a paradox it is? So religion (and I'm not really comfortable using this word as a blanket to take in all forms of spirituality), the pursuit of the unreal, has been sublimated into entertainment.
But that brings us to art, and those who make it, for a variety of reasons. I know for myself, as a visual artist, it serves the purpose in me, fills the void, left by the destruction of pattern, of ritual, and of striving for something beyond a limited view of life. It fills that gap quite admirably, and if I can find others to share in it, the circle can be completed. This is probably why visual artists and musicians are so tied together, it is like a secret language being traded back and forth from room to room. To my way of thinking, in Western culture, Ambient music is one of the most effective outlets for this marriage of creativity, aesthetic beauty, and a search for the beyond, for the unseen. So strange how electronic machines can be made to evoke fantastical worlds, forgotten rituals, and transdimensional beings.
Sorry if this all sounds a bit entranced, this topic is something I think about a lot...