Generally Speaking, the modern world regards art as a luxury. The doctrine of evolution precludes the possibility of objective values beyond that of biological survival, which is not a value in any ethical or philosophical sense, but an ineviatable consequence of ‘selection pressure’. As an extension of this philosophy, all that contributes to raising the ‘standard of living’ (up to a certain indefinable point) has a utilitarian value.
Once the demands of utility have been met, there is time for leisure activities of which art is one—-important perhaps, but in no sense essential, certainly not to the survival of the species.
But ‘utility’ is an emotionally loaded word. In speaking of art as nonutilitarian, there is an automatic connotation of superfluity. Even Schwaller de Lubicz follows the convention of referring to art as nonutilitarian.
But from the Egyptian point of view our concept of utility is naive.
The aim of all human existence is the return to the source. This is the message of Egypt, and of all other initiatic teachings. We are here, according to these teachings, to work to regain that higher state of consciousness that is our birthright. If we fail to fultill this responsibility, then our biological survival is of no particular importance, and our preoccupation with utility meaningless. Whatever contributes to the acquisition of consciousness is useful. Building a pyramid or a Temple of Luxor is useful. Building an airport, flying to the moon, improving the standard of living beyond what is strictly necessary to satisfy our real physical needs…all of that is useless. It is Art that is useful. Progress, all technological advance, is by this definition, a frivolity.
— The Serpent in the Sky: The High Wisdom of Ancient Egypt