In the time before conceit, paint was put to canvas, stone was given life by sculptors and music was made beautiful, all for the glory of God and to edify the souls of those who drank in the essence of such art. Before the age of conceit, artists recognized that their abilities were a gift from God to be used to touch the souls of their fellow human beings. One could hardly imagine Michelangelo forgoing the four years and thousands of hours of labor it required to create one of the most enduring works of art that adorns the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and instead chose to spend an afternoon festooning the Chapel in formless streaks of color. Pope Julius II would not have been pleased, nor would generations of Chapel visitors.
Over the last century, art has become more self-centered and a reflection of the unbridled negative human emotions of the artists. Even the classical arts, such as modern classical music, have become self-indulgent and masturbatory, the notes dripping with the ego of the composers. No longer are sculptures, paintings and music made to enhance the Godliness of the patron's soul, but to serve as a receptacle for the artist's own demented view of life and the world. This phenomenon is most obvious in modern music, but as I have stated, it is present in almost every form of modern art.
One should not be surprised by the selfish nature of modern artistic expression, after all it is a reflection of the culture at large. Children, especially the last several generations, have been weened on the notion that the universe revolves around them and their feelings. These children grow up to be doctors, lawyers, electricians and of course artists. So the modern artist is culled from a pool that has ever increasingly become more and more selfish. One hardly has to look very hard to see people who have cut their teeth on self indulgence, and are passing it on to their children. Whether it is the selfish mother at the local coffee shop or restaurant that allows her "free range" children to annoy other patrons, or the driver who drives on the berm of the road to get ahead of everyone else stopped in a traffic jam on the highway. The attitude of living only for oneself has not only corrupted our art, but our culture as well.
I feel that the self-indulgent nature which dominates art and culture has been engineered by Leftist ideology for the purpose of creating more dependence on government. It has also been a natural out growth of a less religious society. The less religious people become, the more selfish they become. This selfishness leads to less civil behavior towards each other which requires more government intervention in the lives of the governed. The age of conceit, more than anything else, will lead us to our ultimate demise if it is not defeated and replaced with liberty, which can not peacefully co-exist with conceit.