The origin of art as counterfeit pareidolia
Pareidolia is the human mind’s natural tendency to see faces and figures where there are none. Faces in clouds, trees, rocks, tall grass; for it is safer to see faces that are not there than it is not to see faces that are there. To avoid predation and tribal warfare, our ancestors were overtuned to agent recognition; one side effect is the creation of pareidolic objects; rocks and trees and wood fragments that resemble faces, and are therefore thought to hold spirits.
I theorize that these objects conferred status upon their owners; which created a temptation to cheat. It may have started innocently; the holy rock needed cleaning; but eventually mere maintenance turned into upkeep, then improvement, then outright creation from scratch, even though that’s counterfeiting.
I envision a period of competing charlatans abusing spear-chipping skills to concoct deliberately fraudulent magical amulets. Alas, eventually the scam was detected, but the damage was done; the artistic fake pareidolia looked better than the real pareidolia; so the sham continued, openly now, as it does to this day.
All that morally justifies the deception called art is its frank admission of its fraudulent nature. This image is false!