I left this comment on a previous post, but maybe it deserves a blog post of its own:
I guess you could say the purpose of a painting is to cover a stain on the wall. That might be true for any given painting and wall. It might also be true that the entire debate makes little sense (Vance) or that not everyone shares the existential wonder about the very existence of music or poetry. In fact, my experience in academia shows me that my own position is not universal even among people who devote their lives to that study. I fear I have fallen into "Mayhew's fallacy" again: the fallacious universalization of my own experience. Curiously, I am most prone to this fallacy when I am trying to arrive at statements that are completely bland and non-controversial, like "the purpose of poetry is to be wonderful poetry."