A Human Movement
Monday, March 21, 2005
These bits from: Human, All Too Human, SECTION FOUR, From the Soul of Artists and Writers

It gives us pleasure to turn experience into its opposite, to turn purposefulness into purposelessness, necessity into arbitrariness, in such a way that the process does no harm and is performed simply out of high spirits. For it frees us momentarily from the forces of necessity, purposefulness, and experience, in which we usually see our merciless masters...

To restrict oneself so may appear absurd; nevertheless there is no way to get beyond realism other than to limit oneself at first most severely (perhaps most arbitrarily). In that way one gradually learns to step with grace, even on the small bridges that span dizzying abysses, and one takes as profit the greatest suppleness of movement, as everyone now alive can attest from the history of music. Here one sees how the shackles become looser with every step until they finally can seem quite thrown off: this seeming is the highest result of a necessary development in art...

...All poets must become experimenting imitators, daredevil copyists, however great their strength may be in the beginning. Finally, the public that has forgotten how to see the real artistic act in the restriction of its energy to represent, in the organizing mastery of all artistic means, must learn increasingly to appreciate power for the sake of power, color for the sake of color, thought for the sake of thought, even inspiration for the sake of inspiration; accordingly it will not enjoy the elements and requirements of a work of art unless they are isolated, and lastly, it will make the natural demand that the artist must represent them in isolation. Yes, we have thrown off the "unreasonable" shackles of Franco-Hellenic art, but without knowing it, we have gotten used to finding all shackles, all limitation unreasonable. And so art moves towards its dissolution, and touches in the process (which is to be sure highly instructive) all phases of its beginnings, its childhood, its imperfection, its former risks and extravagances. It interprets its origin,, its evolution, as it is perishing.
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