The Life of Reason: Reason in art

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C. Scribner's Sons, 1905 - Philosophy
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Page 84 - ... it comes to clarify the real world, not to encumber it; and it needs to render its native agility practical and to attach its volume of feeling to what is momentous in human life. Literature has its piety, its conscience; it cannot long forget, without forfeiting all dignity, that it serves a burdened and perplexed creature, a human animal struggling to persuade the universal Sphinx to propose a more intelligible riddle.
Page 194 - Taste is formed in those moments when aesthetic emotion is massive and distinct; preferences then grown conscious, judgments then put into words will reverberate through calmer hours; they will constitute prejudices, habits of apperception, secret standards for all other beauties. A period of life in which such intuitions have been frequent may amass tastes and ideals sufficient for the rest of our days.
Page 167 - ... of this kind and to fix the ultimate resultant of all given interests, in so far as they can be combined. In the actual disarray of human life and desire, wisdom consists in knowing what goods to sacrifice and what simples to pour into the supreme mixture. The extent to which aesthetic values are allowed to colour the resultant or highest good is a point of great theoretic importance, not only for art but for general philosophy.
Page 229 - Art springs so completely from the heart of man that it makes everything speak to him in his own language; it reaches, nevertheless, so truly to the heart of nature that it co-operates with her, becomes a parcel of her creative material energy, and builds by her instinctive hand.
Page 212 - so long as it needs to be a dream, will never cease to prove a disappointment. Its facile cruelty, its narcotic abstraction, can never sweeten the evils we return to...
Page 172 - Art has met, on the whole, with more success than science or morals. Beauty gives men the best hint of ultimate good which their experience as yet can offer ; and the most lauded geniuses have been poets, as if people felt that those seers, rather than men of action or thought, had lived ideally and known what was worth knowing.
Page 33 - It remains merely to note that all industry contains an element of fine art and all fine art an element of industry ; since every proximate end, in being attained, satisfies the mind, and manifests the intent that pursued it; while every operation upon a material, even one so volatile as sound, finds that material somewhat refractory. Before the product can attain its ideal function many obstacles to its transparency and fitness have to be removed. A certain amount of technical and instrumental labour...
Page 190 - Discipline may attune our higher and more adaptable part to the harsh conditions of being, and the resulting sentiment, being the only one which can be maintained successfully, will express the greatest satisfactions which can be reached, though not the greatest that might be conceived or desired. To be interested in the changing seasons is, in this middling zone, a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring. Wisdom discovers these possible accommodations, as circumstances impose...
Page 171 - In the individual, also, art registers passions without stimulating them ; on the contrary, in stopping to depict them it steals away their life ; and whatever interest and delight it transfers to their expression it subtracts from their vital energy. This appears unmistakably in erotic and in religious art. Though the artist's avowed purpose here be to arouse a practical impulse, he fails in so far as he is an artist in truth ; for he then will seek to move the given passions only through beauty,...
Page 168 - ... since it is at best but a partial expression of that humanity which it strives to transcend. If, on the contrary, art is prized as something supreme and irresponsible, if the poetic and mystic glow which it may bring seems its own complete justification, then philosophy is evidently still prerational or, rather, non-existent; for the beasts that listened to Orpheus belong to this school. To be bewitched is not to be saved, though all the magicians and aesthetes in the world should pronounce it...

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