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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

AUTHORITY   AND   THE   INDIVIDUAL
came hereditary, the medicine men became a sepa-
rate caste, and recognized bards became the proto-
types of our Poets Laureate. It has always been
difficult for communities to recognize what is
necessary for individuals who are going to make
the kind of exceptional contribution that I have in
mind, namely, elements of wildness, of separateness
from the herd, of domination by rare impulses of
which the utility was not always obvious to every-
body.
In this Lecture I wish to consider both in history
and in the present day the relation of the exceptional
man to the community, and the conditions that make
it easy for his unusual merits to be socially fruitful. I
shall consider this problem first in art, then in
religion and morals, and, finally, in science.
The artist in our day does not play nearly so vital
a part in public life as he has done in many former
ages. There is a tendency in our days to despise a
Court poet, and to think that a poet should be a
solitary being proclaiming something that Philistines
do not wish to hear. Historically the matter was far
otherwise; Homer, Virgil, and Shakespeare were
Court poets, they sang the glories of their tribe and
its noble traditions. (Of Shakespeare, I must confess,
, this is only partially true, but it certainly applies to
his historical plays.) Welsh bards kept alive the
glories of King Arthur, and these glories came to be
celebrated by English and French writers; King
Henry II encouraged them for imperialistic reasons.
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