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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

THE    ROLE    OF   INDIVIDUALITY
The glories of the Parthenon and of the medieval
cathedrals were intimately bound up with public
objects. Music, though it could play its part in court-
ship, existed primarily to promote courage in battle
a purpose to which, according to Plato, it ought to
be confined by law. But of these ancient glories of
the artist little remains in the modern world except
the piper to a Highland regiment. We still honour
the artist, but we isolate him; we think of art as
something separate, not as an integral part of the life
of the community. The architect alone, because his
art serves a utilitarian purpose, retains something of
the ancient status of the artist.
The decay of art in our time is not only due to the
fact that the social function of the artist is not as
important as in former days; it is due also to the fact
that spontaneous delight is no longer felt as some-
thing which it is important to be able to enjoy.
Among comparatively unsophisticated populations
folk dances and popular music still flourish, and
something of the poet exists in very many men. But
as men grow more industrialized and regimented, the
kind of delight that is common in children becomes
impossible to adults, because they are always thinking
of the next thing, and cannot let themselves be
absorbed in the moment. This habit of thinking of the
' 'next thing1' is more fatal to any kind of aesthetic
excellence than any other habit of mind that can be
imagined, and if art, in any important sense, is to
survive, it will not be by the foundation of solemn
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