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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

THE    ROLE    OF   INDIVIDUALITY
of little painters. The great German composers arose
in a milieu where music was valued,  and where
numbers of lesser men found opportunities. In those
days poetry, painting, and music were a vital part of
the daily life of ordinary men, as only sport is now.
The great prophets were men who stood out from a
host of minor prophets. The inferiority of our age in
such respects is an inevitable result of the fact that
society is centralized and organized to such a degree
that individual initiative is reduced to a minimum.
Where art has flourished in the past it has flourished
as a rule amongst small communities which had rivals
among their neighbours,  such as the  Greek City
States, the little Principalities of the Italian Renais-
sance, and the petty Courts of German eighteenth-
century rulers. Each of tiaese rulers had to have his
musician, and once in a way he was Johann Sebastian
Bach, but even if he was not he was still free to do
his best. There is something about local rivalry that
is essential in such matters. It played its part even in
the building of the cathedrals, because each bishop
wished to have a finer cathedral than the neighbour-
ing bishop. It would be a good thing if cities could
develop an artistic pride leading them to mutual
rivalry, and if each had its own school of music and
painting, not without a vigorous contempt for the
school of the next city. But such local patriotisms do
not readily flourish in a world of empires and free
mobility. A Manchester man does not readily feel
towards a min from Sheffield as an Athenian felt
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