Unreal Nature

January 15, 2019

The Separation

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:04 am

… The earliest artistic products must not have seemed “artistic” to the people of the time.

Continuing through The Sociology of Art by Arnold Hauser, translated by Kenneth J. Northcott (1982):

… People undertake in the form of culture the struggle against the bewildering disorder and the crippling anarchy of existence, not when they have acquired their livelihood but usually in order to assure it.

… Because of their mimetic nature, art and science are the closest of all structures of meaning. They are most sharply distinguished from one another by the fact that art reveals the most characteristics which are anthropomorphically, physiologically, and psychologically linked with human nature, whereas science shows the fewest of these characteristics.

[line break added] Science presupposes as a subject an abstract, colorless, so to speak transparent consciousness; art, in contrast, is linked to man qua man, to the individual as a peculiar being who is incomparable because of his unrepeatable combination of dispositions and tendencies.

[ … ]

… If … we wish to follow precisely the process which resulted in the modern state of consciousness which at first rigidly separated the attitudes and then reunited them, we must go still further back into the prehistory of sociological self-consideration. The gradual differentiation of individual attitudes from one another and from the complex of the undifferentiated practice of life must have demanded an immeasurable length of time and must have occurred long before the idea of their independence was formulated.

[line break added] The separation of productive labor from magic, of science from religion, of law from morals, of artistic invention from mere invocation for the sake of magic, animistic, or ritualistic purposes was doubtless a process which spread over most of the early history of culture.

… The earliest artistic products must not have seemed “artistic” to the people of the time. We ourselves, if we were to see them, would scarcely recognize them as works of art. They would certainly be so similar to other products made for other practical purposes that we would not be in a position to draw a clear line between what was “not yet” and what was “already” artistic.

My most recent previous post from Hauser’s book is here.




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