The Forms of Things Unknown: Essays Towards an Aesthetic Philosophy

The Forms of Things Unknown: Essays Towards an Aesthetic Philosophy

The Forms of Things Unknown: Essays Towards an Aesthetic Philosophy

The Forms of Things Unknown: Essays Towards an Aesthetic Philosophy

Excerpt

This book is concerned with the nature of the creative mind and with the part it plays in the maintenance of those values that in the past have been inseparable from the idea of a civilization. I believe that such values are threatened by the developments, variously known as industrialization, mechanization, automation and mass communication, that together constitute the technological revolution of our time. This revolution has been accompanied by the rise of a scientific philosophy which is obviously in harmony with it. The arts, too, are in a stage of transition that can only be called revolutionary, and in the general confusion it is very necessary to reaffirm, not so much the values of the past, which understandably have no appeal to people already committed to technology and all the power and wealth that goes with it, but certain psychological facts about the mind and its formative functions.

This, however, is not a scientific treatise. It is a collection of essays, most of which were originally delivered as successive lectures to a select audience of philosophers and psychologists. They may therefore be assumed to have a certain measure of continuity, and apart from two introductory lectures which are concerned with necessary definitions and qualifications, they are all preoccupied with the nature of the artistic activity, and with its social and biological functions. Though I can hardly dare to hope that yet another book of mine on such a subject will be received with sympathy, nevertheless the problem is not only important but also urgent. The forces that give momentum to the technological revolution are powerful, and power does indeed seem to be . . .

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