By Lewis Mumford
Featuring a brand new advent via Casey Nelson Blake, this vintage textual content presents the essence of Mumford's perspectives at the particular but interpenetrating roles of expertise and the humanities in smooth tradition. Mumford contends that smooth man's overemphasis on technics has contributed to the depersonalization and vacancy of a lot of twentieth-century lifestyles. He concerns a choice for a renewed recognize for inventive impulses and achievements. His repeated insistence that technological improvement take the Human as its measure―as good as his impassioned plea for humanity to utilize its "splendid prospects and promise" and opposite its development towards anomie and destruction―is ever extra proper because the new century dawns.
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Extra resources for Art and Technics
Y f . ^ v(n 34 The Tool and the Object more sensitive his feelings, widening the range of sym pathy and understanding and loving reciprocity with his fellow creatures. If this is a sound view of art, then a civilization that attempts to put art to one side or to make it a mere servant of practical needs—in the way that art is now used for advertisement— is actually set ting aside and degrading an essential part of the nature of man. Now the devaluation of the esthetic symbol and the dismissal of man’s subjective world have gone hand in hand.
Just the contrary, art arises at the very beginning of man’s specifically human, his superanimal, development. Though this is only a speculation, sup ported by analogy, the most elemental form of art is probably body decoration, an art that remains today the most universally practiced of all the arts. By this means, primitive man probably sought to lift himself out of his generic animal state, if only by smearing yellow or red clay over his face: he thus attempted to identify himself and his group, to externalize himself in a new form, to visualize himself in a fashion that set him off from his animal condition.
Now it is not enough to shout or grimace or shock in order to gain attention; and the artist is no longer content just to satisfy his own vanity. Even Narcissus needs a mirror: and the best mirror, better than any pool or looking glass, however objective its reflection, is another pair of responsive human eyes. Beginning with the artist’s self-love, the work of ^rt now becomes a special bond of union. At some very early stage in his development as artist, man discovers Art and the Symbol 27 the fact that works of aft must have attributes of form and proportion and organization similar to— though surely not identical with— those that attract him in nat ural forms.
Art and Technics by Lewis Mumford