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Image of virtue

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  • write3chairs
    If ever I stop singing, it s because art died. Jennifer ... A hymn of praise in gratitude for the joy and consolations and general usefulness of art might run
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 5, 2007
      If ever I stop singing, it's because art died.

      Jennifer

      ---

      A hymn of praise in gratitude for the joy and consolations and
      general usefulness of art might run as follows. Art is informative
      and entertaining, it condenses and clarifies the world, directing
      attention upon particular things. This intense showing, this bearing
      witness, of which it is capable is detested by tyrants who always
      persecute or demoralize their artists.

      Art illuminates accident and contingency and the general muddle of
      life, the limitations of time and the discursive intellect, so as to
      enable us to survey complex or horrible things which would otherwise
      appall us. It creates an authoritative public human world, a treasury
      of past experience, it preserves the past.

      Art makes places and open spaces for reflection, it is a defence
      against materialism and against pseudo-scientific attitudes to life.
      It calms and invigorates, it gives us energy by unifying, possibly by
      purifying, our feelings. In enjoying great art we experience a
      clarification and concentration and perfection of our own
      consciousness and the art object conveys, in the most accessible and
      for many the only available form, the idea of transcendent perfection.

      Great art inspires because it is separate, it is for nothing, it is
      for itself. It is an image of virtue. Its condensed, clarified
      presentation enables us to look without sin upon a shameful world. It
      renders innocent and transforms into truthful vision our baser
      energies connected with power, envy and sex.

      Iris Murdoch, from "Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals" (1992)
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