Monday, October 7, 2019

Regarding the mechanization of art: Ora Pro Nobis

Rudolf Steiner, Penmaenmawr, Wales, 1923:

Forgive me for intermingling the great with the trivial, but trivial symptoms can sometimes throw light on the great. A few days ago I said that in this region, where Imaginations take so firm a hold on the spirit, we get the disturbance of motor-cars. I added that I was not saying anything against motor-cars, for in Anthroposophy we cannot express reactionary views, and when necessary I am obviously very fond of traveling by car myself. One must take the world as it is. But anything one-sided must always be balanced by its opposite. Thus there is no harm in motoring — provided we take it, and everything of that kind, with a heart attuned to the spiritual world. Then, if other things besides cars come to disturb us, we shall be able to press on by dint of our own strength and freedom, for freedom had to come, and it must lead us back to the Bodhisattva.
Human beings will be able to help themselves, where things are concerned that do us good service mechanically. It can truly be said that men will be able to help themselves in face of what comes upon them in the way of cars, typewriters, and so on.
With gramophones, however, it is different — forgive me for concluding on such an apparently trivial note. With gramophones, art is being thrust down into a machine. When people develop a passion for such a thing — which is really a mechanizing of what comes down to us as a shadow of the spiritual — when they show enthusiasm for the kind of thing represented by gramophones, then in this connection they no longer have the power to help themselves. At this point the Gods have to help.
Now the Gods are merciful, and today our hope for the future progress of human civilization must be that the Gods in their mercy will themselves come to the rescue where — as in the case of the gramophone — men's taste has gone astray.

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