Monday, January 30, 2006

"We no longer camp as for a night, but have settled down on earth and forgotten heaven. He have adopted Christianity merely as an improved method of agri-culture. We have built for this world a family mansion, and for the next a family tomb. The best works of art are the expression of man's struggle to free himself from this condition, but the effect of our art is merely to make this low state comfortable and that higher state is to be forgotten."

Walden, "Economy"

[ager = "field"; and how to stress that last sentence? If we take "our art" to be stressed in contradistinction to "The best works of art," then it is little more than another shot at the pettiness of 19th-century New England. I prefer to the two in apposition – so that, in a vague anticipation of Frankfurt school aesthetics, art's expressive aspiration has become normalized into an analgesic: the opium of the masses.]