In the second part of the preceding chapter we considered the problem of the responsibility of the artist to men from the point of view of the artist and of his own conscience.
I should like to add, in relation to the saying of François Mauriac: to purify the source, on which I laid stress, that this maxim refers especially to writers. No doubt it matters in one sense to all artists, painters or composers as well as poets, inasmuch as they should, as men, and as every man, be concerned with their own spiritual good and their own progress toward the perfection of human life. And when the source becomes purer in them, by the same stroke their work itself will convey higher and larger human values: will this work also have greater artistic value, will it be artistically better or worse? That is a problem, a melancholy problem, which I shall try to tackle in my last chapter.
But Mauriac's saying is directed especially to writers and poets, and more especially to novelists. It is especially when it comes to writers that the maxim: purify the source, imposes itself in relation to the impact of the work on the moral life and standards of other men, and on the moral health of the community, and in relation to the possibly vivifying and salutary, or possibly degrading and corrupting influence of the work.(15) For the writer works with words, which convey ideas and stir the imagination and which act through intelligence on all the rational and emotional fabric of notions and beliefs, images, passions and instincts on which the moral life of man depends.
In my present discussion, therefore, I shall have especially in view the case of the writer. But I shall not consider the problem from the point of view of the other fellow, the point of view of the public, the point of view of the human community.
Here we are confronted no longer with the motto Art for Art's sake, but with an opposite motto, which appeals today to many sociologically-minded or politically-minded or humanitarian persons, and which is the motto: Art for the people, or Art for the community.
I am aware of the fact such a formula may relate only to the intentions of an artist who is inspired by generous human purposes while his virtue of art is genuinely at play for the good of the work, especially to the intentions of an artist who is eager to have the joys of Beauty made available not only to a privileged class but to the under-privileged as well. Such a desire corresponds, I think, to a basic need and necessity. But let me observe parenthetically that it is best fulfilled when an artist is more concerned with future generations and the spiritual community of mankind as a whole than with the common people of his time, and when, on the other hand, the great works of art, once created, are made available to all through the channel of libraries, museums and other modern media of communication, and by making all members of the community capable of enjoying them thanks to a liberal education for all: -- these things are the job of the community, not of the artist himself. As a matter of fact, the attempts to put creative activity itself at the service of the common people have generally been a failure.
Well, if the motto Art for the people is understood in the manner I have just suggested, I have nothing against it. But as it is used in actual fact, this motto relates to the exigencies of those who, speaking in the name of the human community, want to raise the needs or ideals of the community to the status of a rule of creation imposed on the very making of the work. In this sense, just as Art for Art's sake simply disregards the world of morality, and the values of human life, and the fact that an artist is a man, so the motto Art for the people simply disregards the world of art itself, and the values of the creative intellect, and the fact that an artist is an artist.
It is true that art finally serves the good of the human community -- in a deep and mysterious sense, that I shall try to indicate at the end of this chapter. But the error consists in misunderstanding and misusing this true notion and believing accordingly that the social or moral value of the work must enter the very sphere of the making as its supreme standard.
At this point a little more searching analysis seems relevant. I have said that any human intention or purpose whatsoever may incite the artist on condition that the movement of his art toward the work does not deviate, and that his art is strong enough to keep its autonomy in its own sphere.
How is this possible? How can art's autonomy remain intact under such an incitation?
In two ways, I think. Either because the human end intended remains completely extrinsic to the domain or art's activity, as the wages are for a worker, or the royalties for a writer, or success for any artist. Or because that which moves the artist is fully integrated with his own creative subjectivity and creative experience.
I would say that what we call in French la commande, the fact of the artist being commissioned to do a certain task, by some patron, prince or wealthy art fancier, falls in the category of the first case. Here we have a problem posed for the artist from the outside; it delimits the subject matter, but only the creative activity of the artist solves it. Paul Valéry asserted that nothing would please him more than being commissioned to write a poem of a given number of lines and even of words, and even of letters. Under such circumstances the craftsmanship of a watchmaker would display all its power; and Valéry dreamed of being a perfect watchmaker.
In the other case, when the poet obeys an idea or a passion which is dear to him -- especially a passion or an idea as remote in itself from spiritual creativity as a social idea or a social passion is -- there is, no doubt, a risk involved, because such a passion or idea, while taking part in the operation of art, remains, as long as it has not been integrated in creative experience or intuitive emotion, a factor external to art, and thus risks superseding the requirements of art or preying upon them. Thus it is that it is bad luck, as a rule, for a poet to become a national poet: though in certain instances good poems have been written under the fire of national or even political passion. But in these instance -- and this is my point -- the passion in question had internalized in the creative source, integrated in the poetic intuition, and therefore transmuted; for then, once it has been thus integrated in poetic intuition, what had been an idea or a passion has become poetic knowledge. There is no longer a passion, or an idea participating in the management of the making, there is poetic knowledge, inspiring all the management of the making. And this is all the more true as we have to do with more universal and all-pervading passions, ideas or beliefs: religious, philosophical, metaphysical, or with the unified intellectual and cultural universe that a Dante, a Donne, or a Shakespeare carried in his mind. All these human riches were in these poets, when they were at work, in the state of poetic fire or creative intuition.
I would submit that in the two cases I have just delineated only the virtue of art commands, and nothing else intervenes. In the first case, in the case la commande, it is because the end intended by the artist or the conditions imposed upon him remain entirely outside. In the second case, in the case of the idea or passion fully integrated in creative emotion, it is because the human impulse or motion does not need to enter; it is in from the start, being one with the poetic intuition which animates the virtue of art and passes through it, and which all the rules of the making have to obey. Thus the autonomy of art is not impaired; it is, on the contrary, increased and fortified, for the influence exercised on it is like that of the sun and the climate on a plant, and the motion it receives acts from within and passes into it in the manner of an inspiration.
But the theory of Art for the social group is not concerned with such problems or with a notion of the autonomy of art. It simply ignores this autonomy; it makes the social value, or social significance, or social impact of the work into an aesthetic or artistic value, even the supreme aesthetic or artistic value. According to this theory, a good which is not the good of the work, but a certain good of human life, is made into the very object, essential and intrinsic, determining and specifying, of the very virtue or art. One believes that the work must be ruled and shaped and brought into being not with regard to the creative intuition in which it originates and the rules of making which it calls for, but with regard to some moral or social requirements to be satisfied; one believes that the work must be immediately touched and attained, in its very making, by judgments and determinations which depend not on the virtue of art but on emotions, purposes or interests of the moral or social order. To this very extent art is warped and bent to the service of a master who is not its only genuine master, namely the work, its true object, in the service of which it achieves its own inalienable freedom. Art for the social group becomes, thus, inevitably propaganda art. What the existentialist fashion calls today engaged art, "l'art engagé" -- we might say as well enlisted art, or drafted art -- is, inevitably, propaganda art, either for moral or anti-moral, social, political or philosophical, religious or anti-religious purpose. An artist who yields to this craving for regimentation fails by the same token in his gifts, in his calling and in his proper virtue.
Art, like knowledge, is appendent to values which are independent of the interests, even the noblest interests, of human life, for they are values of the intellectual order, Poets do not come on the stage after dinner, to afford ladies and gentlemen previously satiated with terrestrial food the intoxication of pleasures which are of no consequence. But neither are they waiters who provide them with the bread of existentialist nausea, Marxist dialectics or traditional morality, the beef of political realism or idealism and the ice-cream of philanthropy. They provide mankind with a spiritual food, which is intuitive experience, revelation and beauty: for man, as I said in my youth, is an animal who lives on transcendentals. Plato, the Plato of the Republic, held poets to be deceptive imitators of imitations, pernicious to the city, its truths and its morals. At least he was fair to them in expelling them from the state. He knew that poetry, as long as it remains poetry, will never and can never become an instrument of the State.
Yet the theory of art for the social community, which I just criticized, arose, as a matter of fact, from the very excess of the theory of Art for Art's sake. The system and practice of the complete irresponsibility of the artist, who writes freely only if he is sure that it does not matter what he writes, runs, as we have seen, against the grain of nature. A reaction from the social community was inevitable. People cannot indefinitely bear to have their basic standards and beliefs mocked or undermined, their moral heritage threatened, their own minds confused or their imaginations poisoned for the sake of the artist's irresponsibility. These reactions can be dull and queer, philistine, misguided or simply coarse. They are a phenomenon of natural, so to speak biological defense. I read some years ago a press release whose authenticity I don't vouch for, but which at least had punch in it. The story was that the workers in a printing office had refused to print the manuscript of a most talented writer -- a man whose prose is impeccable -- because the were revolted by its lewdness. If the story is true, such a spontaneous reaction was quite symptomatic.
I wonder, nevertheless, whether a spontaneous censorship by the printers, if it were to spread, would be particularly commendable, both with respect to art itself and finally the common good. Indeed, if we give free rein to our imagination, may we not visualize, in a kind of nightmare, the possibility of a more general phenomenon, namely a revolt of the so-called common man against the intelligentsia at large, whose irresponsible achievements have put everything in jeopardy? Let us kill the physicists with their atom-bombs, the biologists with their biological warfare, the philosophers with their Babel of queries, the professors with their atomizing of human brains, the newspapermen with their maddening thrills, modern painters with their rabid distortions, modern novelists and poets with their it does not matter what we write? There was something of such a revolt against intelligence, and yearning for barbarism, in a certain worshipping of "life" and toadyism of "the people" in Nazi Germany.
The kind of nightmare I just imagined has no chance of becoming a reality -- not, I think, because people lack the resentment involved, but because they lack, fortunately, the power of satisfying it in this way. Yet a worse reality can confront mankind. People have no power, but totalitarian States do have power to enforce the control of morality -- their own peculiar morality -- over the workings of the intellect, especially over art and poetry. Then, as Hitler's regime and Stalin's regime have shown, creative activities are accountable to the State and subservient to the State; the artist and the writer have a primary moral obligation toward politics; they must also comply with the aesthetic tenets set forth by the State which claims to express and protect the needs of the people. The State does not expel Homer, as Plato naively wanted. It tries to domesticate him.
Is there, then, a solution to the problem? I believe there is; and here, as in all other instances, we are not condemned to choose between anarchism and totalitarianism. But this solution cannot sweep away all possibility of tension and conflict. On the contrary, it makes capital out of them, as whenever two freedoms meet and have to adjust to one another.
As concerns the human community, we have to recognize that freedom of expression and freedom or art are not those absolute and limitless, divine rights which XIXth century anarchistic liberalism enthroned. They are natural rights in the sense that they answer natural aspirations of thought and creative activity. But they are not absolute and limitless in nature. It is not true that every thought or artifact as such, poisonous as it may be, has, because of the mere fact that it was born of a human mind, an absolute right to be displayed in the human community. As Thomas Aquinas put it,(16) if an art produces objects which men cannot use without committing sin, idols for idolatry for instance, or -- he might have said, if he had lived in the time of la marquise de Brinvilliers -- poisoned bouquets for murder, it is only normal to make the trade of idols or of poisoned bouquets impossible.
Yet it is with the art of the writer that we are dealing, and writers do not contrive, at least as the specific object of their art, idols or poisoned bouquets. Writers are concerned with ideas and they communicate ideas. So it is necessary to go more closely into the question.
Let us read for this purpose article Nineteen in the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man proclaimed by the United Nations in December 1948. I think that this article was written by some exceedingly shrewd or exceedingly lucky jurist, for it appears simple and self-evident, and yet it implies an unexpressed though quite serious No concealed behind a strong and glorious Yes.
This article reads: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
To impart ideas: All the shrewdness -- the unexpressed No together with the ringing Yes -- is concentrated in this word ideas.
Freedom to impart or spread ideas is one with freedom of research and thought, which is a natural right of the mind, and manifests the superior dignity of thought with respect to the social community.(17)
But freedom to impart ideas is not freedom to undertake or exercise actions, for actions can be repressed if they tend to destroy the foundations of life in common. It is obvious that the social community has a right to defend itself against such actions, for instance an attempt to overthrow freedom by violence or to organize crime and murder.
Such a distinction is obvious and necessary. But its application is not without risks and difficulties. For the use of ideas can itself aim at action.
At this point we must be quite careful in our analysis. I am not referring to the fact that all great ideas, including (and chiefly) the most abstract and theoretical ones, are laden with a tremendous implicit power of action. It is so with philosophical systems, with the successive scientific images of the world, with great literary works. If by reason of this fact, and by reason of the practical consequences that can be expected from a work, the social group had a right to forbid a man to "impart" his "ideas," freedom of expression would simply vanish. It is on such grounds that Socrates was condemned, and that Frederick the Great turned an indignant eye on Kant's categorical imperative, it being of a nature to lead his grenadiers astray. Let it be noted parenthetically that such behavior on the part of the social authority is only logical according to Marxist theory, where thought is by nature praxis or action.
The distinction I am pointing out does not refer to the greater or lesser power of action which is involved in an idea. It refers to the fact that the use of ideas corresponds to two obviously distinct functions and purposes. Either the use of ideas is directed toward the search for knowledge or expression of creative experience, and belongs to the field of Thought or Idea proper -- or the use of ideas is directed toward bringing about, here and now, a given practical effect, and belongs to the field of Action and incitation to action. Hence inevitable conflicts. Suppose that a political lunatic publishes pamphlets in which he advocates the mass-murder of Jews or the destruction of the incurably ill, who are a burden to the community (this was not a hypothetical example at the time of Nazi Germany) -- or suppose that a religious lunatic prints papers inciting his fellow sectarians to collective suicide (this was not an inconceivable example at the time of the Old-Believers Sect in Russia). These men will claim freedom to express and impart their ideas. But the social community and its various groups are directly interested in those incitations to action, and they would be foolish not to oppose them by some appropriate means -- means which would not involve open and official censorship, if the community hated the very name of censorship, or would reduce it to a minimum, but which would constitute for all that efficacious prohibitive devices.
Difficult and risky in application as it may be, the distinction is grounded in reality, and necessary. When it comes to the moral or immoral value of a literary work, the community may have to guard its standards against it to the extent that it is an incitation to action. The problem is simple in the case of the products of the pornographic industry -- they deal with conditioned reflexes, not with ideas. But it becomes quite entangled when it is a question of literary works properly speaking, in which a hope to awaken some unavowable complicity or an open disregard of accepted standards is involved, either in a more or less spurious or in a genuine or even superior spiritual creativity. We cannot deny that people who are not specialists in literature have a right to be warned against reading authors whose artistic talent is but a means to unburden their vices and obsessions on us. On the other hand we cannot deny that the attempts of the State to condemn Les Fleurs du mal or Madame Bovary or any other great work are themselves condemned to failure and succeed chiefly in making the State look ridiculous.
The fact remains that, in the sense in which I have been arguing and for the reasons I have tried to make clear, certain limitations on the exercise of freedom of expression are both inevitable in actual existence and justifiable in themselves. But there is no clear objective borderline between the two domains which we have distinguished, so that the quarrel between the moral interests of the community and the aesthetic interests of the artist will never cease. In actual fact the application of our distinction is only a matter of prudent or wise practical judgment. At this point let me emphasize the fact that the only reason for limitations being brought to bear on freedom of expression is the common good of the human community. And because this common good is the common good of human persons, it implies as an essential part a respect for intellectual values, dealing with truth and beauty, which are supra-political in nature; a respect for freedom of inquiry, which is a basic right of the human person; and a respect for the inner energies of intelligence and conscience, which are the mainsprings of social and political life, and which cannot be coerced, but can adhere only to what they have good reasons to believe true. The common good is ruined if the human community ignores these three kinds of respect. And so it is in the very name of the common good that any limitations which may legitimately be brought to bear on freedom of expression and freedom of art should always respect the basic freedom and dignity of the intellect and be calculated to foster, not impair them.
Shall I indicate briefly some of the practical conclusions which derive from this principle? Let us remember first the distinction which must be made between the social community and the State. The State is but a part, the topmost part but a part, of the social community or the body politic. And the effort to protect the human society from the pernicious actions or incitations to action possibly conveyed by a work is the job of the social community more than of the State. The first responsibility rests on the social community as distinct from the State.
The first way for the human community to confront the risks of possible drawbacks resulting from freedom of expression and freedom of art is education, which equips the mind with vital powers of resistance, criticism and discrimination. In the second place, there is the spontaneous pressure of the common consciousness and public opinion, springing from the national ethos when it is firmly established. In the third place there is the pressure which results from the fact that large groups of citizens may warn their members against reading a book or seeing a moving picture (even if it is a question of great works, for everything depends here on the moral standards, the intellectual preparation, the degree of moral solidity and the age of the strata of population involved). And in the fourth place there is the activity of the various private groups and organizations which, freely starting from the bottom and uniting on the one hand readers or listeners, on the other writers or speakers, should develop, as regards the use of the media of mass communication, a ceaseless process of self-regulation as well as a growing sense of responsibility.
As regards the State, its right, which cannot be denied, to intervene in the field of artistic creativity and of the expression of thought, demands, I think, to be applied in a most limited way. And since the common agreement on the basic tenets of a free society is itself merely practical, the criterion for any interference of the State should be of a merely practical, not ideological nature. The more extraneous this criterion is to the very content of thought or to the inner value of the work the better it will be. It is too much for the State to judge, for instance, whether a work of art is possessed of an intrinsic quality of immorality (then it would condemn Baudelaire or Joyce); it is enough for it to judge whether an author or a publisher plans to make money by selling obscenities, or inducing civil discord, or circulating libel. Why such restrictions on the exercise of the rights of the State? Because the fact is that the State is not equipped to deal with matters of intelligence. Each time the State disregards this basic truth, intelligence is victimized. And since intelligence always has its revenge, it is the social body and the human community which, one way or another, are victimized in the end.(18)
Finally, among the various external means we are now considering, the function exercised by free discussion and criticism is the most natural one: for then it is the very freedom of expression of thought and of artistic activity which counteracts the possible drawbacks of artistic activity. At this point I would like to emphasize that the literary critic and the creative writer are in reality the same person in two different functions. A critic in science or in philosophy is a scientist or a philosopher; a critic in poetry is a poet -- sometimes paralyzed as to the creative work by an excessive development of the reflective faculties, but fundamentally a poet. Thus in criticism we have art itself freely and rationally discussing and regulating art. And criticism has a double function: first to judge the work for the sake of art and aesthetic values; and second, to point out, for the sake of the human community, the moral implications contained in the work. Thomas Aquinas warned teachers "never to dig" in the path of the student "a pit that you fail to fill up." The same can be said of critics with respect to the reader. The task of genuine criticism is a task of ceaseless purification and enlightenment, first as regards the creative activity itself of the artist, second as regards the common consciousness of the people.
Thus the key to our problem -- as concerns the possible interference of the social community restricting from the outside the free expression of literary or artistic activity, or more exactly, the free circulation of its products, through some spontaneous pressure or even through more or less coercive means -- the key to our problem is a true sense of the common good, and of the respect for intelligence and conscience that the common good basically requires.
Now I should like to point out that this true sense of the common good has with regard to art and poetry (and now I am speaking of art in general, not only of literature) much wider and far-reaching implications. For a true sense of the common good understands that Art and Poetry, though or rather because they deal with an object independent in itself of the rules and standards of human life and the human community, play an essential and indispensable part in the existence of mankind. Man cannot live a genuine human life except by participating to some extent in the supra-human life of the spirit, or of what is eternal in him. He needs all the more desperately poets and poetry as they keep aloof from the sad business and standards of the rational animal's maintenance and guidance, and give testimony to the freedom of the spirit. It is precisely to the extent to which poetry is useless and disengaged that poetry is necessary, because it brings to men a vision of reality-beyond-reality, an experience of the secret meanings of things, an obscure insight into the universe of beauty, without which men could neither live nor live morally. For, as St. Thomas put it, "nobody can do without delectation for long. That is why he is deprived of spiritual delectations goes over to the carnal."(19) And St. Theresa of Avila used to say that even for contemplatives, if there were no poetry life would not be tolerable. Leave, then, the artist to his art: he serves the community better than the engineer or the tradesman.
At this point I should like to quote a passage from Shelley's Defense of Poetry. After having claimed -- which seems quite questionable -- that "the greatest poets have been men of the most spotless virtue," Shelley cannot help realizing that such has not always been the case. Then he projects himself, through an oratorical movement, to the opposite extreme in the manner of a concession to the vulgar. "Let us for a moment, he says, stop to the arbitration of popular breath . . . Let us assume Homer was a drunkard, that Virgil was a flatterer, that Horace was a coward, that Tasso was a madman, that Lord Bacon was a peculator, that Raphael was a libertine, that Spenser was a poet laureate. It is inconsistent with this division of our subject to cite living poets, but posterity has done ample justice to the great names now referred to. Their errors have been weighted and found to have been dust in the balance; if their sins 'were as scarlet, they are now white as snow'; they have been washed in the blood of the mediator and redeemer, Time."(20)
A poet who counted upon this kind of redeemer for his own salvation would be strangely mistaken. Time is not the redeemer of the poet's soul. But it is indeed the redeemer of the poet's work. In this sense Shelley is right and he forces us to confront a great truth.
I would say that the common good of mankind is as indifferent as Art itself is to the personal destiny of the poet and to his good -- temporal or eternal -- as a man. Let him incur damnation, if only his work enriches the spiritual treasure of the world. The poet is alone, alone with God, as every man is, in the management of his own destiny. Neither his art nor the generations which will live on him are of any help.
In the realm of the earthly destiny of the work, in the realm of the world, or of civilization, not only are the sins of poets washed in the blood of Time, but also the possibly sinful impact of their works.
The statues of Greek gods no longer wound human souls with the arrows of idolatry. They have lost their magical and bewitching power. Only beauty remains. In poems like those of Baudelaire or Lautréamont, or in the novels in which Proust makes an ambiguous confession, the moral impact through which human souls may possibly be wounded is blurred and extinguished by Time -- only some deeper revelation of the heart of man remains. The clearest result of the work of Baudelaire has been to turn modern poetry toward the universe of the spirit, and to awaken in men a theological sense.
Here again Shelley was right in insisting that "whatever strengthens and purifies the affections, enlarges the imagination, and adds spirit to sense, is useful" -- useful with the utility of what is beyond utility. And Shelley also wrote: "All high poetry is infinite; it is as the first acorn, which contained all oaks potentially. Veil after veil may be undrawn, and the inmost naked beauty of the meaning never exposed. A great poem is a fountain for ever overflowing with the waters of wisdom and delight; and after one person and one age has exhausted all its divine effluence which their peculiar relations enable them to share, another and yet another succeeds, and new relations are ever developed, the source of an unforeseen and an unconceived delight."(21)
I would submit that as concerns the final contribution of art to the common good of the human race, not only in relation to the fact that man cannot do without poetry, but also in relation to the progress of moral conscience itself, what essentially matters is the depth of the creative experience, the depth of the creative source. For in the long run any deeper awareness of what is hidden in man turns to a greater enlightenment of moral conscience. Here we are confronted with the most real and mysterious sense in which art serves the community -- in its very freedom from the interests of the social group.
With respect to the perfection of life of the poet himself, and to the immediate moral impact of his work, Mauriac's remark holds true; the only way is to "purify the source."
But with respect to that final impact on the common good of mankind of which we are now speaking, it is not the purity of the source, it is rather its depth, it is the inner depth of the experience from which it springs which is of primary importance in actual fact.
Perhaps this explains why, scarlet as the sins of the poet may have been, odious perhaps as he may have been as a man, we love him nevertheless, because he was a poet, and we are grateful to him, not only as lovers of beauty, but also as men concerned with the mystery of their own destiny; and he is white as snow to our eyes -- in his work. In any case we do not have to judge him. God will work that out with him, somehow or other.
I have a few words to add to conclude this chapter. Theorists in aesthetics are usually concerned with the role of art in reference to the human community. But they should also be concerned with the role of the human community in reference to art. Since the community needs art and the artists, the community has certain duties toward them. Just as the writer must be responsible, so must the community.
In actual fact what the artist, the poet, the composer, the playwright expects from his fellow men, as a normal condition of development for his own effort, is to be listened to, I mean intelligently, to get a response, I mean an active and generous one, to have them cooperate with him in this way, and to feel himself in a certain communion with them, instead of being confined, as happens so often nowadays, in an intellectual ghetto.
This means that the primary duty of the human community toward art is to respect it and its spiritual dignity, and to be interested in its living process of creation and discovery. It is no more easy nor arbitrary to judge a work of art than to judge a work of science or philosophy. A work of art conveys to us that spiritual treasure which is the artist's own singular truth, for the sake of which he risks everything and to which he must be heroically faithful. We should judge of it as the living vehicle of this hidden truth; and the first condition for such a judgment is a kind of previous consent to the intentions of the artist and to the creative perspectives in which he is placed. In judging of the artistic achievements of their contemporaries, people have a responsibility, both toward the artist and toward themselves, insofar as they need poetry and beauty. They should be aware of this responsibility.