By Lewis Mumford
Featuring a brand new creation by way of Casey Nelson Blake, this vintage textual content presents the essence of Mumford's perspectives at the targeted but interpenetrating roles of know-how and the humanities in sleek tradition. Mumford contends that sleek man's overemphasis on technics has contributed to the depersonalization and vacancy of a lot of twentieth-century lifestyles. He concerns a decision for a renewed admire 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 possibilities and promise" and opposite its development towards anomie and destruction―is ever extra suitable because the new century dawns.
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Extra info for Art and Technics
This self-preoccupa tion, I repeat, is a fundamental ingredient in art; and 26 Art and the Symbol the sense of self-importance that goes with it expresses itself very early in one of the child’s earliest commands: L o o k at me! Presently a child finds that he has a better chance of being obeyed if he can, by some grimace or posture, by some cuteness or sweetness, persuade his elders to enter into the game: even bears, monkeys and seals at the zoo advance so far on the road to art. The more lovable a child is or the more beautiful he is in his own person, the easier he finds it to gain attention with out simply making a nuisance of himself; and that early lesson in form is underlined by social experience.
This very perception should have made us allow for the ideological wind, created by our own age, in inter preting man’s nature: if we had recognized the over valuation of technics that in fact characterized Victorian times, we should, in the interests of objectivity, have attempted to correct that bias. But no; even within the last generation, a philosopher as resolutely concerned with life in all its creativity as Henri Bergson, proposed that we should drop the Linnaean classification of man and call him not Homo Sapiens but Homo Faber, Man the Maker.
Man had to pay so dearly for his early technological ac quisitions that lie was in no mood to forfeit them by con tinued changes in either the manner of fabrication or the product. Even now there are departments of technics, such as textiles, where the essential processes of spinning fibers and weaving threads have not undergone any major change since neolithic times; while the best prod uct that the machine can turn out today is qualitatively no better than the product of the Damascus weaver twenty-five hundred years ago.
Art and Technics by Lewis Mumford