In the situation of the artist today there are both analogies and differences to that of the scientist; but it is the differences which are the most striking, and which raise the problems that touch most on the evil of our day. For the artist it is not enough that he communicate with others who are expert in his own art. Their fellowship, their understanding and their appreciation may encourage him; but that is not the end of his work, nor its nature. The artist depends on a common sensibility and culture, on a common meaning of symbols, on a community of experience and common ways of describing and interpreting it. He need not write for everyone or paint or play for everyone. But his audience must be man; it must be man, and not a specialized set of experts among fellows. Today that is very difficult. Often the artist has an aching sense of great loneliness, for the community to which he addresses himself is largely not there; the traditions and the culture, the symbols and the history, the myths and the common experience, which it is his function to illuminate, to harmonize and to portray, have been dissolved in a changing world.
. . . For the truth is that this is indeed inevitably and increasingly an open, and inevitably and increasingly an eclectic, world. We know too much for one man to know much, we live too variously to live as one. Our histories and traditions -- the very means of interpreting life -- are both bonds and barriers among us. Our knowledge separates as well as it unites; our orders disintegrate as well as bind; our art brings us together and sets us apart.The artist's loneliness, the scholar despairing, because no one will any longer trouble to learn what he can teach, the narrowness of the scientist, these are not unnatural insignia in this great time of change.
For what is asked of us is not easy. The openness of this world derives its character from the irreversibility of learning; what is once learned is part of human life. We cannot close our minds to discovery, we cannot stop our ears so that the voices of far off and strange people can no longer reach them. The great cultures of the East cannot be walled off from ours by impassable seas and defects of understanding based on ignorance and unfamiliarity. Neither our integrity, as means of learning, nor our humanity, allows that. In this open world, what is there any man may try to learn.
This is a world in which each of us will have to cling to what is close to him, to what he knows, to what he can do, to his friends and his tradition and his love. It is at the same time a world in which none of us can find hieratic prescription or general sanction for any ignorance, any insensitivity, any indifference. When a friend tells us of new discovery we may not understand, we may not be able to listen without jeopardizing the work that is ours and closer to us; but we cannot find in a book or canon -- and we should not seek -- grounds for hallowing our ignorance.
. . . For the artist and for the scientist there is a special problem and a special hope, for in their extraordinary different ways, in their lives that have increasingly divergent character, there is still a sensed bond, a sensed analogy. Both the man of science and the man of art live always at the edge of mystery, surrounded by it; both always, as the measure of their creation, have had to do with the harmonization of what is new with what is familiar, with the balance between novelty and synthesis, with the struggle to make partial order in total chaos. They can, in their work, and their lives, help themselves, help one another and help all men. They can make the paths that connect the villages of arts and sciences with each other, and with the world at large, the multiple, varied, precious bonds of a true and worldwide community.