People are taught that the best way of living is to buy another person's
energy, to use other people's skill. In other words, a dangerous
metropolitan dogma developed that the different subject matters are best
handled by experts and no one should violate the borders of his specialized
work or profession. So through the division of labor and the mechanized
methods not only the production of daily necessities and goods has passed
into the hands of specialists, but almost every outlet for the emotional
life as well. Today the artist-specialists have to provide for emotions.
They are paid--if they are--for that. The sad consequence is that the
biological interest in everything within the human spheres of existence
becomes suffocated by the tinself of a seemingly easygoing life. People who
have biologically the potential to comprehend the world with the entirety of
his abilities, to conceive and express himself through different media, the
word, tone, color, etc., agree voluntarily to the amputation of these
most valuable potentialities. Nothing proves better the lost feeling
for the fundamentals of human life than that it has to be emphasized today:
Feeling and thinking and their expression in any media belong to the normal
living standard of all people.
Moholy-Nagy is a Hungarian-born teacher and "multi-media" aritist who
lived in the first half of the 1900s. This excerpt is from his essay "The
Contribution of the Arts to Social Reconstruction" (1943), from
Moholy-Nagy: An Anthology edited by
Da Capo Press, 1970.