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Single Idea 20426

[catalogued under 21. Aesthetics / C. Artistic Issues / 10. Art and Morality]

Full Idea

To the pure moralist, accepting nothing but ethical values, to be justified, the life of the imagination must be shown not only not to hinder but actually to forward right action, otherwise it is not only useless but, by absorbing energies, harmful.

Gist of Idea

For pure moralists art must promote right action, and not just be harmless

Source

Roger Fry (An Essay in Aesthetics [1909], p.26)

A Reaction

I think this is the sort of attitude you find in Samuel Johnson. Puritans even reject light music, which seems pleasantly harmless to the rest of us. 'Absorbing energies' doesn't sound much of an objection, and may not be the actual objection.

Book Reference

Fry,Roger: 'Vision and Design' [Penguin 1937], p.26