Psychology and Art

COMMON sense, which is to-day, as it has been since eternity, merely the trivialized edition of the scientific results of the day before yesterday, is just now on the psychological track. The scientists felt some years ago that the psychological aspect of the products of civilization was too much neglected, and that the theoretical problem how to bring the creations of social life under the categories of psychology might find some new and interesting answers in these days of biological, physiological, experimental, and pathological psychology. Thus the scientific study of the psychology of society and its functions has made admirable progress. Science, of course, took this only as a special phase of the matter ; it did not. claim to express the reality of language and history, law and religion, economics and technics, in describing and explaining them as psychological facts. Therefore science did not forget the more essential truth that civilization belongs to a world of purposes and duties and ideals ; at present, indeed, science emphasizes decidedly this latter view, and has changed the direction of its advance. Common sense, as usual, has not perceived so far this change of the course. Ten years may pass before it finds it out. Above all, one-sided as ever, common sense has misunderstood the word of command, as if the psychological aspect must be taken as the only possible aspect, and as if psychology could reach the reality. Therefore common sense marches on, still waving the flag of psychology, and with it its regular drum corps, the pliilistines.

This pseudo-philosophical movement, which takes the standpoint of the psychologist wrongly as a philosophical view-point of the whole inner world, has found perhaps nowhere else so little organized resistance as in the realm of art ; for the real artist does not care much about the right or the wrong theory. For the same reason, indeed, it may seem that just here the influence of a warped theory must be very indifferent and harmless. A one-sided theory of crime may mislead the judge, who necessarily works with abstract theoretical conceptions; hut a one-sided psychological theory of art cannot do such harm, as the artist relies in any case on the wings of his imagination, and mistrusts the crutches of theories. This would certainly be the case if there did not exist three other channels through which the wise and the unwise wisdom can influence, strengthen, and inhibit the creative power of art.

The market influence is one way; that is a sad story, but it is not the most important one, as the tragedy of the market depends much more upon practical vulgarity than upon theoretical mistakes. Æsthetical criticism is another way ; but even that is not the most dangerous, as it speaks to men who ought to be able to judge for themselves, although nobody doubts that they do not do so. The most important of the three, however, is art education in the schoolroom. Millions of children receive there the influence that is strongest in determining their æsthetical attitude ; millions of children have there the most immediate contact with the world of the visible arts, and mould there the sense of refinement, of beauty, of harmony. Surely the drawing-teacher can have an incomparable influence on the æsthetic spirit of the country, — far greater than critics and millionaire purchasers, greater even than the professional art schools. The future battles against this country’s greatest enemy, vulgarity, will be fought largely with the weapons which the drawing-teachers supply to the masses. Whoever has attended their meetings or examined the exhibitions of schoolroom work knows that they do not lack enthusiasm and industry, and that their importance in the educational system grows rapidly. But they are primary teachers, and primary teachers are men who adore nothing more than recently patented theories which appeal to common sense ; to-day they really feast on psychology. The greater the influence, the more dangerous every wrong step on the theoretical line, the more necessary a sober inquiry as to how far all this talk about psychology and art really covers the ground.

We raise thus the question, what psychology and art have to do with each other, in its most general form, at first without any relation to the practical problems. If we acknowledge the question in such an unlimited form, we cannot avoid asking, as a preamble to the discussion, whether the work of art cannot be itself a manual of psychology ; whether, especially, the poet ought not to teach us psychology. We all have heard often that Shakespeare and Byron, Meredith and Kipling, are better psychologists than any scholar on the academic platform, or that Henry James has written even more volumes on psychology than his brother William. That is a misunderstanding. The poet, so far as he works with poetic tools, is never a psychologist ; if modern novelists of a special type sometimes introduce psychological analysis, they make use of means which do not belong to pure art; it is a mixed style which characterizes decadence.

It is true that discussion would be meaningless if we were ready to call every utterance which has to do with mental life psychology. Psychology does not demand abstract scientific forms ; it may be offered in literary forms, yet it means always a special kind of treatment of mental life. It tries to describe and to explain mental life as a combination of elements. The dissolution of the unity of consciousness into elementary processes characterizes psychology, just as natural science demands the dissection of physical objects : the appreciation of a physical object as a whole is never natural science, and the interpretation and suggestion of a mental state as a whole is never psychology. The poet, as well as the historian and the man of practical life, has this interpretation of the whole as his aim ; the psychologist goes exactly the opposite way. They ask about the meaning, the psychologist about the constitution ; and the psychological elements concern the poet as little as the microscopical cells of the tree interest the landscape painter. The tree in the painting ought, indeed, to be botanically correct; it ought not to appear contradictory of the results of the botanist’s observations, but these results themselves need not appear in the painting. In the same way, we demand that the poet create men who are psychologically correct, — at least in those cases in which higher æsthetical laws do not demand the psychological impossibilities of fairyland, which are allowed like the botanical impossibilities of conventionalized flowers or the anatomical impossibilities of human figures with wings. We detest the psychologically absurd creations of the stage villain and the stage hero in the third-class melodrama, the psychological marionettes of newspaper novels, and the frequent cases of insanity in poor fiction, for which the schooled psychologist would make at once the diagnosis that there must be simulation in them, as the insane never act so. We demand this psychological correctness, and the great poet satisfies it instinctively so fully that the psychologist may acknowledge the creations of poetry as substitutional material for the psychical study of the living man. The psychologist believes the poet, and studies jealousy from Othello, and love from Romeo, and neurasthenia from Hamlet, and political emotions from Cæsar ; but the creation of such lifelike men is in itself in no way psychology.

The poet creates mental life in suggesting it to the soul of the reader; only the man who decomposes it afterward is a psychologist. The poet works as life works ; the child who smiles and weeps causes us to think of pleasure and pain too, but it offers us no psychological understanding of pleasure and pain. Just so the poet smiles and weeps, and if he is a great artist, with strong suggestive power, he forces our minds to feel with him, while we have only an intellectual interest if he merely analyzes the emotions and gives us a handful of elements determined by abstract psychological conceptions. Popular language calls a poet a good psychologist if he creates men who offer a manifold material for the analysis of the psychologist ; when the poet begins to make that analysis himself, and to explain with the categories of physiological psychology why the hero became a dreamer, and the dreamer a hero, and the saint a sinner, he will hinder his scientific effort by the desire to be a poet, and will weaken his poetry by his instructive side show. Meredith and Bourget do it, Ibsen never. Poetry and psychology are different, not because they speak a different language, but because they take an absolutely different attitude toward the mental life; the wisdom of the poet about the human soul does not belong in a handbook of psychology. For music and the visible arts the whole question does not exist, or at least ought not to exist. A side branch of it. nevertheless, continues to grow in the old discussion whether music ought to “describe” the human feelings. The confusion about the logical meaning of description lies here more on the surface; by principle the case is the same as in poetry. The composer describes the emotions as little as the poet does ; tones and verses suggest the feelings, while it is an unmusical, unpoetieal business to psychologize about them ; but just that is our aim, if we consider the preamble as closed, and ask once more what art has to do with psychology. We have seen so far that art is not by itself psychology; the remaining question, in which all centres, is, then, how far art can become an object of psychology.

The situation is simple. Psychology is the science which describes and explains the mental processes. A physical thing or process, even a brain action, is never, therefore, an immediate object of psychology. Every work of art — the pencil drawing and the written poem, the played melody and the sculptured statue — exists as a physical thing ; hence the work of art itself is never an object of psychology, and the description of it lies outside of the psychologist’s province. The physicist describes the tone waves of a melody ; the geometrician describes the lines and curves and angles of a drawing. The physical object is in contact with the human mind at two points : at its start and its goal. Every work of art springs from the mind of the artist, and reaches the mind of the public: its origin and its effect are both psychical processes, and both are material for the description and explanation of the psychologist. Two groups of psychological problems are thus offered, — two points of view for the psychological study of art; a. third one cannot exist. The one asks, By what psychological processes does the mind create art ? The other asks. By what psychological processes does the mind enjoy art ?

Modern psychology has attained to its rapid progress of late years through the wonderful development of its methods : it does not believe any more that one way alone brings us to the goal; we have to adapt the methods to the problem. It is quite clear that these two aesthetieal psychological problems demand different methods. The question how the artist creates art lies beyond the self-observation of the psychologist: he must go back to the past. The question how the work of art influences the enjoying spectator can be studied by an analysis of his own æstketical emotions. In the interest of this self-observing analysis he may introduce experimental methods, but he cannot make experiments with the artistic production. On the other hand, the artistic creative functions may easily be followed up toward the art of the child, of the primitive races, even of the animals. And so the first group of investigations makes use chiefly of the sociological, biological, and historical methods of psychology; the second group favors the experimental methods. The larger material is at the disposal of the first group ; the more exact treatment characterizes the second. We cannot sketch the results here even in the most superficial outlines ; we can recall only the most general directions which these studies have taken.

First, the psychology of the art-creating process. The æsthetical psychologist, in our days of Darwinism, goes back to the play of animals. Biologically this is easily understood : the frequent playful contests are a most valuable training for action, — as necessary, therefore, for the organism in the struggle for existence as is any other function of the nervous system, and yet they contain the most important elements of æsthetic creation : they are actions which are useless for the present state of the organism, carried out for enjoyment only. Social psychology finds the more complicated forms of the same impulses in the life of savages. We see how the primitive races accompany their work by rhythmical songs, how their dances stir up lyrical poetry, how their tools and vessels and weapons and huts become decorated. how art springs from the religious and social and technical life. The psychologist links these first traces of art with the productions of civilized peoples. His interest is not that of the philological historian ; he does not care for the single work of art as the unique occurrence; no. he looks for the psychological laws which under the varying circumstances produce just the given works of poetry and sculpture, of music and architecture and painting. We learn to understand how climate and political conditions, technical, material, and social institutions, models and surrounding nature, brought it about that Egypt and China and India, or Greece and Italy and Germany, had just their own development of artistic production. Art becomes thus an element of the social consciousness, together with law and religion, science and politics : but art is psychologically still more interesting than any other function of the national soul, because it is less necessary for the biological existence than any other production of man. Art is therefore freer, follows more easily every pressure and tension, every inner tendency and outer opportunity ; it can fully disappear even in the strongest social organism, and can break out in fullest glory even in the weakest sociological body. It is in its incomparable manifoldness and easiness of adaptation that art shows best how the mental products of man are dependent upon the totality of variable conditions.

While such a sociological view contrasts different periods and nations, psychology does not overlook the differences among individuals. The general artistic level of the whole social mind is only one side of the problem ; the variation of individuals above and below this level, from the anti-æsthetic philistine to the greatest genius, is the other side, and here also the dependence upon the most diverse conditions attracts interest. The psychologist consults biography, especially the autobiographies of poets and painters, and follows up most carefully the subtle influences which fertilized the imagination and gave the abnormal direction to the personality.

Studying thus the artistic production in individuals at all times and at all places, psychology finally abstracts a general understanding of the creative process and its conditions. There appears nothing mysterious in it: by manifold threads it seems connected with the mental functions of simple attention, with inhibition and suggestion : in other directions with dreams and illusions, and also with the abnormal functions of hypnotism and insanity. It is a most complex process, truly, in which the whole personality is engaged, but it is connected by short steps with so much simpler events in mental life, and it can so easily be traced back to the artistic elements in the child, that the psychologist has no reason to despair ; the artistic function of the brain is not beyond the causal understanding. The machinery of modern psychological conceptions, the atomistic sensations and their laws of association and inhibition, can by principle explain it in its entirety, from the schoolboy’s drawing of profiles on his blotting-paper up to Michael Angelo’s decoration of the dome of St. Peter’s with immortal religious frescoes.

Very different indeed are the methods by which we investigate our second group of æsthetical problems, the psychological effect of the beautiful object. Experimental psychology enters here into its rights. When the students of mental life, twenty years ago, took up the exact method of natural science and worked out experimental schemes for the most refined analysis of psychical processes, it seemed at first a matter of course that only the intellectual processes, especially the functions of perception, and perhaps the elementary activities, would offer themselves to such inquiries. But slowly the new method has reached and conquered one field after another, —memory and imagination, association and apperception, feeling and emotion, undeveloped and abnormal mental states ; and now, in different places, experimental work is dealing with the most delicate psychical fact, the æsthetical feeling and its conditions.

Fechner gave a strong impulse to such an experimental study of æsthetic elements a long time ago. He asked systematically a large number of persons which one of a set of rectangles, for instance, each of them preferred ; the ten forms varied from a square to a rectangle with a length of five and a breadth of two inches. He found a marked æsthetical preference for those forms which are determined by the golden section ; that is, in which the short side stands to the long side as the latter stands to the sum of both. To-day the work transcends in every direction such elementary beginnings. In the first place, it is not confined to a special art. Music and poetry share equally with the visible arts. The æsthetical harmony and discord of tones, their relation to beats and overtones, to the fusion and the discrimination of tones, to timbre and duration ; in the same way, the musical properties of rhythm, its relations to the attention and time sense, to the physiological processes of breathing and muscle tension, and to many other psycho-physical functions, — all these have become the problems of the experimental psychologist. These studies of musical rhythm naturally turn the attention toward the elements of poetry ; the experimental study of rhythm in the verse, and its relation to the position of the rhyme, to the length of the stanza, to the fluctuations of apperception, to the physiological functions, and so forth, is exceedingly promising, although still in its beginning.

Much more developed is the attempt to reach experimentally the characteristics of the visible arts. Material and form, above all color and shape, offer themselves in an unlimited series of problems. The color spectrum has been always at home in the laboratory, but the psychologist has studied color as an element of perception or as a function of the eye, not as the object of æsthetical feeling. No ow his studies take this direction. Which of two colors is preferred : how does this preference depend upon saturation, brightness, extension ? What combination of colors is agreeable : how does this effect depend upon the relative extension of the colored surface ; how upon the colored materials and the relation between their intensity or their whiteness ? Which shapes and angles and sections are preferred : how does this preference depend upon associations, or upon our bodily position, or upon eye movements ? How is the plastic effect, perhaps in stereoscopic vision, influencing the intensity of æsthetic feeling ; how does movement influence it, or the combination of shape with color ? In a series of rectangles or ellipses or bisected lines, is only one of them agreeable, or has the curve of our æsthetical pleasure several maximal points ?

The experimental investigation may come still much nearer to the problem of fine arts. I take as illustration a series of experiments which make up part of a recent thesis from the Harvard laboratory. The problem is the pleasing balance of two sides of an æsthetic object. That is, of course, realized in the simplest way by geometrical symmetry as many works of architecture show it; we have this pleasing feeling of equilibrium, also, when we see a well-composed building of which the two halves are far from identical, and every painting shows this ideal symmetry of composition without the monotony of geometrical uniformity; so it is even in the most irregular Japanese arrangement. The question arises under what conditions this demand for balance is fulfilled, if the objects in both halves are different. Translated into the methods of experimental psychology, the question would be, how far, for instance, a long vertical line must be from the centre of a framed field, if a line of half its length is at a given distance from the centre on the other side; how far if a point or a curve of special form or two lines are there. The variations are endless. In an absolutely dark room is a framed field of black cloth, which is so illuminated that no other object in the room is visible ; by a little device, bright lines, points, curves, also letters, pictures, objects, can be made to move over this field without showing the moving apparatus, while the exact position of each is indicated on a scale. One line may be given on the left side, and the experimenter has to find the most pleasing position of a double line on the other, imitating thus the case when two figures are to be on one side of a painting, while one only is to balance them on the other side ; where must it stand ? Starting from such simple lines, the investigation turns to more complicated questions : What is the influence of the impression of depth ? — for instance, a flat picture on one side, a picture representing depth on the other. What is the influence of interest? — a meaningless paper on one side, a paper of equal size with interesting figures on the other side. What is the influence of apparent movement ? — a picture of a resting object on one side, an equally large object which suggests movement in a special direction on the other. So the problem can easily be carried to a complication of conditions which does justice to the manifoldness of principles involved in the composition of paintings, sculptures, decorations, interiors, buildings, and landscapes. If, finally, all these experiments are carried out under different subjective conditions, in different states of bodily position, of eye movement, of distance, of attention, of fatigue, under different degrees of illumination, with different colors, with different associations, all with different subjects and in steady relation to the real objects of historical art, we learn slowly to understand our æsthetic pleasure in the balance of a composition, and its relation to the functions of our body.

Some one may say: All these experiments are too simple; they may he quite interesting, but they never reach the complicateness of real art. What are those simple figures beside a Madonna, those primitive harmonies beside a symphony ? Yet is it a reproach to the physicist that he studies the nature of the gigantic thunderstorm, not from an equally large electrical discharge, but from the small sparks of his little laboratory machine ? And if the physicist is interested in the waves of the ocean, he studies the movements in a small tank of water in his working-room, and introduces simple artificial movements. It is just the elementary character of experimental methods which guarantees their power for explanation ; and æsthetical effects can be psychologically understood only if we study their elements in the most schematic way possible. The necessary presupposition is, of course, that the æsthetical attitude itself can be maintained also in the laboratory rooms, and there is no reason for being skeptical about that. With regard to practical emotions such skepticism may be correct : we cannot love and hate, nor admire and detest, in the laboratory, and it may even be said that the joy in the laboratory is not agreeable, and the pain is not painful. But the æsthetical emotion remains intact precisely on account of the absence of every practical relation in it. The beautiful or the ugly thing lasts as such in every corner of our workshop.

The experimental study of the psychological effect of art seems thus even more safely housed than the biological and historical study of the psychological production of art, and both together form already a psychological system of æsthetics which certainly still has blanks, but which is surprisingly near completeness. Psychology will go on in this way till the most delicate cause and the most subtle effect of each artistic work are understood by the action of causal laws. like any other cause and effect in nature.

Before us lies the question which is important for the teacher: how far the results of such studies can become productive, or at least suggestive, for instruction in artistic drawing. Here again we must separate the two sides,— the causes and the effects of the beautiful objects. The causes which produce the drawing are the activities of the pupil; the effects are the impressions on the spectator. The study of the causes will help us to understand how to train the æsthetical activities of the pupil; the study of the effects will help us to advise how the drawing or painting should be made up in order to please others. The study of the causes suggests to us methods of teaching; the study of the effects suggests rules and facts which are to be taught. The study of the causes interests only the teacher who handles the pupil ; the study of the effects offers insight which the teacher may share with the pupil.

Think first of the effects. Psychology has analyzed the impressions on our sense of beauty, and each fact must express a rule which can be learned. Blue and red are agreeable, blue and green are disagreeable: therefore combine red and blue, but not green and blue. The golden section of a line is the most agreeable of all divisions: therefore try to divide all lines, if possible, according to this rule. Such psychological prescriptions hold, of course, for all arts : do not make verses with lines of ten feet; do not compose music in a scale of fifths. Step by step we come to the prescription for a tragedy, for a symphony, for a Renaissance palace ; how much more for the details of a simple drawing! Fill the space thus and thus ; take care of good balance ; if there is a long line on one side, make the short line on the other side nearer to the centre : these are æsthetieal prescriptions which can be learned and exercised like the laws of perspective for architectural drawing. Whenever the pupil follows the rules, his drawing will avoid disagreeable shocks to the spectator. I am free, I trust, from the suspicion that I overestimate the value of experimental psychology for teachers; I have often attacked its misuses. Here the case is quite different. Such prescriptions do not prescribe the ways of teaching, but are material of instruction. There is no other school subject for which psychology supplies such material. Mathematics and natural sciences, languages and history, are not learned in school with reference to their psychological effects. Art, however, has an absolutely exceptional position. My belief, therefore, that methods of teaching cannot be learned to-day from the psychological laboratory is no contradiction of my acknowledgment that artistic prescriptions, worthy to be taught, can be deduced from psychology. I see with great pleasure that the development in this direction goes steadily on, and that children learn easily and joyfully the ways of avoiding ugly lines and arrangements.

My objections of principle against teaching on the basis of psychological knowledge interfere much more with the pedagogical results which may perhaps be indicated by the study of the psychological causes of art. If we apply here our theoretical insight at all, the result cannot have the form, Teach your pupils to make the drawing thus and so: but the form. Teach thus and so your pupils to make a drawing. If we understand the causes which produce a beautiful drawing, and if by our teaching we can influence the central system of the child so that the causes for such production are established, then it seems that the goal is reached. But we are not only far from a full understanding ; we are endlessly further from such desired influences. To know the chemical constitution of an egg does not mean the power to produce an egg which can be hatched. We cannot make a genius, we cannot make a talent; and the psychological analysis alone indicates only slightly even how to evolve from a bad draughtsman a good one. We may make the general abstraction that constant training is a good thing; to reach such a triviality, however, we need psychology as little as we need scientific physiology to find out that eating is useful for our nourishment. Wherever psychological speculation goes further, it is finally dependent upon secondary factors which are determined by presuppositions of non-psychological character, and thus the results may be quite contradictory : the one recommends the study of nature, the other only imagination ; the one proposes flowers for models, the other geometrical figures ; the one lines, the other colors. Psychology listens carefully to all, but is responsible for none of these propositions. An examination of the papers which drawing-superintendents and drawing-teachers usually read at their meetings shows, indeed, that they belong for the most part to a species well known in all our educational gatherings. The first half of each paper is made up of familiar sentences taken from good textbooks of physiological psychology, — the ganglion cells of the optical centres play the chief rôle in the drawing associations, — and the second half of the paper contains a list of excellent educational suggestions ; only the chief thing, the proof that the suggestions are really consequences of the textbook abstracts, is forgotten. The two parts have often not the slightest connection. The second half alone would appear commonplace, and the first alone would appear out of place ; together they make a scholarly impression, even if they have nothing to do with each other.

Perhaps one other danger in these practical movements of to-day deserves mention. The fact that drawings, paintings, pictures, please us encourages the working out of technical prescriptions from them for instruction in art; but the pleasure must be a pure and natural one, as little as possible dependent upon fugitive fashions and capricious tastes ; and if our pleasure is a refined eccentricity, or even perversity, it is certain that we have no right to infect with it the taste of the younger generation. Seldom has this danger been so near as in our time, with its preraphaelitic and Japanese preferences, with its poster style and its stylistic restlessness. The healthy atmosphere for the taste of the child is harmonious classical beauty. The man who has passed his training in pure beauty may reach a point where a reaction against classicism is a sound and mature æsthetical desire, but to begin with eccentric realism or with mysterious symbolism in an immature age is a blunder. The educational mistake becomes worse if that style is allowed in the schoolroom which is over-indulged in our time, and which is most antagonistic to the child’s mind : I mean the primitivistic style of our posters and bindings. The simple forms of primitivistic. art are not a real returning to the beginnings of art, which would be quite adapted to children. No ; this style means an ironical playing with the primitive forms on the basis of a most artful art. It is masquerading with the costumes of simplicity, not real desire for simple nature; and the spirit of irony alone makes it possible, and so dangerously attractive for our taste. If a school exhibition of drawings in the style of the Yellow Book appears to our eye pleasant and almost refreshing, after the tiresome elaborations of our own school-time, it is our moral duty to ask, not what we like, but what children ought to learn to like. Irony toward the most mature products of civilization ought not to flourish in a child’s mind ; and if the ironical curves of the Beardsley style become the trained methods of children, who finally believe that they really see nature in conventionalized poster style and use those lines thoughtlessly as patterns, the result is decidedly a perverse one. Nevertheless, the future may be wiser; psychology will perhaps help pedagogics to find the way to develop the facility of pupils in producing fair drawings ; and if we are willing to take the hope for the fact, we may say that psychology gives to the teacher prescriptions for training the child to draw better and better, and, above all, prescriptions which the child itself can learn, prescriptions for the composition and arrangement of a drawing which shall please others. Art can thus be fully described psychologically and explained with regard both to its conditions and to its effects, and both groups of facts can become suggestive for the construction of rules for the teaching of drawing. The relations of psychology and art are then important and suggestive ones ; and yet, is that our final word ? Has philosophy nothing else to say?

I know quite well that there are plenty of men who would say, Yes, that is the whole story. I think, however, the number is increasing of those who see that while half a truth is true as far as its half goes, half a truth is a lie if it pretends to be the whole. It seems to me, indeed, that this psychological scheme is one-sided, and that our time confronts dangers for its ideal life if triumphant psychology crushes under its feet every idealistic opposition. It is with art here exactly as with science and with morality. Psychology proclaims : We can describe and explain every thought of science and every decision of morality from an atomistic naturalistic point of view ; we can understand it as the necessary result of the foregoing psycho-physical conditions. There is then no absolute truth in science, no absolute virtue in morality ; duties are trained associations, and the value of our actions, as of our thinking, lies in their agreeable effects. Art easily joins the others ; if there is no truth and no virtue which is more than the product of the circumstances, then there is no beauty which has absolute value ; then beauty has no other meaning than that which psychology describes; it is the effect of some psychological processes, and the cause of some agreeable psychological results ; and if we are careful to prepare those conditions and to insure that outcome, then we have done all that the æsthetical luxury of society can wish for its entertainment.

I do not deny the right of psychology to consider the world of beautiful creations from such a point of view, and as a psychologist I do my best to help in such investigations ; but I cannot forget that this view-point is an artificial one for living, real art; that it is artificial both for the subject who creates art and for the subject who enjoys art; that it is artificial wherever art is felt in its full meaning.

I say that psychology has its full right of way within its own limits ; it has limits, however, and they are much narrower than the superficial impression may make us believe. Psychology has to describe and to explain mental life ; but description and explanation are possible only for objects. Explanation always presupposes description, and the very idea of description presupposes the existence of objects. Psychology considers mental life, therefore, only in so far as it can be thought as a series of existing objects, — objects which exist in consciousness as physical objects exist in space.

We have not to ask here why it is important for the purposes of life and thought to consider the mental world as if it were a world of objects. We are sure that in the primary reality our inner life does not mean to us such a world of objects only. Our perceptions and conceptions may reach us as objects, while our feelings, our emotions, our judgments, our volitions, do not come in question with us first, as objects which we passively perceive, but as activities which we live out, as activities the reality of which cannot be described and causally explained ; it must be felt and understood and interpreted. In short, we are not merely passive subjects with a world of conscious objects ; we are willing subjects, whose acts of will have not less reality in spite of the fact that they are no objects at all. To consider the mental world, including the feeling and will, psychologically means an artificial transformation and substitution which may have its value for special purposes, but which leads us away from reality. The reality of the will and feeling and judgment does not belong to the describable world, but to a world which has to be appreciated; it has to be linked, therefore, not by the categories of cause and effect, but by those of meaning and value. And in this world of will relations grows and blossoms and flowers Art.

Let us examine the characteristics of this great network of will attitudes, in which the personality feels itsell a willing subject, and acknowledges all other subjects as volitional also. One distinction is of paramount importance : our will may be thought of as an individual attitude, or it may arise with, the meaning of an over-individual decision that demands acknowledgment by every subject, and that is willed, therefore, independently of our merely personal desires. It is an act of will which is meant as necessary for every subject, which ought to be acted by everybody : we call it duty. From a purely psychological standpoint, the will thought as object is determined in any case, — the virtuous act as well as the crime, the nonsensical judgment as well as the wise one. From the critical standpoint of reality, the special will decision is necessary if it belongs to the very nature of will, binds every will, not by natural law, but by obligation ; and it can be and is unnecessary if it is merely personal arbitrariness.

This doubleness of duty and arbitrariness in our will repeats itself in every division of possible will activities, and there exist four such departments of relations of will to the world, four possibilities of reacting on the world. First, the subject may change the objects of the world by his actions ; secondly, may decide for additional supplements to the given objects ; thirdly, may transform the objects in his thought so that they form a connection ; and fourthly, may transform the objects so that they stand each for itself. If these four possible subjective acts are performed by the individual personal arbitrary will, they represent individual values. The actions toward the world are then such changes of the objects as are useful and practical for our comfort; the supplementations are then the play of our fancy and imagination ; the connections are then expressions of our hope or fear; the isolations, finally, are means to our personal enjoyment. These four functions may be carried out also as functions of the deeper, over-individual, necessary will; that is, as functions of duty. Those actions which alter and change the objective world are then moral actions ; the ideas which supplement the world make up religion ; those transformations which bring out a connection between the objects of the world compose scientific truth; and finally, those transformations which isolate the objects, so that they stand each for itself, form the domain of beauty.

Truth and beauty thus represent duties, logical and æsthetical duties, just as morality represents ethical duties. We choose and form the physical axiom in science so, and not otherwise, because our will is bound by duty to do so; that is, only that particular decision of our affirming will can demand acknowledgment by every subject; and thus art chooses the forms and lines, the colors and curves, of the Sistine Madonna just so, and not otherwise, because only this decision of the creating will is as it ought to be, as duty prescribes, as it can demand that every willing subject ought to acknowledge it. Everything in this world is beautiful, and is a joy forever if it is so transformed that it does not suggest anything else than itself, that it contains all elements for the fulfillment of the whole in itself. We do not ask for the arms and legs of the person whose marble bust the artist gives us, and we do not ask for his complexion either. We do not ask how the field and forest look outside of the frame of the landscape painting, and we do not ask what the persons in the drama have done before and will do after the story. Our works of art are not in our space and not in our time; their frame is their own world, which they never transcend. Real art makes us forget that the painting is only a piece of canvas, and that Hamlet is only an actor, and not the prince. We forget the connections, we abstract from all relations, we think of the object in itself ; and wherever we do so, we proceed æsthetically. And if we enjoy the great works of art, the essential function is not the individual enjoyment of our senses and feelings, like the enjoyment in eating and drinking ; no, it is the volitional acknowledgment of the will of the artist. We will with him ; and if we appreciate his work as beautiful, we acknowledge that it is as we feel that it ought to be ; that our will of thinking that particle of the world is lifted to its duties; that we have transcended the sphere of merely personal arbitrariness and its desires and agreeable fulfillments ; that we have reached the sphere of the over-individual values. Whoever understands art as will function believes in art and appreciates it as a world of duties ; psychology has not to try to understand it as such, but to transform it into something else, into a set of objects which have causes and effects. Psychology must destroy the deepest meaning of art, just as it disregards the deepest meaning of truth and morality, if it tries to present its view as the last word about our inner activities.

And if art is thus a realization of duties which have their real meaning in this acknowledgment of the will, in what light should we see all these technical rules and prescriptions for facilitating in the child the production of artistic works, and for preventing him from making disagreeable drawings ? Those rules and prescriptions remain quite good and valid. They do for real beauty and art just what the police and the prisons on the one side, the training of habits and manners on the other side, do for real morality. Nobody will underestimate the value of the fact that our children learn through training a thousand habits which keep them as a matter of course out of conflict with the laws, and that police and jails remind them again and again, Do not leave the safe tracks. Whoever lives a noble life, however, means by morality and duty something else and something higher. Habits and jails do not insure that in an important conflict of life, where personal interests stand against duty, the bad action may not triumph. Only a conscience which is penetrated by morality stands safe in all storms, and such a conscience is not brought out by technical prescriptions, nor by punishments and jails ; no, only by the obligatory power of will upon will, by the inspiring life of subjects we acknowledge, by the example of the heroes of duty, that speaks directly from will to will, and for which we cannot substitute psychological training and police officers. And thus the duty of art. Do not believe that the easier production of a not disagreeable drawing means a positive gain for real art and beauty: it raises the standard, it uplifts the level of æsthetic production, just as the standard of moral behavior is lifted by the existence of a watchful police, and it is extremely important. Do not forget, however, that æsthetical life also needs not only the policeman’s function, but above all the minister’s and helper’s function ; in other words, not technical rules, but duties ; not easy production, but convictions; not knowledge of psychological effects, but belief in absolute values.

This attitude becomes the more important as this whole view shows that the world of art is in no way subordinate to or less true than the world of science. The reality is neither that which the scientist describes nor that which the artist sketches; both are transformations for a special purpose. The scientist, we have seen, transforms for the purpose of connection, and in that service he constructs atoms which exist nowhere but in his thought. The artist transforms in the interest of isolation, and in that service he constructs his drawings. The mechanical process of drawing as such is, of course, not art in itself ; it is the mental means of expression which can communicate science as well as art. Just as words can serve Shakespeare as well as Darwin, so lines and curves can serve the mathematician and the physicist as well as the artist; the purpose alone separates the poet from the biologist, the scientist from the artist. And if art thus means a world which is exactly as true and valuable as the world of science, let us not forget that the school lesson in drawing means contact with this world of art, — that is, with the special spirit of æsthetic duties ; and that every drawing - teacher ought to be, not an æsthetical policeman only, but an inspiring believer in these sacred æsthetic duties.

Hugo Münsterberg.