Thursday, August 17, 2006


Submitted by Diane Ford Wood

"In the first place, we know of individuals who are – or have been – spontaneous, whose thinking, feeling, and acting were the expression of their selves and not of an automaton.

These individuals are mostly known to us as artists...

The position of the artist is vulnerable, though, for it is really only the successful artist whose individuality or spontaneity is respected; if he does not succeed in selling the art, he remains to his contemporaries a crank, a "neurotic."

The artist in this matter is in a similar position to that of the revolutionary throughout history. The successful revolutionary is a statesman, the unsuccessful one, a criminal."

This quote, which I just dug up for myself after 30 years, is from the book "Escape from Freedom" written in 1941 by Eric Fromm. It has always hovered in the background of my life, helping me to guard against complacency in all things, even when I forgot the quote was there.

To me, it is just another humble reminder to avoid automaton complacency in my life and continue -- through art, music politics or other ways meaningful -- to speak truth to power.

Why include this photo? I am not at all sure! It was a leading, I guess.


GMC said...

Diane, thanks for your post. I will have to find a copy of the book you referance.
Complacency is something that always sneaks into our lives and it is something that
can even be looked forward to in small amounts, in large amounts it creates a life
that may not worth living. Life on the edge is something that can be addicting
and more destructive than complacency, for this reason both scare me.

I guess this paragraph shows the reason to "sit with" a post before responding.
I'm not sure I have the vocabulary to make clear to point I'm after. Hope I'm close.

I don't identify as an artist or a criminal, it's obviouse I'm not a revaloutionary or a statesman, is a automaton the only way forward for me?


Windbender said...

To me, dear GMC, (and I speak only for myself) an automaton is a person who trusts too much in the status quo, forgetting to tune into the bigger picture out of fear or the need to be lead down a path by a strong leader without using any of their own instincts. I think you're right -- always questioning everything is a similar trap -- both are dangerous because both can be manipulated and in the wrong hands can be devastating to the individual and to society.