Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Anton Refregier

In the 1930s Anton Refregier one of the greatest social realist artists to have worked in America during that time made the following quote:

“In this middle period of the 20th century, we are faced with the dilemma of reconciling the profit motive and the cultural needs of the American people. There is no denying that the capitalist system has provided material abundance unknown in previous history. It has been less successful, however, in implicating the spiritual values which would make that abundance meaningful in terms of human satisfaction.
In consequence, we find ourselves in an anomalous position. The richer we get in possessions, the poorer we become in their enjoyment. The leisure we have earned by mass production is a source of worry and unease. We are not quite sure we know what to do with it. In short, the profit system is not capable of providing the fullest cultural development of the people.”

Pertinent today?


Shubhajit said...

The change is already visible in America and as a matter of fact, in Western civilisation. Funny part is, Orientals are now becoming more materialist and western is bending more introspective.

We have witnessed gross turmoil in US social structure because of the stark materialism. They can't balance between their material aspirations and spiritual aspiration. Spiritual means just going to Church one day in a week. However, now they are understanding the reflection of their own soul and as a result so many self-styled preachers write and lecturing across the nation.

Time will come but every change need certain time and one day Orient will learn spiritualism from West.

chook said...

Don't hold your breath Shubhajit, the forces of materialism are way too strong. Remember the quote was from the 30s, depression time, and nothing was learnt. It's no good stopping materialism, we just have to channel it in the right direction.

Shubhajit said...

Yes yes channel through right direction. That's way of everything, we can't change but direct our thoughts to a different directions.

BBC said...

In this middle period of the 20th century, we are faced with the dilemma of reconciling the profit motive and the cultural needs of the American people.

I sense that you also like having a good profit and toys like your boat. So it's not just Americans, is it?

Actually, I don't give a fuck if America fails, I think it deserves to.

chook said...

Shubhajit - maybe even the violence of man can be channeled towards good

Billy - do I detect a note of nationalism (at last) here? Of course it isn't only Americans that are greedy. It's just that as a country you seemed to have everything - raw materials, a constitution with freedom implanted in it, education - 'the land of milk and honey' - and you stuffed up!
I make no excuses for what I own, if I lost it all tomorrow I wouldn't care a sandflys' arse.
It's funny, I worked physically very hard to bring up seven children and money was always hard to come by, now when it doesn't matter, money comes easy.