Herbert Read quotes

  • A man of personality can formulate ideals, but only a man of character can achieve them.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Character #Men #Personality

  • The sensitive artist knows that a bitter wind is blowing.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Artist #Wind #Bitterness

  • Great changes in the destiny of mankind can be effected only in the minds of little children.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Children #Destiny #People

  • Art is pattern informed by sensibility.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Life #Art #Patterns

  • Freud has shown one thing very clearly: that we only forget our infancy by burying it in the unconscious; and that the problems of this difficult period find their solution under a disguised form in adult life.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Adults #Forget #Problem

  • Progress is measured by richness and intensity of experience - by a wider and deeper apprehension of the significance and scope of human existence.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Progress #Literature #Intensity

  • Modern man has been in search of a new language of form to satisfy new longings and aspirations - longings for mental appeasement, aspirations to unity, harmony, serenity - an end to his alienation from nature. All these arts of remote times or strange cultures either give or suggest to the modern artist forms which he can adapt to his needs, the elements of a new iconography.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Art #Men #Giving

  • The modern work of art, as I have said, is a symbol.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Art #Modern #Said

  • Works of art must persist as objects of contemplation.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Art #Contemplation #Works Of Art

  • Art in its widest sense is the extension of the personality: a host of artificial limbs.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Art #Personality #Host

  • If we persist in our restless desire to know everything about the universe and ourselves, then we must not be afraid of what the artist brings back from his voyage of discovery.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Artist #Discovery #Desire

  • Art is an indecent exposure of the consciousness.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Art #Consciousness #Exposure

  • Only a people serving an apprenticeship to nature can be trusted with machines. Only such people will so contrive and control those machines that their products are an enhancement of biological needs, and not a denial of them.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Nature #Science #People

  • The slave may be happy, but happiness is not enough.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Happiness #May #Slave

  • There are a few people, but a diminishing number, who still believe that Marxism, as an economic system, off era a coherent alternative to capitalism, and socialism has, indeed, triumphed in one country.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Country #Believe #Numbers

  • The only sin is ugliness, and if we believed this with all our being, all other activities of the human spirit could be left to take care of themselves.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Care #Spirit #Sin

  • In the evolution of mankind there has always been a certain degree of social coherence.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Degrees #Coherence #Evolution

  • I know of no better name than Anarchism.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Names #Anarchism

  • Creeds and castes, and all forms of intellectual and emotional grouping, belong to the past.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Past #Emotional #Intellectual

  • But the further step, by means of which a civilization is given its quality or culture, is only attained by a process of cellular division, in the course of which the individual is differentiated, made distinct from and independent of the parent group.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Mean #Independent #Civilization

  • In order to create it is necessary to destroy; and the agent of destruction in society is the poet. I believe that the poet is necessarily an anarchist, and that he must oppose all organized conceptions of the State, not only those which we inherit from the past, but equally those which are imposed on people in the name of the future.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Believe #Past #Order

  • I can imagine no society which does not embody some method of arbitration.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Umpires #Arbitration #Doe

  • Intellect begins with the observation of nature, proceeds to memorize and classify the facts thus observed, and by logical deduction builds up that edifice of knowledge properly called scienceÂ… But admittedly we also know by feeling, and we can combine the two faculties, and present knowledge in the guise of art.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Art #Two #Feelings

  • In general, modern art... has been inspired by a natural desire to chart the uncharted.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Art #Desire #Inspired

  • The work of art ... is an instrument for tilling the human psyche, that it may continue to yield a harvest of vital beauty.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Art #Yield #May

  • Once we become conscious of a feeling and attempt to make a corresponding form, we are engaged in an activity which, far from being sincere, is prepared (as any artist if he is sincere will tell you) to moderate feelings to fit the form. The artist's feeling for form is stronger than a formless feeling.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Artist #Feelings #Stronger

  • These are the sensations and feelings that are gradually blunted by education, staled by custom, rejected in favor of social conformity.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Feelings #Favors #Conformity

  • The great modern heresy in poetry is to confuse the use we make of words in a poem with modalities of speech...For true poetry is never speech but always a song.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Song #Use #Speech

  • It is not my purpose as a poet to condemn war (or to be exact, modern warfare). I only wish to present the universal aspects of a particular event
    -- Herbert Read

    #War #Wish #Events

  • The modern poet has no essential alliance with regular schemes of any sorts.He reserves the right to adapt his rhythm to his mood, to modulate his metre as he progresses. Far from seeking freedom and irresponsibility (implied by the unfortunate term free verse) he seeks a stricter discipline of exact concord of thought and feeling.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Discipline #Feelings #Progress

  • Poetry is creative expression; Prose is constructive expression. ... by creative I mean original. In Poetry the words are born or reborn in the act of thinking. ... There is no time interval between the words and the thought when a real poet writes, both of them happen together, and both the thought and the word are Poetry.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Real #Writing #Mean

  • Sentir mon CÅ“ur is a privilege only granted to the exceptional man the one who has the ability to find words that exactly (or, to himself, convincingly) express his feelings. ... The value of words help to define the feeling itself. ... The common failure is to allow habitual words and phrases, flowing spontaneously from the memory, to determine and deform the feelings.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Memories #Men #Feelings

  • If modern art has produced symbols that are unfamiliar, that was only to be expected.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Art #Modern #Symbols

  • The classicist, and the naturalist who has much in common with him, refuse to see in the highest works of art anything but the exercise of judgement, sensibility, and skill. The romanticist cannot be satisfied with such a normal standard; for him art is essentially irrational - an experience beyond normality, sometimes destructive of normality, and at the very least evocative of that state of wonder which is the state of mind induced by the immediately inexplicable.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Art #Exercise #Skills

  • Spontaneity is not enough - or, to be more exact, spontaneity is not possible until there is an unconscious coordination of form, space and vision.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Space #Vision #Spontaneity

  • The peculiarity of sculpture is that it creates a three-dimensional object in space. Painting may strive to give on a two-dimensional plane, the illusion of space, but it is space itself as a perceived quantity that becomes the peculiar concern of the sculptor. We may say that for the painter space is a luxury; for the sculptor it is a necessity.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Two #Luxury #Space

  • Sensibility... is a direct and particular reaction to the separate and individual nature of things. It begins and ends with the sensuous apprehension of colour, texture and formal relations; and if we strive to organize these elements, it is not with the idea of increasing the knowledge of the mind, but rather in order to intensify the pleasure of the senses.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Order #Ideas #Mind

  • The fundamental purpose of the artist is the same as that of a scientist: to state a fact.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Artist #Purpose #Fundamentals

  • The depths modern art has been exploring are mysterious depths, full of strange fish...
    -- Herbert Read

    #Art #Depth #Strange

  • Art is not and never has been subordinate to moral values. Moral values are social values; aesthetic values are human values. Morality seeks to restrain the feelings; art seeks to define them by externalizing them, by giving them significant form. Morality has only one aim - the ideal good; art has quite another aim - the objective truth... art never changes.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Art #Giving #Feelings

  • Revolt, it will be said, implies violence; but this is an outmoded, an incompetent conception of revolt. The most effective form of revolt in this violent world we live in is non-violence.
    -- Herbert Read

    #World #Violence #Violent

  • Love works miracles in stillness.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Miracle #Stillness

  • It was Nietzsche who first made us conscious of the significance of the individual as a term in the evolutionary process-in that part of the evolutionary process which has still to take place.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Firsts #Literature #Individual

  • It is already clear, after twenty years of socialism in Russia, that if you do not provide your society with a new religion, it will gradually revert to the old one.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Eugenics #Russia #Years

  • To realize that new world we must prefer the values of freedom and equality above all other values - above personal wealth, technical power and nationalism.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Equality #Literature #World

  • What I do deny is that you can build any enduring society without some such mystical ethos.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Ethos #Literature #Deny

  • The farther a society progresses, the more clearly the individual becomes the antithesis of the group.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Progress #Groups #Literature

  • Morality, as has often been pointed out, is antecedent to religion-it even exists in a rudimentary form among animals.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Animal #Literature #Morality

  • If the individual is a unit in a corporate mass, his life is not merely brutish and short, but dull and mechanical.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Life #Literature #Dull

  • I have not the slightest doubt that this form of individuation represents a higher stage in the evolution of mankind.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Doubt #Evolution #Form

  • I call religion a natural authority, but it has usually been conceived as a supernatural authority.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Literature #Natural #Authority

  • The most general law in nature is equity-the principle of balance and symmetry which guides the growth of forms along the lines of the greatest structural efficiency.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Law #Growth #Balance

  • The principle of equity first came into evidence in Roman jurisprudence and was derived by analogy from the physical meaning of the word.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Firsts #Principles #Jurisprudence

  • These groups within a society can he distinguished according as to whether, like an army or an orchestra, they function as a single body; or whether they are united merely to defend their common interests and otherwise function as separate individuals.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Army #Body #Orchestra

  • The sense of historical continuity, and a feeling for philosophical rectitude cannot, however, be compromised.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Philosophical #Feelings #Historical

  • I am not going to claim that modern anarchism has any direct relation to Roman jurisprudence; but I do claim that it has its basis in the laws of nature rather than in the state of nature.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Law #Jurisprudence #Literature

  • The assumption is that the right kind of society is an organic being not merely analogous to an organic being, but actually a living structure with appetites and digestions, instincts and passions, intelligence and reason.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Passion #Digestion #Literature

  • The point I am making is that in the more primitive forms of society the individual is merely a unit; in more developed forms of society he is an independent personality.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Independent #Personality #Individual

  • We may be sure that out of the ruins of our capitalist civilization a new religion will emerge, just as Christianity emerged from the ruins of the Roman civilization.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Civilization #Literature #May

  • That is why I believe that art is so much more significant than either economics or philosophy. It is the direct measure of man's spiritual vision.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Spiritual #Art #Philosophy

  • The greatest intensification of the horrors of war is a direct result of the democratisation of the State. So long as the army was a professional unit, the specialist function of a limited number of men, war remained a relatively harmless contest for power. But once it became everyman's duty to defend his home (or his political “rights”) warfare was free to range wherever that home might be, and to attack every form of life and property associated with that home.
    -- Herbert Read

    #War #Home #Army

  • The characteristic political attitude of today is not one of positive belief, but of despair.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Attitude #Political #Despair

  • My own early experiences in war led me to suspect the value of discipline, even in that sphere where it is so often regarded as the first essential for success.
    -- Herbert Read

    #War #Discipline #Essentials

  • Progress is measured by the degree of differentiation within a society.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Progress #Degrees #Differentiation

  • Nobody seriously believes in the social philosophies of the immediate past.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Philosophy #Believe #Past

  • It does not seem that the contradiction which exists between the aristocratic function of art and the democratic structure of modern society can ever be resolved.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Art #Doe #Modern

  • Man is everywhere still in chains.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Men #Chains #Stills

  • The modern artist, by nature and destiny, is always an individualist.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Artist #Destiny #Modern

  • Simplicity is not a goal, but one arrives at simplicity in spite of oneself, as one approaches the real meaning of things.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Real #Goal #Simplicity

  • Perhaps it is this theory of all work and no play that has made the Marxist such a very dull boy.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Boys #Play #Dull

  • It was play rather than work which enabled man to evolve his higher faculties - everything we mean by the word 'culture'.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Mean #Men #Play

  • You might think that it would he the natural desire of every man to develop as an independent personality, but this does not seem to be true.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Independent #Men #Thinking

  • In History, stagnant waters, whether they be the stagnant waters of custom or those of despotism, harbour no life; life is dependent on the ripples created by a few eccentric individuals. In homage to that life & vitality, the community has to brave certain perils and must countenance a measure of heresy. One must live dangerously if one wants to live at all.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Peace #Water #Community

  • The worth of a civilization or a culture is not valued in the terms of its material wealth or military power, but by the quality and achievements of its representative individuals - its philosophers, its poets and its artists.
    -- Herbert Read

    #Military #Artist #Civilization