Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Faustian Economics

It is true insofar as scientific experiments must be conducted within carefully observed limits, scientists are also artists. But in science one experiment, whether it succeeds or fails, is logically followed by another in a theoretically infinite progression...

In the arts, by contrast, no limitless sequence of works is ever implied or looked for. No work of art is necessarily followed by a second work that is necessarily better. Given the methodologies of science, the law of gravity and the genome were bound to be discovered by somebody; the identity of the discoverer is incidental to the fact. But it appears in the arts there are no second chances. We must assume that we had one chance each for The Divine Comedy and King Lear. If Dante and Shakespeare had died before they wrote those poems, nobody ever would have written them.

"Faustian Economics," Wendell Berry

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