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In free society, art is not a weapon and it does not belong to the sphere of polemics and ideology. Artists are not engineers... Options
Daemon
Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013 12:00:00 AM
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In free society, art is not a weapon and it does not belong to the sphere of polemics and ideology. Artists are not engineers of the soul.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)
MTC
Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013 10:15:39 AM
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"Engineers of the soul," ringing rhetoric. Kennedy had the plight of writers in the Soviet Union in mind, of course. Art is an instrument of the state to the Communists. However, aren't all great authors "engineers of the soul" in a sense? Can anyone read War and Peace, for example, without being transformed?
Verbatim
Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013 3:05:15 PM
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Daemon wrote:
In free society, art is not a weapon and it does not belong to the sphere of polemics and ideology. Artists are not engineers of the soul.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)


In free society...money rules polemics and ideology, as it rules culture. Artists are engineers of commerce.
blueberry
Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013 3:25:10 PM
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... and because art does not belong to the sphere of polemics and ideology, for most westerners, even today, the image of the Soviet reality was shaped by James Bond.
Art was used by the communist governments for communist propaganda, this is true, however art was also the vehicle for subtle and not so subtle opposition.
dusty
Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013 3:47:14 PM

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I am not so sure he was knocking on the writers in communist countries. But maybe a moment when his heart was swelling in the idea that the United States was a country where you did not have to to cower, that the people and it's govt. so valued freedom and held Truth sacred. That being able to speak it when coupled with legitimate Democracy, is what allowed those who will respect, to have a system of civility that did not force Truth and Freedom underground and provided a way to maintain those sacred orders that did not necessitate war and revolution once govt. was inevitably corrupt because it allowed the Will of the People to override leaders when they become corrupt.

People like Kennedy and his wife were saints. Unfortunately not even the govt. of the leaders of the free world would allow Truth, Democracy, Freedom to by guided by the frame of Our Constitution, and Kennedy found out the hard way, that even the highest ranking office of the Executive Branch can be executed by the very govt. he presides over, when those in power do not respect the Constitution, Truth, Freedom, and Democracy.

If it were not for people like Kennedy who were willing to continue on, no matter opposed him no matter how powerful they were, if it were not for Kennedy, the Founding Fathers and anyone who has ever been willing to pay the ultimate price for Liberty, America would not exist. If it wasn't for the people who meant the words Liberty, or Death, all hope would have died with every threat made by those who value absolute power and control as opposed to Liberty.

Art shouldn't be used as a weapon in a truly free society, but there will always be cowards who for whatever reason, will not stand up and say whatever they need to say. Kennedy understood that if you couldn't state your grievances, you forfeited your right to have any say in the matter.

God Bless those like Kennedy, who refused to submit to those who did not deserve to control the free world
DarkMoon
Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013 10:19:26 PM

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On October, 26, 1963, President Kennedy gave a speech at Amherst College in honor of the late poet Robert Frost. He emphasized the importance, the place and purpose of the poet, and the artistic expression in society.

"...We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth. And as Mr. MacLeigh once remarked of poets, "There is nothing worse for our trade than to be in style."

In free society art is not a weapon, and it does not belong to the sphere of polemics and ideology. Artists are not engineers of the soul. It may be different elsewhere. But in a democratic society the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist, is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may. In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation. And the nation which disdains the mission of art invites the fate of Robert Frost's hired man—the fate of having "nothing to look backward to with pride, And nothing to look forward to with hope. ..."

The full text of the speech you can find here: Tribute to the poet Robert Frost. Here is an explanation of the engineers of the human soul phrase.
Joe Garbey
Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 2:27:58 PM
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To dusty: Kennedy was hardly a saint and if a conspiracy existed to kill him it came from Jimmy Hoffa and Sam Giancana.
Verbatim
Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 8:51:26 PM
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""Artists are not engineers of the soul."" Sadly, what goes for "artists" in a free society are "engineered" by their souls to be profit-driven, and that has little to do with truth or art.
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