--taken from Mechanism and Mysticism: The Influence of Science on the Thought and Work of Theodore Dreiser
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
On being an artist:
'The world is always struggling to express itself--to make clear its hopes and sorrows and give them voice. It is always seeking the means, and it will delight in the individual who can express these things for it. That is why we have great musicians, great painters, great writers and actors. They have the ability to express the world's sorrows and longings, and the world gets up and shouts their names...You and I are but mediums, through which something is expressing itself. Now, our duty is to make ourselves ready mediums....You must help the world express itself. Use will make your powers endure. You can preserve and increase them longer by using them for others. The moment you forget their value to the world, and they cease to represent your own aspirations, they will begin to fade...You can't become self-interested, selfish and luxurious, without having these sympathies and longings disappear, and then you will sit there and wonder what has become of them. You can't remain tender and sympathetic, and desire to serve the world, without having it show in your face and your art. If you want to do most, do good. Serve the many. Be kind and humanitarian. Then you can't help but be great.'