“If art is to nourish the origins of our culture, society needs to establish the musician free to follow his vision any place it takes him. We should always remember that art is not a type of propaganda; it is a kind of truth.”

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” If art is to nurture the roots of our society, culture should set the artist totally free to follow his vision anywhere it takes him. We have to never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a kind of reality.”

By Maria Popova

In January of 1961, as John F. Kennedy’s commencement approached, his potential Secretary of the Interior suggested that the poet Robert Frost participate in the event as the very first inaugural poet. Eighty-six-year-old Frost telegrammed Kennedy with his trademark elegance of wit: ” If you can birth at your age the honor of being made president of the USA, I should certainly be able at my age to birth the honor of taking some component in your commencement.” He proceeded to deliver < a href=" https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/01/22/robert-frost-dedication-jfk-inauguration/ "> a gorgeous ode to the imagine consisting of the arts in federal government, which touched Kennedy deeply.

Frost died specifically two years later on, in January of 1963. That fall, Amherst University invited the President to speak at an occasion recognizing the beloved poet. On October 26, Kennedy took the podium at Amherst and provided an incredible speech matching back to Frost that deep dedication to the arts as well as celebrating the function of the artist in culture. Possibly more than any kind of other public address, it verified JFK as that uncommon varieties of politician that is similarly a poet and also prophet of the human spirit.

The speech was at some point consisted of in the altogether excellent (< a href=" http://www.worldcat.org/title/farewell-godspeed-the-greatest-eulogies-of-our-times/oclc/52160277&referer=brief_results" target=" _ blank "> town library)– a compendium of breathtaking adieus to social icons like Amelia Earhart, Martin Luther King, Jr., Emily Dickinson, Keith Haring, Eleanor Roosevelt, Charles Schulz, and also Virginia Woolf, provided by those that understood them best.

This original recording of the speech, while brief in size, is endlessly ennobling basically. Highlights below– please appreciate:

Stamina takes many types, and one of the most evident forms are not constantly one of the most considerable. The males that develop power make a vital payment to the Nation’s success, yet the men that question power make a contribution just as essential, specifically when that questioning is indifferent, for they establish whether we utilize power or power utilizes us.

Robert Frost combined poetry as well as power, for he saw poetry as the ways of saving power from itself. When power leads males in the direction of arrogance, poetry reminds him of his restrictions. When power tightens the locations of male’s worry, poetry reminds him of the richness as well as variety of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art develops the basic human reality which needs to work as the example of our judgment.

The artist, however devoted to his personal vision of reality, ends up being the last champion of the specific mind and also perceptiveness versus an intrusive culture as well as an officious state … In seeking his assumptions of truth, he has to commonly sail against the currents of his time. This is not a preferred function …

If occasionally our excellent artists have been one of the most important of our society, it is because their level of sensitivity and their concern for justice, which have to motivate any kind of true musician, makes him conscious that our Country falls short of its greatest possibility. I see little of more value to the future of our country and also our people than full acknowledgment of the area of the artist.

If art is to nurture the origins of our culture, society must set the musician free to follow his vision anywhere it takes him. We have to never forget that art is not a type of publicity; it is a type of fact … In free culture art is not a tool and it does not come from the balls of polemic as well as belief. Artists are not designers of the soul. It might be different somewhere else. Yet autonomous society– in it, the highest duty of the author, the composer, the musician is to hold to himself as well as to allow the chips fall where they may. In serving his vision of the fact, the musician ideal serves his nation. And the country which disdains the objective of art invites the fate of Robert Frost’s employed guy, the fate of having “absolutely nothing to look in reverse to with satisfaction, as well as absolutely nothing to look forward to with hope.”

Typed draft of the speech, modified in Kennedy’s very own hand (Courtesy of John F. Kennedy Collection)

Yet as noteworthy as the speech itself– for factors both poetical and political– are the parts Kennedy edited out in his own hand, including this heartbreaking-in-hindsight flow from the second web page:

We take excellent comfort in our nuclear stockpiles, our gross nationwide item, our scientific and also technical achievement, our industrial might– and also, approximately a point, we are right to do so. But physical power by itself addresses no problems and also secures no success. What counts is the way power is used– whether with swagger and also ridicule, or with carefulness, self-control and also magnanimity. What counts is the purpose for which power is utilized– whether for aggrandizement or for freedom. “It is outstanding,” Shakespeare claimed, “to have a giant’s toughness; however it is tyrannous to utilize it like a giant.”

3 weeks later, one of history’s ugliest and also most egotistic abuses of brute power occurred as JFK was executed, prompting Leonard Bernstein to pen his timelessly relocating address on < a href=" https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/11/25/leonard-bernstein-jfk-speech/" > the just true remedy to physical violence. Yet the message at the heart of Kennedy’s speech continued to resonate also as his voice was silenced by brutality. Much less than two years later on, Head of state Lyndon Johnson authorized the National Structure on the Arts and also the Liberal arts Act, producing the National Endowment for the Arts– the really desire that Frost had thought up at JFK’s launch.

The JFK speech looks like the opening track on composer Mohammed Fairouz’s amazing album < a href =" http://onbeing.org/program/mohammed-fairouz-the-world-in-counterpoint/7511" target=" _ blank" >

— Released May 1, 2015
— https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/05/01/jfk-amherst-speech/


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