Humanities Information

Arthur Koestler


ARTHUR KOESTLER:

Humanitarian, historian and scientist are just a few of the labels associated with this most excellent man of letters. Here is a quote from his book The Act of Creation.

"The oldest and most fundamental of all tricks is to disguise people in costumes and to put them on a stage with masks or paint on their faces; the audience is thereby given the impression that the events represented are happening here and now, regardless of how distant they really are in space and time. The effect of this procedure is to induce a lively bisociated condition in the minds of the audience. The spectator knows, in one compartment of his mind, that the people on the stage are actors, whose names are familiar to him; and he knows that they are "acting" for the express purpose of creating an illusion in him, the spectator. Yet in another compartment of his mind he experiences fear, hope, pity, accompanied by palpitations, arrested breathing, or tears -- all induced by events which he knows to be pure make-believe. It is indeed a remarkable phenomenon that a grown-up person, knowing all the time that he faces a screen onto which shadows are projected by a machine, and knowing furthermore quite well what is going to happen at the end--for instance, that the police will arrive just in the nick of time to save the hero-- should nevertheless go through agonies of suspense, and display the corresponding bodily symptoms. It is even more remarkable that this capacity for living in two universes at once, one real, one imaginary, should be accepted without wonder as a commonplace." (3)

Author who hopes he will be regarded alongside Koestler someday.


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DO | Humanities on a Deserted Island  Cornell University The Cornell Daily Sun


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DO | On Studying the Humanities  Cornell University The Cornell Daily Sun

























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