Individuals inspired by a great work apply and diversify its vision in their own artistic or intellectual efforts, spreading it to new audiences at different levels of refinement. The transformative power of the great work eventually affects the sensibilities, dreams, or thoughts of all, even if it does so very indirectly and in watered-down form. The perspectives of the seminal works eventually find their way into the general culture-schools, newspapers, movies, television soap operas, novels, and, not least, the imagery of advertising.
Those who enter our minds and imaginations are in a position to make particular ideas, attitudes, behaviors, and experiences seem inviting or repulsive. They can affect our notions of what to admire, what to fear, what to scorn, and what to laugh at, and they can incline us to action that corresponds to these responses.
In an erudite (and wee bit protracted) essay, Claes G. Ryn argues that conservative intellectuals and leaders have largely — and foolishly — abandoned a deep engagement with culture in favor of shorter-term, more practical political dogfights. The result is a conservatism essentially unmoored from its own culture and, therefore, its own soul. Though the essay was originally published in the 90s, the clarity of its call to action is immanently relevant. Via More Than 95 Theses.☕