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Re: self-unfolding in the middle-ages (was: [ox-en] Re: compulsion)

Hi Benni,

Thanks for the reply.... 

On Tue, 12 Feb 2002, Benni Baermann wrote:

On Mon, Feb 11, 2002 at 06:14:38PM -0500, Graham Seaman wrote:
Well you did say 'schematically': but even so, I think this is completely
wrong. For proof: go into any  gothic cathedral and look at the
mix of personal expression and overall structure and design. There was
far more 'selbstentfaltung' in 'high' feudalism than most of capitalism.

Thats IMHO not true. As a basis for Selbstentfaltung you need
something like a subject, an individual, who can do things because he
want to do it. There is nothing like this in gothic cathedrals. We
know mostly not any _name_ of the artists involved. It was not
necessary for them, they just do it as craftsman for god, not for
themself. In the late middle age the art is more and more subjective.
Persons got individual faces, artists got names ... and thats the same
time, when the first germform of capitalism and burgeoise evolves.

OK, in this case we don't know the names. But I'm sure the people
who carved the caricatures under wooden seats or high up in the masonry
did it because they were individuals who wanted to. And I'm not sure that
having names associated with things is so important (otherwise, what
about all the arguments over the old-style BSD license?). People must have
known the names then; an extreme example would be an apprentice's
masterpiece, which HAD to be associated with him personally then, but
nowadays they're just anonymous pieces in museums. 
The change to individual artists could be seen as the beginning 
of a long process which removes the normal, socially based artistry
from most people's work to place it with a few specialised individuals.
In a way similar to the process which removes the skill from much work,
to place it in machines, and then eventually in the software which drives 
the machines... 

All the same, I don't doubt that you're right, and whatever was happening
in the middle ages wasn't exactly 'selbstentfaltung'. But it's something
that puzzles me: what is the relationship between selbstentfaltung, and
things like pleasure in craftsmanship, especially when it's producing
things for social use? Not the same, but why not?



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