P> Art is prophetic; it can even create the future.
The Modernists had an even more startling theory: the present changes the
For example, consider this passage from Eliot's "Tradition and the
". . . the difference between the present and the past is that the conscious
present is an awareness of the past in a way and to an extent which the
past's awareness of itself cannot show.
Some one said: 'The dead writers are remote from us because we know so much
more than they did.' Precisely, and they are that which we know."
-- Tom --
Eliot was vulgarizing/mystifying Hegel. Compare: "The anatomy of man is a
key to the anatomy of the ape."
And the point is precisely that neither art nor science can predict the
future, for it is only the future that allows us to understand the present.
Examining the ape without knowing of what followed would never reveal the
potential coming into existence of the human, but _knowing_ human anatomy
allows us to see in the ape that potential. This is te opposite of
historicism, which holds that the meaning of an event is to be found in
theevent's origins, while a historical aroach discovers in the event the
otherwise unknowable potential of its origins.
One must do history backwards to understand it. The present explains the
past, but is not explained by the past. Historicism is perhaps the main
disease of modern thought.