art as experience


“Experience is matter of the interaction of organism with its environment, an environment that is human as well as physical, that includes the materials of tradition and institutions as well as local surroundings.  The organism brings with it through it’s own structure, native and acquired, forces that play a part in the interaction.  The self acts as well as undergoes, and its undergoings are not impressions stamped upon an inert wax but depend upon the way the organism reacts and responds.  There is no experience in which the human contribution is not a factor in determining what actually happens.  The organism is a force, not a transparency.  Because every experience is constituted by interaction between “subject” and “object,” between a self and its world, it is not itself either merely physical nor merely mental, no matter how much one factor or the other predominates.”



John Dewey


New York 1934/1980



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