Is This Foolish of Us?


Art is that thing having to do only with itself—the product of a successful attempt to make a work of art. Unfortunately, there are no examples of art, nor good reason to think that it will ever exist. (Everything that has been made has been made with a purpose, everything with an end that exists outside that thing, i.e., I want to sell this, or I want this to make me famous and loved, or I want this to make me whole, or worse, I want this to make others whole.) And yet we continue to write, paint, sculpt, and compose. Is this foolish of us?

— from the (fictional) Book of Antecedents, citations from which are found in the novel Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer.

So much for purity of intention.