This blog has quoted Emerson’s great essay, “Experience,” more than once. Here’s Benjamin on the same topic: “Most people have no wish to learn by experience. Moreover, their convictions prevent them from doing so.” How true. That is the truth of American politics, ruled by idealists of the right who refuse on principle to learn anything from the reality they live. It might also apply to art, in every context, from theorists who can’t see what they are looking at to painters in love with their own habits.

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