chapter  4
8 Pages

Communication and the Artist

The Defence o f Poetry [25] ^ ^ The two pillars upon which a theory o f criticism must rest are

an account of value and an account of communication. We do not sufficiently realize how great a part o f our experience takes the form it does, because we are social beings and accustomed to communication from infancy. That we acquire many of our ways of thinking and feeling from parents and others is, of course, a commonplace. But the effects of communication go much deeper than this. The very structure of our minds is largely determined by the fact that man has been engaged in communicating for so many hundreds of thousands of years, throughout the course of his human development and beyond even that. A large part o f the distinctive features of the mind are due to its being an instrument for communication. An experi­ ence has to be formed, no doubt, before it is communicated, but it takes the form it does largely because it may have to be com­ municated. The emphasis which natural selection has put upon communicative ability is overwhelming.