It is one of the primary motives of modern art that it wants to abolish the distance which the viewer, the consumer, the audience maintain vis-a-vis a work of art. There is no doubt that the leaders of the creative artists of the last 50 years concentrated their efforts mainly on eliminating that distance.
What man needs is not just the persistent posing of ultimate questions, but the sense of what is feasible, what is possible, what is correct, here and now. The philosopher, of all people, must, I think, be aware of the tension between what he claims to achieve and the reality in which he finds himself.
The hermeneutic consciousness, which must be awakened and kept awake, recognized that in the age of science philosophy's claim of superiority has something chimerical and unreal about it. But though the will of man is more than ever intensifying its criticism of what has gone before to the point of becoming utopian or eschatological consciousness, the hermeneutic consciousness seeks to confront that will with something of the truth of remembrance: with what is still and ever again real.
A cultured society that has fallen away from its religious traditions expects more from art than the aesthetic consciousness and the 'standpoint of art' can deliver. The Romantic desire for a new mythology... gives the artist and his task in the world the consciousness of a new consecration. He is something like a 'secular saviour' for his creations are expected to achieve on a small scale the propitiation of disaster for which an unsaved world hopes.