The naive which is simultaneously beautiful, poetic, and idealistic, must be both intention and instinct. The essence of intention, in this sense, is freedom. Consciousness is far from intention. There is a certain enamoured contemplation of one's own naturalness or silliness which itself is unspeakably silly. Intention does not necessarily require a profound calculation or plan.
If the essence of cynicism consists in preferring nature to art, virtue to beauty and science; in not bothering about the letter of things -- to which the Stoic strictly adheres -- but in looking up to the spirit of things; in absolute contempt of all economic values and political splendor, and in courageous defence of the rights of independent freedom; then Christianity would be nothing but universal cynicism.
If the mystical lovers of the arts, who consider all criticism dissection and all dissection destruction of enjoyment, thought logically, an exclamation like "Goodness alive!" would be the best criticism of the most deserving work of art. There are critiques which say nothing but that, only they do so more extensively.
One of the two is almost always a prevailing tendency of every author: either not to say some things which certainly should be said, or to say many things which did not need to be said. The first is the original sin of synthetic natures, the latter of analytical natures.
It is a thoughtless and immodest presumption to learn anything about art from philosophy. Some do begin as if they hoped to learnsomething new here, since philosophy cannot and should not do anything further than develop the given art experiences and the existing art concepts into a science, improve the views of art, and promote them with the help of a thoroughly scholarly art history, and produce that logical mood about these subjects too which unites absolute liberalism with absolute rigor.
The two basic maxims of the so-called historical criticism are the postulate of the common and the axiom of the ordinary. Postulate of the common: everything really great, good, and beautiful, is improbable, since it is extraordinary and therefore at least suspect. Axiom of the ordinary: our conditions and environment must have existed everywhere, for they are really so natural.
Whoever has not arrived at the clear insight that there might be greatness entirely outside his own sphere for which he has no understanding, whoever does not have at least a dim inkling in which area of the human spirit this greatness might be situated: he is within his own sphere either without genius, or he has not educated himself up to the point of the classical attitude.