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July 1967

Novelty as ObjectPrecis for a General Psychological Theory

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Department of Psychiatry, Roosevelt Hospital, New York.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;17(1):1-4. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730250003001

THE contemporary epoch appears unsettled in the extreme to its settled inhabitants, but it is regularly observable in historical reports that this appearance is not unprecedented, but is even the rule, during other periods. Yet there appears to be in the contemporary scene a truly novel theme, that of a preoccupation with newness for its own sake and in its own terms, with novelty as novelty. Seen most dramatically in art, this trend supports the idea that artists are harbingers of change, sensitively and anticipatorily responsive to "a different drummer." In the past century, every traditional idea about art has been successfully challenged in socially-rewarded variant after variant. A highly successful artist sums up the temper of the times in saying that man, after learning that his life is comprehensively futile, approaches art now as simply a game with only internal gratifications. The

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