[NetBehaviour] David Bohm

Max Herman maxnmherman at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 27 17:09:37 CEST 2019

That's interesting you spoke with Bohm about art!  I only started reading him recently but he does seem quite word-origin-oriented.

I was always intrigued by what I thought the root of "art" was, "joint," as in arthritis and arm.  This made me at the time think of armaments and army of course, then instrumentality in general.  (I don't know the exact year I looked it up, but it may have been 1993 or so when I was reading Habermas for the first time and his book of profiles on various German philosophers.)  It is a pretty interesting word too, a lot of uses and definitions but only three letters and one syllable!


art (n.)
early 13c., "skill as a result of learning or practice," from Old French art (10c.), from Latin artem (nominative ars) "work of art; practical skill; a business, craft," from PIE *ar(ə)-ti- (source also of Sanskrit rtih "manner, mode;" Greek artizein "to prepare"), suffixed form of root *ar- "to fit together." Etymologically akin to Latin arma "weapons."

In Middle English usually with a sense of "skill in scholarship and learning" (c. 1300), especially in the seven sciences, or liberal arts. This sense remains in Bachelor of Arts, etc. Meaning "human workmanship" (as opposed to nature) is from late 14c. Meaning "system of rules and traditions for performing certain actions" is from late 15c. Sense of "skill in cunning and trickery" first attested late 16c. (the sense in artful, artless). Meaning "skill in creative arts" is first recorded 1610s; especially of painting, sculpture, etc., from 1660s.

Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truths, passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius, but never abandoned. The revolt of individualism came because the tradition had become degraded, or rather because a spurious copy had been accepted in its stead. [William Butler Yeats]
Expression art for art's sake (1824) translates French l'art pour l'art. First record of art critic is from 1847. Arts and crafts "decorative design and handcraft" first attested in the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, founded in London, 1888.
From: NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on behalf of Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com>
Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2019 6:19 PM
To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
Subject: [NetBehaviour] David Bohm

Just to clarify uselessly - the story my father told me re: David Bohm was
wrong - we might have heard it incorrectly, it was shortly before he died
at 97. He knew the parents and must have known David.

Had conversations w/ Bohm at Birkbeck a couple of times in London. He sat
in a high wooden office chair, I had a very comfortable one, plush, very
low. So it was a typical hierarchy. From Wilkes-Barre; Azure and I went to
his old place there, a tv repair shop now, I think always was that with
appliances. His mother was a Popky and the Popkys and my parents were
close friends, if I remember correctly, when I grew up. It's murky at this
point. Anyway, when we talked, he spoke about artifact, artifacture, and
art as a form of 'making fit.' I didn't know at the time we were

Best, Alan
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