“Why? Because it all belonged only in part to the private personality; the rest, however, came from something above the individual, was an expression of a collective sense that the means of art had turned stale and were exhausted by history, of being bored by all that, of striving for new paths. “Art advances,” Kretzschmar wrote, “and does so by means of personality, which is the product and tool of its time and in which objective and subjective motives are joined beyond differentiation, each assuming the form of the other. Art’s vital need for revolutionary progress and achievement of the new depends on the vehicle of the strongest subjective sense for what is hackneyed, for what has nothing more to say, for those standard, normal means that have now become ‘impossible’; and so art helps itself to apparently unvital elements: personal weariness and intellectual boredom, the disgusts that comes with perceiving ‘how it’s done’, the cursed proclivity of seeing things in light of their own parody, the ‘sense of the comic’—what I am saying is: Art, in its will to live and progress, puts on the mask of these dull-hearted personal traits in order to manifest, objectivize, and fulfil itself in them. Is that too much metaphysics for you? But really it is only just enough, and just the truth—the truth you ultimately know yourself.”
– Thomas Mann, “Doctor Faustus”.