It is difficult to define art. Either the definition is too wide as in τεχνή which is a kind of artificial as opposed to natural “making” or in fine art which is a rather esoteric “ideal” making. In both these definitions there is the implication of bringing into being what is not already. Hence art is always associated with imagination or between sensation and thought. Yet to speak of only imagination, sense, and thought would be to neglect the implicit not yet aspect of art, for the “not yet being” to be demands an act of will and a doing. Hence it is that art is always associated with some form or another of creativity. All of the above apply to non-representational as well as representational art. In non-representation the contradiction between sense and thought is heightened as the imagination is given purposely no purpose or is meant to be ungrounded in sense or thought. Or again it may be grounded in one or the other. But regardless all art, as heretofore considered, is as alone an object which when “not yet” was subjective but “as become” is brought into being and “is” as objective and as object.
There is, nevertheless, an art which as distinguished from science and experience is an activity which is suspended between science and experience. This is what Aristotle characterizes as, for example, the art of healing. That is, medicine in its practice is an art as is teaching. Here it would be well to consider what this phenomenon is theoretically. We are speaking of an activity in which the “not yet” is not a “not-being” but rather a privation of being in that disease is a lack of health and ignorance a lack of knowledge. In both cases, that of disease and ignorance, there is a fallenness from the real, from the reality of wholeness to partiality or inadequacy. Or in both cases, that of the patient and that of the pupil, we have beings that are not fully yet, but can become. The doctor on the other hand cannot do what the patient and pupil must do but acts as a wet nurse as an intermediary between the wholeness and partiality of patient and pupil, or between knowledge as theoretical and experience as practical or experienced. An art in this sense is the unity of theory and practice and for this reason cannot be taught!
How odd it is that teaching cannot be taught or doctoring. Science can be taught and medicine. Experience can be experienced but it cannot be taught. To define experience is to no longer have experience as experience – for in this form it is universalized. The immediate form of experience is unique. Art as activity in the sense of medicine and teaching takes up this unique side along with the universal side as an action. It is practical as an activity. Now art in an earlier sense as τεχνή and fine art is an effort to express the universal for it is communication but it does so through a medium which is more unique than the universality of the content. Hence the contradiction as technique can be taught! But as creative, as imagined it cannot! Why? Because the imagination mediates between the immediacy of sense and the universality of thought. It is like medicine and teaching. What is common to art most broadly is imagination. What distinguishes art from art, art as production from art as activity is the relation of will to being. In the case of τεχνή and fine art what is but yet is not becomes. In the case of medicine and teaching what is but yet is not yet becomes what it already is. Hence the one is productive while the other is sustaining. Each is a mediary in that the art work when complete is independent of the artist and the patient when well and the pupil when learned have no need of a doctor or teacher.
At this point we can finally see why artists think of themselves as inspired. It is because they are the wet nurses of their creation! In this they are like doctors and teachers! The quality of inspiration is what finally links together our two distinct arts. And it is this quality which has always been thought of as unteachable; namely, the love of the gods or the grace of God.