Maya Deren on growth

“Children learn very rapidly and then at adolescence, as ego asserts itself, there is a slowing down of the learning process. What is happening is that a child looks at the world through eyes like clear windows, really looking outward; then the individual needs to justify a history that has begun to exist with him, the window silvers over and thickens and thickens and finally we are confronted by a mirror in which we see nothing but ourselves, the affirmation of ourselves over and over again. We no longer learn; we see ourselves and we know it. For any human being it is important to try to keep as many holes in that mirror as possible. This is necessary in works of art because the experience of art is essentially an autocratic one; a work of art demands the temporary surrender of any personal system. The person who surrenders then possesses new experience. That is growth. It is the growth of traveling in another mind and knowing it. This requires the surrender of history, and innocence of past-if you will-in an audience whether it looks at a painting, reads a poem, hears music, or sees a film.”

— Maya Deren