His insight made him acutely aware of the artists ability to improve and reshape his own milieu. In 1917 from the eastern front of the war he wrote:
Despite all my confidence in the dynamics of masses and my intuitive grasp of form, I know that everything is in a state of flux and tension, which must repeatedly lead to conflicts, ordeals and difficulties. I feel the full life. Quite apart from history momentary personal compulsion, however I am continually aware of the repeated checks due to war, to inactivity and to the coming problems of the whole economic situation as necessary factors in my development. What compels me to create is certainly this inclusion of wide fields with in the circumfrence of ones own personality. What dominates the artist in the present is at the same time the medium through which he dominates the future. And so the world compels him to shape the world.
The Drawings of Eric