Beauty

Larval Subjects .

octopus_by_cardenaslosky-d60yg3dIncreasingly, as I turn to questions of ethics, I find myself wondering about things we could describe as “absolute values”.  These are things we esteem and value for their own sake such as love, friendship, beauty, compassion, health, and so on.  It’s easy to see why we value things such as health, beauty, and friendship for their own sake (though maybe these are more mysterious than they might initially seem).  It’s more difficult, I think, to understand beauty.  This is above all the case within a naturalistic framework.  When I read architectural theory written during the Middle Ages, Rennaissance, and early Enlightenment period, beauty is an index to truth.  It resonates with us because our ability to discern it is a sort of index of the divine that dwells within us; it is that which draws us towards the divine or God and that which indicates God’s signature on his…

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One thought on “Beauty

  1. I’m thinking of sunsets… how it was that no one thought to paint or describe sunsets as beautiful before the Romantics and their rupture with classical ideas of proportion and grace–by the lighting strike of the sublime–which strikes me as profoundly important for the idea of ‘beauty’ as beyond the human. The awe and wonder before the sublime are not elements of the beautiful, to be measured and reproduced, but merely traces of the encounter with the ineffable, of what is not, or not yet, harnessed and assimilated to received conventions, such that beauty no longer belongs to us–is not owned, but remains as a portal to what is always… not us, more than us, not ours.

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