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Thread: What Is Beauty?

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    Re: Perceptions of Beauty, A Social Construct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bridie
    How could beauty ever be anything other than an interpretation?
    That's why I said you were begging the question that you ask in the title of this thread.

    A rose is a rose, and does not become beautiful until someone labels it as such.
    I disagree; the rose is 'beautiful' whether or not it is labelled by someone as such. As Shakespeare said, " a rose by any other name would smell as sweet".

    And even then its only beautiful to the one who is judging it. Another person may not think it to be beautiful at all....
    Those differing opinions do not alter the rose itself; indeed Nature herself has equipped the rose in such a way that it attracts bees in order to carry out pollination.

    which leads me to the topic subject.... its my belief that the rose would be considered beautiful, or not, by an individual depending on what the rose (the colour, form, smell of it etc) represents to them.
    Would it not be possible to recognise that something is objectively beautiful, even if it did not 'do it for you'?
    In other words, there is the possibility of an impersonal sense of beauty.

    I argue that beauty is symbolic.
    Symbolic of what?

    And as such, is a social construct, as individuals in a common society or community belonging to a common culture will often perceive/judge form in a similar fashion due to such interpretations being learned, not congentially inherent.
    There is evidence for there being 'hard-wired' responses too, which are not learned but inherited.

    Nature may be the subject of beauty, but it will always be deemed as such by a human. Otherwise it is not beautiful. It just is.
    How do you know that bees don't find roses 'beautiful' too?
    Do you think that Nature's riot of colour and form is only for the benefit of humans?

    Then how would you explain so many people finding "imperfection" the most beautiful of all?
    They are attracted to the imperfections; some people profess to enjoy the ugly. Just because you enjoy the ugly doesn't mean that the ugly is then beautiful; it just means that you enjoy the ugly.

    I personally find "perfection" (total order) cold, personalityless, unendearing, uninteresting. It can't be beautiful in my eyes. This is what perfection symbolises to me.... to you it may mean something different and therefore you could find it subjectively beautiful. See what I mean?
    No - you merely reject beauty in favour of the ugly.

    Subjective you mean?
    Is subjectivism a personal [individual] state, or can there be a collective subjectivity?
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Smile Re: Perceptions of Beauty, A Social Construct?

    Umm Moody.... I think you mustn't have read any of my posts which followed the post which you've taken quotes from. I disagree with pretty much everything that you've said and the reasons why and my rationalisations be found in those other posts.


    That's why I said you were begging the question that you ask in the title of this thread.
    Nope. Just expressing my understanding of the concept of "beauty" if you disagree (which you do) you can always just refute my implication (which you did), so it's no problem right?


    I disagree; the rose is 'beautiful' whether or not it is labelled by someone as such.
    Remember "beautiful" is a adjective. Adjectives are always relative and thereby subjectively determined. Until the rose is labelled, it is just a rose. Nothing more.

    Those differing opinions do not alter the rose itself;
    No. That's why I stated;
    am a bit of a relativist I guess, but I do have my limits. No I don't really believe that EVERYTHING is relative, just that all interpretations of reality are. We are infinitely variable. There are of course absolutes.... but how can we as humans, with our limited senses and awareness, ever know what they are? We might look at an apple and see an apple.... when from a different vantage point it may look like a cluster of electrons, protons and neutrons. So which is the truth? Is it an apple according to popular discourse? A stable, unanimate object? A piece of fruit? Food? Or it is a buzzing, dynamic group of sub-particles? I say both, depending on the person who is interpreting it.

    Quote:
    I argue that beauty is symbolic.

    Symbolic of what?
    Of whatever is represents to the individual.


    Would it not be possible to recognise that something is objectively beautiful, even if it did not 'do it for you'?
    In other words, there is the possibility of an impersonal sense of beauty.
    "Do it for you?" It sounds like you're talking about attraction, which is different from beauty remember? I don't think there is any possibility of impersonal beauty.


    There is evidence for there being 'hard-wired' responses too, which are not learned but inherited.
    Responses for attraction, sexual or otherwise, not for perceptions of beauty.

    You might argue that there has been research done which suggests that people generally find symmetrical faces beautiful.... and that if they find a asymmetrical one beautiful that it must merely be bad taste, or that they are rejecting the beautiful, (to say "bad taste" would be to imply that it is somehow lacking in virtue or health, so to speak, to find such things beautiful, but that is clearly false in my mind.) only someone who's never felt great love could think this imo. Eg, my sister had a severely deformed baby a few years back, he died 3 days after birth. Although, being so deformed and small and lacking health, the vast majority would find him ugly, yet my sister found him to be the most beautiful little person she'd ever laid her eyes on. As a new mum myself at the time I could relate to her, and when I looked at him and his little jewel eyes so wide with wonder and innocence, his little vulnerable, helpless body, I saw great beauty too. True beauty, maybe on a higher level than merely looking at some face in a magazine and thinking... hmmmm yes they're beautiful. Love makes things beautiful, and no amount of scientific studying will ever uncover its secrets, nor be able to deny it.


    Quote:
    Nature may be the subject of beauty, but it will always be deemed as such by a human. Otherwise it is not beautiful. It just is.

    How do you know that bees don't find roses 'beautiful' too?
    Do you think that Nature's riot of colour and form is only for the benefit of humans?
    No, nature's colours serve the purpose of attraction, not beauty. I think we can safely bet that bees are not capable of comprehending such abstract concepts as "beauty". They are purely instinctive creatures that do not have the ability to partake in such complicated thought processes and perceptions as to label something as "beautiful" or not. I mean, seriously, how many bees do you think are buzzing around out there thinking to themselves.... "hmmmm.... which flower shall I gather pollen from today.... the yellow flower (a bit dowdy) or the bright red one? Yes, I'll go with the red one as it is quite splendid looking..." ??? It is indiscrimatory (in regards to beauty) instinct that drives them.


    They are attracted to the imperfections; some people profess to enjoy the ugly. Just because you enjoy the ugly doesn't mean that the ugly is then beautiful; it just means that you enjoy the ugly.
    You're talking about "attraction" again. I'm talking about beauty.


    Is subjectivism a personal [individual] state, or can there be a collective subjectivity?
    Well true subjectivity is a personal state, but it will most likely conform to a greater or lesser extent to the collective/society in which they resided when their biases/base perceptions were being developed in infancy and early childhood.

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    Re: Perceptions of Beauty, A Social Construct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bridie
    Remember "beautiful" is a adjective. Adjectives are always relative and thereby subjectively determined. Until the rose is labelled, it is just a rose. Nothing more.
    Adjectives are not 'always' relative/subjective.

    'Beauty' is a noun.

    The quality of beauty is inherent in the sense of 'roseness'.

    It sounds like you're talking about attraction, which is different from beauty remember? I don't think there is any possibility of impersonal beauty.
    I said that beauty doesn't need to have the element of sexual attractiveness [given that you used an example of sexual attractiveness to which I responded].

    I said that beauty could be platonic. That means that beauty can be impersonal [or platonic].

    No, nature's colours serve the purpose of attraction, not beauty. I think we can safely bet that bees are not capable of comprehending such abstract concepts as "beauty".
    We cannot say that for sure, not being bees.

    Do birds find bird-song beautiful?

    However, it is notable that what we find beautiful is also considered 'attractive' in nature amongst other creatures. As we are part of nature too, then there may be a connection.
    Indeed, it could just as well be assumed that similar processes are at work in human beauty as are at work in nature's mating rituals, nature's bird-song etc., etc.,

    Beauty in human terms could just be an evolution of similar attraction processes in nature.

    They are purely instinctive creatures that do not have the ability to partake in such complicated thought processes and perceptions as to label something as "beautiful" or not.
    Aren't humans instinctive too?

    Isn't our response to beauty likewise instinctive?

    I mean, seriously, how many bees do you think are buzzing around out there thinking to themselves.... "hmmmm.... which flower shall I gather pollen from today.... the yellow flower (a bit dowdy) or the bright red one? Yes, I'll go with the red one as it is quite splendid looking..." ??? It is indiscrimatory (in regards to beauty) instinct that drives them.
    The flowers offer a variety of colours in order to attract pollination from a variety of different pollinators.

    If it were indiscriminatory then there would be no variety.


    You're talking about "attraction" again. I'm talking about beauty
    But you haven't made a distinction between them [I have, but you disagreed with it!].

    What is the big difference between 'attraction' and 'beauty' that makes them so completely different to you?
    Last edited by Moody; Friday, June 23rd, 2006 at 04:24 PM.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Re: Perceptions of Beauty, A Social Construct?

    'Beauty' is a noun.
    But in order for beauty to be present, an object or person must be beautiful.... an adjective.

    Adjectives are not 'always' relative/subjective.
    I can't think of any that aren't, can you?


    The quality of beauty is inherent in the sense of 'roseness'.
    We just aren't going to agree on this. I think that beauty is a label, you think that it is intrinsic. I guess we're both entitled to our own subjective perceptions. hehehe


    I said that beauty could be platonic. That means that beauty can be impersonal [or platonic].
    Platonic and impersonal are not the same thing. Platonic = non-sexual..... Impersonal = have no personality, reference to human feelings. The former is about sexuality (or the lack of), the latter isn't.


    We cannot say that for sure, not being bees.
    LOL We can say for sure. A bee's brain is not sophisticated enough to comprehend such abstract concepts. This is an objective, tangible fact.


    Indeed, it could just as well be assumed that similar processes are at work in human beauty as are at work in nature's mating rituals, nature's bird-song etc., etc.,
    I understand what you're getting at here, but I disagree. We are naturally, instinctively, sexually attracted to certain characteristics as a matter of the continuation of our species (as determined by nature), and we even find babies cute on an instinctive level to ensure that they are cared for by adults and that they survive, so these sorts of instinctive drives to care for young animals and humans is natural too, but this is NOT the same as finding them beautiful as such.


    Beauty in human terms could just be an evolution of similar attraction processes in nature.
    That's an interesting idea. I'd never thought of that before.... I'll give it some thought. Although you do admit here then that human views of beauty differ from attraction processes in nature? You denied it in your previous paragraph.


    Aren't humans instinctive too?

    Isn't our response to beauty likewise instinctive?
    We are partly instinctive. But instincts are less developed in us than they are in more simple creatures, to make way for our increased awareness and intellect.

    Our response to beauty is symbolically determined imo, not instinctively.


    The flowers offer a variety of colours in order to attract pollination from a variety of different pollinators.

    If it were indiscriminatory then there would be no variety.
    I meant that the bees don't discriminate between beautiful and ugly flowers.


    But you haven't made a distinction between them [I have, but you disagreed with it!].

    What is the big difference between 'attraction' and 'beauty' that makes them so completely different to you?
    I did dinstinguish between them...
    Attractive simply means 'something/one which attracts something/one. Think of magnets. Sexual or physical are only two types of attraction. There is also intellectual, emotional, aesthetic, spiritual etc etc. Beauty is different altogether, because it denotes aesthetic appreciation, but not necessarily any attraction. One may find something beautiful, yet not be attracted to it.
    That was my response to your statement....
    I would make a distinction between the "attractive" [which means physically/sexually attractive] and the Beautiful [which implies the platonic perfection of form, and needn't be sexual in any way].

    I think we may just have to agree to disagree Moody.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bridie
    But in order for beauty to be present, an object or person must be beautiful.... an adjective.
    No; beauty is a noun, it can be the quality of a thing and therefore not separable from it and certainly not a label ;

    Beauty:
    1) The quality that gives pleasure to the mind or senses and is associated with such properties as harmony of form or colour, excellence of artistry, truthfulness and originality ...
    See link;
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/beauty

    I can't think of any adjectives that aren't relative, can you?
    Of course;

    Adjective ... 2. Any words belonging to this part of speech such as white in the phrase a white house;
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/adjective

    I think that beauty is a label, you think that it is intrinsic. I guess we're both entitled to our own subjective perceptions.
    No, I am going by English usage, as the defintion above shows. 'Beauty' is not just a label, it is an actual quality or property.


    Platonic and impersonal are not the same thing. Platonic = non-sexual..... Impersonal = have no personality, reference to human feelings. The former is about sexuality (or the lack of), the latter isn't.
    I deliberately used 'platonic' in the lower case indicating that I was using the word in its more general sense too, that of transcending the physical.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/platonic

    A bee's brain is not sophisticated enough to comprehend such abstract concepts. This is an objective, tangible fact.
    What isn't a "fact" is that beauty is "sophisticated". It may be the very opposite [and only human vanity pretends that it is 'sophisticated'].
    If beauty is 'unsophisticated', then it would be possible for a bee to appreciate it.

    We are naturally, instinctively, sexually attracted to certain characteristics as a matter of the continuation of our species (as determined by nature), ... but this is NOT the same as finding them beautiful as such.
    Again, it could be very much part and parcel of all of that; we like to think of it as something higher, but then are we in the position to make such objective judgements about ourselves?
    Wouldn't it be better to ask another species about whether our sense of beauty is any different to theirs?

    Although you do admit here then that human views of beauty differ from attraction processes in nature? You denied it in your previous paragraph.
    There are differences to be sure; but there are also indications of connections too.
    Indeed, the concept of beauty may have its origin in the sex drive [which is not peculiar to humans - ergo,].

    We are partly instinctive. But instincts are less developed in us than they are in more simple creatures, to make way for our increased awareness and intellect.
    So much that we call "intellect" may actually be instinct.
    As I said, we are not far enough removed the subject of our study [i.e., humans] to make an unbiased comment.

    Our response to beauty is symbolically determined imo, not instinctively.
    Symbols are certainly instinctive!

    I meant that the bees don't discriminate between beautiful and ugly flowers.
    So you now admit that they do discriminate.


    I did dinstinguish between them...
    You only said that attraction was sexual/physical while beauty was "aesthetic".
    To say 'beauty is aesthetic' is not really saying anything as aesthetics is the 'appreciation of beauty'!

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/aesthetic

    Also, what you said about attraction could apply to some kinds of beauty.

    What I said, in the piece you quote from an earlier post is that beauty "needn't" be sexually attractive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hedwig View Post
    What is beautiful in humans... many things, but this is what I can think of for now:

    Loyalty, be it to a partner or cause/goal. It goes hand in hand with respect, passion and dedication.
    The ability to love or hold affection towards others - Love leads people to do unimaginable things, and most impressive of all is the feeling of unconditioned love. For example, parents' love for their children.
    Self-sacrifice, generosity, compassion - Jennifer already said what is to be said regarding this.
    The ability to make objective and constructive criticism
    Ambition - the will to strive for someting bigger/better.
    Honor - adhering to certain standards and the ability to keep to one's word.
    These are all admirable ethical qualities - but they are not aesthetic ones. That's not to say that aesthetics and ethics aren't connected, though, as I shall suggest.

    I believe that we all have an awareness of aesthetic beauty within us, yes; but it must be expressed as outward form in order to be perceived by the senses [and therefore be aesthetic].

    The artist is he who is particularly evolved in this direction, able to express beauty through the sensual medium he chooses [this could even be the medium of his own Being].

    I believe that race dictates the sensual forms we find aesthetically beautiful [and therefore not 'social conditioning']: this is a biological/spiritual nexus and also relates to reproduction - the will to create beautiful off-spring.

    The most highly evolved members of the race in terms of aesthetics are able to create those beautiful forms in art etc.,

    I therefore think that beauty, ethical excellence and high intelligence are connected.
    Last edited by Moody; Saturday, June 24th, 2006 at 12:17 PM.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Constantinus View Post
    I don't mean what you find beautiful yourself, I mean: what happens when we notice something and decide it is beautiful? Is it a characteristic of what is observed, or of who is observing it?

    discuss (I am undecided, but I do notice that certain characteristics are widely seen as beautiful, by most individuals)
    I do not think one can divorce a personal sense from beauty in any aesthetic decision, so to answer this question detached from what I myself find beautiful seems quite impossible to me. Not to say there is no universality to beauty, but there is a very personal component, or it would not be beauty, it would not move one emotionally.

    Beauty is like all things natural: in balance between what exists and what is beheld. Truly beautiful things are those things which reflect a natural state of things, and therefore reflect the natural order. In this way both the raw, brutal killing power of the lioness and eagle as well as the soft, dainty possessing appearance of the flower are both beautiful in the truest sense. In art, it is the perfect reflection of natural beauty in one form or another that makes an artwork beautiful. Expressionism, Cubism, Dadaism, and other forms of modern art eschew this beauty by divorcing themselves from the natural and pursuing the unnatural.

    There is something further, however; art can be beautiful and still not true art. True art must strike a balance between the communication of the raw emotion of this natural beauty as well as a rational thoughtfulness to be true art. In this way, Impressionism and Realism represent the last truly beautiful art form before the descent into degenerate art.
    οὐκ ἐμοῦ, ἀλλὰ τοῦ λόγου ἀκούσαντας ὁμολογεῖν σοφόν ἐστιν ἓν πάντα εἶναί.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moody
    These are all admirable ethical qualities - but they are not aesthetic ones. That's not to say that aesthetics and ethics aren't connected, though, as I shall suggest.

    I believe that we all have an awareness of aesthetic beauty within us, yes; but it must be expressed as outward form in order to be perceived by the senses [and therefore be aesthetic].
    Do you not believe that these "ethical qualities" can be expressed as an outward form that can be perceived by the senses?
    "I do not know what horrified me most at that time: the economic misery of my companions, their moral and ethical coarseness, or the low level of their intellectual development." Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

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    In short terms, beauty is - regardless of whether it relates to persons, other living organisms, or things - conceiving something as "aesthetically pleasing" (sorry for the easy way out )

    When it comes to persons - it is easy to find a distinction between attraction and beauty. There might be a supermodel which I conceive as beautiful, but which I might not consider attractive because she does not conform to my "type" in the slightest, and because attraction includes character, intelligence etc., thus an "ugly", that is aesthetically unpleasing, woman can be attractive for a variety of other reasons. Let me explain this further:

    For example, I tend to favour women who sport a combination between progressive and paedomorphic features. As such, I can often find women of an ultra-progressive phenotype beautiful, but as a general rule, I do not feel attracted to them. I then tend to admire them more like a piece of art.

    Only if attraction of the physique and beauty of the physique is seen as separate can we pinpoint down what beauty is, because attraction is subjective. Beauty is however objective: Pictures of people with pitch-black skin, in the terms of human diversity and extreme racial purity in the opposite sense is beautiful, it is however not conceived as attractive in the slightest by yours truly, rest assured.

    The perfection of physical beauty would be achieved in perfect looks, regardless of the phenotype or other characteristics, and the closer that one actually gets to attaining such beauty, the less attractive the person becomes: We tend to feel attracted to people who have faults, and are not perfect.

    So much for the physical beauty of human beings.

    When it comes to the beauty of character, what we are really doing is helping ourselves to a linguistic trick: We use personifications of the character traits, like old Romans personified Luck or Victory, etc. etc. etc. and thus apply a certain sense of beauty or ugliness to these character traits.

    A character is usually conceived as beautiful, if the person who holds the character is one who lives a noble life, strides for the best (the "aristocratic principle"). Beauty is that which is considered aesthetically pleasing, and since the physical aesthetics concern "good looks", character aesthetics would concern a "good demeanor". The beauty of character is thus showing good will towards matters, and the manifestation of such is usually a positive rather than negative deed, in whatever respect.

    And again, a beautiful character can be utterly unattractive, and can be conceived as boring, in fact. When women go for "assholes", they go for an ugly but attractive character.

    And once more, the attraction of character is subjective, but the beauty of character is objective. The beauty of character is achieved to the fullest when a person only does noble deeds. Etc. etc. etc.

    The main issue thus, to cut matters short, is that people tend to confuse "beauty" with "attraction", which is where the consideration evidently leaves the philosophical and enters the mundane: Beauty is a matter of the observed, and attraction is a matter of the observer.

    At least my take on this type of "beauty", the beauty of persons. When it comes to the beauty of inanimate objects, that is a different matter altogether, and would have to be answered in a post of its own. I will try to tackle that at another point.
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
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    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd View Post
    In short terms, beauty is - regardless of whether it relates to persons, other living organisms, or things - conceiving something as "aesthetically pleasing" (sorry for the easy way out )

    When it comes to persons - it is easy to find a distinction between attraction and beauty. There might be a supermodel which I conceive as beautiful, but which I might not consider attractive because she does not conform to my "type" in the slightest, and because attraction includes character, intelligence etc., thus an "ugly", that is aesthetically unpleasing, woman can be attractive for a variety of other reasons. Let me explain this further:

    For example, I tend to favour women who sport a combination between progressive and paedomorphic features. As such, I can often find women of an ultra-progressive phenotype beautiful, but as a general rule, I do not feel attracted to them. I then tend to admire them more like a piece of art.

    Only if attraction of the physique and beauty of the physique is seen as separate can we pinpoint down what beauty is, because attraction is subjective. Beauty is however objective: Pictures of people with pitch-black skin, in the terms of human diversity and extreme racial purity in the opposite sense is beautiful, it is however not conceived as attractive in the slightest by yours truly, rest assured.

    The perfection of physical beauty would be achieved in perfect looks, regardless of the phenotype or other characteristics, and the closer that one actually gets to attaining such beauty, the less attractive the person becomes: We tend to feel attracted to people who have faults, and are not perfect.

    So much for the physical beauty of human beings.

    When it comes to the beauty of character, what we are really doing is helping ourselves to a linguistic trick: We use personifications of the character traits, like old Romans personified Luck or Victory, etc. etc. etc. and thus apply a certain sense of beauty or ugliness to these character traits.

    A character is usually conceived as beautiful, if the person who holds the character is one who lives a noble life, strides for the best (the "aristocratic principle"). Beauty is that which is considered aesthetically pleasing, and since the physical aesthetics concern "good looks", character aesthetics would concern a "good demeanor". The beauty of character is thus showing good will towards matters, and the manifestation of such is usually a positive rather than negative deed, in whatever respect.

    And again, a beautiful character can be utterly unattractive, and can be conceived as boring, in fact. When women go for "assholes", they go for an ugly but attractive character.

    And once more, the attraction of character is subjective, but the beauty of character is objective. The beauty of character is achieved to the fullest when a person only does noble deeds. Etc. etc. etc.

    The main issue thus, to cut matters short, is that people tend to confuse "beauty" with "attraction", which is where the consideration evidently leaves the philosophical and enters the mundane: Beauty is a matter of the observed, and attraction is a matter of the observer.

    At least my take on this type of "beauty", the beauty of persons. When it comes to the beauty of inanimate objects, that is a different matter altogether, and would have to be answered in a post of its own. I will try to tackle that at another point.
    Beauty must, though, be something more than merely that which is aesthetically pleasing. There is a reason something is aesthetically pleasing to some (as you have termed it "attraction") and what is truly beautiful. It is a mistake to reduce true beauty to physicality, for it is not the physicality which makes beauty; rather, physicality is what defines what you have termed "attraction"; it is a mistake to say that physicality applies at all to true beauty, which is communicated and captured purely in the reflection of the Form, of Nature, by the subject. In this way, beauty is found in humans primarily in personality, in character, in conformity to natural objective laws. The attractive and the beautiful woman or man are therefore two completely different archetypes, though they may manifest themselves in the same being.

    Likewise for non-human subjects, amongst which I submit the majority of subjects termed "beautiful" reside, that which is attractive and pleasing to the eye but empty is exactly that: attractive and pleasing to the eye. It is not, however, beautiful, for it communicates nothing, captures nothing. Thus it is with Pop Art. It looks cool, sure, but it's not art. Also, likewise with hellscapes: hardly pleasing to the eye, but indeed beautiful for they communicate true terror manifested in imagery. Does this open the door to abstract art? Perhaps, so please allow me to slam that door firmly shut. The reflection in a work of art must be purely natural, and therefore must capture and portray something which comes itself from the land of pure nature, that is, from the land of archetypes (Forms).

    There is no such thing as an abstract archetype; where terror, power, fear, love, hate, joy, anguish, awe, and even apathy manifest themselves in nature, that is the way to communicate them through art. Where they do not manifest themselves in nature, they cannot be communicated through art, only through skewed and thoroughly imperfect human lenses (since the painter is indeed twice divorced from the realm of Forms, in that his is an imitation of an incarnation). The painter who tries to capture emotion and pathos by skipping the natural and trying to imitate the Forms will always fail, which is why modern and contemporary "art" is all empty: it communicates nothing, captures nothing contains nothing. If it incarnates anything it is utter failure on the part of the impassioned artist to make any progress in the realm of reasoned Natural order.

    I suggest to all here Plato Republic and Symposium.
    οὐκ ἐμοῦ, ἀλλὰ τοῦ λόγου ἀκούσαντας ὁμολογεῖν σοφόν ἐστιν ἓν πάντα εἶναί.
    Heraclitus

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    Quote Originally Posted by QuietWind View Post
    Do you not believe that these "ethical qualities" can be expressed as an outward form that can be perceived by the senses?
    Yes, I agree that they can.
    However, I do not think they are expressed purely as themselves in art, for example, but rather accompany such an outward manifestation in form.

    There is no single way of expressing 'loyalty' as outward form, for example, but a work of art might be imbued with that ethical quality.
    In other words, there always remains a separation between the ethical and the aesthetic in my mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd View Post
    When it comes to persons - it is easy to find a distinction between attraction and beauty.
    Yes; the former is connected to the erotic and the latter to the aesthetic.

    In Idealistic terms the latter is of an higher order than the former.
    Attraction is connected to base desire while beauty is connected to the higher mind.

    Of course, as with ethics and aesthetics, lust and beauty can be intermixed. But I might say that in its purest Form, Beauty is without Lust and without Ethics.
    We are here forced to adopt a Platonic view of aesthetics it seems.


    Quote Originally Posted by The Wagnerian View Post
    Beauty must, though, be something more than merely that which is aesthetically pleasing..
    Of course, the Platonic view is that the pure Ideal of Beauty, its particular Form cannot be fully realised in physical expression.
    Any such expression - even by the greatest artist - is a mere imitation and approximation of this perfect Form of Beauty.

    Only the Philosopher-Ruler can get near to the Form through contemplation.

    Therefore all physical manifestations of Beauty [whether in beautiful art or beautiful persons] are mixed and imperfect.

    Does the pure Form of Beauty need to convey anything other than itself, its Beauty?
    I think not.

    It is only human and imperfect art which needs to 'say something' besides itself [and therefore be mixed with lust, politics or ethics etc.,].
    Pure Beauty is sheer Beauty and so is 'empty'.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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