Addressing Zig's Point.

I'm a bit tired tonight.

I actually considered posting on several issues, including relationships (namely the "No hissy fits!" rule), society (what does it mean to manage and lead well?) and robots (will they eventually enslave us all?).

But I'm a little spaced out and not really in the mood to focus on any of those things.

So instead I'm linking to Tim's Xanga again and talking about that. No, not the most recent post with the platypus. Rather the one from Monday.

"Some morning-thoughts.

Aesthetics without substance = art without paint and poetry without words.

Beauty is nothing without depth.

Wealth or abundance must not be confused for depth.

Is it wrong if I don't believe in something human and perfect?"

I think I get what he's driving at, but I don't quite agree.

First, I think that aethetics, as a word, is one we bandy about too often. (Yes, I just used the term 'bandy about', go me.) Quite literally the word 'aesthetic' refers to those guiding rules or principles that define what is and isn't good taste, or good art.

More often though, we refer to 'aesthetics' and mean 'trappings', those little, around-the-edges details of a commercial product that make it attractive. The trim on the cabinets. The inlaid wood on the dashboard of the sedan. The gold leaf on the piano. Etc.

Certainly, I agree with him that these little conveniences are not the heart of the matter. Certainly if infested with rats, the cabinet is of no value, and without an engine, the car is worthless. There must be substance and purpose to each item before its trappings can be valid.

But now, art is a tricky subject. For must any piece of art have a purpose? Must any piece of art enforce a dominant mentality in the beholder? Must it have a point. May art stand alone, on the merit that it is a creative composition only, and still be worth something?

If so, what is the substance of such art? Certainly it cannot be it's purpose -- it doesn't have one!

So there is some trickiness here in how the answers fall out.

Poetry without words is nonexistent. But poetry without meaning--where a random jumble of syllables or words creates a mish-mash of nonsense, would obviously be worthless to the reader, regardless of how eloquently it rolled off the tongue.

Is this the challenge that was envoked? That we not forget that substance demands purpose, or it is limited to trivial entertainment?

I'm doing little more than musing aloud at this point. Sorry.

One other point about that last question: It isn't wrong at all. I think, in fact, acknowledging the failure of in humanity's attempts at perfection is one of the steps towards enlightenment.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Post a Comment

<< Home