Tag Archives: beauty

What Love Is (A Definition)

What is love? I’d basically put it among the very broad family of “the better angels of our nature,” and in the genus of “seeking connection, harmony, and cooperation in a non-zero sum way.” As to the species of this … Continue reading

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Yellow Moon

That would be Io orbiting Jupiter (NASA image taken in 1999 by the Galileo spacecraft):

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Monet’s Waterlilies and Some Free Association

A nice image of Monet’s waterlilies, c. 1915, via Wikipedia Commons: __________ The feel of this image for me is not of tranquility and coolness, but of heat and melting. First there is the white flower echoing a fried egg; … Continue reading

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What Makes Shakespeare So Good? (Hint: Mimesis Might Have Something To Do With It)

In the preface to his eight-volume edition of Shakespeare’s plays (1765), the literary critic Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) had some opinions about what makes Shakespeare so good. Here they are (and notice how many of them are grounded in mimesis): Shakespeare … Continue reading

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Ayn Rand’s “Sense of Life” as a Tool for Aesthetic Reflection

Ayn Rand, concepts, and art. Two novels-of-ideas by Ayn Rand (1905-1982)–The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957)–and the individualist and pro-capitalist political positions that Rand laid out over the course of her lifetime, have had an outsized impact on the contemporary conservative movement … Continue reading

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A Tribute to Architecture, Old and New, in Europe

__________ Looking at the above video, it makes one wonder about what the human species really is, and where it’s headed. And, of course, we already live in a grand and bejeweled cathedral. __________ The Hubble Deep Field image itself … Continue reading

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What It Feels Like To Be Beautiful Without A Mirror

Kjerstin Gruys explains: I remember the time I felt most beautiful. […] I was camping with my husband. We were on a long hike through a forest in California, and I couldn’t help but admire all the redwood trees surrounding … Continue reading

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Beauty Explained

Sounds right to me. ___________ A quick thought: what if the very things that move us in landscape paintings (water in the distance, grassy fields, etc.) are the very same stimulants that our ancestors followed out of Africa 60,000 years … Continue reading

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A Documentary on the Life of Artist Damien Hirst Worth Seeing

__________ This web page at the Tate on Hirst is also good.

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A New Olympic Sport is Born?

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Time and Space, or Poetry and Art

In Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s (1729-1781) Laocoon, or On the Limits of Painting and Poetry (1766), there is a key insight: with regard to time and space, poetry and art function differently. A poem must necessarily be read in time and … Continue reading

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Would Edmund Burke Have Approved of Artists Blending the Sublime and the Beautiful?

For Edmund Burke (1729-1797), in his A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757), our strongest emotions are associated with danger, pain, and fear (most particularly the fear of death, the “king of … Continue reading

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Beauty That Is Also Repellent

Israeli artist Ori Gersht (b. 1967) says that one of the things he tends to aim for in his art is the foregrounding of beauty against a background of violence. In the video piece below, he sets up a traditional still … Continue reading

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Getting a Handle on Kant’s Distinction between the Beautiful and the Sublime

Contained in Immanuel Kant’s (1724-1804) Critique of the Powers of Judgment are his reflections on beauty and the sublime. Beauty, writes Kant, can be defined as something that is good in itself that pleases the eye; it is absent any utility … Continue reading

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Practice Makes Perfect: David Hume Teaches Us How To Read Closely And See

In 1757, the Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) published four essays under the title, Four Dissertations, one of which he called “Of the Standard of Taste.” In it, Hume attempts to tackle the question of why people vary in opinion … Continue reading

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John Lloyd’s TED Talk, “Inventory of the Invisible”

__________ Here are four things that I take from this brief TED talk: The empire of the visible is dwarfed by the greater empire of the invisible. There are things that don’t exist, though we imagine them to exist. We hide … Continue reading

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Mars High Resolution Image from Curiosity

An eerily Earth-like image of the Martian ground and Gale’s crater wall:

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Life from Conception to Age 25

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Emer O’Toole Says Shakespeare is Globally Popular Because of Colonialism

If a student were to ask me why people, the world over, read and put on performances of Shakespeare’s plays, I would basically say the following: A difficult achievement is universally recognizable. Shakespeare has done something, aesthetically and imaginatively, very far … Continue reading

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Three Grandmas Watch Something Naughty

Very naughty. A nice reminder that adults can see and hear things without the least harm. __________ I love the display of irony here because we all know that this is exactly how individuals tend to respond to “shocking” images … Continue reading

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