Misappreciation of Beauty

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Misappreciation of Beauty

Postby Pandora » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:38 pm

This thread was inspired by Arc.

A person who eats junk food often does so in order to comfort or pacify himself, and disregards the consequences or the quality of food. He wants to be comforted and does not care about the quality of his comfort. And we often judge such a person. But, a person who obsesses about healthy eating is often no different than the one who eats junk food, except that he puts an extra layer of veneer or hypocrisy behind his motivations. His sources are natural and 'good', thus absolving him of guilt or consequences (natural, therefore must be good.. after all, nature is blameless), but the psychological need is still the same and that is the need for comfort. This kind of person will seek out natural things and use them as a cover. He is also the person who asks 'What good is life if I cannot find comfort in it?' And so, to feed that need, and with a perfect cover up, he will see 'beauty' in nature and all things natural. He will look at the dew drops, the sunsets, the cute squirrels running about their business and will find all these things...comforting. And blame-free. Who will dare to judge one for admiring a mountain or colorful flowers? It's nature herself! And why would you judge a person for eating healthy and natural? (even if the underlying goal is to perpetuate the sense of comfort through longetivity)

What does one really gain from the appreciation of a form, or what was the first benefit of the self-conscious mind in perceiving it? I say that the first aesthetic benefit happened when the form was perceived as being disconnected from the process behind it, like being able to enjoy a stage play without being aware of what is going on behind the stage. The form by itself. Detached. The finished product. This first appreciation of form detached from the processes behind it was based on ignorance of these processes, so the form detached appeared 'magical' to the mind. And when the mind attaches itself to the detached form, it associates itself with ignorance, and calls it mystery; but the real benefit or underlying motivation is comfort (through ignorance). Because if a mind were to perceive all the processes that lead to the form I doubt it would find any aesthetic pleasure or sense of comfort in it.
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Re: Misappreciation of Beauty

Postby WendyDarling » Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:54 pm

As an artist, beauty lies in my process of creation, so the attachment to the form, the idea, the very inception. I wouldn't exactly categorize it as comfort, it's more akin to air, water, food, shelter, sex, but even more important especially in controlling it, the creative drive.
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Re: Misappreciation of Beauty

Postby Fixed Cross » Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:11 pm

Pandora wrote:What does one really gain from the appreciation of a form, or what was the first benefit of the self-conscious mind in perceiving it? I say that the first aesthetic benefit happened when the form was perceived as being disconnected from the process behind it, like being able to enjoy a stage play without being aware of what is going on behind the stage. The form by itself. Detached. The finished product. This first appreciation of form detached from the processes behind it was based on ignorance of these processes, so the form detached appeared 'magical' to the mind. And when the mind attaches itself to the detached form, it associates itself with ignorance, and calls it mystery; but the real benefit or underlying motivation is comfort (through ignorance). Because if a mind were to perceive all the processes that lead to the form I doubt it would find any aesthetic pleasure or sense of comfort in it.

You are sounding almost Nietzschean. Very good.

Yes, the world communicates itself to itself through appearances, "forms detached from the processes behind it" --- this is exactly what motivates human behaviour to seek the surface, to dread the truth. As an aside, Trump is a figure that cant be seen for the surface as he is too dynamic and "crude" to maintain one - we see the process behind the form and this is what many find abhorrent. Knowledge. And it is indeed far more taxing to see the process, and less rewarding unless one is able to see beauty in the process. In this sense the philosopher is like a surgeon, most people get sick seeing an opened chest, but the surgeon finds there his true admiration.
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Re: Misappreciation of Beauty

Postby Pandora » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:04 am

unless one is able to see beauty in the process
I don't know about that. If so, it would not be in a traditional sense of this word.
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Re: Misappreciation of Beauty

Postby Fixed Cross » Tue May 22, 2018 11:01 am

Pandora wrote:
unless one is able to see beauty in the process
I don't know about that. If so, it would not be in a traditional sense of this word.

Sure it would.

The ancients saw beauty in processes long before Plato observed it in the immutable.
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Re: Misappreciation of Beauty

Postby Pandora » Tue May 22, 2018 6:38 pm

I’ve always wondered why you’d always see these classical marble sculptures of semi naked maidens and young women holding small children, but you’d never see a sculpture of an actual pregnant woman.
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Re: Misappreciation of Beauty

Postby Mr Reasonable » Wed May 23, 2018 7:17 am

Because the pregnant women were fat, and felt ugly and didn't want their picture taken, or to be carved into a statue.
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Re: Misappreciation of Beauty

Postby Fixed Cross » Wed May 23, 2018 4:24 pm

Another take is that it would be vanity to pose while pregnant, as one is exposing another being, the child who is without will, as an attribute; - it is a possessiveness, a prideful lack of modesty about this sacred mystery, that wasn't common in classical world.

Im sure they had some form of pregnancy-yoga though.

Before Greece there were numerous cultures that relished casting fat women out of stone. They are so voluminous that pregnancy might not be the cause of it.

So OP, is this the right appreciation of beauty?

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Re: Misappreciation of Beauty

Postby Pandora » Wed May 23, 2018 8:17 pm

Another take is that it would be vanity to pose while pregnant, as one is exposing another being, the child who is without will, as an attribute; - it is a possessiveness, a prideful lack of modesty about this sacred mystery, that wasn't common in classical world.
That sounds to me like a typical male perspective, as if a woman should not even be associated with pregnancy, like it’s not even hers. Does a pregnant woman not have a right to be possessive?


I’m leaning towards superstitious fear as the cause. Pagan traditions had many rituals for protections of the newborn and it was not uncommon for pregnancies/childbirths themselves to go bad.
However, there were some commemorative pregnancy paintings in Middle Ages/Renaissance that were made either after the successful birth of the child, or even after its death, or after death of both mother and child. Apparently there were even some that were made shortly before childbirth.
https://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pregnancy_in_art

In Classical world, beauty had a very customized (artificial) and narrow understanding. Obviously, it may be hard to find beauty in death during childbirth, but pregnancy itself obviously does not guarantee death, or none of us would be here. It’s interesting that none of the goddesses associated with pregnancy and childbirth in Classical world were represented as pregnant themselves. Not one.
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Re: Misappreciation of Beauty

Postby Fixed Cross » Wed May 23, 2018 8:38 pm

Pandora wrote:
Another take is that it would be vanity to pose while pregnant, as one is exposing another being, the child who is without will, as an attribute; - it is a possessiveness, a prideful lack of modesty about this sacred mystery, that wasn't common in classical world.
That sounds to me like a typical male perspective, as if a woman should not even be associated with pregnancy, like it’s not even hers. Does a pregnant woman not have a right to be possessive?

Tell it to the ancients. Im just saying they are likely to have frowned on such things, indeed it was mostly illiberal patriarchal conservatives that led the show.

I’m leaning towards superstitious fear as the cause. Pagan traditions had many rituals for protections of the newborn and it was not uncommon for

Could be seen as plausible, superstition is closely linked to aesthetics, I realize - believing something to be an ill omen might simply mean one finds it distressing to behold.

In Classical world, beauty had a very customized (artificial) and narrow understanding. Obviously, it may be hard to find beauty in death during childbirth, but pregnancy itself obviously does not guarantee death, or none of us would be here. It’s interesting that none of the goddesses associated with pregnancy and childbirth in Classical world were represented as pregnant themselves. Not one.

It is known that not only some indjun tribes but also many sensitive people experience a certain loss off "soul" (I think thats experience of identity) at having their photograph taken - why would you want to make a picture of something as personal as that? is always my question. But if your soul always wished to be born to do pregnancy art, this is the time to be alive....
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Re: Misappreciation of Beauty

Postby Pandora » Thu May 24, 2018 7:20 pm

why would you want to make a picture of something as personal as that? is always my question
Well, the ancients did not seem to have the same problem with sex itself, the act that is directly connected with pregnancy and birth.

Because the pregnant women were fat, and felt ugly and didn't want their picture taken, or to be carved into a statue.

Beating up on the big girls again, Smears. I’d like to think that at some point in a hypothetical future when man’s technological crutches fail, it would be up to the big girls of the world to pull mankind out of brink of extinction. Perhaps then the ideals of beauty and dersirability would be seen in a different light. Until then, the man will continue to distance himself from reality with his idealistic fantasies, and will continue to dig his own hole. Have obstetric medicine and unrealistic beauty trends really improved the women’s/mankind’s intrinsic reproductive fitness? Where is our (“health” and) “beauty” taking us?

I’d say civilization’s standards of beauty are often unrealistic and tend to mirror its cacooned and idealistic environment. (Not to mention just how many of our artistic accomplishments have a dirty and violent past that people prefer to downplay or just ignore)

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder then maybe there is something wrong with our collective eyes (perceptual myopia?) if we prefer to see a form separated from the process.
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Re: Misappreciation of Beauty

Postby Fixed Cross » Fri May 25, 2018 2:41 pm

Pandora wrote:
why would you want to make a picture of something as personal as that? is always my question
Well, the ancients did not seem to have the same problem with sex itself, the act that is directly connected with pregnancy and birth.

But listen, do you know of any ancient statues of sexual action?

Im not saying there never were any, as it is known that the Vatican broke off all penises from classical nudes, so Im sure if there had been any copulation-sculpture, it would not have survived.

Still, Ive never seen it.
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Re: Misappreciation of Beauty

Postby Pandora » Fri May 25, 2018 10:47 pm

I remember coming across this at the Amsterdam sex museum. I know Naples and British museums have separate exhibit rooms that show “obscene” artifacts, most of which are displays of phallic related objects and paintings, as well as stone and metal reliefs of explicit sex scenes of all kinds. If ancients had full size sex statues, they may have been done in the form of Satyr/Nymph theme, like this one.
Notably, there also exist a number of full size hermaphrodite statues in the shape of women showing off their male parts. I don’t know if any of these were made for private audience or not in the ancient world, but today these are not considered “obscene” and are freely shown to general public. So there is a somewhat arbitrary distinction between what is considered private or obscene and what is not. There are plenty of painted sex scenes, for instance, and even if they were only meant to be viewed in private or by a target audience, I’m yet to come across any form representing pregnant women, either painted, in frescoes or mosaics, sculpted or in stone relief. So I’m wondering why the ancients thought that a man flashing his (sometimes extremely exaggerated) private parts, or having sex with a goat or even having a penis with wings as a wind chime charm was worthy of artistic representation, but something as natural and fundamental as female pregnancy was not.
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