Why are you blind to beauty? | INFJ Forum

Why are you blind to beauty?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by wolly.green, Jun 19, 2019.

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  1. wolly.green

    wolly.green Community Member

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    From my experience, most people are completely and utterly blind to beauty. I do not mean the beauty in meaning (I'm talking to you, Feelers), or the beauty in a perfect mathematical theorem (I'm talking to you, Thinkers). I do not mean the beauty in subjective experiences like joy, happiness, ecstasy or "tranquillity". I mean aesthetic beauty, the stuff that you find ONLY in art.

    Most people have no problem identifying and appreciating the meaning behind a piece of art. Most people have no problem experiencing what they would call a "beautiful moment" in their lives. Some people have no problem finding "beautiful" tranquillity or what ever the hell else you want to call it. But almost no one can identify aesthetic beauty. Its like a colourblindness that can not be illuminated to the person that is blind.

    Why do you think that is? Why are so many people completely blind to aesthetic beauty?
     
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  2. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    People like to pretend that they're not shallow or easily influenced by their senses.

    A false sense of superiority.
     
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  3. OP
    wolly.green

    wolly.green Community Member

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    What do you mean?
     
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  4. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    People aren't blind to aesthetic beauty, they're just not honest about their fascination with it. They don't want to seem shallow, obsessed with the shape of things.
     
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  5. OP
    wolly.green

    wolly.green Community Member

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    That's so weird. Why would that be shallow? Can you explain?
     
  6. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    I was going to make a "bimbo" joke but now isn't the time.

    Basically, being fascinated with the shape or external features of a noun (person, place, thing) implies that one is missing what truly matters, the more complex, noble, more valuable "inside," if you will.

    Like the cliche saying goes, "It's not what's on the outside that counts, but what's on the inside."

    "But inside... inside doesn't matter."
    -Patrick Bateman

     
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    #6 Pin, Jun 19, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
  7. OP
    wolly.green

    wolly.green Community Member

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    Oh. But in that case, Im confused again. What does art have to do with "things"? Abstract art contains aesthetic qualities. Much of it represents nothing and much has no deeper meaning. Yet abstract act can be remarkably beautiful and exceptionally difficult to create.
     
  8. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    What? Explain like I'm 5.

    Less words.
     
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    wolly.green

    wolly.green Community Member

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    In his 1979 play Amadeus, Peter Shaffer describes Mozart’s music by saying ‘Displace one note and there would be diminishment. Displace on phrase and the structure would fall apart’. Vary Mozart’s music, even just a little, and the whole piece falls apart. Every note, every phrase has a specific role to perform; each one is tightly integrated into the next. Beethoven is a classical composer that is known for being meticulous with his approach to music composition. “Composers like Ludwig van Beethoven agonised through change after change, apparently seeking something that he knew was there to be created, apparently meeting a standard that could be met only after much creative effort and much failure.” In a fever of inspiration, artist seem to be reaching for something that is there to be found but is nevertheless difficult to obtain.

    Although you could argue that there is some kind of "deeper meaning" in Mozarts compositions, it appears that there is something more that makes them beautiful. One cannot merely change his compositions without making them objectively less beautiful. But why? Why does changing his music, even slightly, make it worse? I don't know the answer, but I do know that whatever it is, abstract art contains it as well. I can think of many examples of abstract art that is beautiful, but is extremely difficult to change without making it ugly. When we appreciate art aesthetically, I believe we are appreciating this "hard to vary" quality!

    Does this clear things up?
     
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    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    Oh. My God.

    I'll respond to this WALL OF TEXT in a few hours.

    I'm sleepy.
     
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    wolly.green

    wolly.green Community Member

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    Hahaha. Bascially, the reason art is beautiful that it is hard to vary. If you change Mozarts compositions, even just a little, and you will ruin them. Humans are very in tune with this "hard to vary" quality of art, and that's why we are drawn to it. We can see some order, some hidden structure, that makes it difficult to change, even though we cannot explain what it is.
    Does that make sense?
     
  12. BritNi

    BritNi Perceptive Optimist

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    People are blind. Period.
    You. Me. Him. Her. They. We.

    All blind.
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. dwr46y

    dwr46y Well-known weirdo

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    WTF is wrong with you?
     
  14. OP
    wolly.green

    wolly.green Community Member

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    WTF is wrong with you?
     
  15. Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome

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    @wolly.green - Do you mean how we are mesmerized by beauty or how we have trouble defining what is beautiful? (There seemed to be two different themes in your OP.)

    Ren had a thread about this, too. Though, he wanted a more philosophical answer than you are looking for, or the thread went in that direction, anyway.

    Traditionally, mathematics and symmetry play into beauty via Fibonacci and the Golden Ratio. For a human, a face that is more aligned with the Golden Ratio, therefore more symmetrical, and shows health and vitality is typically more beautiful. For women, youthfulness is more beautiful. I don't mean actually being young, but having proportionately big eyes, full lips, etc. There are arguments about this and people get offended that beauty can be measured, but the bottom line is symmetry, balance, and health do play roles. Everything else is preference. There are endless combinations of features that are attractive and we all have preferences, both individual and cultural.
    Beauty is similar in art. Composition (typically follows the Golden Ratio, Fibonacci, and mathematics) balance, color theory, etc, play big roles. Mathematics exist in nature. Math is a language invented by humans to define these consistencies. It is not offensive that math would play a role in beauty. Our skeletons, for example, follow Fibonacci.

    Musical composition also aligns with math. For example: Bach's compositions have long been considered the most mathematically perfect. People who study how to write Classical music study the mathematics of composing. Music is math, even three-chord rock.

    – This is my perspective as someone who graduated from art school and is married to a musician with a degree in Classical composition. So, whether you agree or disagree is perfectly fine, but our educated perspectives do carry water. There are a lot of cool books about math in music and art, and science in art, that you could read if you're curious. :)

    Flowers are designed to be beautiful to attract attention so the plant can reproduce. They are delicate and showy, often with bright colors and/or eye-catching shapes.

    If you mean we are mesmerized by ("blind to") beauty. It's natural to be attracted to beauty and to place positivity, or the hope of positivity, on what we find appealing. It is not fair, and it is not sophisticated, or even moral in some cases, but it happens. For example, when people find a woman attractive they pay more attention to her, are often easier on her, more forgiving or more apt to let her get away with something, and ply for her attention. Other common responses may be conditioning: lower expectations for her intelligence, acting meaner toward her.

    Humans have a weird way of obsessing over what we are told is beautiful, too. This is the problem area. "Beauty standards" are based on one group's preferences.
     
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  16. Infjente

    Infjente Permanent Fixture

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    Great answer @Asa !!
     
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  17. OP
    wolly.green

    wolly.green Community Member

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    I mean recognize when one thing is more beautiful than another. And I mean that aesthetically only.

    Anyway,
    In his book The Beginning of Infinity, David Deutsch explains why humans are attracted to flowers. From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense that bees are attracted to flowers. Flowers provide that life sustaining nectar that the bees need to survive and procreate. Conversely, flowers have a reason to attract bees. They need bees as a vessel to transport pollen. But why should humans be attracted to flowers? We do not depend on them for anything, and they do not depend on us!

    The co-evolution of insects and flowers had to involve the creation of a visual code or language for signalling information between them. A bee has to know which flower will give them nectar, and a flower must design some pattern that will attract bees. This code or language had to be complex since the genes that created it faced a difficult communication problem. t had to be easily recognisable by the right insects and difficult to forge by other species of flower. This is because if other species of flower could forge the same patterns, they could cause their pollen to be spread by the same insects. Worse still, if those other species could cause their pollen to be spread by the same insects without having to produce nectar for them, they would have a selective advantage. In other words, that co-evolution between insects and flowers would never have happened. “So the criterion that was evolving in the insects had to be discriminating enough to pick the right flowers and not crude imitations; and the flowers’ design had to be such that no design that other flower species could easily evolve could be mistaken for it.” (Deutsch, 2011) Both the criterion and the way of meeting it had to be hard to vary.

    So why are humans attracted to flowers? We know why bees are, but why us? It may seem plausible to think that flowers are not really objectively beautiful, and that their attractiveness is just a cultural phenomenon. But we find flowers beautiful that we have never seen before, and which have not been known to any culture in human history. We sing songs, write poems and tell stories about them. "The same is not true of the roots of plants, or the leaves." (Deutsch, 2011). Well, sometimes a leaf can be beautiful; even the roots can be. But only very rarely! "With flowers it is reliable. It is a regularity in nature." (Deutsch, 2011). So what is the explanation? David Deutsch thinks that the reason flowers can reliably signal to bees across their communication gap is the same reason that we find flowers beautiful. Because there are objective standards of beauty. Flowers are reaching for an objective standard that is difficult to see, but is nevertheless there! Just as human artists are reaching for an object standard that is difficult to see, but is nevertheless there!

    Within various domains of art and science, there are extraordinary creators like Beethoven and Einstein who are widely known to have contributed greatly to their respective disciplines. But is art really subjective? "Was Beethoven fooling himself when he thought that the sheets in his waste-paper basket contained mistakes: that they were worse than the sheets he would eventually publish?" (Deutsch, 2011). Was he merely meeting some arbitrary cultural standard like buying the right sort of coffee to satisfy the latest lifestyle fad? Or is there substance in saying that Beethoven's music really is far better than pre-schoolers banging wooden spoons against metal pots? "Is there only 'I know what I like,' or what tradition or authority designates as good? "(Deutsch, 2011). All of these arguments assume that for each standard, there is a culture in which people enjoy and are deeply moved by art that met it. But surely there is more to standards than just this? Surely only exceptional standards, those which great artists have spent entire lifetimes working on, are chosen to be cultural norms? "Quite generally, cultural relativism (about art or morality) has a very hard time explaining what people are doing when they think they are improving a tradition." (Deutsch, 2011).

    This is my argument for why there are objective standards of beauty. And why you can be wrong about what you think is beautiful. Now, when I asked why people are blind to beauty, I meant why can they not recognise when one piece of art is more beautiful than another. I don't care about sexual attraction, or attraction to flowers. Everyone has that. Im talking about beauty in ART.
     
  18. Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome

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    @wolly.green - Oh, I want to read that book now. I've listened to some scientists talk about this and they (these particular scientists) say that humans can see color the way we do and therefore are attracted to plants with flashy colors because at one point during human evolution, humans were vegetarians. (PS: I should add that these scientists were not promoting vegan propaganda. It was actually a lecture on meat, survival, and the origins of the human wolf relationship.)


    I stand by the logic that what makes music and art "beautiful" is, at it's roots, math and science based. Beethoven is more beautiful than a kid banging on a pot because that kid has no rhythm. Rhythm is math. We merely fine tune what we personally believe is beautiful with opinions. Beauty is really not entirely subjective. It's...lovely... to think so because that makers us all individuals, it's more "philosophical", and it detaches humans from nature, but it isn't.
     
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    #18 Asa, Jun 19, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
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  19. noisebloom

    noisebloom theory conspirer
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  20. Icedream

    Icedream Again

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    Dude, this is the worst forum to discuss the values of aesthetics.
     
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