Aesthetics--I need some help here!

Aesthetics—I need some help here!

The last paragraph highlights my need for illumination.

Social unity is a useful goal; there are, however, good and bad ways of achieving such a goal. Social harmony leads to fewer uncritical pursuits of social meaning, i.e. class struggles, economic competition, hatred, and war.

It is said that when Jesus struck down the money lenders in the temple, he was striking at the “root of the uncritical social game that was keeping men apart, keeping their gaze bent on narrow things”.

Communal societies have been a consistent goal throughout history; a communal society would “seek to assure shared meanings, communal good, and the highest possible social morality”.

How can a society achieve maximum unity, force, and conviction?

Becker says “organisms achieve satisfaction in one basic way, and that is by “merging” with nature. In this merger, the organism temporarily stills its appetites and striving, and so finds a momentary peace…Hegel gave it a large place in his work, by showing how life tries to keep its own distinctive, restless quality, and yet seeks to be stilled at the same time. Dewey developed this ontology, as did Heidegger and Sartre.”

Our naturalistic ontology of life is a desire to maintain identity while being a moving and feeling force, which simultaneously seeks to lose this identity in a peace-giving merger with nature. Herein lies the secret of aesthetics; this paradox of movement and merger answers the question of “why man’s play-forms are so satisfying.”

Becker says “Aesthetics gives the highest pleasure because it is the category that merges all the others, that pulls all the loose and disparate strands of experience together into one harmonious whole. Intellect, imagination, the whole organism of feeling—thought and dream, flesh and blood, emption and nerves—all are fused into one integrating merger. The aesthetic object draws man’s world together, by drawing the whole man firmly into it. In contemplating the aesthetic object, the totality of the life force is awakened and stilled at one and the same time.”

Have you had aesthetic experiences that will give us clarity regarding Becker’s meaning here?

The quotes and ideas are from “Beyond Alienation”–Ernest Becker

Aesthetics, is it an objective phenomena controlled by the subjective, The subject is the life force and we cannot deny the independace of aesthetics from life force but a ‘direct’ allusion quintessentially undermines the qualitative differences.

Can aesthetics exist independantly of a life force ??? It is ridiculous superficially but further examination reveals that we still haven’t an absolute definition of aesthetics. I can say that a beautiful tree is not aesthetic, a critical contemporary will think otherwise.

Becker is quite cautious about mentioning pleasure and not happiness. Pleasure need not necessarily be a positve aspect but happiness in its unadulterated form without any negative precursors is, now we have to realize that pleasure is relative, what is pleasure to a sadist ???

The holistic solutional approach of aesthetics makes me question the domain of aesthetics.

Aesthetics basically is our idea born of imagination and an intellectual capacity and I would prefer this heirarchy.

Chuck wrote:

I think I have Chuck. I think though I will relate my story in my own thread in a few days when I have time to tie it into my context there. I will say though that I believe it is, for example, what a figure skater experiences when they begin a program and come to the end of a perfect skate without remembering the intervening minutes. Athletes describe the experience as being in “the zone”. I call it experiencing “the ideal”; and it is not confined to athletics. It is a beautiful feeling that is rarely experienced in our present “fabric of existence”.

I too would like to understand aesthetics:

It seems a big topic. The definition as “sensori-emotional values” I experience all the time which must be the wrong answer since the question implied that aesthetics is illusive.

I have had such experiences, the subject matter is usually a sunset with and array of colours and the clouds in just the right places, these are few and far between but the right one can lead to a feeling of calm and a stillness that induces a feeling of quiet pleasure ( i say pleasure rather than happiness because happy seems too energetic pleasure seems to go much deeper) on contemplation of this I dont know why some are better than others but there most definatly is a difference. In a science term it may have something to do with spatial harmony,symetry and geometry. Apparantly this is why we find some more attractive than others, but as for the subject matter it seems to be of personal preference.